Tuesday, June 21, 2011
What's new in shaft technologyGOLF TIPS: What misconceptions do golfers still have about graphite versus steel?
Miyazaki Golf: Graphite has a bad rap for having high torque and being too soft in flex. Also remember that the lower the cost of the shaft, the less actual graphite it has and the more resin (glue) it has.
TT/Grafalloy: The biggest misconception is that graphite shafts have greater technology than steel. That couldn't be further from the truth. While there's certainly a significant amount of technology in graphite shafts, the recent advancements made with steel, from both a material and process perspective, have been truly exceptional. For example, it takes about three weeks and 150 individual processes to make our Tour-proven Dynamic Gold golf shaft from start to finish. Our GS Series goes through an additional 15 or 20. Another example would be the new DG Spinner wedge shaft that delivers an improvement in wedge ball spin of 500+ rpm. The creative engineering and manufacturing that allowed us to bring that product to market are truly astounding.
UST Mamiya: Many players believe that graphite iron shafts are not as consistent as steel, and the potential for fliers or poor distance control is more prevalent with graphite. This is definitely not the case. Designs and manufacturing methods allow us to precisely control the flex profile of each shaft length, thus creating a stable shaft that performs as well as or better than steel. Since not many pros use graphite iron shafts, many players are not convinced that graphite will benefit their own game. Our goal is to create iron shafts that perform better than steel, and we are on the brink of launching a new iron shaft line that will do just that.
Larry Bodle, director of marketing at FST Shafts: You may have heard that graphite shafts for irons are lighter than steel. In reality, on average, graphite shafts commonly used for irons are very close in weight to today's lightweight steel shafts.
Aldila: The biggest misconception is still consistency. Many players still think that graphite shafts, especially in irons, won't perform as consistently as steel, and this is simply not true. A high-quality graphite iron shaft is every bit as consistent as its steel counterparts and in many cases has significant performance advantages. Graphite is a much more versatile material than steel and can give golfers a better ability to fit their swing characteristics without sacrificing performance or consistency.
nVentix: Many golfers believe that graphite iron shafts cannot be made as consistent as steel shafts, in terms of distance and shot dispersion. While graphite iron shafts of the past may not be as consistent as steel shafts, they will be produced (in the future) to exceed the performance of steel shafts.
Hiroyuki Fukuda, head of sales and marketing in the Americas at Nippon Shaft: The biggest misconception is the belief that graphite shafts are superior to steel, due to the higher prices for individual shafts and clubs. Also that they're lighter than steel shafts, feel softer at impact and increase distances.
Fujikura: You may have heard that steel shafts are stiffer and stronger than graphite, but this simply isn't true. You can see that Tour players use graphite shafts almost exclusively in drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. The newest high-tech airplanes are made of graphite because it's lighter, stiffer and stronger than steel. When graphite shafts first came out for irons, they got a bad reputation because they were too light for stronger players and inconsistent because of the materials available at the time. With the advancement in design and the use of premium graphite, we're now able to decrease the torque and make the tip section stronger. We design graphite iron shafts as stiff and heavy as steel, yet unlike steel, we can manipulate the stiffness profile and move the shaft's balance point.
Scott Bartosik at Matrix Shafts: Regarding graphite iron shafts, the consumer wrongly believes that you can't get the same flight patterns that you get with steel, or the same consistency and flex characteristics. In fact, from a designer's perspective, graphite offers greater breadth and depth in terms of flight modeling. Graphite shafts can be designed with much lower torque than steel, much heavier or lighter, with a greater range of flexpoint and with much more consistent flexural properties.
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