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The Right Shaft Could Be Your Silver Bullet
http://www.publinksgolfer.net/articles/910/1/The-Right-Shaft-Could-Be-Your-Silver-Bullet/Page1.html
Rich Molden
 
By Rich Molden
Published on 04/1/2011
 

The Right Shaft Could Be Your Silver Bullet
The golf club shaft has often been referred to as the “engine” or “power train” of the golf club. Indeed it is the link between the golfer and the clubhead. While clubhead designs grab the headlines and writers wax poetic about their style and beauty, it is the shaft that powers our sticks. The shaft transfers the energy produced by the golfer to the clubhead and eventually to the ball. The overall goal is to find the golf shaft that optimizes an efficient release of energy without sacrificing control.

In this day and age of specialization, technology and modern materials have made finding the optimal shaft for not only the Tour professional, but the rest of us possible. Today’s top brand golf club manufacturers are using some very high end shafts as their “stock” offering. They choose this “stock” offering based on what will suit the needs and perform best for the largest cross section of golfers. And in the interest of full disclosure, if you find the right flex and proper length shaft for your swing you may not experience any significant benefit by switching from the stock shaft. But on the other hand, you just may find another 20 yards or 20 percent more fairways with just the right shaft. And that possibility is why we play the game! Here are some tips for your search for that elusive silver bullet.

Get Fit
When getting fit ball flight is king. Watch not only how it launches but also how it descends. Remember “it’s not how high it goes, it’s how it goes high.” You want to stay away from a shaft that shoots the ball up quickly only to drop out of the sky like a parachute. A shallow descent angle is ideal as it will stay in the air a bit longer, but more important will maximize your distance with roll. If possible use a launch monitor to verify ball flight and launch conditions. This will give you empirical data on the performance of the shaft.  Pay more attention to ball speed, spin rate and launch angle than clubhead speed and virtually discount distance on the launch monitor. Remember, if using only a launch monitor to test with your own golf balls before making a shaft purchase, as range balls are not what you play on the course.

Shaft Flex
The shaft flex is the indication of how much swing force is necessary to make the shaft perform optimally. Flexes range from light sometimes called senior, soft regular, A shaft or M shaft, regular, stiff and extra stiff. Players with slower swing speeds will likely be better served using light or regular flexes for extra distance, while players with faster swing speeds or quicker tempo will prefer stiff or extra stiff for control and shaping ability. Fact: most players are using a shaft that is too stiff for their swing.

Shaft Weight
This is one of the most important aspects of a shaft to consider. Most golfers will get more benefit from lighter shafts, as they will be able to generate more power assuming on-center contact. Most golfers are not strong enough to swing a shaft in the high 70 or 80-gram range. Too heavy of a shaft may feel good initially, but over time will sacrifice feel and performance for most golfers.

Shaft Bend (Kickpoint or Bendpoint)
The bend point, i.e. the spot on the shaft that bends when it is swung, determines the ball’s trajectory. A lower bend, or kickpoint will generate a higher ball flight, while a high bend point will create a low shot trajectory. If you are looking for something in between, go with a mid rating bend point for the best of both worlds. In fact some higher end shafts now give specific flex ratings at 3 points on the shaft, butt, mid-section and tip. Don’t be overly concerned here, as the difference between high and low kickpoint is nominal to most golfers.

Shaft Length
Be sure to experiment here. As a rule of thumb, the longer the length the less accurate you will be with your driver. But like all rules, this one is made to be broken. For years most touring professionals used drivers that were 43 to 44 inches long. Today the average length for a tour driver is almost 45 inches. The most important factor for optimal distance is the ability to contact the clubface in the center. While a longer club shaft will increase club head speed, making center contact will enable you to be more accurate and not sacrifice distance.  

Experiment, Experiment, Experiment!
With interchangeable shafts and heads on fitting carts, experiment with not only different shafts but different flexes and weights. Don’t assume that since you use a Stiff shaft from one manufacturer that a Regular or on the other hand an X flex from a different manufacturer may not suit you better. Just because you like a “little more heft” in your driver don’t rule out a lighter overall weight shaft with a lower balance point that may actually reduce the overall weight of the club while still maintaining the club’s swing weight. It’s key to work with a fitting professional that also understands the golf swing. This will best help you find the optimal shaft for not only your clubhead but your swing.



