When it comes to performance, golf club shafts are often overlooked when evaluating golf club purchasing. Most golfers purchase golf sets which already have a predetermined shaft design and configuration. It is usually when a golfer becomes more skilled and begins purchasing select golf clubs for specific reasons that the shaft becomes an issue.
The golf club shaft is basically the "engine" of the golf club! The alignment, weight, kick-point, torque, length and flex of the shaft all have an effect on the performance of your golf club. Golf club shafts are vital to achieving the best possible outcome of your swing.
The design of the shaft, including materials with which they are made, as well as the weight and flex need to be associated with the golf swing speed of the golfer involved to achieve the best results.
There is a large selection of materials used for making golf club shafts, with metal and graphite shafts being the most popular.
There is a vast array of shafts to choose from, and it can be a daunting task at minimum to select the optimum golf club shaft for your present level of play.
We will provide the following definitions for the primary terms involved with golf club shafts along with information to assist in selecting the best golf club shaft for you.
Shaft Flex: The relative stiffness of the shaft or flexibility relative to a specific industry standard. Also, flex is a rating of a golf club shaft's ability to bend during the Golfswing.
There are five basic flex types:
These general definitions are based upon a consensus of opinion among golf club shaft manufacturers. In reality, the definitions should refer to measured swing speed and strength, not the skill level of the golfer nor age or gender.
Club Head Speed
Club head speeds for average female golfers range from:
Club head speeds for leading LPGA players usually swing between:
The average male golfer swings the club between:
The top PGA players have a swing speed average between:
Long drive champions have reached swing speeds in excess of:
Shaft flex is a vital factor in the design of the shaft as it affects both direction and distance during golf ball flight.
Generally a player with a slower swing speed will need a shaft with greater flex, whereas a player with a very fast swing speed will require a shaft with less flex.
The less bend the shaft has, the better the club control.
Measuring Shaft Flex: The stiffness of golf shaft flex is determined by two methods:
1. The more traditional Shaft Deflection Board which measures the bending characteristics of a fixed shaft when weight is applied.
2. The Frequency Analyzer. Frequency is an alternate way of specifying stiffness and indicates the speed with which a club will vibrate with that individual shaft.
The stiffer the shaft means a faster vibration. Frequency matching is the most accurate and precise method of measuring golf shaft flex.
Frequency matching measures the true flex of a shaft, measured in cycles per minute (CPM). The frequency indicates the unique stiffness, with a defined shaft length, supporting the weight of a specific club head on the shaft resulting in a precise and accurate frequency measurement.
Thanks to accurate frequency matching, it is possible to have a complete set of golf clubs that all have the exact desired stiffness characteristics designed for you and your personal swing style and club head speed.
Frequency profiling means that there are several frequency measurements taken on each shaft, not just one. Measurements are taken every five (5) inches along the shaft to determine the flexibility of the shaft in all areas. It is necessary to know how the shaft will react during an actual golf swing.
To determine how stiff the shaft needs to be for your swing, we need to not only take into account the actual club head speed, but many other factors as well.
Tempo, timing, different degrees of aggressiveness on the transition between the backswing and downswing, and release point at impact are some of the other factors which should be included in the decision relating to shaft stiffness.
Profiling each shaft removes the guesswork as to which shaft should be assembled into a particular club head.
The term "Torque" is defined as the twisting movement of the shaft during the golf swing. The torque is measured in degrees and delineated as a rating that gives data concerning the "Twisting" characteristics of the shaft.
The higher the torque rating the more the shaft twists, and therefore has a "softer" feel. A low torque rating means the shaft will feel much stiffer and have less twisting action.
All shafts have a certain amount of torque. The degree of torque or "twist" also has an effect on ball trajectory and launch angle, with the higher torque resulting in a higher trajectory and a lower torque resulting in a lower trajectory.
Torque is also the factor that determines shaft resistance to twisting on the downswing. The less torque involved means a more stable golf shot, better control.
The Kick-point or "Flex-point" is that point on the golf shaft where the bending takes place and affects the trajectory of the shot. The effect is small but measurable.
A golf shaft with a low kick-point will tend to give the ball a higher trajectory and give a sense of feeling that the shaft is "whipping" the club head through impact.
A shaft with a high kick-point will tend to give the ball a lower trajectory and result in a feeling that the shaft is very stiff.
Alignment of the shaft can be adversely effected by an out-of-roundness condition or a material defect within the shaft, which may affect the trajectory of the ball.
To ensure that the spine of the golf shaft falls directly behind your target line, you may need to have a shaft spine alignment procedure performed on the golf shaft.
The length of the shaft is every bit as important as flex, torque, alignment or anything else to do with the shaft. In general, longer shafts provide greater distance and have more flex. It is most important that you find the proper length of shaft for your style of play.
The standard procedure for determining the proper length of club for you is to stand up straight and have someone measure the distance in inches from the crease where your wrist and hand meet, down to the floor. Do this with both hands and take an average.
After obtaining the wrist to floor average as stated above, search the table below for that distance and that will be the proper length of shaft for you:
41 or more inches
The length of the golf club shaft is measured from the top of the grip to the base of the heel of the golf club as it lies on a flat surface.
The above listed golf shaft terms are the more important of several specific terms.
Custom fitting golf clubs has been the norm for the Professional Tour Players, but only recently has the process been available to any golfer who's willing to spend the time and money to get a properly fitted set of clubs. Making golf clubs is a real science.
An expert club fitter can take the mystery out of shaft selection. Club fitters can work with you to determine proper shaft lengths, flex, and material composition. They will also specify correct lie angles, face angles, lofts and other important features of each golf club.
Among the golf club components involved in making golf clubs, the golf club shafts play a vital part.
Golf club fitting will definitely increase the cost of your set of clubs, but the benefits in terms of performance may well be worth the additional cost.
We hope you have enjoyed evaluating the subject of golf club shafts with us and have found this article informative and helpful in golf club shaft selection.
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