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Shaft Flexes and Weights


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#1 pappy64

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 09:45 AM

I am looking at buying a new driver and understand the shaft is the engine that drives the whole shebang... i have been a tinkering at home club builder and year or two but was wondering...

If i should be hitting stiff or x stiff according to swing speed, but prefer regular because i have a fairly smooth swing speed... What effect does playing a heavier shaft say a 70 gram regular flex vs 60 gram regular flex ? Does it play a little more firm with the heavier weight or does that not come into play ?

Thanks


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#2 TomWishon

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

View Postpappy64, on 31 January 2013 - 09:45 AM, said:

I am looking at buying a new driver and understand the shaft is the engine that drives the whole shebang... i have been a tinkering at home club builder and year or two but was wondering...

If i should be hitting stiff or x stiff according to swing speed, but prefer regular because i have a fairly smooth swing speed... What effect does playing a heavier shaft say a 70 gram regular flex vs 60 gram regular flex ? Does it play a little more firm with the heavier weight or does that not come into play ?

Thanks

First and foremost, the weight of the shaft controls the TOTAL WEIGHT of the club.  Total weight is important because it should be matched to the golfer's downswing force, downswing aggressiveness and strength so that your swing tempo and timing and rhythm can be as consistent as possible.  Play with a total weight that is too light for your downswing force, downswing aggressiveness and strength and you will constantly fight your tempo and and fight trying to prevent being too quick with your tempo, timing and rhythm.  Play with a total weight that is too heavy for your downswing force, downswing aggressiveness and strength and you will lose swing control as you keep having to use more effort to swing the too heavy club.

Shaft flex and shaft weight are two different elements of a shaft's design.  And there is no consistent relationship between them.  Some shaft companies do make their heavier shafts to be stiffer than their lighter shafts.  But just as many other shaft companies make their heavier versions of the same shaft model to have precisely the same stiffness design as the lighter weight versions.

In addition, there are absolutely no standards for how stiff any of the letter flex designations on shafts are.  The R flex from one company can be the same stiffness as the S flex from another company, or the A flex from a third company.  Not only that but even within the same shaft company, the R flex (or any flex)  in one model of a shaft can be stiffer or more flexible than the R flex in another different model of a shaft.

Each shaft maker is completely free to determine how stiff they want each of their letter flex designations for each of their shaft models to be.

Sounds like a pretty bad way to do things, doesn't it?  Well, that's what happens when no one ever cared to spearhead a movement to create standards for shafts.

So the solution is to go find a GOOD, EXPERIENCED custom clubmaker who has been professionally fitting golfers for several to many years.  The best clubmakers know all about these variations in shafts from company to company, plus they know how to analyze each golfer's swing speed + downswing transition force + downswing acceleration + point of release + strength to offer the best shaft (and rest of the club too) recommendation for each golfer.

Sorry but 98% of the sales people working in the big golf retail stores or pro shops do NOT know this and cannot do nearly as good of a job in pinpointing each golfer's best fitting specs.  

Thus to find a good clubmaker, check out these sources -

The AGCP (Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals) -  http://www.agcpgolf.com/locator/

The ICG (International Clubmakers’ Guild)  - http://www.clubmaker...uild-google-map

If you find one convenient to your location, call him or go see him and ask him how he fits, what steps does he do to fit the shaft and the rest of the club.  If he says to the effect that "I watch you swing and I know what you need" walk away to interview the next clubmaker.  If he says, "I measure your clubhead speed, I evaluate your downswing move at the ball and your release and use that to recommend the shaft" then you have found someone who is more tuned into how best to fit golfers with the right shaft.  

If you really want to do your due diligence, ask him to give you names of some other golfers he has fit so you could call them and ask for input about their fitting experience with the clubmaker.   Do this and you will end up with the very best fit for your swing and your game.

Hope this helps,
TOM

#3 jaskanski

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:38 PM

View Postpappy64, on 31 January 2013 - 09:45 AM, said:

I am looking at buying a new driver and understand the shaft is the engine that drives the whole shebang...

You understood wrong. As Tom will probably tell you, the shaft is not the "engine" that drives everything - you, the golfer who swings the club, is the engine that generates power. The shaft is the "transmission" between the player and the club head.
Now that we've cleared that up - no surprises that Tom is absolutely correct. Across various brands the flex and weight of shafts can vary immensely. However, if you take a certain line of shafts produced by one manufacturer (i.e. a particular model) then generally, the shaft gets stiffer as it gets heavier. This is basically a product of the manufacturing process - the thicker walls on the shafts to make it stiffer, the more fibre plus are required. The more plys, the more weight - simple enough. However, as pointed out, it's entirely possible to get a different model that is lighter but stiffer than a heavier but more flexible shaft.
And as always,this highlights the importance of being properly fit.

#4 tbowles411

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM

CPM is a much better indicator of what a shaft is supposed to do than flex.

#5 jaskanski

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Posted 31 January 2013 - 12:52 PM

View Posttbowles411, on 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

CPM is a much better indicator of what a shaft is supposed to do than flex.

NO IT ISN'T!!!
It's entirely possible to have two shafts with different weights and different bend profiles with the same cpm - making that theory redundant.
it's much better to EI profile the entire shaft to give the best indication of what a shaft is supposed to do. And no surprises that each shaft performs different for each persons swing.
Now what was that thing about fitting again? I forgot....


#6 TomWishon

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 12:01 PM

View Posttbowles411, on 31 January 2013 - 12:47 PM, said:

CPM is a much better indicator of what a shaft is supposed to do than flex.


Jaskanski is absolutely positively right in saying that using a single butt frequency measurement in NO WAY tells you exactly how stiff a shaft is going to play nor will it tell you how stiff a shaft will play or feel.   Here's the proof in the graphic below:  Explanation under the graphic.

Same Butt, different tips.JPG

Every one of these shafts has the same butt frequency measurement.  You can see that by the stiffness measurements under the column headed by the 41" designation.  Now look at the stiffness measurements for all these example shafts from the 36" beam measurement on down to the 11" measurement, which is the very tip end area of the shaft.

If a golfer uses only the single butt frequency to guide his shaft selection, were he to play the Tour AD Quattro Tech, he'd think that was a soft R while if he played the Motore Speeder, he swear that was a strong X.

And this goes on for every level of shaft flex in the game.  In NO WAY can a single butt frequency measurement tell you how stiff a shaft is going to play nor will it tell you how stiff a shaft will play or feel.  You have to look at the full length stiffness design of a shaft to be able to make valid shaft fitting decisions.

TOM

#7 spires1020

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Posted 01 February 2013 - 01:31 PM

Quite amazing just how similar a shaft that can be had for $50 or less and a shaft that would cost you at least $150 are (Fujikura Fit On E360 & Motore Speeder VC 7.2, respectively.)
Callaway FT-5 9.5 | Mizuno MP Ti 16.5
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Nike VR Forged 52-56-60 | SC Cal Del Mar




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