Installation Tips for Hireko Counterweights

Counterweighting golf clubs may greatly improve your game.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogFor the past 5 years, Hireko has sold an assortment of counterweights for steel and graphite shafts as well as steel putter shafts. There are a number of reasons to counterweight such as moving the balance point of the club closer to the player’s hands to help increase swing speed, helping delay the release of the club and even to help square the face up at impact rather the watching the ball fade or slice away from the target.

In other cases counterweighting can help reduce head heaviness when building longer-than-normal length clubs or create a putter promoting more of a pendulum stroke. So counterweights are a staple for any clubmaking operation and as such we want to point out some installation tips.

counterweight anatomyAnatomy
First, here is a quick primer on the anatomy of the counterweights. There are three parts to the counterweight. The stem is the portion that goes into the interior of the shaft. The lip or head sits atop the very butt of the shaft preventing it from falling inside. Lastly, there is air vent hole passing through the center.

Make sure to measure the shaft first
One thing to note ahead of time is our counterweights will not fit every single shaft on the market since there are no standards for butt diameter, shaft wall thickness or how much can be taken off of the butt end to achieve the final length. So it is important for the clubmakers to first measure the inside diameter of the cut shaft with their calipers or micrometers or they can test fit the counterweight if they have them on hand.

The stem of the counterweights for steel shafts and putters are @ 0.550” (14mm). These will fit the vast majority of steel shafts with a 0.590” butt diameter or larger. Do not try to force one of these into the butt end of a 0.580” steel shaft otherwise you could split the shaft. Also, if you are using the longer putter counterweights, check to see if there is a step down or knurl on the shaft where it will reduce the inside diameter of the shaft and prevent the counterweight from penetrating the full length.

The stem of the counterweights for graphite shafts are @ 0.472” (12mm). Here it is very important to measure the inside diameter since wall thickness (not outside diameter of the shaft) will dictate whether the stem will fit. In no case should you ever try to force a counterweight into a shaft with an inside diameter smaller than this. For ultra-light or constant tapered graphite shafts you may find they fit loose inside the shaft, but there is a solution for that.

Notes:

  1. These counterweights will likely not fit into a shaft that has been extended, especially if using extenders made of plastic, aluminum or using old graphite shafts.
  2. If a steel shaft was cut with a tubing cutter, this can cause the shaft to pinch inwards and this is where you want to use the flaring tool inside the butt of the shaft. You may also find the flaring tool useful to remove burrs left inside when cutting the shaft with a motorized tool.

Tubing cutter flaring toolThese are a permanent solution
Our counterweights are designed to be more of a permanent solution to counterweighting as opposed to the Tour Lock Pro system which can be readily removed and re-inserted into the butt of the club. The reason they are considered permanent is these are installed prior to the grip. Once gripped, you will not have access or even know a counterweight was installed. So it is important to know how much weight you need ahead of time.

Each 4 grams of weight will reduce the swingweight by one point. For the longer putter weights, it will be slightly more.

Plug Weight Swingweight Reduction
8g 2
12g 3
16g 4
20g 5
24g 6
28g 7
32g 8

To epoxy or not to epoxy; that is the question
To prevent an unwanted rattle, the counterweights should fit tight inside the shaft. For steel shafts, I would encourage you to use epoxy (fast-setting is fine in this application) to hold them in place. That will ensure no vibration can occur. For graphite shafts, you could do the same, but if you ever wanted to remove the weight at a later date, you might consider an alternative.

Frequently on a graphite shaft, the counterweight will be loose. You can add ordinary masking tape around the stem so it matches the inside diameter of the shaft. This will prevent the counterweight from rattling in the butt as you still have the lip against the butt end and the grip tape and grip to further supporting the counterweight.

Speaking of masking tape, I mentioned before the steel counterweights will not fit a 0.580” steel shaft. You could take the counterweights for graphite shafts and build up the stem with masking or lead tape to match the inner diameter of the steel shaft. See, there is often a simply solution to everything.

Removal
In the event you want to remove a counterweight, here is the best advice we can give. If you epoxied the counterweight in a steel shaft, simply use a heat gun or torch to break the epoxy bond. Then place the head or lip of the counterweight into your vise and you can twist it out. With graphite shafts I would discourage using any significant heat as it could compromise the integrity of the shaft since they are held together by epoxy resins. This is the reason why I like the masking tape method.

