The 2009 Shaft Fitting Addendum and all the invaluable information contained within commemorates a milestone of sorts. Twenty years to be exact since I first started working on this project. The annual Shaft Fitting Addendum has now been published for the past 17 consecutive years and has become the definitive guide on shafts for clubmakers worldwide. To save the best for last, ever since 2001 this has been available as an e-book for free!
Two decades marks a long, long journey for me on both a personal and professional level. I still remember when my boss at Dynacraft back then, Tom Wishon, sat me down in his office and said “I have a little project for you.” Little did I know at that time how many countless hours during the next two decades I would spend testing golf shafts constantly fueling my desire to learn more and help educate clubmakers and golfers alike to be fit with the proper shaft.
This project was nothing but a simple idea of comparing shafts. It started when Dynacraft contacted Graeme Horwood to see if he and his staff at the Apollo Shaft Corporation would be willing to participate in a shaft testing project to help gather information. The project would consist of measuring a number of shaft specifications under the same standard testing methods and apparatus. Once the shafts were tested on an apples-to-apples basis, then we thought it would become much easier to fit the shafts properly. All of these years later, the original goal is still equally important to gather all this information and relay it to world so that club fitters and even end consumers can be better informed on how to buy and fit shafts.
What is the Shaft Fitting Addendum?
If you are a clubfitter or just curious and want to know more about golf shafts or how different shafts compared to one another, then the 2009 Shaft Fitting Addendum is a must have for your knowledge base. For those that are not already familiar with the Shaft Fitting Addendum, the first thing you will find out is not all R-flex shafts are created equal – that is in terms of flex, torque, bend point, etc. as every manufacturer are their own standard. In reality, there are no industry standards for shafts and the reason why this book serves as a valuable guide. Consistency is the key to this text as each of the approximately 3000 shafts and over 50,000 measurements has been tested by one individual using the same set of procedures and equipment for the past 20 years.
What Type of Information Will You Find?
There are 19 published specifications listed for each shaft that include:
Flex, Uncut Shaft Weight, Tip Diameter, Butt Diameter, Uncut Shaft Balance Point, Cut Shaft Balance Point, Completed Club Balance Point, Total Assembled Club Weight, Head Weight, Grip Weight, Cut Shaft Weight, Completed Club Frequency, Butt Deflection, Tip Deflection, T/B Ratio, Cut Shaft Torque, Raw Shaft Torque, Club Length (and wood bore type) and DSFI (Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index) Rating
In Chapter 1, you will find an explanation what each of these parameters mean and how they are measured. All of this information provides insight into how each shaft is unique. For example, what is the real difference between the Aldila NV and NVS Hybrid in an R-flex? Well now you can find out by looking at several key specifications as shown in the table below.
Each shaft is similar in Cut Shaft Weight, Frequency, Butt Deflection and Cut Torque. Where the big difference lies is in the Tip Stiffness measurement with the NVS having a lower deflection reading. This results into a much softer tip section which will assist in hitting the ball higher.
In another example, we can compare shafts from the same or even different manufacturers that are of approximately the same overall stiffness and weight. In this case the Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue 55, ProLaunch Platinum and New Image Red Image Graphite are all mid-50g shafts of similar frequencies and stiffness index (see chart below).
Let’s say you have hit the ProLaunch Blue 55 well, but are looking for another shaft that might be similar but may launch the ball higher because the head you had not quite enough loft. The ProLaunch Platinum or the New Image Red Graphite may be both excellent choices. The difference being the New Image has a stiffer butt section but weakest tip section to create a higher Tip to Butt Deflection (T/B) Ratio and may launch the ball the highest. The ProLaunch Platinum has a lower torque measurement and subsequently be able to launch the ball higher than the ProLaunch Blue, but with less spin.
Nowhere will you find so much information on each shaft in such detail. The best news is all this information is available for free who wish to download it.
How Do I Use the Information?
While offering all of this data is great, but being able to take this information and apply it into your everyday fitting is another. This is why we established the Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index (or DSFI for short). The DSFI takes the Completed Club Frequency, Butt Deflection, Tip Deflection, Cut Shaft Torque, Raw Shaft and Club Length and puts it into a complex algorithm to put a number on stiffness. No longer do you need to rely solely on the generic flex designations by the manufacturers, but you can also relate it to the clubhead speed or #5-iron distance the golfer possess and be able to make appropriate shaft selections.
Swing speed is only a starting point – certain golfers will use different flexes based on their tempo and length of their swing rather just swing speed. The 2009 Shaft Fitting Addendum can help you understand these issues. In addition, club fitters or even ordinary golfers can look for suitable replacement shafts that may not exist anymore by looking through the archived shafts (Chapters 3 and 4). Matching shafts of similar cut weight, frequency, cut torque and tip and butt deflections will help you find that one shaft you owned previously that they liked so dearly.
If you are looking to advance your knowledge on the ever-confusing world of shafts, take this opportunity to download the 2009 Shaft Fitting Addendum. This is a companion piece to one of the best books written about shafts called the Modern Guide to Shaft Fitting and also available for free. This is just another example of how Hireko is helping out clubmakers, club fitters and fellow golfers alike by providing you with such indispensable information so you can make more well-informed choices when it comes to purchasing new equipment.
Lastly, you would think after all these years the golf industry would all have a handle on exactly what the function of the golf shaft is and how to fit it in a definitive manner. All I can tell you is the more we learn, fit and dig around for more answers, the more questions we have. This is the very reason why we continue to test as many shafts as possible and provide the public with this information.
These past two decades of service has been an extremely rewarding one for me. So for Graeme, who is now at True Temper, Tom Wishon, Forest Sands, the Altomonte’s and now the Lin family plus all the countless shaft vendors and fellow tech staff members I have had a privilege to work with – thank you!