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Shaft flex is one of those topics that can be quite confusing for many golfers. It seems that there are as many opinions on the topic as there are different shafts. Does shaft flex really matter? We wanted to approach the question a little bit differently.

In this video, we explain how the shaft in your driver can either be helping or hurting one key element of your drives.

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Athletic Motion Golf is a collaboration of four of golf's brightest and most talented instructors who came together with the sole purpose of supplying golfers the very best information and strategies to lower their scores. At AMG, we're bringing fact-based instruction that's backed by research and proven at the highest levels on the PGA Tour straight to golfers through our website. Our resources will help you "clear the fog" in your game and understand the essentials of playing great golf.

36 Comments

36 Comments

  1. Dr. Golf

    Feb 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

    Seven Dreams $1200 autoclave cured driver shafts are superior to the oven cured shafts because they suck out the excessive epoxy plastic that causes graphite shafts to be floppy and soggy in tip dynamic action and recovery.
    Steel shafts are still the gold standard for shaft consistency. Soon the debates about current graphite shafts will be moot as they are made obsolete by Seven Dreams graphite shafts.

  2. Adam

    Feb 12, 2018 at 1:17 pm

    A little defined problem has to do with the radial consistency of a shaft. I would never use one that varies more than 1% hard to soft plane. Yet, I have wondered, even if I position the head so that it moves exactly along the soft plane at impact, it moved through other planes on its way to impact. So, the head is twisting and turning in odd ways before impact. That can’t be good.

    • AMG

      Feb 12, 2018 at 8:08 pm

      You’re right on the money, it’s not bending in a consistent plane. Not comforting, lol

    • Dr. Golf

      Feb 13, 2018 at 6:53 pm

      The radial consistency of steel shafts is uniform, whereas it’s all over the place for floppy soggy graphite shafts…. all because of the excessive epoxy plastic and arbitrary layering that compromises radial action.
      $1200 Seven Dreams autoclave cured graphite shafts has superior radial consistency when compare to all the oven-cured shafts on the market now.

  3. Josh

    Feb 12, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    The video achieved what it was meant to. It showed us that the shaft is not straight at impact, and flex has an effect on speed. We learned that having the right flex matters. The question posed, “Does shaft flex make a difference?” was answered. Thank you AMG.

  4. Joro

    Feb 12, 2018 at 12:46 pm

    Having been in this business for over 60 yrs as a player, club maker and repairman, plus teaching I have found out no, not as much as the ego thinks.. Weight, flex, and length are not that much, of course the difference tween xx and R or reg.. is there, but between X and S, not much and of course the heavier the stiffer also. Knowing shafts, what the do and why is complicated, but not that difficult.

    Now Graphite is a different matter because there are not standards, one makers reg flex is another makers s and it has to be tried to be sure you get what you want. Weight is also a bug factor that too light can be too fast and hard to control. So with Graphite you have to careful and get fitted, although the shaft you hit well may not be the same they put in your clubs. Like I said, it varies and not as consistent as steel, and that is just part of it.

    • AMG

      Feb 12, 2018 at 7:14 pm

      Great points, Joro. Always good to leave the fitting with what you just hit the best.

  5. joe virdone

    Feb 12, 2018 at 11:59 am

    What were the clubhead speeds for the reg, stuff and X stiff demos…thanks.

  6. Reeves

    Feb 12, 2018 at 1:03 am

    I find at my level (15) that shaft flex can make a lot of difference..went from stiff metal iron shafts to regular iron shaft (same brand on Ping irons) can now get 4 and 5 irons up in the air…also with the driver I went from a regular graphite shaft to a tour stiff (Wilson Triton driver) and picked up 20 yards and a small draw where the regular shaft was a constant baby fade….

  7. TeeBone

    Feb 10, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I would like to have seen the final clubhead speed at impact numbers. There is other research that found that shaft flex had no significant impact on clubhead speed. Isn’t it possible to have different kick speeds with the same total speed?

    • AMG

      Feb 10, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      We posted the final head speeds in the comments section of the video. I don’t recall exactly what they were, but they’re in the comments if you’d like to see them.

