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Sschaffer24

The Questions Some Are Afraid To Ask...

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I wouldn't go so far as to say that a launch monitor is the end all be all of shaft fitting.  There is no launch monitor on a course, just feel and ball flight.  Personally I am a numbers guy so I do like to see what's happening through a launch monitor, but it really comes down to whether or not a shaft performs for you and if you like the feel of it.

 

I know plenty of guys who can pick a shaft based off ball flight and feel.  Sure maybe they could drop another 200rpms with a different shaft on a launch monitor, but the bottom line is really how does it play on the course for you?

 

As for how someone goes about picking a shaft I really do think there needs to be a level of understanding of what a shaft is supposed to do before pulling the trigger blindly.  For me the shafts I've tried blindly have often related to a shaft that I was fit for.  For instance a few years back I was fit for an Oban Kiyoshi in my driver.  I liked it and it performed so I decided to try them out in a fairway and hybrid.  I wasn't fit for either of those and I never went on a launch monitor to see what numbers I was putting up or if something else would fit better, but I liked the ball flight, distance, feel so I kept playing them.

 

This year I grabbed a Diamana D+ shaft for my hybrid since I was recently fit into the driver version of the shaft.  Don't know if it works yet since our courses aren't open, but it's an educated guess.

 

It really comes down to a choice of getting fit and extrapolating off that fitting, or going through a bit of trial and error on your own to find out what types of things you are looking for in a shaft.  Once you have an understanding of the types of things you like you can research different options and make an educated guess.

 

Some of the best places I've found for information on shafts comes from various blogs (like Wishon), message boards (like here) and actually from the manufacturers websites as well.  You may have to dig through some marketing BS, but they actually do a pretty good job of saying what a given shaft is engineered to do.

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That makes perfect sense.

 

So in reality it's more about understanding me as a golfer and the working with what I want to chance to Improve a specific club.

 

Let's say you do understand your game. Pretend someone wants to lower their ball flight, raise it, lower spin and raise launch. Whatever you want to pick.

 

How would someone who wants to change one of those specific characteristics be able to look at a manufacturers website and understand what variables effect those ball flight characteristics?

 

Is it basically just like reading a description and following that? Or does a certain kick point change launch conditions, and does torque have an effect on different characteristics? How about tip stiffness and so on?

 

I know a swing style plays a huge role on that but I'm just curious. Like for example say you have a golfer whose in the market for a shaft, he sees the new Motore Speeder shafts come out and decides he wants to try one. How could that golfer go to the website and reasonably understand the differences between that line of shafts?

 

I feel an example may be the best way to look at this. Hopefully it makes sense! Haha.

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Start doing searches for reviews on different shafts. People usually compare characteristics to other shafts. You will start to understand how some common shafts compare to each other. And if you try some of them you'll develop a baseline for yourself to compare to.

 

I know of a guy who presents himself as a Shaft Guru. Anyone posts a question about any shaft and he is answering with tremendous detail. The thing is, he has only played for a few years and isn't a very good player from what I've been told. It's impossible for him to have acquired that knowledge from first hand experience with so many shafts. He must read everything he can about them and regurgitate it online.

 

My point is, if someone can make people believe they are an expert on shafts based more on what they read than their experience, you kind of get an idea of how much information is available about any shaft you're curious about.

 

That said, I'm sure a lot of it are reviews based more on people's impressions going in due to what they read before hand than what they experienced. What would be cool would be to see what some of these people would write about a shaft if they were handed a blank one and told nothing about it, no expectations, no knowledge of what it was designed to do. It would be interesting to see what they could write with a totally blank slate, and how many would describe it even close to what the design intent was.

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Start doing searches for reviews on different shafts. People usually compare characteristics to other shafts. You will start to understand how some common shafts compare to each other. And if you try some of them you'll develop a baseline for yourself to compare to.

 

I know of a guy who presents himself as a Shaft Guru. Anyone posts a question about any shaft and he is answering with tremendous detail. The thing is, he has only played for a few years and isn't a very good player from what I've been told. It's impossible for him to have acquired that knowledge from first hand experience with so many shafts. He must read everything he can about them and regurgitate it online.

 

My point is, if someone can make people believe they are an expert on shafts based more on what they read than their experience, you kind of get an idea of how much information is available about any shaft you're curious about.

 

That said, I'm sure a lot of it are reviews based more on people's impressions going in due to what they read before hand than what they experienced. What would be cool would be to see what some of these people would write about a shaft if they were handed a blank one and told nothing about it, no expectations, no knowledge of what it was designed to do. It would be interesting to see what they could write with a totally blank slate, and how many would describe it even close to what the design intent was.

