Nate Radcliffe among Golf Magazine's Top "40 under 40"

January 12, 2011

Nate Radcliffe (BS ’99, MS ’01 Mech Egr) was selected by Golf Magazine as one of the magazine’s “40 under 40”—young people who are designing technology or doing other work that makes golf easier and more fun to play. The magazine calls them “the game's up-and-coming generation of influencers, trendsetters, and newsmakers, an eclectic mix of talent worth watching today and for many years to come.”

Radcliffe, who is the son of MSU mechanical engineering professor Clark Radcliffe, is the metalwoods development manager for Cleveland Golf in Huntington Beach, Calif. He is the co-developer of the HiBORE driver, which led golf into the geometry era of drivers and woods. Radcliffe currently is leading a team of industrial designers, mechanical engineers, and CAD specialists in the development of metalwoods (drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids), graphite shafts, grips, and headcovers.

“Growing up, I played hockey, golf, baseball, and football and did a lot of mountain biking, snowboarding, and wakeboarding. I was more inclined to tinker with my gear than open the hood of a car. Although Michigan offered many opportunities to work in the automotive industry, I knew that my passion was in sports equipment,” says Radcliffe.

He joined Cleveland Golf in 2001 and his initial work was to develop finite element modeling capabilities. “We are now able to precisely model ball club impact and predict impact sound, durability, and performance using computers before we test with robots and humans,” says Radcliffe. His daily work takes him from the R&D offices to the PGA Tour as well as to appointments with retailers, golf professionals, and suppliers in Taiwan and China. He also makes trips to the company’s offices in Japan.

It was his father and grandfather, who was also a mechanical engineering professor, now retired from the University of California at Berkeley, who convinced Radcliffe that mechanical engineering could power a career in many fields. “When I got a chance to meet Dr. (Bob) Hubbard (MSU professor of mechanical engineering, now retired) in my freshman year, I realized how interesting and important his work was in automotive racing safety,” says Radcliffe. “I knew that what he could teach me could be applied to anything in sports.”

Nominees for the “40 under 40” ranking were solicited from a variety of sources, including but not limited to the PGA Tour, the LPGA, the United States Golf Association, The First Tee, the Golf Course Superintendents Association of America, the American Society of Golf Course Architects, leading equipment manufacturers, and the editorial staff of the Sports Illustrated Golf Group. The finalists were determined by a panel of Golf Magazine editors.

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