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Lighter Faster Farther? Do you believe this is true?


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For years now all the major golf equipment companies have been telling golfers that Lighter leads to Faster which leads to longer distances. This is the claim from the OEM's about lighter shafts and even lighter grips on your clubs. But is this a Fact or just a claim of the companies to get you to buy new equipment?  

Like most golfers I was open to the idea that a lighter shaft would allow me to swing faster with my driver and that added speed would equate to more distance off the tee and shorter second shots into the greens on Par 4 holes.   So when I won a contest where the big prize was a custom built driver from a local custom golf club store near me, I went in for the fitting and they told me I should play a 75 grams shaft in my driver as that was the best fit for my swing. When they measured my swing speed on their launch monitor I was swinging at 104MPH with my 65 gram shaft driver. When they recommended that I go up to 75 grams, like most golfers I was concerned that I would lose some swing speed and thus some distance. So I decided to test this theory and I went out to my car and got my backup driver which had a 55 grams shaft so I could see what I got with all three shaft weights in a driver. When I hit balls with the new custom driver "Demo unit", we found out that my swing speed was the exact same 104MPH as I got with my 65 grams shaft driver. Then I hit my 55 grams driver and got the same 104MPH swing speed again. 

Seems that lighter equals faster is NOT a fact and it's not what every golfer will get with the new lighter shafts in the new drivers being sold by the OEM's. Since then I have been using a Swing Speed Radar/Tempo Timer to measure my swing speed every time I go to the driving range so I know how I'm doing each and every day I hit balls. Turns out my normal driver speed was 105-108 MPH on most days. What was very interesting to me was that when ever I measured other golfers at the range, those that had a good looking swing for example, I ask them if they would be open to trying a simple test for me with their driver. Most golfers were happy to measure their swings on my SSR/TT so we did a little test. I had there golfers hit a few balls with their driver, most of which had shafts that were 50 to 55 grams in weight. I then had them hit my old driver with a 65 grams shaft and then my favorite driver with a 78 grams shaft.  What I found with "Every" golfer I tested over the years was that they all did NOT gain any speed using the lighter shaft driver compered to my 65 or 78 grams shaft drivers.  "Zero Speed Gains"    What was really interesting was when I had a college kid with the CU logo golf bag do the test, we were both surprised to see his results. this college golf team kid was playing a 55 grams shaft in this driver and his swing speed was measured at 110 MPH. When I had him hit my 65 grams shaft driver his speed went UP to 113 MPH, a slight gain in speed. Then I had him hit my 78 grams driver and his speed went up again, this time to 118 MPH. Total speed gain going from his 55 grams shaft to my 78 Grams shaft was an impressive 8 MPH.  Needless to say, he was quite surprised by the test results and he asked me if we could do it again to double check, which we did.  When we were done with the second round of tests he told me he was heading to his club maker and he was going to get a 75 grams shaft installed in his driver before his next match. 

As has been mentioned here more than once, what works for me is "Not" what will work for everyone, and that's very true.  But my tests over the years tells a "Very" different story than what the major OEM's are telling golfers.  Lighter does NOT equal Faster and Farther. NOT for me nor any of the golfers I have tested over the years. so you can decide if maybe YOU should do your own testing and see what YOU find to be true for you? My 16 years of testing tells me it might be worth your time to do your own testing. 

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your test results are accurate, as you did them so that is real data. I would say that there are large number of variables in play here besides just shaft weight. Reducing the weight of the shaft with no other change will increase the swing weight of the club as the club head now makes up a higher % of the total weight. That higher swing weight might cause you to swing slower regardless of the total weight, you can swing your driver much faster if you hold it at the club head end instead of the grip end even though the total weight hasn't changed.

If you kept the swing weight the same, with a lower total weight, I would expect to see the potential for a higher swing speed. If you lower the swing weight keeping the total weight the same, or even higher, you might even see higher swing speeds with an overall heavier club.

also, your body has a speed limit that it will swing at somewhat regardless of the total/swing weight of a club. So if you are at that limit, changing weights might not have any results for you. Superspeed and some of the other over speed training systems try to break down that speed limit and let your body swing faster. As a whole, I would say they have lots of data that shows their methods tend to work for most people. 

Driver design parameters are generally to make the club head as light as possible, as big as possible(460cc), while being on the limit for COR / CT. Adding weight allows for more MOI and performance gains for mishits that are also nice for real world play.

So, not at all surprised you saw the results you did. But I don't think it is false advertising. Most drivers are built in the D4-D7 swing weight range these days. If you found a very light head and a light shaft and dropped total weight and swing weight you could probably swing it faster. But the trade off in forgiveness and off center ball speeds might make it unplayable. 

