MyGolfSpy Labs:  Shaft Weight Test – {Is Lighter Really Longer?}
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MyGolfSpy Labs: Shaft Weight Test – {Is Lighter Really Longer?}

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MyGolfSpy Labs:  Shaft Weight Test – {Is Lighter Really Longer?}

Is Lighter Really Longer?

(Written By: GolfSpy Matt) “Lighter is longer” —  “If distance matters, weight matters” —  “The Right Light”.

All of these marketing slogans are meant to convince you that a lighter weight club will help you hit the ball longer and straighter.  A lot of people would assume that this is true…but you know what happens when you assume.  But fear not, because where there is marketing hype, MyGolfSpy Labs are close behind with FACTS.

“You mean there’s more than flex?”

So after reading our MGS Labs report on shaft flex, you realized that playing the wrong flex can cost you distance AND accuracy.  You also learned that fitting shaft flex by swing speed isn’t always going to work.  Today I’m going to let you in on another secret: picking the right flex isn’t enough.  Not only do you need the right flex, but you also need the right weight.  But don’t take my word for it.  Check out what Master Club Fitter Nick Sherburne of Club Champion has to say:

Shaft weight and torque make a bigger difference than shaft flex.  The general golfing public has been conditioned and educated that shaft flex is the end-all-be-all when it comes to shafts and that simply is not true.  The weight of the shaft is going to help keep the player’s swing on plane.  Shaft flex has no industry standard.  There is no ‘governing body’ for shaft flex that says a regular shaft or a stiff shaft has to be within a certain frequency range.  That is why choosing a club solely based on shaft flex is highly flawed.  After finding the right weight and torque, shaft flex is used to fine tune the shaft for the player.

The Company Line

Far from ignoring shaft weight, some of the big OEMs have actually built ad campaigns around it.  The problem?  They’ve tried to brain wash you into thinking that picking the right weight is simple: “Pick a lighter shaft and you’ll hit it farther,” they claim,  “and stronger players should play heavier shafts.” Now if you’ve been paying any attention to our Labs, you know things are rarely that cut-and-dry.

So what’s the truth?  We hit the range with our band of testers to find out.

HOW WE TESTED

For this test, we had golfers test drivers with shafts weighing 55 grams and 75 grams.  The golfer was able to choose whether they wanted stiff or regular flex.  Every player used the exact same head: a 10.5* Callaway RAZR Fit.  To keep the testers from knowing what shaft they were testing, UST Mamiya supplied blacked out shafts with no distinguishing marks (I marked the grips so that I would know which shaft was which). The shafts were the same torque, flex, and bend profile, the only difference was weight.

FlightScope X2 Launch Monitor

Each golfer hit 10 shots with each shaft and the results were measured by our FlightScope X2 launch monitor.  All testing was done at the range at The Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club.

MyGolfSpy Labs

There’s a famous story (at least in golf nerd circles) about Tiger Woods testing drivers with Nike: Tiger hit 4 different drivers and said, “I like the heavy one.”  The Nike engineers were baffled as all three clubs were designed to be identical.  They took the clubs back to the lab and found that the “heavy one” was heavier…by the equivalent of two cotton balls.

Our test group can’t be said to possess the same sensitivity: of our five testers, only one correctly guessed what we were testing and which shaft was heavier.  That doesn’t mean they didn’t notice differences.  One said that the heavier shaft felt stiffer.  Another flatly said he didn’t like the lighter shaft, he just couldn’t figure out why.

While our testers couldn’t necessarily put their finger on what was different, there can be no question that their swings were impacted by the change in weight.  Here’s what we saw:

(The Data) – Lighter (vs) Heavier Shafts

Results

:: 3/5 testers created more swing speed with the lighter shaft, BUT…

:: 3/5 created more ball speed with the heavier shaft

:: 4/5 testers got more carry distance with the lighter shaft, BUT…

:: 3/5 got more total distance with the heavier shaft

:: 3/5 hit the ball straighter with the lighter shaft

:: 3/5 swung the club more consistently with the lighter shaft

:: 3/5 testers launched the ball lower with the lighter shaft

:: 3/5 generated less backspin with the lighter shaft

FlightScope Charts

If those stats don’t convince you that shaft weight matters, how about these charts of the shot dispersion for Testers #1 and #4:  Anyone want to argue that shaft weight doesn’t matter now?

