Numerous times I have read posts on GolfWRX from golfers who persist in selecting a shaft on the basis of a butt frequency measurement. In viewing new shafts that come on the market, many golfers believe as long as the new shaft has the same butt frequency as their current shaft, the shaft’s stiffness design will match their swing.
Unfortunately, there is a lot more to the stiffness design, stiffness performance and the stiffness feel of a shaft than a single butt frequency measurement. In other words, it is quite rare for two shafts with the same butt frequency to be the same stiffness design over the full length of the shaft. And equally, it is quite common for two shafts to have the same exact butt frequency measurement but be completely different in their stiffness design over the rest of the shaft.
Here’s a couple of examples to illustrate this point. First, let’s take a look at the full-length stiffness design of two shafts for drivers and woods, both made by the same company.
Note: All zone frequency measurements performed for our TWGT Shaft Bend Profile software are taken using a 454-gram tip weight so that we can obtain measurements all the way to the tip section of the shaft. With only a 205-gram tip weight, it would not be possible to obtain the measurements for the lower center to tip section of the shaft. Using a 454-gram tip weight lowers the actual frequency measurement compared to what the measurement would be using a 205-gram tip weight.
The two above shafts with their same 180-cpm butt frequency measurement, if done with a 205-gram tip weight, would both have a frequency measurement of 254 cpm. But the point is the same regardless of the frequency measurement method.
Here are two shafts which if measured only for the butt frequency, would lead a golfer to believe that they have the same flex or same stiffness design. Yet in looking at the full-stiffness design of both shafts, these two shafts may have the same butt frequency measurement, but they could hardly be more different in terms of their overall stiffness design. These two shafts in the hands of the same player would result in a completely different stiffness performance and stiffness feel — yet if the golfer were to look at the shafts by only referencing the single butt frequency measurement, the conclusion would be that they have the same stiffness.
This is not an isolated case. Within the 2,100 different shafts in our Shaft Bend Profile software, there are too many examples to list that are exactly like this — shafts that have the same butt frequency measurement but are completely different in their design, performance and feel.
The same thing exists within iron shafts, which is an area in club fitting that many golfers make their shaft selection decision based on comparing the butt frequency measurements. Let’s take a look at an example of two iron shafts with the same butt frequency.
What’s interesting when looking at the full-stiffness measurements of these two S flex iron shafts is that within the world of shafts, these two shafts may have the same butt frequency but they are almost as different in their stiffness measurements for the rest of their lengths as they possibly can be. Were the same golfer to play both these shafts, the Rombax S would feel like a telephone pole compared to the ProLaunch Red S. Yet both are S flex and both have the same exact butt frequency.
This matter of judging shaft stiffness, performance and feel on the basis of the butt frequency only can rise up to mislead golfers in the other direction as well. Let’s take a look at this next pair of shafts, a Cleveland Gold 60 S and the Fujikura Blue 004-R.
Remember that these frequency measurements in the Bend Profile software are done using a 454-gram tip weight. The butt frequency of these two shafts if measured with a 205-gram tip weight would be 254 cpm for the Cleveland Gold 60-S and 244 cpm for the Blur 004-R.
Looking only at the butt frequency measurements, one would think that this 10 cpm difference in butt frequency with a 205-gram tip weight, or 7 cpm difference with a 454-gram tip weight, would most definitely be the reason the Cleveland Gold is an S flex and the Fuji Blur an R flex.
But take a look at all of the rest of the relative stiffness measurements after the butt frequency measurement. The 2- 3-5 differences in frequency for the 26 inch, 21 inch and 16 inch positions on the shaft are so small to be insignificant in terms of a stiffness difference in two shafts. Even the 13 cpm difference in the very tip end of the shaft is extremely small in terms of a performance or feel difference.
For all intents and purposes, beyond that single butt frequency measurement, these two shafts are so close in stiffness design to each other that only a very small number of very feel sensitive players could ever tell the difference in performance or feel between these two shafts.
Another interesting point from this comes to mind when you think about sorting shafts by their butt frequency as a way to make sure all the shafts in a set have the same stiffness. Think about that based on what you have seen in the previous graphs which show shafts of the same butt frequency but totally different over the rest of the shaft, and this above graph which shows two shafts that are completely different for their butt frequency yet so very close to each other over the entire rest of the shaft.
But what about that 7 cpm difference in the butt frequency measurements? Wouldn’t a golfer feel that difference even if the rest of the two shafts are so close to each other in their stiffness design?
Consider this: In the installation of wood shafts into a driver and fairway woods, almost all of that very area where the butt frequency measurement is performed is cut off the shaft when the woods are built to conventional playing lengths. Most shafts for woods are made with a raw uncut length of 45 inches or 46 inches. When installed in most driver heads, to achieve a playing length for the driver of 45 inches, in the area of three inches is cut from the butt end of the raw shaft after installation.
