We match your driver to your favorite club
History of Shaftuner
My name is George Hodgetts, the author of the book Match Your Driver to Your Favorite Club and the founder of Shaftuner, assembled this web site to reach a wider audience than local golfers. The beginning of the technology on which the company is based, started around 1977 when I received a catalog from a company named “Golf Day Products”. By 1980, I learned that a strobe light and a grip vise could be used to accurately determine the flex of a shaft. Being an electrical engineer, I was able to build a crude golf club frequency meter to measure the flex of my set of clubs. Their flexes were erratic so I re-shafted my entire set so that their flexes progressed evenly from club to club on a club length-frequency chart recommended by True Temper.
Of course, I had no way to determine what overall flex I needed in the first place, but at least all my club’s flexes were “frequency matched” to each other causing an immediate drop in my handicap. Many years latter I would develop a method for testing players with test clubs that identified the exact “best” flex for each individual and a better method for matching clubs in a set than the straight line method recommended at the time.
In 1983, a PGA touring pro named Rex Caldwell came to Pleasant Valley in Sutton, MA, to play the annual PGA tournament, after missing almost all the cuts for the previous three months due to a broken driver. In an article appearing in the Boston Globe , he claimed he had tried 15 drivers to replace his broken one, without success. I borrowed his old broken driver and delivered a new copy of his driver, as it was before it broke, to him the next day. His old driver shaft was miss-marked by 1.5 flexes. The odds are that Rex could have tried another hundred drivers with the same lettered flex marked on the shaft band and never found a good match to his old driver. Two weeks later, using my free driver, he won the Lajet Classic and went from 150th to 5th on the PGA Money Winners List that year. I was able to copy his old club in a few hours using a technique similar to one I was later to patent in 1992 on Golf Club Frequency and Bandwidth Analysis.
Golf club xerography was born .
In the early 1980’s, knowing that some flexes worked better than others for each player, I tried to come up with a way to find each player’s “best” flex. My training in the early 1970’s in nuclear physics with spectral analysis called gamma ray spectroscopy gave me the idea to build a set of test clubs that would span the entire flex spectrum and identify which flexes worked better than others. Initially, my test club shafts covered the range from Reg to Xstiff and later included Senior (A flex) and Ladies (L flex). Each player to be fitted hit shots with each club and the average shot length achieved with each was plotted across the flex spectrum, as shown on the Shaft Flex page, thereby revealing the “best” flex for that player.
In 1990, another spectral analysis technique occurred to me. Why not determine the frequency response of a golf club by shaking it over a band of frequencies. So I obtained a shaking machine and found that each club with a resonant point centered on its natural frequency (see Bandwidth) yielded additional data on its frequency response to frequencies around the resonant point. (The frequency meters commonly used today can measure only the resonant frequency). This analyzer allowed clubs with the same natural frequency, a measure of shaft stiffness, to be distinguished from each other by the extra information obtained with this machine. A patent on this technique was granted to me. The width of the plotted response curve is called bandwith, as described on the this site by that page name.
Later, I began gathering a third form of spectral analysis, this time one that characterizes a player’s consistency. This swing speed spectrum could be matched to the shaft bandwidth spectrum providing a measure of tempo forgiveness. The cascading of spectras probably sounds like engineers measuring everything in sight just because they can. I expect you to be skeptical, but read the pages on this site or buy the book for greater detail and you will see the merit in our method of finding your best driver shaft.
Here is the reason that we need raw swing speed data, not just the average number. When a player records 15 to 20 swings, the probability distribution of his swing speeds becomes a measure of consistency. The distribution plot looks like a normal probability distribution, although mathematicians might correct me on this name. It is my theory, borne out by many experiments, that the width of the swing speed probability distribution should be matched roughly to the width of the club bandwidth for consistency of play. Without the swing speed distribution data taken from a prospective customer, a favorite club most probably has the correct bandwidth, which I can measure and reproduce in his driver.
We know that getting just the driver to match the favorite club yields the most benefit compared to other clubs since it is used most frequently, after the putter. It has been proven just how important increasing fairways hit (FHIR) leads to more greens hit (GHIR) and lower scores. Check those two statistics published after each PGA tournament and compare either to money won.
Find the courage to send your favorite club to me along with your driver, you will be glad you did.