Talkin' Shafts

What's new in shaft technology

nVentix: We're already far past the point of diminishing returns, when it comes to lightweight shafts. Lighter shafts coupled with heavier clubheads produce flex, twist and droop, which reduce the consistency and accuracy that average golfers obtain from their equipment.

Nippon:We have produced steel iron shafts weighing around 50 grams, however durability and tip stability become concerns. But with lighter, stronger raw materials in development, shaft weights can get lower. At this time, there has not been much demand for sub-75-gram steel iron shafts.

Fujikura: When it adversely adjusts your swing by losing control of the club. Golfers can lose the feeling of the club at the top of their swing and create a bad transition down at the ball. As we continue to push the boundaries of the lightweight platform—as long as we can maintain stability and control—we'll go as light as possible.

Graphite Design: It seems that a shaft lighter than 40 grams is simply too light and almost too hard to control at high swing speeds. This also depends on durability.

GOLF TIPS: What are your thoughts about standard-izing shaft specs, so consumers would be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons when buying shafts?

Miyazaki Golf: That would be wonderful, but it won't happen. There's too much money to be made in golf, and a standardization wouldn't allow companies to honestly advertise their shaft specifications. Many shafts are sold on the premise of information based on that specific company's measurements and are dressed up to make its product look better than others. Another issue is that the OEM community operates with many different philosophies. Normally they like to sell clubs to everyone, but they all have a target group that they design around. Thus, you'll see one company's stiff flex as another's regular flex, based on the target market of its profile.

TT/Grafalloy: This will most likely never happen because each shaft and club manufacturer has an individual philosophy on flex, torque, lie, loft, etc. To that end, it's very important that consumers educate themselves and seek proper fitting for the right club/shaft combination for their individual games.

UST Mamiya: It's a great thought, but the shaft industry went down this road 10+ years ago with no resolution. The main issue we have is that every manufacturer (both shaft and club OEM) has its own methods for measuring shaft flex and torque. Changing these methods effectively renders all of its past data obsolete. What would be ideal is for an independent body to measure all shafts in the market and make the data available to the consumer.

Matrix: It's an interesting idea that was proposed years ago with the premise that all shaft companies would follow the ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) methods and publish findings accordingly. It didn't go very far. In the years since, scientific and technological advancements have allowed individual companies to develop methods that surpass the original proposal. Many of these would be considered trade secrets. It's unlikely that these methods will be shared.

Aldila: We'd love to standardize specs, but it would be very difficult. Every shaft and club manufacturer has a slightly different way to measure specs. And each feels its method is the best. Additionally, there's so much history ingrained within the companies with regard to shaft measurements, that changes would be a major hassle. Even if a standard measurement for flex/frequency could be established, it would likely be impossible to get everyone to agree on what constitutes a regular flex versus a stiff one, and so on.


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