That means the position on the shaft where the butt frequency is measured is now just two inches from the end of the grip. Do you think that last two inches of the butt of the shaft bends very much during the swing? No, it doesn’t, which in turn even further negates the 7 cpm difference in butt frequency between these two shafts in our above example.
Shaft stiffness design selection has to be made not just on the basis of the butt frequency, but on the basis of the stiffness of the full length of the shaft. So the next time you hit shots with a club that you know has the same frequency but the shaft feels or performs different, you now know why. Or the next time you hit shots with two clubs that you are sure have different stiffnesses yet feel and perform the same, you know that reason as well.
Bottom line? If you are serious about your shaft selection, you need to be working with a good, experienced custom club maker who is cognizant of these factors and who is able to show you the actual differences and similarities of the stiffness design of the whole shaft.
Coming in HOT: Tour Edge HL4 driver
When it comes to combining performance and value, Tour Edge is one of the leaders of the pack.
The company offers two distinct lines that push the boundaries of forgiveness and speed: Exotics, which is the premium line targeting total performance at a higher price, and then there is Hot Launch: a line designed specifically for the value-conscious recreational player. As golfers know, you can’t continue to lead without new innovation, and on that note, today marks the launch if the HL4 Driver.
Club designer David Glod has again gone out of his way to improve on the previous version while offering a bevy of options in a mid-tier driver. From David
“This is an early release to a product line that we developed for 2020. We have spent the last 18 months looking at how to improve the best performance value drivers in the game and the end result is an all new shape that has an MOI that rivals that of a $500 driver. It’s an extremely forgiving design that all levels of players can benefit from.”
Speaking to the shape David goes on to say
“The HL4 driver features an all new sloped crown design that is deeper from face to back. N0 skirt where the sole plate meets the crown equates to a 12% increase in MOI over the previous Hot Launch drivers.”
Now, speaking to forgiveness, one of the other options the HL4 offers is an offset version — something you don’t find very often anymore because of the adjustable hosels found in most modern drivers. Those parts and additional SKUs add up. With the HL4 being a fixed hosel club, the cost savings can be passed to the consumer. This also opens the door for adding more actual versions of the driver. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know an offset driver is kinda ugly BUT you have to remember, it’s designed with a very specific player in mind — and speaking for a lover of offset drivers (my dad), this feature is a game changer for some players.
Since so much talk of 2019 is about face technology, it has to be pointed out that Tour Edge is not being left behind in this category either. The HL4 features a deeper cup face design and a rounder face shape than previous models for exceptional power and vastly improved acoustics, according to the company.
Combine the newly shaped Cup Face technology with Variable Face Thickness technology and you have a club that provides greater distance from more contact points on the face. All of this plus a Power Channel on the sole delivers amplified ball speed and less spin, as well as added forgiveness on shots struck lower on the face.
Price and options
The straight-neck HL4 driver comes in 9.5, 10.5, and 12-degree lofts, while the HL4 Offset driver will be available in 10.5, 12, and 13.5-degree lofts. The 10.5-degree HL4 Offset will be available in a left-handed model.
The HL4 series also features an upgraded UST Mamiya graphite shaft that offers enhanced tip stability. The drivers are available in ladies, A-flex, regular, and stiff shafts ranging from 48 to 60 grams.
The line has also been upgraded to a Lamkin Z5 multi-compound grip that features distinct hand-placement zones.
Both drivers will be available August 1 at authorized Tour Edge retailers and will retail for $199.99.
All-new Srixon Q-Star: Spin where you want it!
If there is anything I have learned in the past year about golf balls, it’s that they are packed with more technology and chemical compounds than most people can comprehend. A lot of premium boundary-pushing technology is found in, as the name states, the premium ball category, BUT Srixon is bringing the same tech found is the Z-Star line to the masses with the fifth-generation Q-Star, priced at $26.99 a dozen.
So, what am I talking about when I say chemistry? How about Spin Skin with Slide-Ring Material (SeRM for Short). SeRM is a urethane coating with flexible molecular bonds (how many times do you think about molecular bonds when talking golf ball?). This flexible coating digs deep into grooves for more control and more stopping power.
When we say “control” we mean friction. Friction is extremely important in golf is because the more you can create with your scoring clubs, the more control you are going to have around the greens. Where does all this chemistry come from, you might ask? In case you didn’t already, know Srixon is owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries — a world leader in rubber technology including tires. Hmm…I think if a company can find ways to increase friction on a tire on a car going 100+ MPH, there must be some type of parallel there…
When you consider that most average golfers miss a LOT of greens, and often times in the wrong places, having a ball that offers a bit more control than the standard two-piece ball means you can (hopefully) stop it closer to the hole. And if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 1,000 times: The closer you golf ball end up to the intended target, the lower your scores are going to be.
