Clubmaking 201: Altering the Recommended Tip Trimming

Jeff Summitt Discusses Being Creative With Tip Trimming Charts To Dial In The Ultimate Fit

Properly trimming a golf shaft can be somewhat confusing for the novice clubmaker considering all the different shafts and the number of golf shaft trimming options that are in our catalog or on our website. There is a certain amount of logic involved that goes into the suggested trimming amount for each shaft. The trimming is selected to create a desired flex based upon the weight of each head, the length is might be normally assembled to, plus the length of the parallel tip section of the golf shaft (how long the shaft remains the same diameter as the very tip of the shaft).

In some cases a clubmaker can alter the flex by deviating from what the instructions suggest. Why? On occasion, a golf clubmaker might find it advantageous to trim a different amount than what the manufacturer suggested in order to create a specific flex. But don’t worry you won’t have the Shaft Trimming Police knocking on your door!

By shaft trimming less off of the tip than suggested, this will result into a slightly more flexible club, while trimming more off of the tip makes the club stiffer. However, this should only be accomplished if the clubmaker understands the consequences and more importantly if it is at all possible to begin with.

Let’s say we are looking for a heavier graphite shaft for a fairway wood to provide a little more control for a golfer. One example if the Cadence 85 wood shaft, but it is only available in a stiff flex. Looking at the recommended trimming tells us to follow Trim Chart N.

























However, what if the golfer is not quite strong enough to use the S-flex? The clubmaker can elect to modify the tip trimming to adjust for the player’s swing speed and tempo. Instead of taking off the recommended 2” off of the tip for a 5-wood, taking 1” from the tip will result into something between an R and S-flex shaft. The clubmaker alters the trimming to create something that did not exist before, but ends up fitting the player.

For the True Ace Pink Diamond Ladies and many of our other house brand shaft models for woods, the recommended trimming tells us to follow Trim Chart D.

























This trimming schedule will start out with trimming 1” from the tip of the shaft for a driver. For a very slow swinging woman, you can opt to leave that 1” on the tip creating a softer sub-flex or a flex softer than the normal L-flex. But if you do so with the driver, you would want to trim 1” less off of each fairway wood to provide consistency within the set.

What does the 1” represent in terms of stiffness?

1” less tip trimming = @ 5 cpm (cycles per minute) lower

1” additional tip trimming = @ 5 cpm higher

10-15 cpm is generally considered by many of as 1 full flex

In our examples above we took off less than what was required, but it is possible to take additionally off of the tip to create a stiffer flex. Often there are times when you cannot take more off of the tip, otherwise you will run out of parallel tip section to be able to insert the shaft into the hosel or have sufficient shaft left to obtain the desired length. It is always helpful to calculate the possibility of trimming additionally prior to cutting the golf shaft.

While there might be certain times that the clubmakers may deviate from the recommended tip trimming procedure by the manufacturer, it is best to follow the normal tip trimming procedures whenever possible. But if you are in doubt or have a question concerning the proper trimming, contact the distributor or manufacturer of the shaft to get a second opinion as manufacturers will not warrant incorrectly cut shafts.

For More Information:

Total Clubfitting in the 21st Century Book by Jeff Summitt
Only $18.00
Includes the latest information related to fitting each and every specification of a golf club. With emphasis on dynamic fitting, this definitive guide incorporates many approaches to a “best fit” situation. Face angle, loft, lie shafts, grip and head selection are all discussed in detail.

The Modern Guide to Clubmaking 4th Edition Book By Jeff Summitt
Only $22.00
Explains in detail the proper procedures for modern clubmaking. Step-by-step photos and text explain how to assemble clubs, trim shafts, install grips – every procedure to properly assemble component clubs. Subjects covered are modern shaft installation, grip installation, swingweighting, putter assembly, iron & wood assembly, common questions and many more.


  1. […] Properly trimming a golf shaft can be somewhat confusing for the novice clubmaker considering all the different shafts and the number of golf shaft trimming options that are in our catalog or on our website. There is a certain amount of logic involved that goes into the suggested trimming amount for each shaft. The trimming is selected to create a desired flex based upon the weight of … continue here […]

  2. Tim Bowen says:


    That is a great article! I have been doing just as you said for a couple of years now. Many have told me that I should not deviate from tip trimming charts but I would argue. I have built several iron sets for friends using stiff flex shafts but cutting them 1 inch less to create “firm shafts”. I see many that regular flex is too flexible and stiff flex are too stiff. There are many golfer’s swings that fit into a mph category needing a shaft flex between regular and stiff.

    Thank you for many informative articles about golf and club building.

    Tim Bowen

  3. charles White says:

    Okay….good info for changing the stiffness of a shaft, but what if you want the same flex for either a longer length club , or a shorter length club? If you have a lady measure for a 36 1/2″ 5 iron and the shaft spec shows a 1″ tip for a 37″ length club how do you get the same flex for her? Would you only take off 1/2″ at the tip and cut the shaft length to the measured 36 1/2″ so you would get the same flex?