Analysis

Hopefully we can all agree at this point that shaft weight can have a big impact on ball flight.  For some of our players, that difference was in distance (23 yards for tester #1), for others it was accuracy and dispersion (see Tester #4’s 36 yard dispersion improvement above), and others simply showed an improvement in consistency.

Now let’s check back in with that Company Line about lighter shafts for slower swingers and heavier shafts for stronger players.  Yup, totally true…if Tester #1 wants to give up 23 yards…and Tester #3 wants to hit it further offline and give up 26 yards of carry.

What I hope you’re starting to see is that, just like golf itself, fitting is not easy.  There are no shortcuts and the little bits of “common knowledge” are, more often than not, a bunch of bulls***.

So please, get your clubs fit.  At a very minimum, test an ultralight shaft, a mid-weight shaft, and something heavy.  See if you have a strong preference for the way one feels versus the others, or, if you, like some of our testers, can find a marked performance benefit by going lighter or heavier with your shaft selection.  But please, don’t play the stock shaft unless it’s a good fit for you.

(MYGOLFSPY LABS) Powered By: FlightScope X2

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      Stuart Anderson

      4 years ago

      You can talk all you want about shaft weight, torque, and length, but it comes down to club balance as to the right fit.. If you are fortunate to have a Kenneth Smith balance scale you could dial in the balance of the club. The biggest problem is that with the heavier grips you have a problem obtaining the correct balance,.especially if you have to add weight to the head.. A good example of this is the Long Tom driver. To get the balance correct they had to use a 27 gram grip. You can’t get these grips in oversize.

      Reply

      The Club Nut

      7 years ago

      I really dig this article – What most players don’t realize either is that the vast majority of “box stores” like Galaxy and such don’t have enough options to properly fit a player. Nor do they subscribe to any type of golf club fitting mantra other than “get a sale out the door”. Case in point, i took my M1 to the store this weekend in hopes i could find something to beat it. I fit this shaft from available options. I walk in and they have 2 or 3 shaft options at most for each club. That’s it. I said i wanted lightweight regular with 4.0 Tq or around there. They have nothing. He was convinced i should have been in a stiff too because my clubhead is 108mph. it’s very easy to get caught up in rules of thumb.

      Reply

      drew

      8 years ago

      I teach golf and am always asked what is better, and usually I say lighter is better just like
      the manufacturers say. But I can hit my 17 degree stiff shaft Mizuno with an 80 gram shaft further and usually straighter than my 10.5 degree 60 gram Taylor made regular shaft. So what’s up with that?

      Reply

      Coach Freddy

      7 years ago

      So weight relationship has lot to do with keeping your swing on plane or not; I would say heavier keeps you on plane; keeping you on plane through the sweet spot produces distance. My 2 cents.

      Reply

      James Jennings

      9 years ago

      I prefer a DO swing weight in my irons. I have X2 Hot (not the pro model) irons with graphite shafts. They list at DO. I want to put in the XP95 shafts. If I keep the new shafts the same length as the factory graphites, can you calculate/determine the amount of weight I will need to add and where it will need to be added? Head or butt? This balancing act confuses me. Thanks so much for your input.

      Reply

      Jamie

      9 years ago

      One thing that I didn’t see anyone mention is that different driver heads will have different wieights. If you are going around spending 200 on club after club it is like playing the slot machines hoping all three will line up 7’s. I had a rocketballz driver that I averaged 230-250 stiff flex stock shaft. It also has a wight in the bottom of the head that you can change to make it heavier or lighter. I never did this but I could see the benefit. I now have a cobra bio cell driver with a seemingly really heavy x-stiff shaft of 66g. But there seems to be no weight in the club head to balance it. I am rarely draw or fade it but i lost 20 yds total and am at 210-230. mainly because the Driver is really spinning the ball. I had a simulator estimate spin at around 5,000 rpm. The club pro said the machine was fairly accurate. So in theory a lighter shaft will help balance the club to give me a more confident swing. stiff flex and more butt flex instead of tip flex will help kill the spin. All in all its about what makes you comfortable. I have a knockoff club head that is weighted like a hybrid the shaft is regular flex,light, and is really whippy. it feels nice to me. other people have told me that feels horrible how can you even make contact.