Another way of getting the ball closer to the hole is distance, and the Q-Star isn’t lacking in that department either. By utilizing Fast Layer Core Technology, meaning the core is softer in the middle than around the outer layer [think of it like a symmetrical round muffin top (drool…mmm…muffins)], they can create a ball that is lower compression, feels great, and spins less off the driver without sacrificing the oh-so-important distance. Don’t forget that less spin off the driver ALSO means less axis tilt (often wrongly communicated as “side spin”) creating shots missed left and right.
All off this technology wrapped up in 338 dimples, available in both white and yellow.
Forum Thread of the Day: “What has made it into your bag so far in 2019?”
Today’s Forum Thread of the Day discusses new equipment that has made it into the bags of our members so far in 2019. From new club additions to shaft changes, our members share the tweaks they have made so far this year and divulge what has been successful as well as what has failed to work for them.
Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.
- Jackal66: “Went from 816 DBD Alpha driver to M3. Changed Odyssey Fang putter to Scotty Cameron Newport putter. Bought a 56° wedge and it is competing with my 53° Diadic.”
- ObiwanForAll: “Gone all in with TaylorMade clubs and UST shafts.”
- macedan: “Successes- Ping G400 9*, thought the smaller head size may hamper my confidence, but It has performed beautifully. Mizuno ST180 16*, No words, performs as needed and looks absolutely sharp. Middle of the road- Ping G Crossover 21*, unfortunately, I fell into a swing slump across the bag not long after buying it. When my swing is on, it is one of my absolute favorites in the bag. My biggest complaint is just the appearance of the massive amount of offset.”
- pollock21: “Been quite a year…TS3 knocked out my trusty G400 LST which was quite a feat. Now shafted with 130 Rogue Silver. I500 w/LZ 7.0 125’s experiment is on the way out. They’ve been excellent irons for me, but I just hit them obnoxiously long. Currently looking for my next set. Also dabbling with a hi-toe 60 to replace my trusty 60* Glide 2.0 stealth. So far, I’m loving it. Last change was putting in the copper spider x which knocked out my ketcsh and scotty newport 2.0. Failed experiment so far with the flash sz fairway. Putting the trusty 16M2 back in the bag. Definitely moving on from the flash, I’m just not as consistent with it.”
- shanx: “Took a lesson late spring and my ballstriking has improved. I ditched the Callaway X20 Pros, Cally X Forged ’07s, added Mizzy MP15s with C Taper Lites. Not sure if those shafts will work for me in the long run, but I am going to play them for a bit as I am still working on swing changes from the lesson. Rotating three drivers (2 Titleists and a Callaway Epic), thinking about going to get fit for my driver soon.”
The Wedge Guy: The highest loft you should carry
Brooks Koepka’s winning WITB: 2019 PGA Championship
The top-5 longest drivers on the PGA Tour and their driver/shaft combos
Gary Woodland’s winning WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Jason Dufner WITB: 2019 PGA Championship
Tuesday’s photos from the 2019 PGA Championship
Tiger Woods WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
New Titleist TS hybrids, U-Series utilities landing on Tour (updated with in-hand photos)
Kevin Na’s winning WITB: 2019 Charles Schwab Challenge
Patrick Cantlay’s winning WITB: 2019 Memorial Tournament
The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (6.24.19)
In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case...
Tweets of the Week: Phireside with Phil, Spieth’s early walk fail, and Koepka’s casual warmup
Chez Reavie, Andrea Pavan and Hannah Green all recorded significant victories in their respective events over the weekend, but in...
How much each player won at the 2019 Travelers Championship
Over ten years on from winning his first title on the PGA Tour, Chez Reavie made it career-win number two...
Seniors disqualified after playing the wrong ball at Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship
On Friday, both Paul Lawrie and Carl Mason were disqualified from the Farmfoods European Legends Links Championship after mistakenly playing each other’s...
Whats in the Bag1 week ago
Gary Woodland’s winning WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Tiger Woods WITB: 2019 U.S. Open
Equipment3 weeks ago
Forum Thread of the Day: “If you are a 10 handicap with declining length, what clubs do you buy?”
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Rory McIlroy’s winning WITB: 2019 RBC Canadian Open
Tour Photo Galleries2 weeks ago
Tuesday’s photos from the 2019 U.S. Open
Equipment2 weeks ago
WRX Spotted: Titleist 620 CB, MB and T100 irons
Equipment6 days ago
TaylorMade signs Matthew Wolff to a multi-year deal; Wolff WITB
Whats in the Bag2 days ago
Chez Reavie’s winning WITB: 2019 Travelers Championship