I have done the blank prototype shaft several times for true temper/project x/grafalloy (they're one company) through a review program I'm part of. The thing is, we have to submit our reviews to true temper and they use them for their marketing and we're no allowed to discuss the blanks. We get to get the shafts before release and submit a form they have with our thoughts. Once those are all turned in, we're notified of what shaft it is and get the opportunity to have the blank replaced with the actual graphics version. Which we can then review. I've done that with the PX Black, PXv, Grafalloy Blue, and a few others. The ProjectX LZ I have now we were permitted to discuss freely for launch ( which I need to update the review in doing on it).

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I have done the blank prototype shaft several times for true temper/project x/grafalloy (they're one company) through a review program I'm part of. The thing is, we have to submit our reviews to true temper and they use them for their marketing and we're no allowed to discuss the blanks. We get to get the shafts before release and submit a form they have with our thoughts. Once those are all turned in, we're notified of what shaft it is and get the opportunity to have the blank replaced with the actual graphics version. Which we can then review. I've done that with the PX Black, PXv, Grafalloy Blue, and a few others. The ProjectX LZ I have now we were permitted to discuss freely for launch ( which I need to update the review in doing on it).

That's cool! Think you can post what you wrote initially afterward? Don't think I've read a review done on a shaft before knowing what the shaft was.

 

It would be a great review process if MGS could send out blank shafts. The testers not even knowing who made them. Then after the review is written, what the shaft is, is revealed and then testers could add thoughts on how that knowledge affected their opinions after the fact.

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I think that is one of the coolest ideas I've heard. And rookie I'm happy to hear a company is doing it and ultimately I'd love to hear your thoughts on the whole process and how it works out to your advantage.

 

As for what you guys have said about finding the information, I guess you're probably right. The thing is, I don't want to be misled by the marketing. I think you are absolutely correct Blade.

 

If someone reads a review saying a shaft is supposed to be smooth and whippy, then guess what they are most likely going to think? It's just the effect that any review has on someone.

 

Like for instance I bet that the Most Wanted Driver test changed a lot of people's perspectives on different clubs just because of where they ranked.

 

That may do someone a disservice though because golfer X may hit the 9th best driver better than the SLDR or so on. I'm very interested to hear about your shaft process rookie.

 

As for me, my question is this. For the average handicapper (say somewhere between 12-16) do you think that that person would greatly benefit from taking let's say their driver of choice and having a fitting done to find the perfect shaft? OR would that golfer benefit more from investing that money into something else aside from lessons?

 

In other words, for your typical golfer does finding the perfect shaft really have much of a place or an effect?

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I am not an expert and I am not a good golfer yet but in my experience, the shaft is as important or even more important than the head (Drivers and woods anyway). This will be my 4th season playing and I have tried probably 10 to 15 shafts in drivers and 3 woods. I was always told that I needed to slow my swing down. I always said I just needed to find the right shaft to fit my swing. During my search I broke 6 driver shafts and two 3 wood shafts across my back (never on purpose). I now know what profile and style of a shaft works the best for me. I currently swing a shaft that is 4x flex and has been tipped 3" (plays 44"). It should not work for my swing because I am not swinging 130 mph any more but it has been the best shaft I have ever used. All of the data behind the shaft is important to a point, but there is nothing like getting out and hitting it to see if it works for your swing.

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That's very interesting. I'll have to do some more reading. After I have a chance to play with my covert through the season I think I want to try and find something for my club. It's just the next step for me in my mind.

 

What do you guys do that don't have access to launch monitors to test these? Just pay attention to ball flight and feel? It seems so unscientific. Which is weird with how scientific and data centric people are becoming with fitting anymore.

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I have access to a TrackMan, but I never get on it until I get it down to where the flight looks like I want it to look and then I get on there and compare numbers.  If it doesn't look right coming off the club, I don't care what the numbers are.

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As far as the blind testing goes, it's an informative process.  We've been told that we can't share a lot about it, but I'll share what I can.

Basically, we get the message that there are prototypes going out to several of us and they there are several variations of shafts that will be evaluated.  They provide a spreadsheet that we have to fill out with questions about several characteristics of the shafts and there's a comments section at the bottom.  It's basically a questionaire thta covers the many aspects of a shaft from feel to performance.  We fill it out and submit it back to them.  Then after they've poured over all of the data and info we provide them, we're notified at a later date what we tested and are given the opportunity to replace with a release graphics version.  

That's about all I can say, they just want out unbiased opinions and by sending us prototypes that have no graphics, that's exactly what they get.

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Hmm!

 

That's very interesting. Rookie is this a common occurrence for shaft makers? Or is a True Temper one of few that is doing this? I feel like in the industry they are in having a system like that would be super important.

 

This leads me to another question. Does anyone have some guesses or maybe even some rough information on how manufacturers pick shafts to put into their drivers for retail?