      Do you have a link you could share for that research? Would like to see how they did their tests.

      I don’t think it would be possible to only vary kick speed while keeping total head speed the same. It would be possible to do if the other variables changed. BUT… we haven’t tested it, just a hunch.

      • TeeBone

        Feb 11, 2018 at 11:37 am

        Sasho MacKenzie has several papers on this. See also Milne and Davis. And David Williams’ book. And probably others as well.

  8. CB

    Feb 10, 2018 at 9:13 am

    Really informative stuff! Very clearly explained and simplified for anybody to understand. Thank you very much!

  9. JE

    Feb 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

    Damn interesting stuff. Thank you!

  10. Chris

    Feb 9, 2018 at 10:28 pm

    If I knew nothing about golf and was trying to learn, this video would tell me that if I wanted to not lose Club Head speed with my 86mph driver swing, I need an x flex shaft.

  11. OB

    Feb 9, 2018 at 3:44 pm

    True Temper scientist-engineers determined three distinct shaft loading profiles. Double peak, single peak and ramp-up swing-shaft loading. TT designed 5-iron and driver devices that monitored the stresses in the shaft, called ShaftLab. It worked well until one of the many internal load sensors failed and it malfunctioned. It was discontinued.
    Nevertheless, ShaftLab defined swing loading profiles and shaft recommendations. What is shown in the video is slightly visually misleading because what we see as “deflection” is actually shaft tip droop and tip torque.
    Face-on “dead straight” does not show full shaft droop and torque twist. What we see is the dynamic alignment of the shaft axis to the clubhead eccentric sweet spot location.
    Shaft stiffness and droop is a function of swing speed. The clubhead “whipsnaps” through final release and into impact. If your swing speed is too low and your shaft is too stiff, it won’t droop and the reaction forces into your hands and arms are excessive.
    95% of golfers worldwide should be playing a woman’s A-flex shaft to get adequate droop and whipsnap… something most golfers never feel because their swing isn’t synchronized to the dynamic action of the shaft tip section and clubhead.
    It’s also why Tour and LD players have problems with inconsistent soggy floppy epoxy plastic graphite shafts. Steel shafts have the most consistent flex dynamics.

    • AMG

      Feb 9, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      GEARS captures both shaft deflection and droop separately. We show both sets of numbers for each shaft looked at in the video. These are not tip numbers, but overall numbers from the length of the shaft. But because the tip is the softest section of the shaft, more movement happens the closer down the shaft you look.

      The purpose of this video was not to show anything other than shafts do not all produce the same results, and that shafts are not straight at impact.

      If you really want to take a deep dive into all things deflection, drooping, and torque you would love the info from Fujikura’s Enso system. There is nothing else out there like it.

    • george

      Feb 10, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      When then there is a golf shaft for irons and woods that eliminates droop, twist
      and kick at impact; why would we ask golfers to synchronize their golf swings to each shaft in their bag?

      More droop, more twist and more kick make it impossible to time a solid impact on sweet spot, consistently.
      When there isn’t a solid impact and ball flight is erratic, should the golfer change his swing or change his shaft or clubhead?
      Its no wonder so many golfers quit this game.

      Moe Norman and Ben Hogan would not play with ‘licorice’ sticks. No one should.

  12. farmer

    Feb 9, 2018 at 2:39 pm

    There is no baseline information, other than the LD swing. Would be more informative if it was done on an Iron Byron, and captioned by various SS’s. Does not take into account the different flex patterns in shafts. So, nicely produced, but worthless.

    • AMG

      Feb 9, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      The problem for us using Iron Byron type robotics is that we work with real golfers and are much more interested in the human variances/influences on equipment. The OEM’s do a great job going down the robot testing road, we’re more interested in how the equipment works in the hands of a wide skill range of actual golfers.

      We didn’t include the baseline info because it really wasn’t necessary to answer the questions of does shaft flex make a difference and are shafts straight at impact.

  13. Steg0726

    Feb 9, 2018 at 12:13 pm

    Knowing the swing speeds and the other variables that involve the shaft loading and unloading needs to be present. Maybe adding info from a GC quad or even mizuno shaft optimizer would give some outlook on swing tendencies. Adding shaft specs as well.

