What shaft is best for your game?
Many of us enjoy the thrill of purchasing a new club particularly a driver, however not all of us understand the benefits that we can achieve on the golf course with the correctly fitted clubs and in particular the correct shaft.
So how do we get the right shaft for our swing?
There are approximately nine properties which will determine the appropriate shaft for your swing.
Swing speed will determine the flex of the shaft so that you can load (bend/flex) the shaft to give the most energy transfer to project the ball. In the industry there is no standard for the different categories of flex.
They are, from weakest to strongest, junior flex, ladies flex (L), senior flex (A), regular flex, stiff (S) and extra stiff (X or XS). The letter denotation is sometimes referred to a vanity mark. This is a subjective indication of the flex of a shaft.
Cycles per minute or CPM is an objective indication of the flex of a shaft. Flex for each player is not set in concrete. Strength, swing changes, tempo, body flexibility will all affect the shaft properties appropriate for you as a golfer.
Kick point which is at the tip end of the shaft about eight to ten inches in length, effects the trajectory of the ball. Low bend point will give a higher ball flight as compared to a high kick point which gives a low trajectory.
Torque is twisting along the axis of a shaft. This affects the “feel” of the club striking the ball and to a certain extent the direction.
The weight of a shaft which is usually the raw or uncut shaft. Less weight increases the swing speed. Too light of a shaft will not provide the resistance in the swing which will be like swinging a flimsy rod with no control.
The balance point or swing weight of the assembled club which is ascertained from the butt end of the club, 14 inches to the fulcrum (balance point) with a movable weight on the device to determine the swing weight, a alpha-numeric indicator (D1 typical driver swing weight).
The physical characteristic of a golf club is to provide a consistent feel between clubs and club head “feel” when swing the club.
The length of a club as measured by USGA standard (max 48″) from the club head to the butt end will affect how the club functions.
The longer the club, the more swing speed is generated, the further the ball will fly but the dispersion spread will also increase. The shorter the club, control of the ball flight increases but the distance may decrease.
Tipping of the shaft upon installation is another characteristic which affects how the shaft will function. Manufacturer provides the information through testing. The more a shaft is tipped (cut from the tip, smaller end) the stiffer the shaft becomes. Butt cutting may also increase the stiffness, only to a lesser extent.
Hosel configuration will also determine which shaft is appropriate. A parallel shaft (.370″) will not fit into a taper tipped hosel (.355″T).
A .350″ diameter shaft will not fit a .335″ hosel diameter but a .335″ diameter shaft can be shimmed to fit a .350″ hosel.
How do you find the right clubs for your swing? Seek your local professional and ensure your clubs are fitted to you.
Mark Ingrey is a AAA PGA Professional and Golf Shaft Fitting Consultant. For more information and advice please phone 0487 185 807 or firstname.lastname@example.org