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GOLF CONDITIONING
Sunday
May082016

Lightweight Shafts

We have been testing new lightweight graphite shafts for drivers, and new lightweight steel shafts for irons. They have transformed our view of the performance that can be expected from golf clubs built with these radical new designs. The reduction in overall club weight facilitates faster club head speed and yields increased distance.

The key to the performance of these shafts is in the distinct properties of the materials and construction techniques used in production. New graphite materials and steel alloys allow for thin but strong shaft walls that remain stable under the changing forces in a downswing and through impact. The distribution in stiffness, torque, and weight distribution along the length of the shaft can be engineered to achieve predictable responsiveness for different swing styles.

Driver shafts weighing ~50 g or less reduce the MOI of the club making it easier to swing at faster club head speeds. High structural stability and moderate to low torque through the mid and tip sections reduces shot dispersion thereby resulting in improved control and accuracy. Lightweight driver shafts especially benefit players with moderate swing speeds and a smooth swing tempo.

For irons, retaining a soft but stable feel in steel shafts has finally been achieved with new alloys and production methods that can make them the preferred choice compared to conventional graphite alternatives. Steel minimizes the consistency problems that often plague the bulk manufactured graphite shafts typically found in off-the-rack clubs.

Not all lightweight steel shafts have the same responsiveness since alloys and production strategies vary among manufacturers. Differences in shaft playability are magnified in players with a smooth tempo compared to players who have a strong attack early in the downswing. 

We encourage golfers to play custom fit lightweight clubs and discover the benefits to their game. Players at all skill levels will see improvements that are simply not found with traditional component weights. Performance of irons with built with these new lightweight steel shafts can be liberating.

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