    • AMG

      Feb 9, 2018 at 4:52 pm

      That information would absolutely be necessary to match a golfer to an optimally fit shaft. The questions we wanted to answer with this short video were way less ambitious.

      Is there anything specifically regarding shafts that you’d like to see looked at?

      • george

        Feb 10, 2018 at 11:43 am

        I would like to see how much each type of shaft decelerates at impact (Newtons Third Law)

  14. Jeff

    Feb 9, 2018 at 11:03 am

    How much does the golfer/ swing speed etc affect the results. Is the golfer that is swinging the x flex shaft more efficient??
    Just curious how the golfer affected the results

    • Jack

      Feb 9, 2018 at 11:20 am

      different golfers, good/bad techniques, hard to come away with anything from this video

      • Skip

        Feb 9, 2018 at 11:53 am

        agreed. there’s too many variables to really come away with anything definitive. Is there an ideal reaction of the shaft? Watching this, this long drive guy should be playing the X-Flex instead of the XX?

        • george

          Feb 9, 2018 at 3:32 pm

          to eliminate some variables such as droop, kick, twist and gear effect
          at the same time, try /test Nunchuk shafts

          video at, nventix.com

        • AMG

          Feb 9, 2018 at 5:10 pm

          I doubt he’d be happy playing the X flex.

          We weren’t attempting for optimally match shafts to swings – you’re right, the number of variables for that would be staggering. Instead, we wanted to show how shafts can and do perform differently (many believe they don’t) and that shafts are not straight rigid rods at impact.

          Most highly informed golfers are not aware of how much a shaft can or does add/reduces speed to the overall motion. We thought that would be interesting to show as well.

      • Dan

        Feb 9, 2018 at 4:59 pm

        Are we to assume it was the same person with each shaft? If so then the video makes sense, if not complete nonsense.

    • AMG

      Feb 9, 2018 at 5:02 pm

      Very difficult to define efficient, but all 4 golfers are excellent players in their own class of skill level.

      The golfer has a huge affect on any non-robot shaft testing. We have seen swing speeds from high 80’s all the way up produce both positive and negative kick speeds.

      It’s interesting watching golfers respond to different shafts with strong feelings of love/hate, but with next to no fluctuations in the actual data. A “good feeling” shaft often trumps everything.

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Opinion & Analysis

Fantasy Preview: 2018 Zurich Classic of New Orleans

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Just as in 2017, the Zurich Classic of New Orleans will once again provide a change in format for the players this week. Players will team up once more at TPC Louisiana for a combination of Best Ball (Rounds 1 and 3) and Alternate Shot (Rounds 2 and 4). Unfortunately, the change in format means that there is no DraftKings this week.

The course is long at over 7,400 yards, but it’s also very generous off the tee. TPC Louisiana offers the opportunity to go low, and players took advantage last year despite the inclement weather conditions. It took a Monday playoff to separate them, but eventually Cameron Smith and Jonas Blixt pipped Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown by making birdie on the fourth playoff hole to take the title after both teams had posted 27-under par in regulation.

Selected Tournament Odds (via Bet365)

  • Justin Rose/Henrik Stenson 7/1
  • Patrick Reed/Patrick Cantlay 12/1
  • Justin Thomas/Bud Cauley 14/1
  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jordan Spieth/Ryan Palmer 14/1
  • Jon Rahm/Wesley Bryan 16/1
  • Rafa Cabrera Bello/Sergio Garcia 22/1

For the first time, Bubba Watson and Matt Kuchar (14/1) will team up for this event. Last year, Watson played alongside J.B Holmes. The two performed well, finishing in a tie for fifth place. TPC Louisiana has been a course that has suited Watson’s game over the years, his prodigious length being a significant factor. Along with his T-5 in 2017, Watson has a victory and three other top-20 finishes at the course when the event was an individual stroke-play tournament.