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I just wanted to let you know that you just posted a "False" statement.

Reducing the weight of the shaft with no other change will increase the swing weight of the club as the club head now makes up a higher % of the total weight.

This statement above my you is False. The fact is that a lighter shaft will "decrease" the swing weight of the club, NOT increase it as you posted. If you don't believe me please feel free to ask any club maker as they can tell you the truth of this matter.  Being as I have been building clubs for over 18 years and I have a swing weight scale that I use when building clubs, I hope you can accept that I might be right about this. 

You made a good point about the human body having a speed limit that tends to limit how fast one can swing a club. True enough on it's own. But my body does "not" have a speed limit of the 104 that I was measured at when I had the driver fitting. not even close in fact. During my range sessions I have measured my driver speed for years and my max to date is 128 MPH. NOT a regular happening, but it has happened. I remember one day when I hit half a dozen drives and I was swing from 115 to 120. Again, NOt a common event but is has happened enough so I know my upper limit is not close to 104. On most of my good days I'm in the 105-108 range.  I've even had days when I hit upwards of 110 or so with my fairway woods, which are a good bit shorter than my 45" driver. Bottom line here is that I was Not at my upper limit of my speed with a driver. And it was not just me doing the hitting with the driver, it was me testing a lot of other good golfers and they got the same results, so upper speed limit being what it is was not the issue in my testing. 

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Far too much emphasis on swing speed and not nearly enough on control IMHO... at least for the vast majority of amateur players.  But speed (distance) is like catnip to golfers, particularly males, and the marketing folks know this.  

Chris nailed it with the total club weight point.  I would guess something in XXIO's line up (current or past) would be the lightest head available.  One with a non-adjustable stock senior shaft the lightest of all.  Most of us would likely generate our highest swing speeds with it.  I doubt however half would see better ball speeds, and most would see worsening dispersion.  So I think your tests are both accurate and expose the marketing hype which is aimed at selling product - often at the expense of actual on the course scoring performance.

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I guess my question for you is what are you hoping to achieve with this thread? 

Is it that you want to have a conversation about your findings and tests even if some may disagree or have found different results, despite the consistent results of your findings and beliefs? 

Or is it more that you wanted to make your results know and use it more as a statement piece? In which other results from others will as you put it not be factual? 

I'm just trying to understand where the overall value for the forum will be provided this thread continues. Past threads have turned into a contentious manner, which is what we try to avoid. 

I don't believe anyone will say you're wrong, as you've obviously done some testing and put some time into your findings, however that shouldn't discredit anyone who disagrees or has found different results.

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LIGHTER, FASTER, FARTHER PART 2

About 10 or so years ago, Winn came out with a new light weight grip. They called it WINN Light. They ran full page adds in the 2 major golf magazines using that statement. When I saw the ads I decided to contact Winn and ask them if they would be willing to send me a set of these new light weight grips so I could do an extended test and review of their grips to see if their claim were true. As most of you may know, a standard size grip weights right at 50 grams give of take a few. These new Winn Light grips weighted only 25grams, half as much as the norm. Winn was kind enough to send me a set of 13 grips so I could do my test and review for a golf site I was doing products reviews for at the time, www.GolfGearReview.com.  

When I got the set of grips I decided to do the smart thing. Instead of cutting the grips off of my bag of clubs, I did the wise thing. I installed one grip on a driver, one of a 5 wood, and a third on a 7 iron. NO sense changing out a full set of good grips just in case Winn was trying to sell some false promises with their claims.  When I had my 3 clubs ready to go, I went to the range and hit balls with each of the 3 clubs, along with the same 3 clubs with the standard 50 grams grips. What I found was not a big surprise at all. When I hit the 25 grams grip driver I got the same swing speed and the same carry distance I got with the 50 grams grip driver. Same for the 5 wood and for the 7 iron. ZERO gains in speed with 3 clubs. It's fair to say I was very glad I only installed these new light weight grips on only 3 clubs, and hot a bag of 13.  

 

This test was only done by me, no one else so I can not say for a fact everyone would get the same results I did. I'm just reporting my test results to put the results out there for other to see. You decide if Winn was being honest with golfers or not. 

Any one out there with an interest in buying some 5 grams Winn Light grips? They are white in color and brand new. 

 

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I guess my question for you is what are you hoping to achieve with this thread?   