      Reply

      peter ruggles

      10 years ago

      IMHO it’s not where the drive lands, it’s where the second shot lands.

      Reply

      Fred

      8 years ago

      Well if your first is OB it doesn’t matter where your second shot lands because you’re laying three and you’re almost certainly out of the skin.

      Reply

      Darryl Parente

      10 years ago

      I’m 67 yrs old hit my driver 255, 20 years ago i hit it 280. if the older pros use the new tech to maintain or improve their distance why cant I? I live on long Island. can you point me to a credible evaluater to get my distance back?

      Reply

      William Bruce

      3 years ago

      I’m 67 and could hit it 300 m when 25 yrs old. Now it’s 200 -230 m at best.

      Reply

      W. Scott

      11 years ago

      Yes, good article. Again, how do we get reasonably priced access to reliable weight and flex shaft testing?

      Reply

      Augustine

      11 years ago

      I’d love to see the swing of tester 2 – nearly 70 yards of carry!

      Reply

      Mark

      11 years ago

      I almost gave up golf because I couldn’t consistently hit my driver. I tried different drivers with different flexes (stiff and regular) but it didn’t make a difference. What I didn’t know is that all of these drivers had stock shafts that were well under 60 grams.

      It wasn’t until I stumbled across a driver with a non-stock shaft that weight 67 grams and it transformed my game.

      Even though my speed is moderate (I average 230-240 yards off the tee), I have a very difficult time keeping a light weight shaft on plane. I might be giving up 1 or 2 mph in swing speed with a mid weight shaft, but I’m able to make solid contact and it just “feels right”.

      Thanks for the excellent write-up. Not all of us benefit from these extremely light shafts.

      Reply

      Jerry Noble

      9 years ago

      Same with me. For three years I wanted a new driver but could not hit any new driver as far as my older heavier club. Then I tried one with a 65 gram shaft and bingo. I can swing it and hit it straight and as far as my older one

      Reply

      Gus

      11 years ago

      Great write up! I’ve tried lighter shafts which Gave me higher club head speed but heavier shafts produced more solid hits so i’ve been using 70g driver shafts…

      Im curious about tester #2’s numbers – 70 yards of roll!? I want to know how to get a 270 yard drive with sub-200 carry!

      Reply

      Greg

      8 years ago

      I was using a 60 gram matrix shaft for 2 years and consistently carried 270 with a total of around 300. I switched to an Aldila Proto by-you with a 70 gram shaft and a lower torque with a mid launch. My carry dropped about 20 yards but my total distance improved by 10. Of course there’s the random swings where it can total 260 or 320 but it’s mostly consistent. I’ve found the torque and flight affect more than the shaft weight. Lower torque equaled lower ball flight but the ball rolled forever. Just my two cents

      Reply

      Kelprod

      11 years ago

      I have an odd situation….my R11 has a 65g stiff shaft and my new R1 has a 55g stiff shaft. I hit the R11 much straighter, but the R1 clearly goes further. I am a 1 handicap. Does shaft weight have any impact on side spin??? I am thinking of putting a heavier shaft into the R1 driver and seeing if that can reduce the side spin. Crazy, right?

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      11 years ago

      Kelprod,

      I’ll start out by being a stickler: there is no side spin, only axis tilt. The ball can only spin in one direction at a time; it curves because the axis is tilted.

      Now, to your question, no shaft can really reduce axis tilt. However, a shaft that fits you well could allow you to deliver a better, more consistent strike, thus producing less axis tilt.

      The common wisdom is that heavier shafts are for accuracy, lighter shafts are for distance, BUT, our test shows that isn’t always true. It all comes back to fitting.

