Shafts are often referred as the engine of the club and therefore the most important part of the club with regard to the accuracy and distance achieved when making a swing. Factors such as length, flex, weight, and kick point all have an impact on the performance of your clubs. There are various types of shafts which include steel, graphite or composite, multi material as well as titanium shafts. Shaft weights can vary greatly and with today’s manufacturing processes it is becoming easier to produce lighter steel shafts than ever before. A basic rule of thumb in shafts is that the longer the shaft the further the ball should fly. The downside to this is; the longer the shaft the less accurate the shot, so this is often the cause of frustration with your driver and woods.

Steel shafts are stronger and cheaper than graphite shafts and are the traditional materials used in shafts. Steel shafts offer more control and are less affected by torque and lateral twisting found in graphite shafts. Most players would benefit by having steel shafted clubs as they offer greater feel and control with less emphasis on distance. Steel shaft clubs do require more speed than graphite with regard to distance but the difference is nominal. There are two types of steel shafts namely stepped steel and Rifle steel.

Stepped steel shafts gradually reduce the diameter of the shaft from the butt (top) end to the tip (bottom) of the shaft which is then inserted into the hosel of the clubhead. During the forming process the tip is made thinner and the top thicker so to create kick points and flexibility in the shaft. Afterwards the shaft is hardened and then chrome plated. These types of shafts are used by the majority of manufacturers in today’s clubs.

Rifle steel shafts differ in that the shaft is the same diameter from the top to the bottom of the shaft. These types of shafts are frequency matched using electronic calibration thus matching the flex of a shaft throughout an entire set.

Graphite shafts are generally lighter, more flexible and more expensive than steel shafts. You are able to generate more swing speed due to the lightness of these shafts but this tends to impact on accuracy. Graphite shafts are of much advantage to lady golfers as well as senior players who cannot generate very high swing speeds. I also believe that they are of benefit for junior golfers, but a player should be encouraged to change over to steel as soon as possible. Your once a month golfer would also find these shafts more forgiving as they do tend to dampen the vibrations when not hitting the ball quite in the centre of the club.

Please also remember that these shafts need more care than steel shafts so make the effort to protect them especially when transporting them to different destinations.

Multi material shafts are exactly what the name says. They are new to the game and the thinking behind them is to attempt to get the consistency of steel combined with the distance or kick action offered by graphite. The graphite tip is also a means to lessen vibration in shots hit less than perfectly.

Titanium shafts are new and little is known or readily available about them. The idea is that titanium is lighter than steel and the thinking is that this will once again bring steel shafts in line with graphite shafts with regard to the extra distance offered by graphite shafts. Watch this space for more information as soon as I have it.


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