We match your driver to your favorite club
There is One “best” Golf Shaft Flex For Each Player
All ads for golf clubs extol the development of new head design technology. See this site page Heads for the debunking of the ads. The role of the shaft in golf club performance is treated as a generic component ranked below the head, club length, swing weight and grip in importance. But several articles in golf magazines cited club improvements ascribed to shafts, so I decided to test the effect of shaft flex on shot distance and direction.
In order to separate the effect of the the shaft flex from all the other club design parameters, I constructed 30 six irons with the same club head model, grip and swing weight but with a shaft flex difference of just 1/7th (3 CPM) of a letter flex. These test irons were used to span the 90 CPM range from L to Xsiff starting at 240 CPM up to 330 CPM.
Information shown in these charts will probably never be published in golf magazines, because their advertisers wouldn’t profit from it. But once in awhile, an article sneaks by the censors like this one printed a long time ago in the February 1987 issue of Golf Digest. In answer to the question; “How would an amateur determine his best flex?” David Graham claimed “The best way to do this is to build a set around a favorite club’s shaft flex. I don’t believe 1 percent of golfers are playing with proper shaft flex and the shaft is 98 percent of a golf club for hitting more consistent shots”. David Graham never mentioned exactly how to assure other clubs in a set matched the favorite, but I figured out how to do it.
I noticed two interesting facts. First, after an hour long in-person test to determine a player’s best flex, every player with a favorite club, tested to the same shaft frequency of his favorite. Secondly, comparing handicap improvement between players with driver re-shafting to those re-shafting only their irons, the driver had much more impact than any other club and perhaps all the other clubs combined. This is probably due to the fact that it is hit more often and driver miss-hits run the score up more than miss-hits with other clubs.
My approach to shaft flex fitting shown in the tests above suffers from two drawbacks. It is accurate but time consuming. More importantly, it requires the physical presence of the player being fitted. This is where the Internet comes in. It provides the opportunity to contact players on a global scale so that their driver flex can be based on information derived from a their favorite club. This can be accomplished without the physical presence of the player and thereby replaces the in-person flex test described above. I have tried this short-cut fitting method locally and it is effective, as the testimonials describe. Your favorite club, any club longer than an 8 iron, can be used as a model for a perfectly fitted driver. I need the club at my shop to extract the weight, swing weight, flex(frequency), shaft bandwidth and flex profile and grip model and size, all of which need to be copied.
Now I am offering folks located around the country, who do not have access to our flex test facility, the opportunity to mail his, or her, favorite club, along with the offending diver, to us and we will re-shaft the driver to match the favorite. You driver may become your favorite!
Over 100 players in addition to Lucian were added to the mix in order to gain some statistical significance.
The chart on the left is the summation of the yardage difference between the best and worse flexes of all those tested. It illustrates the impact that the shaft flex has on distance. Not only is the average 14 yard difference much higher than expected, but many players had very large differences, as the chart on the left illustrates. Whoever said that shaft flex doesn’t matter is proven wrong. As the chart to the left shows, one had a difference between his best and worst flex less than 5 yards.
Of course not everyone is playing with their worse or their best flex. Half of those tested in the above sample, had their own clubs with them to compare to the test clubs. Only 8 of them, 15%, were playing with their best flex.
The average player was losing 9 yards with his 6 iron. A few were losing much more. This data supports the oft cited suspicion that nearly 90 % of players are playing with miss-fitted clubs, or we should say, their miss-fitted shafts.
Players with various handicaps volunteered to hit 3 shots with each of 30 six irons with flexes separated by 3 CPM.
Lucian’s test is shown on the left. His best flex is 302 CPM and flexes in both the senior and xstiff range reduce shot length by about 15 yards. Who said that flex does not matter? Wouldn’t you want to play with the 302 flex in your 6 iron, if you were Lucian?
Lucian took extra shots with flexes around the one indicated by the three shot test to verify that 302 was his best. Taking more shots did not change the outcome reached after only three shots, proving to many who have questioned the adequacy of basing the test on only 3 shots. See this site’s page Heads to see how little live data is needed before a trend develops.