      Good luck finding the best shaft for your R1,

      Matt

      Reply

      Boris

      11 years ago

      Lee Miller, PHD.
      Still playing clubs that I purchased from you around ten years ago.. They are sweet.. Great feel, playability. I will have to try one of your newer models (irons) soon.

      Reply

      John

      3 years ago

      Im curious why you felt the need to add your “title”.
      Seems like a such an insecure douche move…

      Reply

      RAT

      12 years ago

      All this is interesting. But club fitters (golfsmith @ the like) do not impress me ,they seem not interested or lack the ability to perform the testing .So many of us do not have access to a “good club fitter”.Then what would be the rule of thumb? slow swingers lighter shaft fast use the heavier?

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      12 years ago

      RAT,

      I understand your concerns, but I would make a couple points:

      1) Don’t paint everyone who works in a big box with such a broad brush. There are plenty of guys who work in big boxes who know their stuff and want to help (I used to be one of them!).

      2) For most people, getting fit for new clubs isn’t something they do often, so you might consider traveling a little bit to get to a good fitter. If you dig around a bit, you’ll find there are lots of good fitters out there.

      Now, to your question, the whole thing we’ve found is that there isn’t really a good rule of thumb. I would suggest finding a golf shop with a decent fitting cart (for any manufacturer) and trying something light, something heavy, and something in between. See what feels good and what performs well. If there really aren’t any good fitters at the facility, just do the testing yourself.

      I know that’s probably not the answer you were looking for, but I will not be one of these guys who over-simplifies things for the sake of being marketable. I respect the MGS readers, so when something is complicated, I’ll tell them it’s complicated. When you’re dealing with all the variables of a human and a golf swing…it’s complicated.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      Chris

      12 years ago

      I have been reading the posts about shaft length and weight and I wanted to share what I have tried and what works for me. I originally started with a stiff PL Red driver shaft at about 45″. As my swing speed increased I went up to an X-Flex a little longer. I was unable to control it so I got a PF V2, 86 gram, X-Flex and played it at 43.5″. It worked great for me to learn control and continue to increase my swing speed. I recently purchased a 97 gram XX Flex shaft and installed it at full length so it played about 47 3/4″. This was by far the best shaft I have ever used for control and distance. My swing has gotten better and more consistent, so that helps too, but with lighter shafts my violent swing style does not work. I was at the range hitting balls today and the XX shaft snapped across my back on one of my swings. It was crazy. I never expected that. Back to the point of my post. It appears to me that even if you get fitted for a custom shaft you must always re-evaluate your choices as your swing changes. If your swing is set, you should be fine but for most beginners, as I am, my swing has continued to change as I play more. If I would have kept my original shaft in my driver, I would not be hitting my drives as I am now. Do not be afraid to try options that might sound crazy. Do not get locked into a single shaft provider. Do not get set on a certain flex. Do not be afraid to try different lengths. Like most everything, keep your mind open to the options and trial and error is always a good thing.

      On a side note, I also added about 40 grams of lead tape to the head of my driver to increase the swing weight. This is something everyone should try if they are having control issues. It helped me a ton.

      Reply

      Rod_CCCGOLFUSA

      12 years ago

      Matt, Thanks for the very helpful research and for posting comments. It helps to understand that there is no single equipment fitting adjustment that works the same with every player. I have found, however, that slower swingers tend to de-loft a lighter driver at impact more often than they do a heavier driver. Your finding on shot dispersion was a bit of a surprise in that the lighter shaft resulted in straighter shots 3/5’s of the time, especially with regard to faster swing speeds. My faster swinging clients (100 mph +) have not seen as significant improvement as some of your testers enjoyed with the lighter shaft. Perhaps it’s a feel thing.

