5 Questions on Shaft Fitting

Labels: ShaftsEquipment

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Editor’s Test

I’ve played the same driver for the past two years. It has a stiff shaft and is standard length. It works very well for my game.

Whenever I’ve hit other clubs, it has reinforced what I already knew: Regular-flex shafts were too “whippy” for me, and X-flex shafts felt like broomsticks.

Stiff shafts were the right fit for me. So why then did I hit the X-flex the best in our blind-shaft test?

First the facts: I hit four shafts (A, R, S, X) with the same clubhead. I ballooned (but hit straight) the more flexible shafts, and I hit the stiffer ones 20 yards farther with a lower trajectory (and less spin) but with varied accuracy. Still, it was the X-flex that had the best combination of distance, ballflight and accuracy.

A five-handicap, with a swing speed of 100 mph, I felt the shaft’s flexibility the most at two different times: when I held it and waggled it, and about halfway into my downswing when I loaded the club. I could feel the more flexible clubs bend when my left arm was parallel to the ground, and the stiffer ones resist. This made me swing harder with the stiffer shafts, and as a result, I had to make an aggressive cut at it. This produced a “swing” motion rather than a “hit” motion and ensured I finished fully. As a result, I made better contact.

That’s one reason I believe I hit the X-flex better. The other is that I had no idea it was an X. When I’ve tested X-flexes in the past, I’ve thrown in the towel before I ever put a move on it. By not knowing what I was getting into, I eliminated any chance of self-sabotage. Goes to show, even shaft testing is all mental.
–Charlie Schroeder

Shaft-Fitting FAQs

Q: What parameters are important when it comes to shaft fitting?
A: All of them. Atop the list are length, flex and weight. Focus on these three things and let the fitter handle the rest.

Q: What exactly is tip-trimming?
A: Put simply, most shafts are cut at the grip end when assembled. To cut at the tip (clubhead end) end, and depending on how much you cut, you can actually stiffen the club shaft by one, sometimes two flexes. It also lowers the trajectory, too.

Q: Are lighter shafts weaker than heavier ones?
A: Nope. Shafts are made to withstand a lot of force. Even the light ones.

Q: Is it true that I can gain distance by using a longer shaft?
A: Yes. A longer shaft means you’ll have a wider arc. The wider the arc, the faster the clubhead will travel, relative to the ball that is. But, a longer shaft sometimes correlates to a loss in accuracy.

Q: What is counterbalancing? Will it help me hit it longer?
A: Some say yes, others say no. It’s up to the individual. And as for counterbalancing, what it does is make the head and shaft feel lighter, making it appear as though you can swing it faster. As for whether it really does, that’s up to you.

Q: Why haven’t graphite shafts in irons caught on?
A: We’ve wondered that too. Graphite shafted irons can help you hit the ball further, without a doubt. They also absorb a lot more shock than does steel. Our guess? It’s a matter of price and durability. Graphite shafts cost more to make. And two, they aren’t as tough as steel, meaning they can crack and break with too much abuse (especially from the shock of hitting the turf).

Q: What is the difference in tip diameters?
A: Most shafts are either .335 or .350 mm in diameter. Better players tend to prefer the feel and responsiveness of a .335 tip, but in our opinion, we couldn’t tell one from the other. Also, some heads are made for .350 shafts (which claim to have lower torque), meaning if you do have a.335 shaft diameter, a shim needs to be added into the hosel to accommodate the smaller sized shaft.

Have any other questions you’d like to ask? Drop us a line at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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