That is a very fair question to ask. And my answer is this.  What I wanted this thread to do was the "Enlighten" those golfers here that read my results, and let them konw what I learned. One fact we should ALL learn reading my test results is that "not all things the OEM's tell the golf customers is true".  The top OEM's lay to golfers all the time. And the only way to learn the truth, is to do some hands on testing to see what is fact and what is marketing hype.  

IF anyone who reads my test results walks away a little bit smarter about the  hype being tossed around. the better they will be able to buy smart. It is alos my hope that when they learn more about the facts they will not spread the hype to others who don't know the truth.  I hope everyone here can agree that this is a good thing. 

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 Posted 15 minutes ago

Far too much emphasis on swing speed and not nearly enough on control IMHO.

This is also a good point.  The OEM's all want to claim their clubs hit the ball longer every year.  And if you watch the driver reviews online, you will find out that this claim is NOT true. Every year the OEM's claim their new driver is longer than last years model, Fact is I have "Never" seen an OEM that claimed their new clubs were shotter off the tee. Not once. and the club review video all show little or NO gains in distance from year to year. Some video reviews in fact show a "loss" in distance with the latest clubs. Go Figure!

As for control. I have noticed a Gain in control going up in shaft weight in both drivers and woods. More control means more consistent balll striking for most golfers. And that means more accuracy and more distance on average. I think we can all agree that off center hits are NOT good for distance nor accuracy, and yet the OEM's continue to build clubs with lighter shaft that make control harder to achieve for everyone. Most club fitters will tell you that a heavier shaft in your clubs will help to "Smooth" out your swing. and a smoother swing is almost always a better swing at the end of the day. Thank you for bringing up the control issue as it really matter. 

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5 hours ago, IONEPUTT said:

I just wanted to let you know that you just posted a "False" statement.

Reducing the weight of the shaft with no other change will increase the swing weight of the club as the club head now makes up a higher % of the total weight.

This statement above my you is False. The fact is that a lighter shaft will "decrease" the swing weight of the club, NOT increase it as you posted. 

I'll happily concede that I spoke in an absolute on that statement and i shouldn't have. 

Depending on the parts used you could make a 400g total weight drivers with very different swing weights.  In a broad spectrum test, average swing speeds would likely be higher with the lower swing weight builds. 

But, depending on the shaft I think it is possible for a lighter shaft to increase club swing weight based off how much it ends up moving the balance point. 

A hypothetical driver with 400g total weight and a balance point at 29.5" would have a swing weight of D3. Reducing total weight by switching to a 10g lighter shaft will move the balance point more towards the club head. For each 1/10th" the balance point moves you get about a 1 swing weight change. 

With our new 390g driver, if the balance point moves past 29.9" the swing weight would go up. If it moves less then that then it would go down, so both are possible. 

But I do very much agree with you, in your test the swing weight probably didn't change by more then a point or two in either direction. which doesn't surprise me that you didn't see faster swing speeds. 

It's worth noting that as the oem's keep increasing stock shaft length, driver swing weights have been going up. I've noticed lots of the current stock offerings are D6+ which is getting pretty high. They must be at the limit of design in terms of how much a driver needs to weigh to have enough structural integrity to hold up. 

There is lots of fun body mechanics and math on swing weight, total club weight and actual swing speed. All things being equal, a lower swing weight allows for faster swings, but lower club weight can also allow for faster swings. 

 does a 390g D3 club swing faster then a 400g D2? Just depends on the body doing the swinging. But it's fun to ponder. 

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5 hours ago, IONEPUTT said:

 Posted 15 minutes ago

Far too much emphasis on swing speed and not nearly enough on control IMHO.

This is also a good point.  The OEM's all want to claim their clubs hit the ball longer every year.  And if you watch the driver reviews online, you will find out that this claim is NOT true. Every year the OEM's claim their new driver is longer than last years model, Fact is I have "Never" seen an OEM that claimed their new clubs were shotter off the tee. Not once. and the club review video all show little or NO gains in distance from year to year. Some video reviews in fact show a "loss" in distance with the latest clubs. Go Figure!

As for control. I have noticed a Gain in control going up in shaft weight in both drivers and woods. More control means more consistent balll striking for most golfers. And that means more accuracy and more distance on average. I think we can all agree that off center hits are NOT good for distance nor accuracy, and yet the OEM's continue to build clubs with lighter shaft that make control harder to achieve for everyone. Most club fitters will tell you that a heavier shaft in your clubs will help to "Smooth" out your swing. and a smoother swing is almost always a better swing at the end of the day. Thank you for bringing up the control issue as it really matter. 

Launch monitor wars. Just build it so that the one time the person getting fit happens to line it all up it goes further. They will forget they other 9 that would have gone OB. 