  4. Jeff Summitt says:


    That is not an easy question to answer because it depends as a clubmaker what you do. If you simply make the club shorter, then the swingweight will be lower as a result. You could do one of two things. The first is nothing and the swingweight will be lighter and the shaft itself will be stiffer. However you are cutting off the stiffest portion of the shaft, which is the butt end which somewhat negates some of the stiffening effect. You could elect to tip trim less to offset this and provide more feel.

    The other thing you could do is add weight via a tip weight. In this case, the additional headweight will offset the stiffening of the shaft by making it shorter. If you do this, then no alteration in tip trimming would be needed.

    For longer clubs, in general I do not adjust tip trimming over what I selected in the fitting process. Yes, the longer shaft is more flexible, but it possesses the stiffest portion of the shaft. Since you cannot lighten the head weight (very few exceptions), the heavier swingweight offsets the fact you have the stiffer butt end.

  5. charles White says:

    Thanks Jeff….I agree with you 100%….I cannot get a competitor of yours to agree with this…so I guess I know I will come to your company more in the future! I also now have more faith in ordering the finished sets from you too! The research you guys did was phenomenal! You finally did the dirty work to prove what we clubmakers have always suspected! Thanks!

  6. John Nardecchia says:

    Thank You, I have done that before with steel shafts,with great success, but I did not know it could be done with graphite shafts. Thank You, John

  7. Maqsood Ali says:

    Hi Jeff
    Good Stuff
    I have an iron set with TT Light XL in R flex. Lets say if I cut 2.5″ from every club and put a plug of that length at the butt end, will this change it to a S flex. How will this affect the swing weight. And lastly is it a good idea to leave the 3,4,5 irons in the R Flex.
    Maqsood Ali
    Edmonton Alberta Canada

  8. Jeff Summitt says:


    Actually there is a 2″ difference between R and S-flex in the TT Lite XL. You could do what you are asking for but only cut 2″ off of the tip and extend the same. It is not recommended to extend the shafts any longer than 2″, otherwise there is a possibility of breakage.

  9. Maqsood Ali says:

    Thanks Jeff
    Does the same apply to UST SR2 (in Nickent irons) if I want to stiffen them.
    Maqsood Ali

  10. Jeff Summitt says:


    Graphite is less predictable than steel when tip trimming additionally for flex. It may very well be less than 2″ to create a S-flex from an R-flex shaft. The limit on the extension still applies. But the main concern is graphite shafts have far less parallel tip section than steel shafts. Chances are you could run out of parallel tip section and not be able to install the shafts back into the clubhead without reaming the hosel larger.

  11. tony says:

    i’ve read some warnings saying that dynamic gold taper tip shouldnt be tip trimmed.
    is that true?
    i’ve got a 4i shaft that i want to put into a 6i, should the tip be trimmed 1″ to keep the same flex while providing the correct length?

  12. Jeff Summitt says:


    If you tip trim any taper tip steel shaft, you will not be able to insert the shaft fully into the hosel as it will increase in diameter. You could tip the shaft to maintain the flex, but it will require you to re-bore the hosel to accommodate the now larger tipped shaft.

  13. tony says:

    thanks jeff, so my s300 4i shaft will be more like a regular flex if it is butt trimmed and put in the 6i?

  14. Jeff Summitt says:


    It will play half way between R and S-flex.

  15. bill w says:

    I have a adams speedline with a prolaunch blue axis stiff shaft. The shaft is a little bit too stiff for me. I would also like a slightly longer shaft. If I extend the shaft by 1-1.5″ will that soften the flex ?

  16. Jeff Summitt says:


    Not really because you will adding to the stiffest portion of the shaft. Luckily the swingweight will increase to offset this affect so essentially it will be a wash and end up being the same flex. You would be best off re-shafting with a more flexible shaft.

  17. Francois L says:

    I have a 8.5 degree R9 460 Driver with a Mitsubishi Fubiki Stiff 73 g shaft. It works very well. I just bought a 13-degree R9 fairway wood with the same shaft (Fubiki Stiff 73 g). However, it feels stiffer and even boardier. Any way to soften up the tip? I’m new to this, but from what I can read, it looks like I would need to have a longer tip and shorten the club to proper length by cutting the butt, which can no longer be done on an already cut shaft. Am I right? Any other way to soften the tip?

  18. Jeff Summitt says:


    The tip stiffness is inherent in the shaft design or how it was tip trimmed (if any). If you shorten the club by removing the grip and cut the butt end you will do little to alter the tip stiffness. To test that, try gripping down on the club by 1/2″ and 1″ and hit some balls at the range. The best possibly remedy is to add lead tape to the head. The extra head weight and subsequent heavier swingweight can offset the flex. The more you add, the greater the change.

