Talkin' Shafts

What's new in shaft technology

Graphite Design: Going back 20+ years to when graphite first hit the scene, there were inconsistencies in what was being produced. A regular steel and regular graphite shaft were not the same. Today, we produce a much more consistent product with tighter tolerances, as well as offer multiple bend profiles for different playing abilities.

GOLF TIPS: Generally speaking, what will be the next big trends in graphite shafts?

Miyazaki Golf: A continuation of lightweight designs that will benefit every level of golfer. Many more pros are using sub-60- and even sub-50-gram shafts. The benefits are faster clubhead speed and longer shots. Even some long-drive guys are into the 50-gram shafts.

TT/Grafalloy: A continued push for lighter and longer, with a focus on reducing overall club weight.

UST Mamiya: Customization, which could come via customized graphics or even a customized shaft design that's made for a specific golfer.

FST: Hybrids, usually sold with graphite shafts, could trend toward steel due to new lightweight steel options that offer advantages in lower torque and more consistency over graphite.

Aldila: Shafts will continue to get lighter while maintaining performance characteristics suitable for better players.

Nippon: For one, cosmetics: A few club manufacturers recently offered painted or ion-plated steel shafts. There also will be longer lightweight steel shafts—there are new lighter, higher-strength raw materials in development that will allow steel shaft manufacturers to produce longer lightweight steel shafts for hybrids, fairway metals and drivers. Customization also will be big.

Fujikura: Custom shaft fitting. There's more and more talk about custom fitting, but not that many players have yet taken the time to get fit for their equipment. The right shaft/clubhead combination can make a huge difference on a player's performance. Every Tour player is custom fit with the best possible combination, to maximize his or her performance. It's only a matter of time before all golfers get some sort of custom fitting. It'll help golfers at all levels enjoy the game more.

Graphite Design: Wood shafts are becoming lighter, and this will most likely continue until we reach the sub-40-gram range. Durability will become the big challenge, as will maintaining a lower torque specification that better players demand.

GOLF TIPS: Some club manufacturers are using longer driver shafts this year as standard. Can average golfers handle that extra length?

Miyazaki Golf: The average golfer can handle these if fit properly. Too many don't have the correct flex or tip stiffness, to get it to perform. Only one club manufacturer offers different lightweight shafts with different stiffness and tip stiffness. Most offer one type of shaft for everyone.

TT/Grafalloy:Some can and some can't. The ultimate goal is efficiency. It's important to find the right balance of clubhead speed and consistent delivery of the clubhead to the ball, for maximum ball speed.

UST Mamiya: The general thought is that you should play as long of a club as you can control. Most golfers should be able to handle the extra length. Extra length means extra distance, and when most consumers try out new drivers, they're looking to maximize distance.


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