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A hypothetical driver with 400g total weight and a balance point at 29.5" would have a swing weight of D3. Reducing total weight by switching to a 10g lighter shaft will move the balance point more towards the club head. For each 1/10th" the balance point moves you get about a 1 swing weight change. 

I don't know where you got your idea that swing weight is measured at 29.5", but that is far from the way swing weight is measured. If memory serves me right, swing weight is measured using a balance point 14" from the butt end of the club. That mean a lighter shaft would move the swing weight down, not up. Faxt is most of the weight of a shaft is on the head end of the balance point. and a lighter shaft would mean "less" weight at the head end  compated to the loss of weight at the butt end. End result is a lighter shaft equals a low swing weight.  Trust me on this. I've been building clubs for over 18 years, I have a swing weight scale and I use it when I build a club, so I know what I'm talking about on this issue. If you don't believe me just ask a club builder and they can tell you I'm right on this. 

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You measured swing speed in this test. Isn’t the goal to increase ball speed to get more distance? While club head speed might be the same, did one shaft result in better strike patterns? I think Mark Crossfield had argued that shafts are vastly overrated and even TXG guys  have stated that shafts do more for timing than anything by else. 

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Swing weight and total weight are all about finding the right combination for each golfer. There are really no absolutes regarding how different players will react to changes in specs
 

yes, If you take two driver heads of different weights swung at the exact same speed, the heavier head will generate more ball speed. Its basic physics. 
 

however, there is nothing basic about club fitting and a good fitter will try polar opposite setups to see how it affects a golfers kinematic sequence, overall delivery (dynamic loft, face angle , AoA , speed) and the ability to deliver the club head in the most optimal way as consistent as possible 

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Jlukes beat me to it.

Appying what works for one person to all others is silly. Our swings out different, how we reach to weight and feel is different. Shafts affect both weigh and feel. They have an influence on swing dynamics which will have an effect on how the club is delivered. This so shown in the video from TXG where Ian is fitting his driver. Each shaft produces a different result in his swing and ball flight.

Shaft manufacturers work with club manufacturers to see what they are doing in head design so that when they design their next shaft releases they have something that will work with the various clubs out there. The club manufacturers test their clubs with different shafts to see what works best for the very large percentage of golfers who don’t get fit. These are what are considered stock shafts, the ones that you will find in most clubs sitting on the shelf/rack on stores. The other no upcharge shafts are options that the manufacturers chose to offer to have options for those who do some form of fitting but don’t want to spend money on upcharge shafts.
 

It’s also why you will find various weight and flex options in each shaft offered. Not everyone gets along with heavy shafts or stiff shafts. 

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Key “sentence” in the original post:

so you can decide if maybe YOU should do your own testing and see what YOU find to be true for you? 

 

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Some people will swing clubs faster with lighter shafts, just not all.   Those who are slower swingers to begin with and find 60g class heavy are more likely to swing lighter shafts faster.   Many of us who feel comfortable swinging heavier shaft won't.  I know I don't swing lighter shafts any faster based on past trials.     

There are too many variables.   Our brain is wonderful at making subconscious adjustments, so you won't whiff on the ball.   If you are given a very light, a very long or very whippy shaft, it will make adjustments so you can make decent contact with the ball.    Even if in theory, one should swing lighter clubs faster, for some of us, our brain ain't gonna buy it and make adjustment so the shaft load correctly and you don't hit a snap hook or whatever you might do.

 

 

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IMO, there are so many variables in the golf swing that you cannot look at just one and use it to decide if something is right for you.  When people swing a club they may do exactly what general expectations are and some may do the exact opposite.  Anyone that reads this forum knows that the general answer to anyone looking for a club or shaft recommendation is to try them yourself and not follow manufacturer claims.  
 

When it comes to shaft weight I would personally consider how that shaft worked at the end of a round of golf versus the beginning to see if I  getting the same results or have they deteriorated.  I would look at dispersion patterns to see how my body reacts to the shaft.  This is why robots are not good options for evaluating clubs and what is seen during the MGS most wanted testing.   

As for the OP statement, I agree that the shaft weight does not necessarily influence the speed at which the golf swings.   Mark Crossfield recently did a video where he compared a 55r and 75x and the ball and club numbers were basically identical.  Dispersion patterns were different. 
 

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8 hours ago, Thin2win said:

Launch monitor wars. Just build it so that the one time the person getting fit happens to line it all up it goes further. They will forget they other 9 that would have gone OB. 