      Reply

      Michael Schurman

      12 years ago

      This study looks to be complete, unbiased and well constructed. However, as with most custom equipment fitting analysis it seems there are more questions raised than answered. While it was thought that a heavier shaft should produce a lower ball spin, this is not always the case. We also thought a heavier shaft produced a lower ball flight; not always. I would have liked to have read about the different physiques of the testers and perhaps even a bit of swing related information to see if there is some common thread to tie the results. After studying this chart, it becomes more and more apparent that the only way to properly fit a set of clubs is by using an experienced, capable club fitter and a complete set of adjustable demo clubs. In fact, I often wonder about the use of a flight scope vs. reality on the range.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      Michael,

      You hit the nail on the head with, “raises more questions than it answers.” We are consistently finding that people can respond differently to the same equipment, which is why we are consistently preaching the need to be fit.

      With regard to FlightScope vs. reality: all of this testing was done on the range with full-length ball flight, and nothing that we saw on the FlightScope was clearly different than what we saw in real life. Obviously nobody can eyeball spin rate to say if it’s right on that level, but the shot shape and distances were all quite accurate.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      jfpga

      12 years ago

      My thoughts on driver distance would be this:

      Before getting fit for a driver, work with an instructor that uses a Trackman or Flightscope. Try to get your angle of attack up as much as possible (close to +5), your swing path to the right, your clubface pointed to the right (not as much as swing path). Then get fit for a driver.

      If you are able to get some good numbers you will see much more yardage gains from any shaft change. I think the shaft companies have brainwashed the public to think that the shaft is the engine of the golf club, while the engine of the golf club is certainly the person swinging the golf club.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      I have no desire for this comment section to turn into some kind of instructional debate, but for the purposes of people having complete information:

      5* up is a lot. A lot of people would be hitting knuckleballs (too little spin) with that AoA.

      Assuming a relatively normal VSP, 5* up is going to require a swing that’s 5* to the right just to zero out the path, so you’re really asking people to swing 7* or 8* right. Again, that’s a lot.

      All that said, I don’t disagree in the slightest that many/most people could see more distance gains from improving their impact conditions than from changing equipment.

      -Matt

      Reply

      jfpga

      12 years ago

      Am I correct that Tester #1 hit the driver 23 yards longer with .1 more clubhead speed, so basically he made much more solid contact (higher smash factor) with the lighter shaft?

      any chance of getting a few more stats?
      Angle of Attack
      Club Path
      Spin Axis

      I use my Flightscope all the time, fitting and teaching. Hard to believe someone is consistently getting 23 consistently more yards with just using a 20 gram lighter shaft. This chart is the pretty much the bible to me atm.
      http://wishongolf.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/TrackMan-Driver-Optimization_2010.pdf

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      RE: Tester #1:
      He picked up 23 yards with better contact/higher smash factor/higher ball speed and dropping 300 RPMs of spin while using the lighter shaft,

      As far as adding more stats, it’s probably not something you’re going to see. We put a lot of thought into what numbers to include, trying to walk the line between not enough information and a page of numbers. The amount of people who truly understand all the numbers that Flightscope produces is very small, so all it does is muddy the waters and create data overload for 99% of the people reading this.

      Again, the purpose of this article is simple: explore the effects of shaft weight. Our conclusion was simple, too: shaft weight can be very important, so it’s important to be fit.

      Reply

      gabriel

      12 years ago

      I think that this kind of tester should make it with ” launch machine “, no with human being. That`s because with human beingsthere are a lot of technics variables that arent in launch machine, That `s allowed isolate the variables of shaft flex, torque, etc to analize them better. Excuses for my english. Bye

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      Robot testing would be very useful…if golf was played by robots or if this article was trying to answer the question of, “How does shaft weight impact robots.” Unfortunately for all the robot lovers, neither is the case.

      One more time: THE PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE WAS TO EXPLORE THE IMPACT OF SHAFT WEIGHT ON HUMAN GOLFERS. We did that. Period.

      I’d have prefaced this with, “For the last time…” but I know this is far from the last time someone is going to tell us that “launch machine”/robot testing is better.

      -Matt

      Reply

      David Hebert

      12 years ago

      Nice blog, I always enjoy a good review!

      Reply

      Rob

      12 years ago

      Great test….But I sure would like to know the body types and age of each tester!