ACCRA Tour Z and Tour Z+
TThese shafts incorporate a constant taper design from butt to tip designed to add stability yet and increase energy transfer. The tip section is extremely stable yet the torque is not too low. This offers stability without the harsh feel typical of tip firm shafts. This is achieved by inserting a Kevlar wrap deep inside the core of the tip section. The Tour Z and Z+ have similar flex, weight, frequency, mid stiffness, butt stiffness and torque. The Tour Z+ is designed for those with quick transitions and higher club head speeds while the Tour Z has identical specifications except for a more responsive tip section for the smoother swinger. We’ve seen Accra shafts used on Tour by Luke Donald, Rickey Barnes and Aaron Baddeley. www.accragolf.com


Aldila RIP
Aldila RIP features the company’s Reverse Interlaminar Placement technology which features lower torque, increased tip stability and better tip stiffness control. For 2011, the RIP is available in 3 models. The original RIP, the Alpha (shown) produces a low to mid launch. The RIP Beta has a slightly softer tip flex for mid launch, while the Gamma has the same launch characteristics as the Alpha but with a higher balance point for use with heavier heads to achieve conventional swingweight. We’ve seen R.I.P. used on TOUR by Graeme McDowell, Geoff Ogilvy and Adam Scott.
www.aldila.com


Fujikura Blur
The “Blur” stands for “Beyond Light, Ultra-Responsive.” The lightweight, higher balance-point shafts are designed to accelerate faster and generate greater swing speeds without compromising the solid and controllable feel typically absent in lightweight shafts. Features include: a proprietary Phantium finish that is up to 70% lighter than standard paint finishes, CAGE construction allowing for thinner, lighter walls yet still providing the stability, feel and control of a heavier shaft and Spread Tow Carbon Interweave, a thinner weave for less crimping of fibers which enhances responsiveness.  We’ve seen the Blur used on TOUR by Padraig Harrington.     www.fujikuragolf.com


Fujikura Motore Speeder VC
The Motore Speeder VC series is ”supercharged” with Quadra Axis Composite and Triax Woven material, creating the company’s 7-Axis technology. The uniformity throughout the shaft helps eliminate deformation and provides the maximum amount of feel through the entire swing to increase overall performance and stability, while providing unparalleled distance and accuracy. The Motore Speeder VC Line is available in a variety of spin and launch options to match your swing. We’ve seen the Speeder VC used on TOUR by Ian Poulter, Hunter Mahan & Anthony Kim.   www.fujikuragolf.com


Grafalloy ProLaunch AMP
The ProLaunch AMP (Advanced Material Performance) offers the finest carbon fiber materials available in a unique layup pattern to power long, straight drives, says the company. By incorporating Grafalloy’s exclusive Axis technology, engineers were able to reduce torque, while providing increased hoop integrity in the grip and mid sections of the shaft for maximum energy transfer. A and R flexes feature high trajectory tip designs, while the S and X progressively stiffens to bring the ball flight down for stronger swingers.  www.grafalloy.com.


Grafalloy BooYah
Grafalloy’s ultra-superlite designed BooYah incorporates the finest high modulus carbon fiber material available, claims the company. BooYah’s low bend point, high trajectory design produces maximum launch angle and peak trajectory. The cross sectional profile of the grip and mid sections of the shaft have been enhanced and the overall shaft flex softened compared to traditional designs. This results in significant improvements in both feel and energy transfer to the ball at impact, while maintaining stability and integrity.
www.grafalloy.com.


