Talkin' Shafts

What's new in shaft technology

nVentix: Graphite shafts can be made stiffer and less prone to droop than steel shafts. The more stable the shaft, the greater the potential for control for the golfer.

Fujikura: Graphite lessens vibration in your hands, compared to steel. This can be a big advantage, as vibration fatigues your muscles. Graphite wedge shafts offer better feel and higher spin rates. Standard wedge shafts weigh around 120 grams, making your total club weight much heavier than the rest of your set. Creating the same feeling from club to club will generate a more consistent set of irons.

Graphite Design: They produce more spin and maintain feel.

GOLF TIPS: At what point do you think lightweight shafts are too light?

Miyazaki Golf: I don't think you can make a shaft too light. Everyone will benefit from lightweight shafts—but not the same lightweight shaft. The lightest will be good for one swing profile, but another will be good for another swing profile. The key is the design of the shaft's flex, torque and balance as related to the golf club.

TT/Grafalloy: Our philosophy is that you play the lightest shaft you can control. As with the longer drivers, many players will see an increase in distance without a loss of control by using the lightest shafts. However, others will see a change in tempo, resulting in loss of control and distance by going too light. In those scenarios, they should find a slightly heavier shaft that provides the optimal balance of speed and consistency. It's important to remember that distance is generated by ball speed, not clubhead speed. While you must have maximum clubhead speed to generate maximum ball speed, if the club isn't being delivered to the ball efficiently, a higher clubhead speed often results in reduced ball speed through inefficient transfer at impact.

UST Mamiya: At some point, there will be a physical limit to how light graphite shafts can be made. We're approaching that limit now, with shafts nearing the sub-40-gram threshold. Designing lightweight shafts means removing material to get to a lower weight. We can remove only so much material and still have a structure that's stiff enough and durable enough. The graphite materials we use are already among the lightest available, with the best strength-to-weight ratio of most any material in the world.

FST: Generally, the 90-gram range for iron shafts is the realistic limitation for steel shafts. They can be made lighter, however manufacturers have concerns about durability.

Aldila: That point is reached when the balance and feel of the club during the swing is no longer comfortable or the player can no longer adequately control drives. There's a limit to how low you can go in weight without sacrificing certain important performance parameters, such as torque, tip stiffness, etc., that ultimately affect the club's overall performance. Players should use as light a shaft as they can, without sacrificing feel (during the swing, not impact) and performance. This threshold is different for every player.


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