      Reply

      Lee Miller, PhD

      12 years ago

      FYI, I did these same tests,while being one of the first clubfiiters on Tour, in the late 1980’s.

      While “fitting” Tour players on the tour for years. my mission was to discover and catalog how fitting a player could deliver the greatest amount of work at impact- Through dynamics of weight and delivery of work at impact and the assumed neblous term of a players Feel.
      Many myths were debunked in re: to flex- speed relative to the player’s type of swing, their feel and their release point at impact

      Just FYI

      Reply

      wdgolf

      12 years ago

      I’m very interesting in hearing more if you don’t mind.

      I understand how feel is so nebulous that it can’t accurately be used, but when you say flex-speed relative to player’s type of swing, do you mean their tempo, swing plane, and/or backswing length? How do you use the flex or frequency if not based on type of swing?

      What process do you go through now to fit a player?

      thanks!

      Reply

      Lee

      12 years ago

      wdgolf

      I gave up in early on focusing on the mechanics that you reference- Feel is no longer nebulous-If you look at Trevino- Gay Brewer, Furyk- doug sanders, Daly, etc and many other great players are not of the cookie cutter types seen to day- 2 types; a right to left and a left to right- You give Lanny wadkins a 50 gram stick or furyk a 70 gram and they’d go nuts !..give some of the LPGA players like Lopez, annika, or miyazato a heavy shaft and their slow tempo would be decimated-
      Flex determines ball trajectory only and torque determines right or left-
      The key question is- in every players bag they will have one or two clubs and they’ll say, ” If I could hit the rest of my clubs like this one, I’d play great!”- there is a reason for this and has nothing to do with todays definition on fitting.
      You can measure Feel to a certain degree- you know if something “Feels good”- now you can muster a finite constant
      One of the truisms today is, ” the golf industry is just one big manure factory and golfers are the mushrooms!”- fitting to mechanics is one method, you’ll never find a good player using…or even used for a player that is wanting to become good

      A golf club is a precision instrument being swung at 100 MPH- It needs to be dynamically balanced as the tool it is- same as a hi-po race car- not a mis mash of assembled parts.

      Best is to use feel as primary and secondly the dynamics around the feel, then you can develop feel

      J

      12 years ago

      Get fit by someone who knows what they’re doing. Had an awesome experience with a fitter this spring and went from a 12 to a 6 HCP and nearly all of it was due to changes to the clubs I already owned. It’s about making YOUR equipment the best for YOUR swing.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      J,

      Glad to hear about your great fitting experience. You’re 100% on: YOUR game, YOUR swing, YOUR equipment…make it all fit.

      Reply

      Pat

      12 years ago

      Great article! It’s funny for me this article came out when it did as I bought into the whole “lighter is longer” concept and recently found it not to be true as well. Not being a big hitter (210-220) going from a 4.8 gram shaft to a 65 or higher same flex has me hitting the ball about the same but with much more accuracy.

      Reply

      hongman

      12 years ago

      Nice writeup Matt, and verrrry interesting.

      My best day of drivnig the ball came while on a business trip using a set of TM rental clubs. I told the guy in the pro shop I needed a 10.5 degree driver with a regular flex shaft. After 17 delightful holes of crushing the ball when it mattered, my partner asked if he could try out the driver. After he too smoked one, we looked at the shaft, and it was an Aldila NVS Xtra Stiff (65 gram if I recall), and the loft was actually 9.5..!! Just goes to show how little I know about my own swing and best shaft/head combo!

      Haven’t had time to go get fitted yet, but it’s on my list for next spring!!

      Reply

      Jeff Breininger

      12 years ago

      I love your website, but with all due respect, I don’t think the data displayed shows much at all in relation to shaft weight. It clearly shows the need for being fit, and perhaps that is your only point. But it shows no measurable difference in distance in either direction for heavier vs. lighter shafts. Given that is what the club companies are marketing, I think it is safe to say that it is a fallacy that lighter = longer as a general rule. It may, or it may not. You would have to control the test for a lot of the variables that might make a difference and have a much larger sample size.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      Jeff,

      “All due respect” right back at you, but did you even read the conclusion? All I’m trying to stress to people is that shaft weight can make a big difference and they need to get fit.

