Shaft U – The Quick Answers
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Shaft U – The Quick Answers

Shaft U – The Quick Answers

The purpose of MyGolfSpy University is to work with industry leaders to create a repository of information where golfers can engage with content, each other and industry veterans to increase, and to a degree standardize, a template of understanding around the world of golf shafts.

Several weeks ago, we laid the philosophical groundwork for MyGolfSpy University and introduced Shaft UPowered by Fujikura as our first area of content.

Initial feedback confirmed our hypothesis in that there is both an honest desire to learn and a tremendous amount of perhaps well-intentioned but misguided information floating around in the ether of the internet.

We hope to bring clarity to both basic and complex questions, here’s just a taste of the kind of subjects we’ll be tackling in more detail.

If there are but so many bend profiles and all shafts are made with similar (in some cases the same) materials, aren’t shafts more alike than they are different?

Yes, the basic shape and construction of shafts lead many to such conclusions. However, EI profiles (graphic depiction of the overall bend profile of shaft) are like roadmaps showing someone how to get from point A to point B. There might be several options which, at first, appear virtually the same, but upon further inspection, there are subtle differences which can result in significant variations in performance.

Different roads have different speed limits, conditions, space/congestion, number of stoplights, etc. Shafts are often given generic labels such as mid-launch, low-spin which in the absence of contextual and comparative information, is like calling the short game of a tour pro average. It’s further complicated by metrics like CPM (cycles per minute) which are more consistent from OEM to OEM, but because it only indicates how stiff one section (butt) of the shaft is, it’s at best an incomplete answer to a much more complicated question.

Questions around shaft product invariably include questions like do humans have a comparative advantage over machines or is full-automation the next frontier?

Yes. Both…perhaps all of the above.

When it comes to taking sheets of pre-preg (carbon composite sheets which have been impregnated with a specific amount of resin/glue) the traditional methods of hand-rolling flags of composite material around steel mandrels and utilizing machines to do the work humans can’t, is the tried and true approach leveraged by the industry leaders. That said, other brands believe eliminating the human element altogether allows for tighter tolerances and ultimately better performance, though this approach places restrictions on scalability and without access to economies of scale, tends to be cost aversive.

Who exactly is good enough to warrant a serious shaft fitting?

It tends to be the thinking that more proficient golfers somehow are more worthy, but often the reality is that the industry creates barriers to entry which give fittings an exclusive (single-digit golfers only please!) aura. What if gyms only catered to people who were already in shape or mechanics only worked on cars which had never missed an oil change? It would seem a poor model which alienates a large chunk of the target audience. In fact, higher-handicap players can often benefit more from a professional fitting, but until we create platforms where all golfers can engage and benefit from this information, the vast majority are left on the outside looking in. By increasing access and leveling the educational playing field, all golfers (regardless of ability) stand to benefit.

We will explore all of these topics and then some, but with any conversation where there exist myriad opportunities to get into the weeds, it’s prudent to set a foundation and first establish relatively uniform reader capacity.

To that end, our launch point will be Shaft Materials 101, which you can expect shortly. With that, learning is inherently organic and though content delivery will be primarily incremental, expect additional opportunities to engage with MyGolfSpy/Fujikura staff throughout to take a deeper dive on any number of topics.

MyGolfSpy has a unique voice in the industry precisely because we value honesty over hype and we’re building this for you as a place where you can come to learn, ask challenging questions and walk away a more informed golfer.

As always, post comments, ask questions, and let us know what you think.

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Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris is a self-diagnosed equipment and golf junkie with a penchant for top-shelf ice cream. When he's not coaching the local high school team, he's probably on the range or trying to keep up with his wife and seven beautiful daughters. Chris is based out of Fort Collins, CO and his neighbors believe long brown boxes are simply part of his porch decor. "Isn't it funny? The truth just sounds different."

