Bringing you insights from the PING Proving Grounds, where our talented team of engineers, researchers, fitting experts and data scientists design and develop the newest product and fitting technologies to help you play better. Using the most advanced tools available, we’ll explain and explore the science behind golf-equipment performance. We’ll separate fact from fiction with the goal of helping you make informed decisions when choosing the PING equipment best suited for maximizing your performance.
In 1995, the earliest of the ‘baby boomer’ generation were turning 50 years old, a generation of extremely passionate golfers who grew up following the likes of Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Arnie, and Jack. And playing ardently, too. But, with age can come aches, pains and injuries related to striking the ball, particularly to the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Vibrations in the club resulting from impact reverberate through the body, causing joint and soft tissue discomfort, especially for players with arthritis and other joint maladies.
Our engineers began the research and development of the innovative Cushin insert back in 1995 after a number of recreational golfers, and some PING pros on the Senior PGA Tour, asked us for a way to soften the blow of impact and lessen the wear and tear of the game on their joints.
The goal was not to indiscriminately damp all vibrations and detract from the feel of a shot, only vibrations within bandwidths that make impact feel harsh and create muscle fatigue later in a round. So we got to work on this at the PING Proving Grounds and designed a ‘selective vibration filtering system’ to identify and eliminate injurious higher-frequency vibrations and retain desirable vibrations at lower frequencies. Through research and testing and reviewing literature from the scientific, medical and military communities regarding how mechanical vibration affects parts of the body, we were able to identify unwanted frequencies.
The Cushin insert improves feel and reduces fatigue, discomfort and the risk of injury by damping undesirable vibrations while maintaining frequencies that deliver positive feedback so you feel the purity of a hit. This selective filtering works by means of ball bearings encased in a resilient rubber-like material tuned to absorb vibrations.
This type of damper works by having the dynamic motion of the ball bearing deform and relax the elastomer material in a circular motion, during vibration. This process removes energy from the overall system and reduces the peak amplitude and duration of vibrational energy. The key is to match the intended resonant frequency of the Cushin insert to the frequency of the vibration(s) being damped out. In this manner, the dynamic motion of the ball bearings (the mass) is maximized at these selected frequencies so that the action of deforming and relaxing the elastic material peaks, and the energy removed from the vibrational system is optimized.
Through meticulous design and selection of the weight, size and placement of the steel bearings within the elastomer casing, and the stiffness, density and thickness of the elastomer material, we created a damping system that significantly decreases the amplitude of harmful vibrational frequencies, while allowing the golfer to experience those vibrational frequencies that contribute to the feel of a shot. It is a system based upon the concept of biocompatibility. Creating a golf club that works with the known reactions of the various components of the body to reduce or eliminate harmful vibration and increase playability.
Since its inception, the popularity of the Cushin selective filtering insert has crossed all ability levels and enabled thousands of golfers with upper extremity injuries to once again play pain free.
So, if you're looking to stay in steel shafts -- especially lighter-weight models -- consider adding the Cushin insert for some extra filtering that makes it easier on your joints and connective tissue. Available in steel shafts only, the insert adds a minimal 10 grams of overall weight but swingweight is unaffected due to the insert’s location. You might not have any discomfort with impact; the Cushin insert helps any level of player – including tour pros – with more confident ball striking, and that can improve overall performance. Visit one of our fitting accounts or find a PING fitting day near you and experience the difference with the AWT 2.0 shaft with the Cushin insert.
John Oldenburg is the Director of Shaft Development at PING. He joined PING Golf in 2020 after spending over 20 years as the head of engineering and product development for a major shaft manufacturer.