How to choose High or Low Launch Shafts for your game
High launch or low launch shafts can dramatically alter your ball flight, but not in the way you might expect. Which is right for you?
A shaft may be called a high launch shaft but it may not produce a higher flight for 100% of golfers, 100% of the time.
Guess what? A low launch shaft is much the same.
If you get a bunch of golfers with different swings, and give them enough balls, you'll see that the Pareto principle applies where a high launch shaft produces a higher flight 80% of the time and does the exact opposite for the remaining 20%.
But are things as straightforward when determining whether a high launch or low launch shaft is more suitable for you and your play?
The good news is this.
When you hit a shot with your high launch or low launch shaft, there are quantifiable variables that can affect the ball flight and therefore the resultant high or low launch.
This would include strike point, dynamic loft and angle of attack.
For example, you need to know what your tendencies are in relation to the strike point.
Sometimes, some golfers may think that if they hit the ball low, they would need a high launch shaft.
But the golfer's delivery in using the high launch shaft might not give him the desired outcome; this could be that the golfer is having too much on the upward angle of attack, that the chances are for a lower strike on the face.
This then becomes an instance where the golfer’s delivery over-rides what the shaft can do.
There are also cases where a low launch shaft has produced a higher ball flight with more spin and with tighter dispersion, than a high launch shaft.
When you change into the right shaft – be it a high launch or low launch shaft as marketed by the manufacturer - you would be able to address some of the characteristics that you might have found challenging.
Like we say here at Smashing Drives - The best shaft is the right shaft for you.
This will free you from being stuck with, and needing to adjust your swing to fit a specific strike point, certain load characteristics of the shaft, how the club can work more dynamically in your hands, etc.
Having the correct shaft allows us to create timing and present the club face in the right manner, be it the bend profile of the shaft, its balance point or its overall weight.
And do it naturally.
For example, the bend profile of the shaft aka the EI (elasticity inertia) profile allows you to see how stiff the shaft is.
This is simply the elasticity of the shaft material and the thickness of the shaft’s cross section being combined into the stiffness of the shaft at any point.
For the tech geeks – EI is measured by systemically applying pressure at multiple points of the shaft and measuring the deflection which is then transformed into EI by factoring the weight of the load, length of the beam and the amount of deflection.
Shafts will bend at different points.
As your swing energy courses through the shaft, different energies will be created at different parts of the shaft which will then in turn create the corresponding dynamics that get worked into the clubhead – to make it open, have more dynamic loft etc.
So ultimately – whether high launch or low launch shaft – it really depends on who the person behind the shaft is, for it to simply be “the right shaft”.
While the differentiation between a high launch and low launch shaft may be more discernible when your strike pattern is more consistent in the middle rather than up and down the club face, the other half of this story is that the right shaft for you is one which would work best to match your timing, your delivery, angle of attack, the dynamic loft you produce i.e. one that would be in sync with how you deliver your stroke and obviously, all in tandem with the club head of choice.
So come get fitted and see which shaft completes your club best.
There is really no point in leaving these things to the luck of a draw (pun intended) when you have the tools to increase probabilities.
Our Master Fitter has fitted thousands of high handicap golfers around the world, including me :) On the other hand, he has also fitted the best golfers in the world, such as Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh!