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It has been argued that 80% of the performance of a golf club can be attributed to the shaft. The actual percentage figure may be debatable but there is little doubt that the golf shaft plays a major role in determining the performance characteristics of any club.
For this reason, careful consideration should be given to your shaft selection if you hope to play to your full potential.
At best, an ill-fitting or badly aligned shaft could be introducing random inconsistency into your game. At worst it can render a club virtually unplayable.
Today’s shaft industry is both thriving and highly competitive as the leading manufacturers strive to develop new technologies which can improve performance and make the game easier to play.
Role of the Shaft
Other than acting as a power transmission system from the golfer to the clubhead, the shaft has several other important roles to play. Shaft weight is the major variable in determining overall club weight.
A lighter club may help generate additional clubhead speed for the weaker players whilst a heavier club can often provide improved feel and timing for the stronger players.
Shaft flex contributes significantly towards timing and feel, both of which are essential for quality ball striking. Distance is achieved from proper timing, centre strikes and optimum launch angles, whilst accuracy depends so much upon the clubface angle at impact. In each case the shaft has an important role to play.
The aim is to find a shaft with the optimum combination of flex, weight, bend profile and torque, which delivers the clubhead into the ideal position at impact for maximum power and accuracy.
In the field of golf club technology, the golf shaft is still the great unknown, retaining a certain air of mystery. The same shaft in the hands of various players will often perform differently. Robotic testing of shafts definitely has limitations.
AGT is continuously looking for a better way of fitting shafts. With access now to shaft EI profiles we are in a better position to characterise shafts. We are also investigating better ways of characterising players so that we can better predict which type of shaft suits which type of player. Although progress is being made we still have a long way to go before shaft fitting is an exact science. So in the meantime our best advice is to test hit shafts on Trackman under the watchful eye of an experience clubfitter. The fitting centre at St Andrews Links Golf Academy is a great place to do just that.