Exactly why everyone getting fitted should tell the fitter not to "throw out" data points. Short of a complete shank, the test set needs to reflect reality, not potential. I say this having had a discussion this past winter with a friend who had a fitting in CA at a DSG's.  He felt the guy doing the fitting was preferentially dumping shots in attempt to sell the club.  When he asked for the dumped shots to be included he responded "why, those don't really tell you how well the club performs" 🤔.  Caveat de Emptor folks.

Wizard Of Oz Man Behind The Curtain GIFs | Tenor

:ping-small: G410 Plus, 9 Degree Driver 

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 16 Degree 3w

:ping-small: G400 SFT, 19 Degree 5w

:srixon-small:  ZX5 Irons 4-AW 

:ping-small: Glide 2.0 56 Degree SW   (removed from double secret probation 😍)

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11 minutes ago, fixyurdivot said:

Exactly why everyone getting fitted should tell the fitter not to "throw out" data points. Short of a complete shank, the test set needs to reflect reality, not potential. I say this having had a discussion this past winter with a friend who had a fitting in CA at a DSG's.  He felt the guy doing the fitting was preferentially dumping shots in attempt to sell the club.  When he asked for the dumped shots to be included he responded "why, those don't really tell you how well the club performs" 🤔.  Caveat de Emptor folks.

Wizard Of Oz Man Behind The Curtain GIFs | Tenor

Anomalies are the ones that typically get thrown out during a fitting. And yes the fitting should take reality into account which the vast majority of good fittings do but they also do consider potential. The fitting is done to reduce the affect of the persons miss while also making sure they aren’t penalized for good swings. Hitting a shank in an iron fitting should be thrown out, it skews the data too much. A good fitter is going to know whether that was a result of the persons swing and even the best in the world shank shots, or if it was a result of the setup that caused the player to react. Good fittings are more than just launch monitor numbers. The fitter is looking at the persons swing and how each combo is changing it good or bad.

I wouldn’t consider any fitting at DSG a real fitting and after listening to most of the people working in the stores they know very little about the products they sell and especially in the golf department. 

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Driver: PXG 0811 X+ Proto w/UST Helium 5F4

Wood: TaylorMade M5 5W w/Accra TZ5 +1/2”, TaylorMade Sim 3W w/Aldila rogue white

Hybrid: PXG Gen2 22* w/AD hybrid

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You measured swing speed in this test. Isn’t the goal to increase ball speed to get more distance? While club head speed might be the same, did one shaft result in better strike patterns?

You are correct, ball speed is what matters more. But we all should know by now that a higher club head speed will equate to higher ball speed is the quality of the strike is the same, so measuring clubhead speed is a valid test for most golfers. Add to that the fact that my SSR/TT only measures club head speed when set up next to the ball. measuring ball speed is not an option. And when you measure ball speed you NEED to know where on the face to ball contact was to get an accurate picture on what the lighter or heavier shaft did for speed. 

If you read my first post in this thread, you might notice that I was not telling anyone to use a heavier shaft, only telling golfer that the OEM's claims are not going to be true for every golfer, and that it would be smart for all golfer to do their own tests to see what works for YOU.  For ME, I get the same clubhead speed with light and heavy shafts, and for ME, I get the best center of the face ball contact and consistent swings with a 75 grams shaft, so I get the best of both with a heavier shaft. And that is why I play a 75 grams shaft in MY driver. My recommendation is for YOU to do your own testing and see what works best for YOU. 

And while I'm on the subject of doing your own testing.  Please do not hit 5 balls with either a heavier or lighter shaft than what you are currently using and use that data fo make a decision about that shaft weight.   The reason I am telling you this is that YOU are used to the shaft weight in your driver, and when you change the shaft weight you NEED to give yourself some time to get used to the different weight before you can get any accurate test results on whether the new shaft weight is better or worse than what you have now. For most golfers a different weight shaft will feel OFF, because you are not used to it. Give it enough time and hit enough balls to get used to the change before you decide what might be best for you. 

The same thing applies to how a shaft "FEELS".  I see a lot of negative posts about a shaft because the golfer does not like the 'Feel" of the shaft when they hit a few balls with the club.  The main reason for this is that as a golfer, you get "used to" the way YOUR current shaft "feels" in the club. And when you change the shaft it feels OFF, and you don't like it. So you decide you don't like the shaft due to "feel".  The smart thing to do would be to hit more balls and get "used to" the new shaft and "Then" decide if just maybe when you hit it a bit more you might find that you really "Like" the different feel and how that shaft performs in the long run. I hope this point makes sense to a lot of you out there and you give my idea a try. 

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