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Aftermaket shafts

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Long story short - yes and no. I shall attempt to elaborate why....

 

A a general rule, "aftermarket" shafts are a universal fitting option to just about any club with a basic set of specs for tip size, length, weight and flex. The benefit of this option is that a particular shaft and it's inherent qualities can be selected and used to compliment the equipment and it's player for a truly accurate fit. "High-end" aftermarket shafts will tend to be expensive for the research technology and component quality that go into them and the cost to develop, manufacture them and market them.

The ratio of tech to component structure may vary, but generally if the product has a lot of exotic fibres with light weight properties in it's construction, then it will be a pretty expensive shaft.

So in general, an aftermarket shaft can be used to good effect to identify a particular profile, flex, weight and performance to match a player characteristic for a very accurate fitting. Each aftermarket shaft will have it's own unique characteristic that makes it ideal for a certain type of player.

That's the good part.

The downside (apart from actual cost) is that there are so many aftermarket shafts, that accurate fitting is paramount. Then accurate building and assembly. Naturally, this racks up the unit cost even more. Then, because of the precise nature of of each aftermarket shaft, the fitting tolerances that can be attained only really apply to the small target audience of those who can reap their benefits. What do I mean by this?

Well, if we take a classic aftermarket shaft such as the Diamana Whiteboard (or similar) then it only really "fits" a small spectrum of golfers - let's say about 10% of the golfing population.

 

This is where stock or "made-for" shafts have the upper hand. They posses the same general characteristics of their more expensive cousins, but instead of fitting a potential target audience of 10%, they now fit a wider spectrum of golfers - lets say 25%. This is because the overall characteristics are usually "normalised" (often referred to as "watered-down"). This enables the shaft to be slightly softer in profile, slightly higher in launch and slightly different in weight to get the more "average" golfer into a better fit with more complimentary features.

This is great news for OEMs for two reasons: firstly their costs will be lower, meaning the product can be made and marketed at a reasonable price for consumers. Secondly, because the performance profile is somewhat more "flattering" to the consumer with is softer overall profile, it makes for an easier to hit, longer driving club which makes the product look better on paper.

It's no surprise that OEM's of clubs and shafts are in constant talks with each other to negotiate costs for their products and what will compliment each other in sales. For instance, the shaft OEM will want the best opportunity to "showcase" their shaft tech with the latest driver that will compliment it. Likewise, the club OEM will want to pick the best shaft OEM to enhance it's sales and performance of it's latest gear. It's a two-way battle which helps to drive down costs for the consumer, but can also give a healthy margin in sales too if the right shaft to head ratio is chosen. Nothing is left to chance in marketing and you can bet that the head and shaft have been carefully selected in advance of product launch to give the best possible sales...it's almost like a fashion show.

By modern standards, most stock shafts today are carefully selected to get the best possible universal fit to each club and to give it the biggest marketing appeal. This is why they tend to emulate their more expensive aftermarket paint schemes and graphics, together with their inherent performance characteristics. So, if you are like the vast majority of consumers and simply buy your clubs off the rack, then you stand a better chance of getting a decent match with a stock shaft. When you don't quite fit into the fitting parameters (stronger players and better ball strikers especially) then this is where the stock shaft may let you down and a fitting session may be in order - go back to paragraph one.

 

To summarise, each has their own benefits based on your perspective, your needs and your ability.

If your are a good all round average player, then there is nothing wrong with a stock shaft if it gives you good numbers. Buying into an expensive shaft upgrade may not be worth the expense compared to the cost. On the other hand, if you have a good fitting and identify a shaft that can transform your game into something much better, then it would be worth every penny.

 

One piece of advice in closing - some OEM's actually use shafts that are aftermarket for their stock offering on some models. This further confuses some, but at the same time attracts others, as a "stock" aftermarket shaft can be excellent value when it's value is considered the club is comes with, but never use this as your #1 factor in choosing a club. Get fit whenever you can for sure, but don't ever let ego, machismo, or the fashionistas ever get in the way of being a deciding factor in which shaft you play.

That goes for stock or aftermarket shafts, most of which are excellent quality these days. The stock shafts of the early days of graphite technology probably rightly deserved their reputation of "junk"but todays shafts are made to better tolerances with better component quality.

Indeed, it's even possible to buy a quality aftermarket for less money than it's stock counterpart. Bizarre.

Great post....thanks.....helped answer a few questions rolling thru my head on the subject.

 

Sent from my 6045O using MyGolfSpy mobile app

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