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Golf: Cryogenics procedure pushes pedal to metal

Sunday, May 19, 2002

In Florida, they refer to Don Masyada's brother as "Mr. Freeze. " In Pittsburgh, Masyada would probably settle for some moniker like, say, "Kid Cold." Or "Deep Freeze."

Because that's part of what Masyada does with golf clubs at his business, Allegheny ColdFire Thermal Cycling, in Warrendale.

It's called cryogenics, and the process involves exposing the clubhead of a driver or iron to extreme temperatures -- cold and hot -- causing the metallurgic characteristics to change and reduce vibration in the clubhead.

In technical terms, the reduced vibration causes less loss of energy. Greater energy to transfer at impact produces more distance and accuracy in your club. Masyada said the increased distance in a treated driver is between 10 and 18 yards.

"It doesn't work for all clubs, but we've seen it work in most of the clubs we treat," Masyada said.

Masyada's business is not oriented solely for golf. Cryogenics are used for racing products, guns and other space-age technology.

But it can be a panacea for players who don't want to spend lots of money on any of the new drivers constantly flooding the equipment market or are tired of the performance they're getting from their existing club. Jack Nicklaus' equipment company has introduced drivers and irons that have been treated with cryogenics.

With the coldfire technique, Masyada has the clubhead removed from the shaft and freezes it to nearly minus 300 degrees. Then, it is slowly heated to 300 degrees.

During the treatment, the large grain structure of the metal -- austenite -- is converted to a smaller grain structure called martensite. Because the grain structure has been tightened, the clubface becomes more dense and uniform, resulting in less spin on the ball and longer, more accurate shots.

The process takes between 16 and 18 hours. It does not harm the exterior of your clubhead. The cost is $49.95 per driver or fairway metal, $29.95 per iron. A set can be treated for $200.

Masyada said he has treated more than 1,000 clubs since April 2001, which is when he began his business. He is assisted in the process by Roy Richeimer, who owns a custom golf manufacturing shop across the parking lot.

"People are telling us they're hitting another iron longer and getting up to 18 yards on the driver," Masyada said.

Trivia question

Tiger Woods will try to win the Memorial for the fourth year in a row. Only two players have won the same event four consecutive times. Who are they? Answer at end.

Comeback trail

Jason Tyska was a fully exempt player on the Buy.Com Tour in 1999 and played in the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, N.C., that year. But, after trying to Monday qualify and playing in only several events as a partially-exempt player the past two years, Tyska is trying to recapture his game on the Developmental Players Tour, which is based in Atlanta but has tournaments in different areas of the Southeast.

Tyska, a Mount Pleasant native and a former assistant at Youghiogheny Country Club, has not given up on the notion of making it back to the Buy.Com Tour ... or beyond.

"The tour has about 100 guys and it's similar to the Golden Bear mini-tour [in Florida]," Tyska said. "I finished third last week in an event in Cedartown, Ga. We'll see what happens."

Tyska shot 72 last week in the local qualifier for the U.S. Open at Scotch Valley Country Club in Hollidaysburg, Pa., failing to advance to the next stage. He said he stopped trying to Monday qualify for Buy.Com Tour events because there are too many players -- usually more than 300 -- trying to qualify for a handful of spots.

"I'm going to try to qualify in Hershey," Tyska said, referring to the Buy.Com Tour event there, "and that might be it."

Traveling man

Michael Andresky, an 18-handicap from Charleroi, thinks he has done something no other golfer can claim:

Play every course in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Andresky, 52, an insurance and investment representative and part-time travel agent, says he has played all 118 courses on the Grand Strand, including three private courses. He completed his 17-year mission two months ago when he played Farmstead Golf Course and Crown Park.

"I kept track of every one," Andresky said. "They have those golf directories all over the place down there and I cross them off. I've been doing it since 1985. I started going with a bunch of guys and we make it a yearly event."

Sometimes more than that.

Andresky, 52, said he would make two or three trips to Myrtle Beach every year, usually playing every day. He said he played every course between Georgetown and St. James Plantation. He even has a top five: 1. Heritage; 2. The Reserve (private); 3. TPC at Myrtle Beach; 4. Dunes Club; 5. Heather Glen.

"I don't know of anyone who's ever done it," Andresky said.

Raising the bar

The United States Golf Association agrees with Arnold Palmer, after all.

As part of the its agreement with the Royal & Ancient Golf Club to have a uniformed set of rules for equipment, the USGA agreed to increase the coefficient of restitution -- the spring-like effect -- on drivers from .830 to .860 for the general public until 2008. That means drivers such as the controversial Callaway ERC II, which Palmer advocated for use by the public, can be used by players for establishing handicaps.

However, skilled players, such as those on the PGA Tour, are still bound by the old COR limits (.830).

In wake of the announcement, Taylor Made Golf immediately said it will release its R500 series driver in the United States. The R500 has a COR that "bumps up against' the new limit of .860, Taylor Made officials said.

Expect more to follow.

Turf tips

One of the biggest problems facing golf courses is crabgrass. Ken Brunermer, superintendent at Montour Heights Country Club and a member of the Greater Pittsburgh Golf Course Superintendents Association, says crabgrass is one of the worst weeds and very difficult to control once it germinates.

"Crabgrass is an annual. In other words, it grows from seed in the spring and is killed by autumn frosts. Dense, healthy turf is your best protection from invading crabgrass.

"If additional control is needed, a pre-emergence herbicide can be applied. These products kill crabgrass seedlings as they sprout. Pre-emergence herbicides must be applied before crabgrass sprouts, usually between mid-April and early May."

Quotable

Rocco Mediate on the movie "Spider-Man," one of his favorite comic-book heroes as a kid growing up in Greensburg: "I couldn't wait to see this movie. I took my wife and our three sons. We went to a 4 o'clock show on the Friday that the movie opened. We all loved it. It was really well done in all aspects. It was one of those movies you didn't want to end. 'Spider-Man' was a definite ace."

Dissa and data

Schenley Park Golf Course has been named the club winner by Golf Digest in the magazine's 2002 Junior Development Awards. The awards are presented annually to a municipality, association, individual, club and corporation in recognition of their efforts in building junior golf programs. Schenley Park was cited for its First Tee program and attracting 1,500 kids to a variety of programs that teach life skills and golf.

The Western Pennsylvania Golf Association has begun the Frank Fuhrer III award, to be given annually to the area's outstanding intercollegiate golfer. The first award will be presented in the fall at the WPGA's players dinner at a site and date to be determined.

The superintendent at the Sea Pines Ocean Course in Hilton Head, S.C., is Jim Cregan, a Penn State graduate who lived in O'Hara.

Pittsburgh native Eddie Smith has started a Web site -- golfpodium.com -- for meeting planners seeking speakers or event and tournament planning. Speakers range from PGA Tour and LPGA Tour players, plus broadcasting personalities and golf writers.

Callaway Golf will create a new line of NFL-oriented golf equipment that will debut in the NFL team stores and golf shops in the fall. Do not expect to see a driver named the Great Big Bettis, however.

Ahead, maker of golf hats, signed an agreement to become a licensee of the Pebble Beach Co. Ahead caps and hats, featuring the Pebble Beach trademark and logo, will be sold at high-end department stores and retail shops in the United States.

The Ocean Course at Kiawah Island was given a five-star rating by Golf Digest in its "Places to Play" publication, one of 11 five-star public-accessible courses in the United States.

Trivia answer

The only players to win the same event four consecutive times are Walter Hagen, who won the PGA Championship from 1924-27, and Gene Sarazen, who won the Miami Open in 1926, '28, '29 and '30 (the event was not played in 1927).

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