While Watson can be feast or famine at times, Kuchar is Mr. Consistent. He hasn’t missed a cut in over a year, and he has been a top-10 machine over the past few years on the PGA Tour. Despite this, Kuchar hasn’t been able to convert many of his top-10 finishes into wins, but playing alongside Watson this week — who has already notched two victories in 2018 — may help his cause. Over their last 24 rounds, Watson ranks third for Strokes Gained-Off the Tee and eighth in Strokes Gained Total. Over the same period, Kuchar has been predictably consistent, ranking in the top third in the field in every major Strokes Gained category. It’s an intriguing partnership, with Watson’s explosiveness combined with Kuchar’s consistency, and it’s a cocktail that should prove to be a formidable force at TPC Louisiana.

Two men with the hot hand coming into this event are fellow Americans, Jimmy Walker and Sean O’Hair (25/1). Last week at the Valero Texas Open both men excelled, posting the highest finishes of their year thus far. Walker finished solo 4th, while O’Hair grabbed a T-2. It’s the pairs first time playing TPC Louisiana together, but Walker has some good course form to lean on. Back in 2012 and 2013, he posted back-to-back top-20 finishes, which shows that TPC Louisiana is a course that fits his game. Accuracy off the tee has never been Walker’s strength, but the generous fairways may be one of the reasons that he has performed well at this course.

O’Hair has been in good form as of late. The Texan has three top-15 finishes in his last six events, and last week he recorded his highest Strokes Gained Total at an event in years. Walker also seems to have turned a corner with his game. Along with his excellent performance last week, he managed a top-20 finish at the Masters, and his Strokes Gained-Total at the Valero was his highest since his 2016 PGA Championship victory. With both men coming off their best performances in a long time, they should be confident. The duo looks to be a decent value to mount a challenge this week.

Last year’s runners-up Kevin Kisner and Scott Brown (40/1) are hard to ignore at their price this week. Brown has struggled mightily for form in 2018, missing six cuts out of 11 events played so far this year, but the prospect of playing alongside Kisner may be the boost that Brown’s 2018 is needing.

Kisner’s form has been strong as of late. He backed up his runner-up finish at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play with a T-28 at Augusta before grabbing a T-7 at the RBC Heritage. At Harbour Town, Kisner’s iron play was especially sharp, with his Strokes Gained-Approaching the Greens total being the highest since the Memorial last year. Despite Brown’s slump, in a highly tricky format to predict, the pair showed enough chemistry last year and an ability to excel in the format, which is enough for me to consider their price a little undervalued this week.

Recommended Plays

  • Bubba Watson/Matt Kuchar 14/1
  • Jimmy Walker/Sean O’Hair 25/1
  • Kevin Kisner/Scott Brown 40/1
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Podcasts

Gear Dive: Legendary club builder Larry Bobka speaks on Tiger’s old Titleist irons

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Legendary club builder Larry Bobka joins us in the first episode of our new podcast called “Gear Dive,” hosted by Johnny Wunder, GolfWRX’s Director of Original Content. Gear Dive is a deep look into the world of golf equipment, and Wunder will be interviewing the craftsman, the reps and the players behind the tools that make up the bags of the best golfers in the world.

Bobka, our first guest, is a former Tour rep and club builder involved in some of the most important clubs of the past 25 years. From his days at Wilson Golf working with legends such as Payne Stewart, Hale Irwin and Bernhard Langer, he transitioned into the Golden Age of Titleist/Acushnet building clubs for Tiger Woods, Davis Love, David Duval and Brad Faxon. He currently runs Argolf where he builds and fits handmade putters for Tour players and amateurs alike. He’s one of the Godfather’s of modern golf equipment.

Skip to 45:30 for the discussion about Tiger’s Titleist irons.

Check out our podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

What do you think of the new podcast? Leave your feedback in the comments below!

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Podcasts

Gary Player joins our 19th Hole podcast, talks past and future of golf

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Hall-of-Famer and career Grand Slam winner Gary Player joins host Michael Williams for an exclusive one-on-one interview at the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf tournament and Big Cedar Lodge in Branson, Missouri. Player talks about the past and future of the game, including his take on everything from reigning in the golf ball and golf courses, to advocating for more testing for performance enhancing drugs on the Tour. Steve Friedlander of Big Cedar Lodge also appears.

Listen to the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes!

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