Dean Knuth's pursuit of making golf better for amateurs
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Dean Knuth’s pursuit of making golf better for amateurs

Dean Knuth wants you, the average golfer, to hit the ball farther. And he wants you to hit the ball farther regardless of where you strike it on the face of your driver, fairway woods and hybrids.

That's why he has come to market with a product that will keep the golf ball on your clubface for as long as the USGA will allow because, quite simply, the longer the ball stays on the face, then longer the ball will travel.

Knuth, who lives in San Diego and is a 1970 graduate of the United States Naval Academy in Maryland, has been working in golf for the better part of 40 years. Starting in 1981, Knuth embarked on a 16-year, full-time career with the USGA. Perhaps his biggest achievement was something golfers use almost every day. Knuth was the inventor of and driving force behind the course rating and slope rating systems, which were designed to account for golfer ability in rating courses and factoring that ability into the handicapping process. While he's known as the Pope of Slope, his work as a Senior Director at the USGA touched practically every facet of the governing body's work.

After Knuth left the USGA, he moved into the defense contracting world for his day job, but he remained actively involved in golf. His fascination with the driver and its performance led him to design his first driver, the original High Heat, back in 2003. The goal with the club was to deliver the optimal center of gravity for an amateur player. His original design sold out its run of 400 drivers, and he learned a lot from the experience.

Dean Knuth with GNN's Mitch Laurance in Atlantic City

In 2013, Knuth formed Knuth Golf with long-time friend and former USGA associate, D.C.-area patent attorney Steve Trattner, with Knuth bringing his High Heat design up to modern snuff and Trattner on the business end. The original High Heat, sold in a distinctive cobalt blue color, hit the market in 2015.

This year, Knuth came out with the High Heat 257+ driver, looking to take advantage of a 2016 change to the USGA's equipment rules concerning characteristic time (CT), or how long the ball can remain on the driver face, in different sections of the head. The USGA ruling established a hitting area, the width of a 1.68-inch standard golf ball, in the center of the face and limited the CT to 257 microseconds. However, outside the central hitting area on the heel and toe, manufacturers could max out CT at 275 microseconds. Knuth, already owner of five US patents for his golf designs, filed a 2016 application for a sixth to take advantage of this design.

To Knuth, it's simple: Keep the ball on the face as long as possible, and let the center of gravity and bulge and roll do the rest.

"There are no amateur golfers who hit the ball too far," Knuth said in an interview.

The High Heat 257+ does this by using variable thickness zones in three spots on the driver: the central hitting region, toward the high toe and near the low heel. As the face thins out from the center, these variable areas seek to create three distinct trampoline zones. Knuth claims an average CT of 266 microseconds on the heel and toe of his 257+ driver, fairway woods and hybrids. Perhaps the most stark difference is in the hybrids, where that CT is 50 percent higher than the average hybrid on the toe and 70 percent higher on the heel. The goal, then, is to make the a player's average distance with a club much closer to their distance when they nail the sweet spot.

Knuth also utilizes titanium faces in his fairway woods and hybrids, nothing the hotter material leads to more distance than the high-strength steel typically found in these clubs. Bonding titanium faces to a steel body, however, requires a silver-based brazing process -- because you can't weld steel to titanium -- is more expensive. Knuth says it's worth it in the name of adding distance for the typical amateur golfer. The 257+ driver is all titanium, allowing for a traditional weld of the cup face to the body.

The High Heat products aren't adjustable, with Knuth preferring to take the weight and CG penalty that comes from the adjustable hosel and instead moving that weight to keep center of gravity lower and more back.

The company does 90 percent of their sales online. They advertise here and there, but a lot of their business is word of mouth. However, there is one brick-and-mortar hotbed for Knuth Golf: The Villages in Florida. The massive retirement community has more than 300 holes of golf there, and the golfers there love their High Heat. However, Knuth Golf's products are meant for players of all swing speeds, including above 100 mph, and their website has an online fitting tool to get players in the right shaft for optimal performance. Trattner also personally helps golfers with questions.

Knuth loves golf. In fact, he takes Sundays largely off to attend church in the morning, then play golf with his wife in the afternoons. He's dedicated his life to making sure amateurs have more fun on the course, and with his latest High Heat 257+ offerings -- $500 for the driver, $330 for each fairway wood and $257 for each hybrid -- he believes he has found the answer to many golfers' prayers.

Knuth Golf is so confident in their products, they offer a 30-day, money-back guarantee. And GNN readers can save 15 percent on their order! When you purchase your High Heat, you can select Golf News Net in the question of how you heard of Knuth Golf. The savings are applied right there online!

About the author


Ryan Ballengee

Ryan Ballengee is founder and editor of Golf News Net. He has been writing and broadcasting about golf for over a decade, working for NBC Sports, Golf Channel, Yahoo Sports and SB Nation. Ballengee lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his family. He used to be a good golfer.

Ballengee can be reached by email at ryan[at]

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