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel

Chris Nickel





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      10shot

      5 years ago

      Freq. Tuning a set of shafts using CPM uses 4 measurements. A lot more from CPM than butt stiffness. 5″, 7.5″ 15″ and 3.5″ from tip for irons. 5″, 12″, 20″ and 3.5″ from tip for woods. Any method has the same issue, starting point. Player has a favorite feeling club you find a like shaft and component weight.. Both CPM or EI tell you shaft characteristics for achieving the golfers goals. EI has more detail over the entire shaft for sure.

      Reply

      10shot

      5 years ago

      Not sure how you freq. tune a set of shafts but, 4 measurements are take across the shaft. 5″, 7.5″ 15″ and 3.5″ on tip end for irons.5″, 12″, 20″ and 3.5″ on tip end for woods. A lot more information then just butt stiffness with a CPM. Plot number on the graph calculate tip trim to desired freq/ shiftiness. Cut tip .5″ at a time until results. Once you butt cut you’re done shiftiness is set.

      Reply

      stewie

      5 years ago

      Number one question: for a given shaft flex, does the player need to swing to leverage that flex in order to make the shaft perform like it should? That is, if I put a full swing on a ball, I’m expecting the shaft to flex like it should, given that that the shaft fits me and I fit the shaft. Now if I put a low cut swing ont he ball, or a high draw swing on teh ball, neither of whcih are my “stock swing” and both of which load differently and result in different swing speeds, how is the shaft performing? Will the shaft “keep up with me” or does the shaft just want to be swing like it had been engineered, with only a narrow range of variability allowed? And if it does not keep up with me rather than the other way around, who will build a shaft which conforms to the swing I put on the ball, rather than making me perform the swing for which it is designed? Thx.

      Reply

      Txgolfjunkie

      5 years ago

      My latest in-depth fitting focused on shaft profiles but more of a butt, mid and tip stiffness based on swing style/lag in the swing. For instance, the shaft for an all-arms/little lag swing (i.e. Adam Scott), you wanted a softer tip vs someone with a lot of lag in their swing (i.e. Sergio) who needs a firmer tip. Basically the tip drove the spin, the mid drove the trajectory and the butt drove the feel of the shaft. Is this accurate with what you’re discovering with industry insiders? We didn’t get into CPMs of shafts or EI profiles, but will it (Shaft U) be simplified into butt, mid and tip stiffness for each of the shafts or will we need to learn how to read EI profiles?

      Reply

      Chris Nickel

      5 years ago

      Great question. Once you understand the basic premises of bend profiles, EI charts become much more intelligible. We’ll certainly start with the basics and move up in complexity from there. In terms of how each section of the shaft impacts flight/spin/feel, I’m going to wait on that one as the Fuji guys have substantially more data/resources to offer.

      Reply

      Ben Seal

      5 years ago

      Sergio actually uses soft tip / firm mid + butt shafts in his irons (Nippon modus tour 130). Just goes to show why fitting is so important – you may assume you need a shaft based on swing type, but in the real world that’s not always how it pans out.

      Reply

      Dan

      5 years ago

      For all of my woods I want a medium trajectory, medium spin and increased carry distance without sacrificing direction. My approach to this is to select a shaft that is low launch, medium spin and then select a club head with a higher loft. Is my logic rational or am I out in left field?

      Reply

      Brian Pickton

      5 years ago

      Ditto Divot’s comment for me in Halifax. Only two golf specialty stores with very limited fitting options. I’m considering a trip South of the line specifically to get a fitting. For the moment I have been making shaft choices for my low swing speed based primarily on whatever limited shaft options they have in stock.
      On 3 occasions I have tried to order equipment through Golftown. They always promised to call me when the items came in but that never happened. Needless to say I am looking forward to the next instalment.

      Knowledge is power.

      Reply

      daviddvm

      5 years ago

      Looking forward to being educated!