Graphite Design Tour AD DJ-6
The Tour AD DJ shaft is designed and manufactured exclusively at Graphite Design Japan with Toray Company’s Nanomaterial technology in the tip section of the shaft. The Tour AD DJ is a mid kick point shaft that produces a high launch with mid range ball spin which is slightly higher than the Tour AD DI. Models are available for golfers in a wide range of swing speeds, from 70 – 110 mph, to increase in overall distance while maintaining optimal launch and spin characteristics. We’ve seen the Tour AD used on TOUR by Bernard Langer. www.gdintl.com


Mitsubishi Diamana Kai’ll
The Diamana Kai’li, is part of the newest generation Diamana series. It incorporates Multi-Dimensional Interlay technology (M.D.I.) into the original Diamana Blue Board bend profile with slightly lower torque as well as a stiffer tip and butt section. The Kai’li is for the player who wants the smooth and stable bend profile associated with Diamana Blue Board but also with a more stable tip-section that produces lower launch and spin characteristics. We’ve seen the Kaili used on TOUR by Francesco Molinari. www.mitsubishirayongolf.com


Mitsubishi Diamana ‘ahina
The Diamana ‘ahina is for the player with high ball speeds looking to maximize stability and control through an extremely low torque, low launch profile. The ‘ahina utilizes a similar bend profile to the original Diamana White Board shaft, and like Kai’li also incorporates Mitsubishi Rayon’s signature M.D.I. technology to deliver a stiffer mid and tip section than its predecessor. Diamana ‘ahina’s extreme low torque, low spin design provides the flatter trajectory and low spin preferred by stronger players. We seen the Ahina used on TOUR by Tim Clark.  www.mitshubishirayongolf.com


Miyazaki C. Kua
Miyazaki Golf Shafts is a premium shaft brand with more than 20 years of graphite shaft innovation and development. Their new C. Kua series pushes the limits of weight reduction while maintaining the flex profile and stability. The C. Kua Series (59, 43 & 39) is ultra light and designed to increase both swing speed and distance. The C. Kua 39 series is the lightest shaft played on Tour. We’ve seen Miyazaki C. Kua shafts in the hands of Boo Weekly, Skip Kendall, Jamie Lovemark and Glen Day.  www.miyazakigolfshafts.com


nVentix Nunchuk
The company’s proprietary Tri-Zonal Stability (TZS) technology enables golfers of all playing abilities, professionals, men, women, seniors and juniors to all play the exact same golf shaft making the Nunchuk the most unique shaft we’ve ever tested. It works for “Johnny” Vegas, who uses the Nunchuk in his driver, 3 wood and hybrid, it may work for you. Give it a try. We did. And we were impressed. www.nventix.com


Oban Kiyoshi
The Kiyoshi is the latest addition to Oban’s line of high performance composite golf shafts. This unique shaft design utilizes Emersion Wrapped Frequency Technology - offering high launch and low spin ball flight characteristics. Torques will vary depending on the shaft weight class. Emersion Wrapped Frequency (EWF) Technology combines high modulus and ultra-thin carbon fiber sheets using a proprietary new design process. This results in multi-directional shaft strength enabling significantly improved torque control, bend points, and stability with less ovalization.  We’ve seen the Kiyoshi used on TOUR by Robert Garrigus, Brian Gay & Charles Howell III.  www.obanshafts.com


UST ATTAS T2
The Attas T2 is designed for the player seeking a mid launch and penetrating ball flight. The flex profile of theT2 shafts has been flattened, removing that hinged feeling common in many graphite shafts. The AttasT2 uses reduced ply inserts and maximized full length layers creating a better balance between torque and flex for more efficient shaft loading and a smoother bend profile. The use of Ultra-High modulus, low resin content materials along with its constant taper design offers players more energy transfer to the ball and allows the shaft to maintain its shape and recover more consistently for tighter shot dispersion. We seen the ATTAS used on TOUR by Robert Allenby, Justin Leonard and Stewart Cink. www.ustmamiya.com


UST ProforceAXIVCore Tour Green
The ProforceAXIVCore Tour Green is an all-new, Tour-proven design that integrates AXIV a true weave, 4-axis material within the inner walls of the tip section, providing a firmer tip profile that produces lower ball flight and reduced spin for better control without sacrificing feel. The shaft’s center of gravity is closer to the tip to allow players to better feel the position of the clubhead through the swing. The Tour Green uses high modulus carbon fiber in the butt and mid section and is available in multiple weights and flexes to fit various swing profiles. The Proforce AVIVCore Tour Green joins the Black, Blue and Red versions used successfully on Tour by D.A. Points, Webb Simpson and J.B. Holmes.  www.ustmamiya.com