  19. Doug says:

    Jeff: If I don’t trim the tip at all,will the shaft be to weak at the hosel?
    I have installed a Harrison iron shaft (stiff) and cut the butt to required length. The ball rockets off the face and stays in the air for a long time.
    My concern is that the head might break off at the hosel because I didn’t trim the tip.

  20. Jeff Summitt says:


    No worries – the tip trimming is performed to control flex and not the strength of the tip.

  21. Mike Yee says:

    Jeff, I’ve been using X-100 taper tips in my irons for the past 10 years now, mainly in forged blades. However, since I’m not playing as often these days, I want to alternate with a set of Taylormade Burner 2.0 irons for more forgivness – yet install X-100’s in them so the flex is similar to my blades.

    The difference however, is that the Burners have .370″ parallel tips, and the hosels are shorter on these heads (vs. the blades) – effectively, locating the tip/shaft further towards the bottom of the head (probably by about .5″).

    My question is – should I alter from the standard tipping instructions due to the difference in the hosel length/depth between the 2 different style heads?

    My goal is to have both sets play as close in flex as possible, so I can alternate between them depending on how my game/swing is.



  22. Jeff Summitt says:


    The problem is you will need 0.370″ parallel tip shafts in the TM 2.0 and the parallel and taper tip version of Dynamic Gold don’t play exactly the same. What I may suggest is to cut DG X100 parallel tip 1/2″ more in a 6 or 7 iron and try it. If it is fine, then continue with the rest of the set. If it feels a little too stiff, shift that shaft into the 7 or 8 iron (have to remove the grip and butt trim) and then retest. This way you can find out first hand what difference there is.

  23. Mike Yee says:

    Thanks Jeff, great idea. I was wondering if the .355″ and .370″ shafts played differently (in the same flex).

    I’ll let you know how it turns out. Thanks, ~Mike

  24. vern endres says:

    I just purchased a grafalloy prolaunch amp wood shaft in “R”
    flex. It recommends not to tip trim for a driver. Don’t we normally tip trim 1″ off for a standard bore driver head to make
    up the difference if I was putting it in a through bore head?

  25. Jeff Summitt says:


    Not anymore as they have revised their trimming the past couple of years. Some of which is dependent upon the parallel tip length which is only 3″ on the AMP. Therefore they suggest trimming from the butt end only regardless of what type of bore the wood has. The days of new drivers with thru bore are long gone – at least for now.

  26. Llew Williams says:

    Thanks Jeff for the extraordinary assistance you have provided us club builders over the years. Just invaluable!

    –Llew Williams, LlewsCannon Clubs, Naples FL

  27. Hector Biefer says:

    Hi Jeff, first of all great article; still have a question though:
    If I add a tip weigth to a club (before assembling) do I have to tip trimm that extra lenght the tip weight is giving me out of the tip to keep the same flex?


  28. Jeff Summitt says:


    The extra 1/8″ at most could be factored in at either the tip or butt as the height of the tip pin’s head is short. However, if you want to be more accurate, I would suggest sanding that extra amount from the tip.

  29. Terry Shaw says:

    Hi Jeff, I have spoken to on occasion and remain a convert for advice.

    My question, does.spine aligning a graphite shaft marginally increase the firmness?

  30. Jeff Summitt says:


    Depending on the shaft, you could as much as 10 cpm or a full flex difference by rotating the shaft 45º one way or another. Noted, this is the exception than the general rule, but it is not uncommon to see a 3 cpm change with the same rotation.

  31. Randy says:

    In general would you agree that altering the tip trim by 1 inch alters the shaft flex by about a half of flex

  32. kim rochelle says:

    HI Jeff

    I ordered the thriver head and would like to use an old
    grafalloy pro axis blue in regular flex that had been tipped 1 1/4″ I liked the shaft but use stiff flex in all my other drivers will that create what would normally be a stiff.

  33. Jeff Summitt says:


    Normally there would be no tip trimming for a driver for the ProLaunch Axis Blue, although we would recommend tip trimming 0.5″ for the Thriver. It will be stiffer than R-flex, but maybe not quite a stiff. I might try it “as is” first and adjust later if it feels too flexible.

  34. Paul says:

    Just purchased set of Mizunos, they are about 3/4″ longer than I want. Will shortening each club (butt trim) this much be a problem. I know swing weight will be lighter and a hair stiffer but anything else?

  35. Jeff Summitt says:


    Choke down on the grip by 3/4″ and proceed to hit golf balls. This will simulate what it would feel like by trimming that amount from the butt. If you don’t notice anything, then lop off that amount and you will be good to go. If it does feel a little light for control purposes, you can always add lead tape to the outside of the head in in the cavity (if any).

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