      As far as a “much larger sample size,” our results are in line with what UST Mamiya has seen in their proprietary testing of hundreds of golfers: no distinct pattern, just proof that people need to be fit it they want to maximize distance and accuracy.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      RP Jacobs II

      12 years ago

      WADR, I would bet my bag & everything in it that your 2nd sentence is indeed the main thrust if Matt’s post. However, It does indeed “mirror” the bigger sample sized studies out there.

      The Best

      Fairways & Greens 4ever

      Reply

      Biggi

      12 years ago

      Were the golfers actually using the same weight head? I would have liked to see them at the same swingweight/MOI(the ligther head needing aprox. 4 more grams in the head).

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      12 years ago

      As it says in the article, every player used the exact same head.

      Reply

      wdgolf

      12 years ago

      Another thing I’m curious about. What kind of shafts do these testers usually use? IOTWs, do the ones who usually use lighter shafts do better with lighter shafts? Same question for heavy shafts.

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      12 years ago

      Couldn’t say exactly. From what I recall, no one used anything lighter than 65 with a couple 75’s.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      jfpga

      12 years ago

      Not sure I am buying this test.
      How about show us the smash factor for all those shots?

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      12 years ago

      What exactly are you “not buying”?

      Smash factor = Ball speed / Club head speed. I’m sure you can do the math.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      GolfSpy T

      12 years ago

      For those who aren’t mathematically inclined. Here are the Smash Factors for all 5 Testers:

      Tester #1
      55 – 1.473
      75 – 1.439

      Tester #2
      55 – 1.378
      75 – 1.403

      Tester #3
      55 – 1.420
      75 – 1.477

      Tester #4
      55 – 1.459
      75 – 1.447

      Tester #5
      55 – 1.472
      75 – 1.467

      RP Jacobs II

      12 years ago

      Jfpga, now that ya got the smash factors, are ya “buyin it?”..LOL

      The Best

      Fairways & Greens 4ever

      Reply

      Matt

      12 years ago

      Very nice write up. I have pondered this before.

      Reply

      BK in Wisconsin

      12 years ago

      Very interesting. In a nutshell, for testers 4 & 5 (40%) it essentially made no difference. For the other 3 (60%) it made a significant difference (split with with 2 better lighter and 1 better heavier).

      I’m just wondering if this was random or if handicap also played a role in the differences. Do you know the testers handicaps?

      Reply

      Rev Kev

      12 years ago

      I would be very surprised if handicap played a big role in this – I’m thinking its more swing path, speed, release, etc., etc. In so far as those factors dictate handicap that’s where there would be a difference. As we’ve seen it’s very possible for a low handicapper to have a moderate swing speed and a high handicapper to have a high swing speed – my guess is that you can tell the handicap based on the consistency and accuracy rather than the distance.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      BK,

      Great question. Everyone who participated was a 15 or better, but I couldn’t tell you each tester’s handicap.

      I don’t think you will find a correlation between handicap and the weight that fits them best. What I will say, somewhat anecdotally (though based on a pretty big sample size), is that the lower the handicap, the more they can make any combination work decently. A good friend and scratch golfer who was doing some testing even said as much, telling me, “Give me a minute, I need to figure out how to swing this combination.”

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      BK in Wisconsin

      12 years ago

      Matt wrote: ” What I will say, somewhat anecdotally (though based on a pretty big sample size), is that the lower the handicap, the more they can make any combination work decently.”

      That’s exactly where I was going with it. I was thinking that better golfers could make the small adjustments needed and shaft weight wouldn’t make a significant difference.

      RP Jacobs II

      12 years ago

      BK, thank goodness for that big sample size.LOL

      ;-)

      Fairways & Greens 4ever

      Rev Kev

      12 years ago

      Matt,

      Nice job here! This test was incredibly relevent for me given that I just had a complete fitting at the Taylor Made performance lab last Friday at TPC Sawgrass. The last two test that you’ve run along with a variety of comments on the inside – guys if you are still lurking out here come on in – we don’t bite – really come to the fore.

