Understanding Your Shaft
Understand all these shaft terms - kick point, torque, balance point, weight, flex, and what they mean for your swing.
A couple of weeks ago we wrote about various shaft variables.
After that we got a bunch of questions about what they all mean.
So, I thought I would explain some of the key ones quickly.
Graphite or Steel
The first thing you need to choose is material.
Are you going to use a steel shaft or graphite shaft? What you will need to consider here is weight and feedback on impact. Steel shafts tend to be heavier, and you feel impact a lot more than a graphite shaft. Steel shafts also tend to be cheaper than graphite shafts.
Next you would need to decide on flex. Flex is the amount the shaft bends or bows during a downswing. The faster you swing, the more your shaft will bend.
While we addressed this briefly when speaking of material choice, even within graphite or steel shafts, you can get heavier and lighter shafts. Weight has a huge impact on how a person swings the club, a lot more than people give it credit for.
A heavier shaft can help you swing more naturally, and a lighter shaft can help you swing faster. A heavier shaft also helps you feel the club better, but you may start struggling mid way through a round.
Finally, the shaft weight has a huge bearing on how we would build the club. The heavier the shaft the less impact adjusting the weight of the head and grip are going to have, and that affects the overall swing weight.
Related to weight and how we would build out the whole club, balance point is where the shaft and club ends up balancing. A heavier club with a high balance point could feel and swing considerably differently from the same club with a lower balance point.
Balance point of the shaft is considered in how we trim the shafts for assembly, as that has a huge impact on the eventual balance point of the club.
The most obvious determinant of length is a golfer’s height and address position. Afterall, the club needs to reach the ball in a way that is comfortable for the golfer. Another key determinant is how consistently the golfer can swing his clubs.
Shorter clubs are easier to hit consistently, and longer shafts generate more clubhead speed and distance, so a balance needs to be struck.
Length also affect feel and swing weight. The longer the shaft, the heavier the club will be. There’s just more material. But it will also feel heavier than the actual weight increase since the lever (shaft) is longer and puts the weight (shaft and head) further away from the fulcrum (your hands).
Bend point/ Flex point/ Kick point
All of these mean the same thing – where the shaft bends the most during downswing and through impact.
They are typically characterized into low kick, mid kick, and high kick point shafts, and typically related to flex. The stiffer the flex the lower the kick point.
This is because a low kick point helps you generate spin and get the ball in the air. Something which slower swingers, who use softer shafts need.
A higher kick point shaft will help you keep the ball down by generating less spin. This is something that a faster swinger needs.
Kick point also has an impact on feel, and while these are a good rule of thumb, nothing beats actually swinging the club and feeling how it works for you.
In close to 25 years of clubfitting, I’ve never met a golfer with a typical swing.
So, if your swing doesn’t fit the “typical” kick point manufacturers, don’t worry. We can still make the shaft work for you by adjusting the tipping, and trimming of the shaft.
This the amount the shaft twists during the downswing and through impact.
Related to kick point, a slower swinging golfer may benefit from a high torque shaft and vice versa.
I hope this article helped your understanding on some of the considerations that we need to take into account in choosing a shaft.
These are all rules of thumb. No 2 golfers are the same, and so all of these rules can be broken, but only for your advantage.
And the only way to know for sure, is to let us measure your swing and build the clubs that will bring the best out of your game.