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Bryson DeChambeau piqued the interest of anyone with even a passing interest in golf equipment when he revealed he was using 3D printed irons clubs at the Masters. 

There aren’t many tour stars who are as involved in the creation of their hardware as the former US Open champion – they don’t call him ‘The Scientist’ for nothing – and for the 2024 season he has put a set of Avoda Prototype irons he helped design and build into his bag. Remarkably – and in true DeChambeau style – these irons were only approved by the USGA a matter of hours before the tournament got underway at Augusta National.

From a gear perspective, though, it begs one question. Is 3D printing the future of golf club design?

Let’s start with the basics. What does 3D printing actually mean? Well, it’s exactly that. A specially-designed printer takes your three-dimensional digital design and builds it into a physical object by printing layers of material on top of each other.

It’s a timely process but, as you can imagine, there is plenty of scope for this to be a useful innovation for golf club manufacturers. 

Cobra – who are never one to shy away from innovation as they proved with DeChambeau’s one-length irons – have used 3D printing to resounding success. Their range of 3D printed putters has been popular, as the process allows weight to be moved around the head, which increases the MOI for better stability, balance, and forgiveness. 

Bryson Dechambeau's Avoda 3D printed prototype irons
Bryson Dechambeau’s Avoda 3D printed prototype irons. (Credit: Getty Images)

Is 3D printing the future of golf club design?

With 3D printers becoming not only more advanced but quicker, it’s only a matter of time before we see this process explored further by golf equipment manufacturers. 

The concept does open up a massive opportunity for future innovation in golf club design. Every brand is looking for something new in how they make golf clubs, and there is potential for this to really make it easier for brands to make quality equipment.  

To put this into perspective, if 3D printing was at a stage where brands could mass produce their clubs in that way, it would allow them to produce sets that suit each individual. For example, if Scottie Scheffler was using a specific type of wedge and TaylorMade wanted to mass produce it, 3D printing could make it possible – rather than the current process of having to grind the clubhead in a certain way. 

Aside from that, 3D printing will allow brands to personalise the design of golf clubs, as you can change the shape of a club before it’s even made. If you throw Artificial Intelligence into the mix here, then we could really get to a stage where a computer could put together a club an a 3D printer can mass produce it. 

• Bryson Dechambeau WITB: What clubs does The Scientist use?

• Bryson Dechambeau stock yardages: How far does he hit each club?

There are always caveats, though.

Firstly, it’s important to note that this technology hasn’t been refined fully yet. That’s part of the reason why DeChambeau’s Avoda irons were not immediately on the USGA conforming list. For clubs to be mass produced, this process will be easier.

3D printing can also be much less accurate than the forging and casting processes currently used in high-performance irons. In the case of DeChambeau’s irons, some of the grooves on the face were not perfectly finished, meaning modifications needed to be made before they were legal to use in competition. 

Finally, the process is currently hugely expensive. Rumours are swirling that DeChambeau’s irons cost as much as $10,000 to build. Though, like with many technological advances, costs almost always come down. In years to come, expect this being a legitimate way to make golf clubs. 

If you want to keep up to date on our latest reviews, make sure you check out the bunkered YouTube channel!

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James Tait is bunkered’s Gear Editor. Want to know how the latest Callaway driver, Vokey wedge or Scotty Cameron putter performs? He’s the guy to ask. Better yet, just watch his videos on the bunkered YouTube channel. One of the biggest hitters in the UK, James also competes on the World Long Drive circuit and is a descendent of former Amateur champion Freddie Tait.

Gear Editor

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