Ever heard of basalt fiber? I had not until a Nike patent application published on Thanksgiving. The application published as US Publication No. 20070270237 titled “Golf Clubs Prepared with Basalt Fiber.”
So, what is basalt fiber? According to the application, basalt is a hard, dense, dark volcanic rock composed chiefly of plagioclase, pyroxene, and olivine, and often has a glassy appearance. Basalt has been mainly used as a crushed rock in construction, industrial and highway engineering. Basalt also can be made into fine, superfine, and ultra fine fibers.
Why basalt fiber? Apparently it is superior to fiber glass, approaching the performance of carbon fiber materials, but at a much lower cost. The application describes the invention as:
Golf club products include a shaft member and a club head body member engaged with the shaft member. At least some portion of this club head product is made from a basalt material. As some more specific examples, the basalt material may be used in one or more of: one or more layers of the shaft member structure; the entire shaft structure; a grip member; a hosel member; one or more parts of the club head body member, including any of: a crown member, a sole plate or member, a body member, a ribbon member (forming a portion of the body member), a face member, a ball striking face member, a weight member, etc.
David Dawsey – The Golf Lawyer