I’ve mentioned here on occasion that I’ve been fighting my driver pretty much all season. I broke down and took a lesson.
And that helped.
But I’m still inconsistent. I spoke with Shawn, a scratch golfer who hits it in the 280-300 range off the tee, and asked if he thought a driver fitting and/or new shaft would help and he agreed it probably would. So I contacted Bryant Brothers at My Club Maker. He agreed to do a driver shaft fitting, which happened a couple of weeks ago. He also put a matching shaft in the Titleist AP1 4-iron I had to buy to replace the one I lost somewhere. Here is what I learned.
You Can Pay Whatever You Can Afford
You can buy a golf shaft for $100, and could probably find a used one for a lot less than that. You can also buy a $1200 golf shaft. So if you have the money, there is a shaft that will eat up much of it.
And, as with most things technical, there is a law of diminishing returns. A shaft that fits your golf swing will help you gain distance, and hopefully, accuracy. The more you are willing to spend, the more it will help, but to a lesser extent. In other words, the first $100 might gain you five yards. The next $500 might gain you another three yards.
Stiff, Firm, Regular, Senior-What Does It Mean?
Bryant has been doing this a long time. I had the opportunity a few months ago to interview him in-depth for a detailed article (soon to be published, hopefully), and we talked about shafts:
Just because you swing 100 mph doesn’t mean you need a stiff shaft and just because you swing 70 mph doesn’t mean you need a senior flex shaft. How fast is your transition? Are you a swinger or hitter? How handsy are you? All those variables make a difference in what shaft you should hit. Obviously, I look at the (Trackman) numbers, but I look at the swing, too. I’ve played with a lot of those shafts and I know what they can do.
Bryant also lamented the lack of consistent standards with golf club shafts.
Someone’s stiff shaft is someone else’s regular flex shaft. Company X may say their shaft spins it less, or more, and I know better. Well- maybe it does on their machines, but here in North Carolina, it does not. Or Company Y’s VI6 Stiff isn’t really a stiff, it’s a topside regular. Because there is no standard, you just have to work with them enough to know what this shaft can do compared to that shaft.
My driver is a Tour Edge Exotics E8 Beta adjusted to 10 degrees. It came with an Aldila 65 gram stiff shaft. I was hitting it pretty well last year, but things change over the winter, and since I’d never had a driver shaft fitting anyway, I thought it would be a smart thing to do.
My swing speed hovers around 90 m.p.h. A few swings were faster (which were usually pulled) and a few were slower. After about ten swings with my existing set-up, we started switching out shafts. According to Bryant, I am in-between a firm and a stiff flex to optimize my swing speed. I’ve played a stiff shaft from the time I can remember, so learning that maybe a true stiff shaft might not be the best was a bit of a buzzkill. But, I remember his comment that “someone’s stiff shaft is someone else’s regular shaft.”
I like my ball flight, so we didn’t try and change that.
After hitting around ten shots each with three or four different shafts, he has me in a Aldila blue 2knv 60 regular, tipped to get me to a firm level between stiff and regular. My launch is good, but spin was generally too much, which is not uncommon in an amateur’s swing.
Time Will Tell
Since I had the shaft fitting, I have not had time to hit it enough to see a difference. I can tell there is a difference, but I also know I have that tendency to come over the top, so how much is me and how much is the shaft remains to be seen. But since I had it dialed in on the range during the fitting, I trust it will do what it is supposed to do if I do what I am supposed to do. And I’m not trying to hit it out there with DJ. I get in trouble (as we all do) when I overswing. I just want to hit it around 240 or so, which I’m capable of doing when I have my technique synched.
I would recommend getting a shaft fitting if you have never had one. It’s a learning experience, as are all fittings, but knowing your shaft is maximized for your game, regardless of how good, or not good, you might be, is a comforting feeling.
Of course, it also takes away one more excuse….
Thanks for reading, and enjoy Shooting Your Age!