2012 Buyer's Guide Shafts

It's the club's engine. Are you in need of a tune-up?

Labels: Shafts
This Article Features Photo Zoom

By Jon Paupore, PGA

To hit longer drives, you have to get aggressive. And more importantly, you have to get aggressive in the right way. In the example here, let's look at the first move you ought to make as you descend from the top of your swing and into the golf ball. The longer hitters on Tour (just about all of them these days) know that the greatest way to generate power is to leverage the upper body against the ground. This means, the first move they make as they initiate the downswing is to squat into the ground and push the legs against it. Specifically, you want to apply more force into your left leg than the right to aid in making a better pivot onto your forward side on the downswing. In the photo here, you can see how my head is lower at the onset of my downswing, as compared to the very top of my backswing. This force, both downward and into my left leg, allows my upper body to build torque and, as a result, make a faster, more aggressive rotation through the hit.

A great way to practice this is to make a series of practice swings where you take the club to the top of your backswing, and pump your leg into the ground. You should feel more weight applied to your left leg than to your right one. As you do this, it's likely your arms will automatically start pumping downward too, indicating you're on the right track toward creating a powerful strike into the golf ball. After a few tries, hit some balls, and I bet you'll start hitting longer more aggressive shots immediately.

Even after years of preaching it in the pages of Golf Tips, it seems many golfers still ignore the most critical component of the golf club. Really, once you find the right head to your liking, what shaft you put in it makes all the difference in how well it will work for you. Pay attention to not only flex, but factors such as torque, length, weight and length. All these variables need to be considered if you want to make the most of any club in your golf bag.

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NV 44 Magnum
Key Feature: This new shaft from Aldila weighs a measely 44 grams (which is insanely light), however, it retains the strength and flexibility golfers have come to love in the NV series from Aldila (which is the company's best seller, by the way). Slightly heavier versions also are available.
Who It's For: Golfers who want to go with the complete lightweight package. It's ideal for clubs with light clubheads and also with light grips. Look for that coveted high-launch, moderate-spin flight with this lightweight wonder.
Specs: 44-48 grams, in R, S or X flex.
aldila.com | $249
RIP Phenom
Key Feature: The mean, pirate-looking graphics on the new RIP Phenom hide a ton of new technology geared for added stability and power. The Hyperbolic Flex Zone provides a stiff tip section and a firm butt section, meaning the shaft flexes in the center. Thus, you have a penetrating launch and a very fast swing speed, thanks to some serious tech under the hood. It's our favorite Aldila shaft!
Who It's For: Golfers who want maximum power and control without a ballooning ballflight.
Specs: Comes in 50g or 70g in R, S, or X flex.
aldila.com | $249
Key Feature: The popular Blur shaft from Fujikura has a higher balance point (closer to the grip), helping golfers instantly increase their swing speed for longer hits. And yes, the feel and stability of the Blur is superb, as always with every shaft we've tried from Fujikura.
Who It's For: There's a profile for everyone: 004 for mid/mid-high launch; 005 for a midlaunch; TS-95 for fast swingers who want a light shaft that's stable and consistent through the swing.
Specs: A variety of flexes in aforementioned profiles.
fujikuragolf.com | $299


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