Talkin' Shafts

What's new in shaft technology

Matrix: This is such an individual question. While some may be able to keep a longer club on plane and square the face, others will struggle. The easiest way for most golfers to increase distance and accuracy is to seek the help of a PGA professional for possible swing adjustments. With these adjustments, golfers who previously couldn't handle the extra length may be able to.

Aldila: To a degree. But is the small distance advantage gained worth the control advantage lost? Is hitting an 8-iron from the rough better than hitting a soft 7-iron from the short stuff? The player needs to decide this when pondering whether to use a longer driver. Most average golfers will benefit more from hitting the driver more consistently, and that won't happen with a longer club.

nVentix: No. We've experienced this firsthand and have changed the opinions of some clubfitters and builders. Golfers tend to hit an occasional good shot with a longer shaft and, consciously or not, develop a blind spot for the typical results they're generating with this equipment. The longer any shaft is, the more prone it becomes to the adverse influences of excessive flex, twist and droop.

Nippon: From a manufacturer's viewpoint, yes, golfers should be able to handle the extra length. The top concern for longer shafts is tip stability. However the top graphite shaft manufacturers have offered many sub-70-gram graphite shafts with stable, consistent tip action.

Fujikura: Yes and no. Some golfers can adjust to the extra length and still hit the center of the clubface. Adversely, many players aren't able to consistently hit the center of the face—resulting in loss of ball speed even if their clubhead speed increases.

Graphite Design: This really depends on the player's ability.

GOLF TIPS: What are the advantages of having graphite shafts in wedges?

Miyazaki Golf: Graphite can be a benefit in wedges. The shaft can be manufactured with precise kick points, to better affect the ballflight and control on wedge shots. The material can offer more feel and better performance. The key is to make the shaft with higher-grade material, which makes it more expensive.

TT/Grafalloy: A wedge is 100% about control and precision. Simply put, there's never a scenario where we would recommend a graphite wedge shaft.

UST Mamiya: It really depends on the player and the type of graphite shaft used. We're now working on Tour with a new performance graphite wedge shaft that feels better than steel and outperforms steel in head-to-head testing. The main importance in putting graphite wedges into play is to make sure that all types of shots can be hit successfully. More than any other club in the bag, wedges are hit in a variety of situations, from full shots into greens, to shorter-length shots and control shots around the greens. The advantage is that your score will be lower if you can consistently hit wedge shots close to the hole.

Aldila: The advantage to graphite in wedges is the tailor-ability of graphite. It allows for a much wider window of performance characteristics than metals. Tip stiffness, torque, weight, balance point, etc. can be changed much more readily with graphite to fit each player's needs. Does the player need more spin, less spin, a higher launch, or lower flight? Changes to the shaft characteristics that control these performance parameters are much more easily made using composites.


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