||Aerotech Sports was founded in 1991 and was the first company to produce an NHL approved composite Hockey Stick. Aerotech quickly began expanding its product base to include Bike Components, Helmets, Fishing Rods, Knee Braces, Violin Bows and Golf Shafts. Beginning production of Golf Shafts in 1994, Aerotech was able to take advantage of its vast knowledge of composites and create new innovative performance enhancing designs. Originally operating as an OEM supplier Aerotech produced golf shafts for companies such as Cleveland Golf, Adams Golf, Fenwick, Lynx, Zevo and Pure Spin among many others. By launching its own branded golf shafts in 2002, Aerotech has become known as a producer of some of the most innovative, high quality golf shafts on the market. In order to focus its resources exclusively towards golf shafts, the golf division split from the parent company, Aerotech Sports, in October 2005 and formed a new company called Aerotech Golf LLC.
E2G: Tell me about your company … what do you do?
Chris Hilleary: Aerotech Golf was originally a division of a larger composite design and manufacturing company called Aerotech Sports Inc. (ATS). ATS produced a very diverse line of composite products such as hockey sticks, bike components, knee braces, violin bows and golf shafts, just to name a few. I worked for ATS for 10 years and ran the golf division for more than eight years. In late 2005, Aerotech Sports Inc. spun off the golf division and I purchased it from the parent company, launching Aerotech Golf ..LLC.
E2G: How did you get started in the golf industry?
Chris Hilleary: I started playing golf when I was 21 years old and fell in love with the game immediately. I was playing in a local Amateur Golf Tournament when I was paired up with one of the founders of ATS. I was playing pretty well that day (3 under thru my first 5 holes) when he asked me what I did for a living. After finding out that I had a Manufacturing Engineering Technology degree and an extensive background in the Sports and Rec industry, he asked me to come in for an interview. The rest is history I guess ... I spent the next 10 years at ATS working in just about every facet of the golf shaft business.
E2G: What is your company’s current focus?
Chris Hilleary: Our focus right now is managing our growth. We are growing very quickly so that is our number one priority. The next focus is to continue to build brand awareness as we are still a relatively unknown shaft brand. We're doing all of this while we continue to research new technologies and look ahead at what lies on the
E2G: Do you specialize in a certain segment of the golf market?
Chris Hilleary: We have been spending the largest percentage of our R&D efforts in the composite iron shaft category. This has been our focus for many years and has lead to some of our most innovative designs.
E2G: Describe your current product line?
Chris Hilleary: Our 2007 product line consists of the SteelFiber, Players Spec, Powercoil and ALT470 designs. The Players Spec and SteelFiber designs feature a full layer of steel on the surface of a graphite core, giving them the control and consistency of a steel shaft with the lighter weight and vibration dampening properties of a graphite shaft. The SteelFiber iron shafts are available in Parallel Tip and Taper Tip Constant Weight designs in 75gr, 85gr, 95gr, 110gr, and 125 gram weights. The Players Spec models feature an ascending mass design, meaning each shaft in the set gets heavier as it gets shorter. This allows a club builder to assemble an MOI matched set of irons without having to significantly alter head weights. While the SteelFiber shaft is available for woods both of these technologies were originated for irons. The Powercoil and ALT470 designs are a more traditional 100% graphite construction. Both models feature a surface layer of hoop wound carbon fiber which makes the shaft very stable in the golf swing eliminating unwanted head oscillation during the swing. The ALT470 shafts (ALT stands for Assisted Launch Technology) are designed with extremely soft bend profiles which allow slower swing speed players to increase launch angle and carry distance.
E2G: What sets you apart from your competition?
Chris Hilleary: We pride ourselves in stretching the limits of golf shaft performance by exploiting our knowledge of composite structures and design.
E2G: What kind of technology do you have that sets you apart from your competition?
Chris Hilleary: Our SteelFiber technology certainly separates us from the competition. We started developing this shaft more than 7 years ago and it's actually the result of an evolution of designs over the initial 3-4 years. We realized right away that there were performance issues with a 100% graphite iron shaft that needed to be overcome. Graphite iron shafts have always had the reputation of being inconsistent and hard to control. After extensive R&D efforts it became very obvious that we had to introduce a higher density (heavier) material into the structure to help overcome these performance issues. We started by adding heavy microscopic particles into the resin system which then evolved into commingling metal alloys into the graphite layers. Finally, we discovered the steel fiber material which, because of its micro thin diameter, enabled us to apply a complete layer of steel on the surface of the shaft resulting in the exact performance enhancements we were looking for. There is another element to our shafts that contribute to the performance and further separate us from the competition. Manufacturing consistency and shaft uniformity is critical to how a shaft performs. You can have all the technology in the world designed into a golf shaft but unless it is produced in the most uniform and consistent manner you will fail to reap the benefits of the technology. We have developed a proprietary manufacturing process that allows us to produce one of the most uniform shafts on the market. By combining our SteelFiber construction with our proprietary manufacturing process we are able to stretch the boundaries of composite shaft performance.
E2G: What is the main way that golfers will benefit from your product?
Chris Hilleary: With the introduction of the SteelFiber technology any golfer (even stronger players) can now benefit from the lighter weights and vibration dampening characteristics of a composite shaft without having to give up the control and consistency of their steel shafts.
E2G: What is one thing that you want golfers to know about your company and product line?
Chris Hilleary: Consumers will notice the price of our shafts is not cheap but they are certainly less expensive that some of the big brand named shafts. I would like golfers to understand that when they purchase an Aerotech shaft they are paying for cutting edge technology and not a huge Marketing campaign and PGA Tour expenses. We are a small company dedicated to producing the very best shafts possible for everyone to enjoy.
E2G: Where can golfers find your product?
Chris Hilleary: Our shafts are available at Golfsmith and GolfWorks or you can find a complete list of Distributors and Dealers on our website which is located at www.aerotechgolfshafts.com.