If the shaft influences launch and spin, then it absolutely matters. That was the common sense point of last week’s short video. While we didn’t jump into the weeds with that video, the fact that the debate continues is mind-boggling.
The fact of the matter is that the shaft has a direct and quantifiable influence on how the club moves through the swing and into impact. Changing the shaft can and often will change impact variables like lead deflection (often manifested as impact loft), toe down, and closure rate. As the direct result of a shaft change, we often see attack angle, path, and impact location change as well. Every one of these variables plays a role in the resulting ball flight – and they’re incontrovertibly influenced by the shaft.
Now, it is true that the influence of the shaft is not the same for every golfer. Swing speed, tempo, transition force, and release point are different for every golfer, and each contributes to the loading, unloading, and twisting of the shaft.
Saying that the influence of the shaft is not the same for everyone, is not the same as saying the shaft doesn’t matter. The shaft matters. There should be no debate about this.
It’s also important to note that the majority of product – stock products – are designed to fit the middle of the golf performance bell curve. Not surprisingly, most do a reasonable job of providing a serviceable fit for a healthy chunk of the golfing population. When everything stays in the middle, the impact of a shaft change is likely to be less pronounced.
But what does that mean for a golfer whose swing characteristics place him or her closer to the tail of the curve? It means that the consequences of playing the wrong shaft are more likely to be more significant and dramatic than they are for what the industry defines as the average golfer.
In this video, we show you what can happen when a golfer on the far end of the bell curve – a collegiate All-American with a swing speed of over 120 MPH – switches from a stock shaft into something far more suited to his swing.
This is not the norm, it’s an extreme case, but these differences, while drastic, offer plenty of evidence that the shaft matters.