Don’t worry if you see rust
These counterweights are made out of carbon steel and if exposed to humid conditions they can start to create surface rust. Don’t worry as it will have no impact on the usage. Light sandpaper prior to epoxying or adding masking tape is all that is necessary.

Dynacraft Prophet MB Irons

Is a Low Spin Golf Clubhead or Shaft Right For You?

If you read through golf periodicals, forums and blogs, you will soon see there is so much emphasis of late that has been put on low spin for more distance. Why?

Spin is necessary to create lift to the ball. This is the reason why there is a whole science devoted to the golf ball’s material, construction and dimple geometry. Even in clubhead design, the location of the center of gravity of the head helps to control how high one hits the ball along with the rate of spin.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogWe can all relate to the fact a lower center of gravity or a head with a higher concentration of mass positioned low will yield a higher ball flight with all else equal. However, ask the average consumer about moving weight back away from the face or forward to the face and they will have a blank expression on their face as to what will happen.

For each and every golfer, there is an optimal launch angle and amount of spin that produces the best overall distance. You might have heard the phrase “high launch / low spin for greater distance”. Where that concept most likely derived from was the long drive circuit or the professional players, both of whom have high swing speeds and often swing on an upward angle to generate a higher launch angle. I won’t argue that most golfers are better off with a higher launch, but does that mean low spin is good for everyone too?

Acer SHM2 Putter

There is an old idiom that says “Too much of a good thing…” For instance, excessive spin can cause the ball to drop what seems like straight from the sky and with very little roll. This is also referred to as “ballooning” the ball. Guess what, with too little spin and that will rob a player of valuable carry distance.

It was finally time once and for all to find out first hand in the hands of ordinary golfers if that was the case. Several months ago our foundry began to make up a driver with a linear adjustable moveable weight.   Sorry, I am not going to share any photos even though you are not likely to see it available from Hireko in the future. It was made in the most popular loft today (10.5º).

This head had the ability shift approximately 9 grams off weight in a span of 3” from front-to-back and yet maintain the same vertical center of gravity. It came as no surprise that with the weight the furthest back, the launch angle and subsequent spin was the highest using a Trackman launch monitor to gather results (example of one golfer is shown). By moving the weight to the most forward position we showed about 1 degree lower launch angle and 200-300 rpm reduction in spin. Why this occurs is the shaft will show less bending forward prior to impact in order to align itself with the center of gravity of the head (less dynamic loft).

Center of Gravity and Launch Angle
As a result, carry distance and ball speed decreased with the weight in the forward position and that caused on average a loss of 2-3 yards – all this just from moving a mere 9 grams forward. This is why we are glad we did not jump on the forward CG bandwagon as the vast majority of our customers do not fall into the high swing speed category where it may benefit. Plus there is no need to loft up which will only increase the amount of spin anyway.

Why are Clubs with Graphite Shafts Sometimes Longer than those with Steel?

One dilemma golf manufacturers and custom clubmaking shops have to consider is what the “standard” lengths of their products will be aside from one size for men and another for ladies.

It would be easy if all you had was one shaft and one grip, but in the world of custom fitting and building, it doesn’t work that way. One time you may be building an iron with a 125g steel shaft and the next with an 80 gram graphite shaft. Assuming the balance point of the graphite shaft wasn’t intentionally shafted to the tip Download Hireko Golf 2014 Catalogend, the clubs will end up with a different balance or heft when held in the golfer’s hands and this will also affect the shaft flex.

When manufacturers build a product they do so to a certain specification. Many times this specification will be a specific swingweight range for each gender. For men, clubs typically range between a D0 and D2 and C4-C6 for ladies at standard lengths. Sometimes you might see a product slightly higher or lower than this but it is not by much. For those of you not familiar with that term, swingweight is the relationship between the overall weight of the club and its balance point. Generally a lighter swingweight will be a result if a lighter shaft is used with all else being the same.

Here is a matrix of 5-irons with standard weight grips (50g) and what you can expect with various weight shafts. Note there is not always a linear relation in swingweight reduction as you decrease weight. This can be explained by the fact that manufacturers will often reduce weight near the upper portion of the shaft is where there is less stress so the balance points will be closer to the tip of the shaft.