      Bottom line my fitter didn’t like my current ball flight and believed that I wasn’t even close to maxing out my distance given my swing. His solution was to go with less loft (novel for me given the common adage of more loft, less flex) because my swing is 3.2 degrees up and ……… wait for it, an R flex shaft with more weight to reduce the spin and a half inch shorter shaft 44.5″. The result was that I averaged 212 yards of carry and 14 yards of roll with my old head/shaft combo (10.5 R flex SL 45″) and 223 yards of carry with 28 yards of roll with the new combo. Amazing the different that 13 grams can make. Oh and the distance held outdoors on the range.

      You just don’t know – different swings need to be fit to different specs and most importantly you need to have that fitting done by a qualified fitter not the retired guy working pt at the nearest big box store – unless he’s a retired teaching pro.

      Thanks again,
      kevin

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      RK,

      Thanks for sharing your fitting experience. It really does make a big difference, and I’m glad you were able to find more distance.

      One thing I will say is that the golfing population makes way too much of guys being good players or “golf pros”. Fitting equipment, and, I would argue, teaching the golf swing, has a lot of science behind it. There’s also a lot of bulls*** (which is why we do these Labs). Guys who are good players, “former pros,” etc are just as likely to be full of s*** as they are to know something. A good fitter is a good fitter, period. It’s a specific skill set. Being a good player does not make you more or less likely to be a good fitter.

      Would I like my fitter to be able to swing a club? Sure, because he should have some first-hand knowledge of the equipment, but beyond that I think it’s immaterial.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      KeithS

      10 years ago

      at my local club, I popped in for an impromptu driver fitting after a round that resigned me to the fact that I can’t hit my R11S TP (that I didn’t get fitted for)… the assistant asked me what I DIDN’T like. I informed him that I feel like there’s nothing at the end of the shaft, like I’m swinging a stick and that I want to feel that I’m slinging something through the ball. I think the stock shaft is 60grams and I’ve no idea of the tipping point etc. He gave me several sitff flex shafted drivers with varying weights – all about 9 – 9.5degs loft. My swing figures were pretty decent, with my R11s, I had a 96mph head speed with 236-240 total distance, with almost all other clubs, I had a 98-100mph head speed and 250 – 265yd total… ONE combo that I hit first stood out – a 9.5 Cleveland with a Fubuki 53g shaft where I consistently hit 102+mph and 270+ total (Trackman). I even went back to it after hitting the others and it produced similar results. My point is, obviously getting fit works but the fact that the fitter listened to me and knew what to try out – invaluable!

      RP Jacobs II

      12 years ago

      Well done Matt. Kudos! Great Lab & excellent write-up!…

      My Best,
      Richard

      Fairways & Greens 4ever

      Reply

      wdgolf

      12 years ago

      The results do seem to indicate though that it’s better to err on the side of lighter than heavier. The only results that were way off were from heavier shafts

      Also, the ground must be incredibly dry. That’s a ton of roll on some shots.

      Reply

      GolfSpy Matt

      12 years ago

      WD,

      Interesting observations.

      With regard to roll, that’s just the stock setting on the FlightScope. You can set it up for more or less roll, but I’ve never messed with it.

      As far as it being better to err light or heavy, I hadn’t really given any thought to it. The point with these shaft labs is simply to show that these variables do matter (or not, if that’s what the data says).

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      Justin

      12 years ago

      Just like everything else, there’s a “sweet spot” for everyone. Regardless if we’re talking about length, loft, total weight, swing weight… whatever. No two people are the same, we don’t swing the same. If we did, buying equipment would be a LOT more cut and dry.

      sdcotte

      12 years ago

      Great test I’ll be getting fit.

      Reply

      Drew

      12 years ago

      Great review. Love the empirical evidence! Congrats.

      Reply

      Dave

      12 years ago

      Well done, good article, nice to see some real world carry distances as well! Would have liked to see something lighter (45 gram), perhaps in a 3 way test, but I know that 55 gram is UST lightest offering.

      Reply

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