You are correct in that you can’t tell the playability by the looks. Yonex makes interesting looking designs, for sure, and the polymer additive is something that has been done before. Anytime you add something like that it deadens the feel and can make even poor designs feel better because of the shock dampening aspects of he polymer. Can’t really comment on the playability of the Yonex since I have not measured any of them.
As far any other company inspiring us, I couldn’t really say that any do. Of course we will look at what all the OEM’s are doing, mainly at the cosmetics, to see if there is a finish or something we haven’t seen before. Rarely do we see a technology in irons that we were not aware of or that really interests us. We understand what makes an iron play well (mass and dimensional characteristics). One thing I do sometimes envy that the larger OEM’s do is the intricate medallions and cavity designs some models have. They are sexy, but generally don’t have an impact on playability, and they do add a lot to the cost of the head. I do think the WE have had an influence on some of the OEM designs, although they would never admit it. Before Ralph came out with the original MPF book in 2004, approximately 65% of all the designs we had measured since the late 1980’s fell into the lower three categories of playability and 35% were in the higher playability categories. Over the next 3 years after the book was published, that flipped and through the 2020 model year, with all models we have tested, the percentages currently are 59.3% in the upper playability categories and 40.7% in the lower. That does not include Maltby models. If you include our designs, the numbers are 60.1% (higher MPF categories) and 39.9% (lower MPF categories). Some years are better than others with the OEM’s and the last few have not seen as many higher playability designs. So whether you think Ralph’s insights had an influence or not is up for you to decide, but with the timing of Ralph’s data (and the data we have continued to accumulate) and the reversal in the playability numbers, the evidence is apparent (in my opinion).
Thanks for the input.