Shaft Fitting

By Bruce MartinJanuary 20, 2008, 5:00 pm

Editor's Note: Bruce Martin is a PGA Master Professional with the San Diego Golf Academy. SDGAs program offers a curriculum of golf instruction and golf business management at all four golf schools, and provides graduates with the education required to get the golf job they desire. You'll soon be teaching others how to improve their game! Click here to learn more about SDGA

The shaft is the engine of the club. One major goal all club fitters encounter is to properly fit their students with the correct shafts. This article will discuss the keys toward determining the proper shafts for the Golf Channel viewers. Shaft technology is constantly improving. Consumer shaft options are enormous. New shaft companies are in the market on a monthly basis. Current shaft manufacturers offer a wide array of shafts for drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, and putters.
During the swing, the shaft bends in three directions:

  • On the transition of the swing from the top / downswing, the shaft will lag or load. This is also classified as stored energy.

  • Just prior to impact, at impact, or after impact, the shaft will lead. This is released energy.

  • In addition to lagging and leading, the shaft will also bend toe down = shaft droop. This will flatten the lie angle, which is a major concern for your irons.

With the shaft bending in three directions, how can one consistently return the clubface to a square position while maximizing the potentials for distance and accuracy? The answer may be in properly fitted shafts.
In order to determine the proper shaft for each golfer, proceed to the following steps:
The majority of golfers will experience the following ball flights ' (Right handed)
Shaft too stiff - Low and to the right = fades, slices, push slices.
Shafts too flexible ' High and to the left = draws, hook, pull hooks.
General guide for shaft stiffness (Based on driver club head speed):
  • X-stiff 110-115+ mph

  • Stiff 100+ mph

  • Regular 90+ mph

  • Senior 80+ mph

If you hook the ball too much, try a stiffer shaft.
If you slice the ball too much, try a more flexible shaft.
Lower kick point shafts will produce higher ball flights = excellent for the following golfers:
  • Lower ball flights

  • Slower to average club head speeds

  • Players that reverse pivot / reverse weight shift

  • Players needing more carry distance and higher trajectories

Higher kick point shafts will produce lower ball flights = excellent for the following golfers:
  • Too high of ball flight

  • Higher club head speeds

  • Players that hang back / have trouble shifting their weight forward

  • Scoopers = adds more dynamic loft at impact

  • Stronger players that need more of a penetrating ball flight

To determine the proper length, have your local PGA Golf professional take a look at your posture at setup and your ability to hit the sweetspot / centeredeness consistently.
Length Considerations:
Longer shafts = Offers more distance, but sacrifices accuracy and consistency.
Shorter shafts = Offers less distance, and more accuracy and consistency.
Putting = Too many putter shafts are designed too long. This may sacrifice the golfers abilities to line up properly and produce an improper path.
Graphite shafted irons ' Manufacturers typically design these shafts 1 longer than standard steel shafts.
Changing length = For every change, the lie angle will also change 1 degree.
Ex: Adding 1 to standard lie angles will produce a 2 degree upright lie angle.
Graphite or Steel?
Look at any PGA or LPGA tour event and you will see the majority of players with steel shafted irons and graphite shafted metal woods. Why, Steel offers more consistency and graphite has the potential for increased distance.
Benefits of graphite shafts:
  • Lighter = potential for more speed

  • Higher launch angles

  • Modern technology = wide variations of launch angles and spin rates

  • Heavier shafts generally will be stiffer

  • Tests have proven that shock absorption occurs ' great for golfers with arthritis or tendonitis.

Benefits of steel shafts:
  • More consistency

  • More reliable with frequency matched stiffness

  • Heavier ' This may help the players tempo and feel

  • Ability to control distance and trajectory better with irons

  • A few companies like True Temper (Sensicore) offers a shock absorption device built inside the shaft

Cross Profiling
An experienced club fitter can offer a variety of different shaft manufacturers once the specifications have been determined. This is a great experience for any golfer to demo similar shaft flexes, kick points, weights, lengths to determine the optimal launch angles, spin rates, carry and overall distance, and consistency between different brands. Several fitting facilities offer this technology with cross profiling between manufacturers.

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Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

"A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

"If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

"I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"

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The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

"It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

"It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

"I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

"If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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LPGA lists April date for new LA event

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.