December 2012

Seven Golf Shaft Myths

Myth No. 1 – The shaft is the engine of the club
How often have you heard this one? Since an engine is the source of power then the golfer is the engine of the club. The shaft is therefore the transmission system with two key functions to perform:

1. To transfer the power generated by the golfer to the clubhead.
2. To  properly orientate the clubhead at impact for maximum transfer of energy to the ball (namely a centre strike), whilst achieving an optimal face angle for  accuracy, depending on the player’s club path.

Myth No 2 – Finding the right shaft is golf’s equivalent of the Holy Grail
The shaft is not the only key fitting factor. Clubhead factors such as face angle, loft, lie, etc are equally important. So too is grip selection and correct sizing.

Myth No. 3 – The longer the driver shaft, the more distance is achieved
Clubhead speed may increase slightly by using a 46 inch driver over a 44.5 inch driver. However this will only translate into more distance if you achieve a centre strike. Ball speed is more important than clubhead speed so your aim should always be to maximise ball speed rather than clubhead speed and if the shorter club achieves this with greater consistency then stick with it.

Myth No. 4 – Manufacturers’ claims that their new shaft is high launch low spin
They make this claim because it is a fact that high launch low spin  is a method of increasing driving distance. However a high launch low spin shaft theoretically does not exist. Scientific data has shown that dynamic loft at impact determines launch angle and spin. Increased dynamic loft results in high launch and high spin. Decreased dynamic loft results in low launch and low spin. So in effect high launch low spin cannot be achieved from the effect of dynamic loft.

Myth No. 5 – Soft tip shafts will always launch the ball higher than stiff tip shafts
This is what we are led to believe from shaft manufacturers however it fails to take into consideration the human factor. Depending on their point of release some golfers may not notice any difference in launch angle, whilst others for some reason may even experience a lower launch angle with a soft tip shaft.

Myth No. 6 – Everybody benefits from low torque shafts
For high clubhead speeds, particularly when using 460cc drivers, lower torque has been shown to increase clubhead stability as it approaches impact. However low torque shafts in the hands of a weaker player will often have an unpleasant stiff one-piece feel about them and these players may not need the additional head stability through impact. The aim should be to find a torque which suits the player in terms of shot performance and feel.

Myth No. 7 – Flex is always fitted in relation to clubhead speed
Shaft manufacturers always list flexes according to clubhead speed. Traditionally high clubhead speeds require stiff flex and low clubhead speeds require a softer flex. However it really depends on how the player loads the shaft. Strangely enough some players with slower clubhead speeds may load the shaft more than the player with the higher clubhead speed and may therefore require a stiffer shaft as a result.

Conclusion
Don’t believe everything you read or are told about shafts without questioning it. Even in this case if you don’t understand or  disagree with anything we have said don’t hesitate to leave a comment  If you can think of any more myths relating to golf shafts let us know.