 

For instance, my Covert 2.0 Tour has the 60g Kuro Kage Silver TiNi in it. What makes Nike decide to put something like that in their driver? Trying to spec to a certain kind of player? Cost? Performance? What would be the reasoning?

 

And I'm just using nike as an example.

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Usually OEMs stock shaft is the best shaft that they think will perform for a wide range of golfers. The guys who usually buy off the shelf more than getting fitted.

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I don't know what other manufacturers do as far as prototype testing outside of sending them out on tour.

 

As far as how they select stock shafts, if I'm a betting and guessing man they're going with whatever a manufacturer can provide them that's mid launch and mid spin at the cheapest price and then putting the graphics on them to match up similar to an aftermarket version.

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So that falls back on the idea of standard length/loft/lies fitting some large percentage of golfer and so on, correct?

 

Does anyone else ever feel as though they're on the edge of a slippery slope, and ready to slide down? Haha. This shaft/club properties discussion feels so mind boggling.

 

It intrigues me beyond belief, based on the type of guy I am, but I can tell it's something that once you jump into it it would be hard to ever be satisfied. Haha.

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Rookie,

 

That last part about the graphics... Can you elaborate on that please? Using the Kuro Kage for example. You're saying the graphics on that shaft will look like the aftermarket option, but in reality they may be two completely different shafts?

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I wonder if MGS could do shaft testing like that. It would mean so much more with no preconceived ideas going in.

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Are you referring to a graphic free shaft test? That would be awesome. It would let us see what kind of value labels have on the mental side of golf.

 

My honest uneducated opinion? People will hit the ball worse because without a flashy advertisement they will feel as though it just can't be as good as something that's glamorous looking.

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Rookie,

 

That last part about the graphics... Can you elaborate on that please? Using the Kuro Kage for example. You're saying the graphics on that shaft will look like the aftermarket option, but in reality they may be two completely different shafts?

The original Covert had a made for KuroKage, it was red instead of silver and was a different shaft. Some companies are using made does and some don't. TaylorMade uses a made for variation in non-TP clubs as a stock shaft and the TP versions are authentic versions of the aftermarket shafts with TMag graphics (though now they're using less and less TM graphics versions). Titleist is king of using made fors, but their shafts also say "exclusively for Titleist". The made for shafts lots use are watered down versions of ther aftermarket counterparts. For example if you see a Matrix shaft with a letter flex designation, it's a made for. Matrix doesn't use letter designations. They have a few with frequencies on them (the Xcons did) but most have a CPM sticker on the butt. Could be that a cheaper material was used, could be a heavier or lighter weight and different shaft totally. There's so many variables out there it's hard to say what changes for them on a general statement. Adams used to use matrix shafts and they're watered down versions that don't have the hexadecagonal weave pattern and are simpler versions. Tour edge used a watered down version of the AD DI that used cheaper materials. They usually, except TMag, make them look similar to what people see on TV.

 

The authentic ones, however, that are out there in equipment OEM graphics play identical to the aftermarket counterpart. It's a slippery slope for manufacturers of shafts to go down because the watered down versions can create a negative connotation in some cases. The authentic ones OEM's offer though are able to be done at a cheaper price than you can buy aftermarket because the equipment manufacturer is buying so many. There are lots that are different and lots that are the same as the aftermarket version or are the aftermarket version. The new Covert 2 has an authentic TiNi Kuro Kage in them.

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I wonder if MGS could do shaft testing like that. It would mean so much more with no preconceived ideas going in.

Could they? Sure, if the manufacturers would cooperate. I'm doubtful a lot of manufacturers would participate. If I were a betting man, I'd say you'd have 3 major players that would in True Temper, Fujikura, and Matrix. Graphite designs might also jump in. There's not a lot in it for manufacturers if the name recognition isn't there.

 

That said, I'd love to see it to see how different shafts/manufacturers would fare. But, the aftermarket shaft game is a small segment of golf. The vast majority buy stock shafts and never deviate from that. The equipment junkies would love it, the masses would just be confused.

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That's interesting. And I see where it could be extremely misleading for someone in my shoes. Someone who, before this conversation, would go into a store, want to get fit for a driver and hit the different offerings and form opinions. Just like anybody would.

 

The problem from the sounds of things is that those opinions will largely be invalid. Say I walk into a store today as your average consumer and hit a made for shaft in a Titleist driver. Let's say I really like it, and I go home and order the aftermarket shaft to throw in my 913. Now I have a different animal!

 

I can't believe that companies think that makes sense? I understand wanting to maximize profits and to streamline assembly in any ways you can, after all this is a business they're in.

 

Are there any companies who seem to do pretty well with offering the real deal shafts in their clubs? I'm just generally curious because up until now I had no clue! Haha.

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