Talkin' Shafts

What's new in shaft technology

With the proliferation of golf shafts, both in composite and steel, there's never been a better time to let shaft companies speak their mind. We recently assembled a few questions for several shaft equipment companies to answer, all to help get a better idea of the personality and perspective various companies have. What you're about to read may very well alter your decision on which shafts to include in your next clubs.

GOLF TIPS: What have been the most significant changes to graphite shafts in the past three years?

Tim Gillis, director of sales at Miyazaki Golf:
Composite materials and manufacturing technology have infinitely improved over the last three years. Engineers at shaft companies have also opened their minds to lighter shafts that are stiffer and have the correct torque, in zones, to help performance.

Chad Hall, director of product marketing and global Tour operations at True Temper/Grafalloy:
There's been a focus on design more so than material advancement. We will unveil a couple of aggressive material technologies in the coming 12 months under both the Grafalloy and Project X graphite brands.

Robb Schikner, vice president of sales and marketing at UST Mamiya:
Maybe not a significant change, but there has been a trend toward lightweight shafts. Companies are making golf clubs lighter so they're easier to swing, and to help increase distance. We're now seeing shafts that are in the 40-gram range that helps achieve this lighter-club target.

John E. Oldenburg, vice president, engineering/product development at Aldila:
The most significant change has been making extremely light shafts (45-55 grams) with flex profiles and torques that meet the needs of highly skilled players. But don't assume that a shaft weighs what it says in the logo. There are shafts on the market and in current ad campaigns that weigh significantly more than the misleading number shown in the shaft name/logo. Additionally, shaft balance points have been moving up the shafts (toward the grip end) to accommodate the heavier driver heads and longer assembled club lengths that are becoming commonplace. These higher balance points allow club companies to maintain acceptable swing weights in longer, heavier-headed clubs.

Bryan Nicholson, certified PGA professional and chairman of the nVentix Golf advisory board
: Much of the golf industry has been focused on developing longer and lighter shafts in the pursuit of distance. Unfortunately for golfers, consistency, accuracy and smash factor (ball speed relative to clubhead speed) are sacrificed because the longer and lighter shafts are subject to greater flex, twist and droop in the impact zone.

Dave Schnider, president and COO at Fujikura Composites America: Exotic materials, lighter weight, increased durability in lightweight structures, materials and design usage of these new materials. We create lighter, stiffer and more durable shafts.

Mike Diehl, aftermarket sales manager at Graphite Design: Graphics have become more eccentric and elaborate. We're also seeing requests for lighter-weight shafts that produce high launch and low spin.


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