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Get to Know Golf Club Shaft Materials and Jargon

Get to Know Golf Club Shaft Materials and Jargon

Get to Know Golf Club Shaft Materials and Jargon

Better golf equipment knowledge leads to greater confidence and better play, so let’s talk more about club shafts.

The shaft is a critical component of the golf club because it transfers the energy of the swing to the clubhead to initiate impact. 

As part of an ongoing series, 2nd Swing Golf is digging into its vaults to help inform today’s golfers a bit more about the clubs and equipment they depend upon. 

Here is an introduction to understanding the golf shaft better, so consumers can feel more confident walking into a store or buying online and then truly making informed purchasing decisions – and — improve their overall game. Here are four things all golfers should know about their clubs, which should help you get more excited about the sport, too, from 2nd Swing Golf Blog:

Modern materials (graphite, composites, metals, etc…)

Shafts, like clubheads, have increasingly benefited golfers with technological advances. Shafts, once made of wood, are now made primarily in graphite and steel. Stainless steel, in all its various gauges, ridges and ripples, remains the most common kind of shaft for irons and putters, although that’s starting to change.

Graphite-shafted clubs are generally lighter and have better vibration absorption characteristics than steel-shafted clubs. They are made up of layers upon thin layers of fiber material held together by various resins, all of which can be adjusted to conform to a certain degree of stiffness or flexibility for each player.

Steel-shafted clubs generally produce more consistent shot patterns and are generally heavier than graphite shafted clubs. Players desiring a softer feel than traditional steel shafted clubs will enjoy steel-shafted clubs equipped with vibration-filtering inserts.

Layered, fiber and resin composite graphite-shafted clubs are generally lighter and have better vibration absorption.

Layered, fiber and resin composite graphite-shafted clubs are generally lighter and have better vibration absorption.

Tipping

This is the removal of any particular length from the tip-end of a shaft. Tipping has the effect of making the shaft play stiffer — generally a third to a half flex for every 1/2 inch removed. Tipping can only be accomplished with parallel or unitized shafts.

These are the shaft tip ends, near the hosel and clubhead, where sections of shafts are removed or greater stiffness.

These are the shaft tip ends, near the hosel and clubhead, where sections of shafts are removed or greater stiffness.

Parallel tip

The configuration of the bottom-end of a shaft is where the outside diameter does not change throughout the insertion area. A benefit of parallel tip shafts in irons is that manufacturing can use blanks to both tip and butt cut to achieve the desired length and flex for each club in a set (this does not produce a set of constant weight shafts).

The parallel tip shaft diagram

A parallel-tip shaft diagram.

Taper tip

This is a configuration where the outside diameter of a shaft through the insertion area decreases. Unfortunately, tapered shafts cannot be tipped. The resulting bottom outside diameter would not fit all the way down into the hosel.

A graphic artist's rendering of a tapered shaft end.

A graphic artist’s rendering of a tapered shaft end.

 

Kickpoint (a.k.a. bend point)

The point on the shaft where the greatest amount of bending occurs is called the kickpoint or bend point. A shaft that bends near the head has a low kickpoint. A shaft that bends near the grip has a high kickpoint.

There is an inverse relationship between kickpoint and ball flight. A shaft with a high kickpoint will produce a low ball flight, and a shaft with a low kickpoint will produce a high ball flight.

The higher the kickpoint, the lower the ball flight and vice-versus. It's where the shaft bends the most during impact with the ball.

The higher the kickpoint, the lower the ball flight and vice-versus. It’s where the shaft bends the most during impact with the ball.

And there’s still more terminology, physics and golf science in general to learn when it comes to shafts. Look soon for our next 2nd Swing Golf Blog Golf I.Q. installment on shafts. 


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