The next time you go to secure a club in your vise, you should probably take heed to some advice – ease up on the pressure!  Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, shafts in general are becoming increasingly lighter and lighter in hopes that you (or your customers) will swing the club faster and get more distance.  This holds true not only with graphite or composite shaft, but steel shafts too.

To avoid a costly mistake, take a peek at the shaft or the club before you begin to work on it.  For example, if you see a big sticker on the butt end of the shaft that says “CAUTION: Please read before installing”, well that may give you first clue.

However a lot of the clubs you will be working on may be to simply re-grip or perform some other type of repair or to obtain a measurement on.  Take a second and examine the shaft.  Often times the name or writing on the silkscreen will help indicate the approximate weight of the shaft.  For instance a 55 in the name may be short for 55g.  Another example might be 43R, where the 43 most likely refers to the weight and R for the flex.

I say costly because it is important to realize neither shaft manufacturers nor the component suppliers are going to replace shafts that broke due to excessive clamping pressure.  In order to achieve these super lightweight shaft weights (below 60g in graphite and 90g in steel), the shafts are constructed with extremely thin walls especially in the butt half. However, they are designed to withstand the load or force over the full length of the shaft as it would be swung.  Durability testing is an important part of the development process as shaft manufacturers will error on the side of safety.

But there are many things that clubmakers or repair specialist may do to a club that can cause a shaft to crack or break.  Number one is clamping the shaft in their vise too tightly creating a longitudinal crack along the length of the shaft.  What you want to do if the shaft is very light, gradually build up the clamping pressure so the shaft is “snug” and will not move but not so tight that damage will be done.

Other activities that can render an expensive shaft useless in a hurry is placing one of these ultra lightweight shafts on a deflection board where all the load or force is concentrated on a single point or area rather than it’s full length.  This would also apply to clubmakers determining “spines” or conducting some sort of shaft orientation in whatever devise they have.

While lighter and lighter shafts will continue to be a trend, it will be the responsibility of the clubmaker or club repair specialist to take the extra care and avoid telling their customer that the $400 driver they just bought or $200 shaft they had retrofitted was destroyed trying to put on a grip.  Your reputation can quickly be tarnished and your wallet garnished in what an ounce of prevention could have taken care of.

3 Best Selling Ultra-lightweight Shafts!

UST-Mamiya MP5 Wood Graphite
Grafalloy Booyah Graphite

SK Fiber Superfly Graphite

2 Comments on Easy on the Pressure with Today’s Lightweight Shafts

  1. Bob Citrak says:

    Great article! I recently stopped using my auto clamp on graphite shafts as I thought this could happen and gone back to the light pressure in the vise with the old rubber clamp. Thanks again. Bob

  2. Inaki Legorburu says:

    Great cost saving tip! Curious as to why SK Fiber no longer produce the Superfly shaft? I love it.

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