      Shot Tracking by Arccos Caddie            I’m Right Handed

      Titleist TS2 10.5* Driver, Fujikura Speeder Evolution IV stiff Shaft

      Titleist TS2 15* Fairway, Fujikura Speeder Evolution IV stiff Shaft

      Titleist 816H1 19* , Fujikura Motore Speeder stiff shaft

      Titleist 816H1 23* , Fujikura Motore Speeder stiff shaft

      Titleist 816H1 27* Hybrid w/ Diamana Blue Board 70 HY Stiff Shaft ( trade this club out for 5 iron sometimes )

      Titleist AP1 5-PW graphite stiff shafts

      Vokey G, S, L wedges

      Scotty Cameron California Monterey 35″ putter, The Art of Putting Head Cover, Scotty Cameron Golf Matador Putter Grip Mid-size.

      Titleist ProV1x

      Callaway 15′ pocket ball retriever ( I use this too much! )

      Reply

      Divot

      5 years ago

      I am also a member at a Private club and have never seen an equipment rep visit our club. Its really sad

      Reply

      Divot

      5 years ago

      I think anyone who has a clue understands the value of a fitting.

      However, access to a quality club fitter and inventory of shafts is an issue (at least in Canada).

      For example – I live in Montreal Canada and the only option we really have for club fitting is at a Golftown store. You get about 15-20 minutes in a simulator where they have limited selections of golf clubs and shafts and the clubfitter (usually a university student) doesn’t really explain to you the target #s for an optimal fitting. Basically its all feel.

      I went there a couple of years ago to see if a new shaft would benefit me for my M1 driver. The clubfitter told me that my backspin rate was too low and that I needed a lighter shaft. Of course the store did not have any shafts other than stock in inventory and they were not willing to get shafts in for me to try. I was willing to pay for the shaft and got nothing

      Its just disappointing to want to get fitted and having a crappy alternative for a club fitting.

      Reply

      Duffy McHackster

      5 years ago

      i feel your pain. im about 800km from even a golftown. TXG in Toronto has a huge selection of product to work with and from what ive seen on their youtube channel, they do great work. not too far from you.

      Reply

      Chad

      5 years ago

      Currently I have a taylor Made M3 with a Fukijara Pro 53 stiff flex shaft. My Driver swing speed is about 103-105. I was fitted for the shaft and it creates an excellent spin/trajectory combo. However.. 53g is quite light and feels whippy.

      I am currently starting on the SuperSpeen golf sticks and already seeing swing speed improvements. Do you think that the light/whippy shaft could result in an open face if I add 5-10 mph on my swing?

      Reply

      Chris Nickel

      5 years ago

      Could increased swing speed cause an open face? If the shaft doesn’t fit your swing (tempo, release, load, athleticism, etc.) it’s certainly possible.

      When we dig a little deeper into the varied components of a true shaft fitting, we will look at some of these relationships more in depth, but I’d be interested to see what type of launch data you could get access to and even better if you have a chance to use the new Mizuno Shaft Optimizer 3D as it could give some valuable insight.

      Reply

      Mobile Clubmaker

      5 years ago

      Chad, sounds like you are worried that you will out swing the shaft you currently play if your speed continues to increase. This misconception is very prevalent in the game, the idea that the head is hanging back and not squared up at impact. But don’t worry, that’s not how shafts work. You will never out swing the shaft. The shaft is always faster. It has already flexed, released, and hyperextended by impact, meaning the head will in fact be both more closed and angled up (increased loft). Can a different shaft (ie weight, balance point, bend profile) influence your timing and release and make you more consistent? Absolutely. But most of that will be a factor of weight and balance. A shaft is not a whip, or an engine. In it’s perfect form, it simply returns the club head to the back of the ball in the position you put it in. With the exception of the face closing and loft increase already discussed, the rest is on you.

      Reply

      Chad

      5 years ago

      Thanks, guys. Interesting and good to know. If my launch data is currently optimal(ish), then even with an extra 7mph or so it theoretically should remain optimal.

      I was originally fit with trackman as my data source, and can periodically check in to see how/if that data changes, Maybe in time, I’ll pop back in here and provide updates.

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