Mitutoyo helps The R&A’s to ensure Fair Play on the Fairway

Over the past four decades Mitutoyo UK has earned an excellent reputation for the accuracy and quality of its products and the wide range of metrology and testing disciplines it covers. Within the fields of contour and surface roughness measurement, Mitutoyo serves the needs of many hi-tech industries, such as the aerospace, automotive and medical sectors. In addition, the company provides non-engineering business, that have their own specific contour and surface roughness measuring demands, with an extensive range of contour and surface roughness instruments.

A recent Mitutoyo contour and surface roughness instrument installation demonstrates the diverse nature of the company’s customer base and also helps to illustrates the rigorous conformance standards applied to golfing equipment.

pexels-photo-274263.jpegSituated close to the home of golf near St Andrews, The R&A organises engages in and supports activities undertaken for the benefit of the sport of golf. Despite deriving its name from the members’ golf club, The R&A is separate and distinct from The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews. Together with the USGA, The R&A governs the sport of golf worldwide, operating in separate jurisdictions while sharing a commitment to a single code for the Rules of Golf, Rules of Amateur Status and Equipment Standards.

The R&A’s Equipment Standards role can be divided into three main areas - evaluating submissions of new equipment for conformance to the rules of golf; conducting fundamental research into the physics of golf and constantly reviewing the equipment rules to ensure that they remain relevant to today’s equipment and that they continue to ensure that skill remains the dominant determinant of success.

The rules and specifications related to golf clubs are divided into five separate categories, club (general), shaft, grip, clubhead and club face. Having used a previous generation Mitutoyo Formtracer instrument for measuring the impact area markings on club faces for some years, in accordance with The R&A’s policy of seeking further efficiencies and updating its technology, the organisation recently took delivery of the newly launched, advanced Mitutoyo Formtracer Avant model. The Formtracer Avant is now being used to precisely measure the profiles, widths, depths, edge radii and the separation distances of the of the grooves located on golf club faces’ impact areas. These critical groove measurements are checked against the relevant R&A specifications. In addition, as the Formtracer Avant is a flexible hybrid instrument, it is also used to inspect the surface finish of club face’s impact areas against the R&A’s equipment rules.


“Each week we receive 30 - 40 submissions of new equipment for evaluation against The R&S’s equipment rules”. Explained Assistant Director - Research and Testing at The R&A, Andrew Johnson. “We use a wide range of precise equipment and apply our testing procedures to ensure that manufacturers’ submitted equipment does not exceed the set limits.

“The high-volume of equipment sent to us for evaluation means that, without compromising on the accuracy and thoroughness of our procedures, we are constantly looking for ways to improve our efficiencies in terms of the testing through-put of submitted equipment. Our previously purchased Mitutoyo Formtracer has been reliable and has provided the levels of accuracy and ease of use that we need, therefore it will continue to be used. The addition of the advanced new Avant model with its additional features will help to ensure that we are able to keep-pace with the our high-volumes of contour and surface roughness testing.

“Given that it will be used on many different club heads, it helps that our new Formtracer Avant is flexible and quick to set-up. Its ease of use and speed of measurement has reduced the time taken to accurately check each of the measurements related to the groves on club’s face’s impact areas, against the R&A’s equipment rules.

“In addition to using the Formtracer Avant in its contour measurement mode, we also use it in its surface roughness mode to check the clubs face impact areas. Although we are currently the using the Formtracer Avant to check RT and Rmax surface finish parameters, should we ever need to use other surface finish parameters, our new Mitutoyo instrument is able to provide a wide range of alternative surface finish readings.”

muk-club-head.jpgMitutoyo Form Measuring Systems are available for efficiently assessing a range of complex shapes and to provide accurate surface roughness readings. The innovative Formtracer Avant series avoids the need to invest in two separate devices, as it is able to convert from a surface roughness measuring instrument into a contour measuring device and vice versa within seconds.

The easy to operate, benchtop machines have a motorised granite column and stand and a remote control box that enables quick and accurate machine positioning. Fast, accurate CNC operation further aids efficient operation.

The flexible Formtracer Avant C-3000 series boasts a large vertical range and high resolution and a built-in drive unit inclination mechanism allows easy measurement of a large workpiece It is able to deliver precise surface roughness and contour measuring results across a wide range of objects, including those with small features, in addition, a wide range of optional arms and styli ensures access to restricted features.

Complementing the Formtracer Avant’s robust and accurate hardware, Mitutoyo’s dedicated analysis software interprets results in the quick and efficient manner that is required in busy Testing facilities and quality control departments.