Swingweighting Graphite ShaftsThe clubmakers has two options if they want the swingweight to be the same with steel or graphite shafts. There is a practice of making the lighter graphite shafts longer. That is the graphite-shafted clubs will be ¼” or ½” longer than the steel-shafted standard and this varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Hireko’s standard has ½” variance between the two materials and accounts for a 3 swingweight point drop between standard weight steel and lightweight graphite.

One of the downsides to having the graphite-shafted club longer than the steel is when golfers are sensitive to additional length that makes it harder for him or her to hit the ball solidly. In those cases if the person let’s say fits into “standard” length with steel, but if they want graphite, they may have to order shorter than standard to achieve the same length.

Iron Corks – 25 Pack Steel Ramrod Dynacraft Tungsten Powder
Model: CORKS Model: SRR-001 Model: TG
$5.95 for pack of 25 $3.95 each $16.95 each

One way to avoid making the clubs longer to maintain the same swingweight is the use of tip pins. This may require 4-6 grams of material inserted into the tip of the shaft. The clubmaker can also opt to use tungsten powder and a cork and tamp it down with a ram rod in a steel shafted club, but you never want to use these items in a graphite shaft because the opening is much too small. As long as the weight is at a minimum, then it has no adverse effect on the club’s performance.

The third option is to keep the “standard” lengths the same, but let the swingweight of the graphite shafted clubs be a couple points lighter than the steel. Again, it is up to the discretion of the manufacturer or the clubmaker to exercise this option.

It doesn’t matter whether you are ordering custom made clubs or building them yourself, it is a good habit to know which method is utilized to avoid confusion. Hopefully you have a better understanding and know there is a rhyme and reason why some manufacturers will employ the practice of making their graphite-shafted clubs longer than with steel and others do not.

New Garmin GPS Watches

Putting a Number on Shaft Stiffness

Can We Quantify The Feel of a Golf Shaft?

What constitutes feel or relative stiffness of a golf club? You’ll find there are many theories on defining how stiff a golf club (or shaft) are compared to another. Today I want to share with you a different perspective on defining this delicate subject and hopefully opening your mind to other possibilities or explain what you may have experienced in the past.

Deflection boardFirst, you need to understand one thing; the only standard in the golf industry is “there are there no standards”. When you buy a club with an R-flex in it, you may find that it feels different from other R-flex shafts. Some of the factors include the lack of standardization for flex or could be the overall weight, bend point of stiffness distribution as well as torque.

For years a simple deflection board was used that cantilevered the butt end of the shaft as one hung a weight from the tip and noticed how much the shaft deflected downward. The more the tip hung lower, the more flexible the shaft was considered. In other cases, a shaft is deflected a known distance downward and load sensor records the amount of force to hold it into that position. Here, the lower amount of force indicated a more flexible shaft. Of course this is only true if we are comparing clubs of the same length.

Frequency readingToday, frequency analyzers are commonly used as another way to define the stiffness of a club by clamping the butt end and plucking the head to put it into motion. The frequency analyzer measures these movements and calculates how many cycles per minute (cpm) the shaft would oscillate over the sensor. The higher the number of oscillations meant the shaft was moving faster and would be considered a stiffer club than one with a lower cpm. Again this is only true if we are comparing clubs of the same length.

EI Machine deflectionLast year we added a new piece of equipment to our shaft testing lab to help better quantify shaft stiffness and to educate clubmakers and customers alike to help select the right shaft. Our EI shaft profiler is a 3-point bending test that measures the deflection along a span of the shaft. By taking measurements from the tip to the butt and plotting the results provides a more comprehensive look at the shaft’s stiffness distribution and a better understanding of how that shaft will react.

It is not the most glamourous job as you have to carefully move the shaft to each exact location, reset the dial indicator to zero, lower the weight and record the amount of deflection and then repeat this step over and over and over. Well here is an example of a graph of deflections readings of 3 flexes of the same family of shaft.

Deflection curveTo make this easier to understand, let’s blow up the chart and makes some notes. The left side of the chart represents the tip end. The plot is an accumulation of 17 data points measuring 2” closer to the butt. The lower the position on the chart; the stiffer the shaft is at any given point. Yes, the butt end is stiffer than the tip due to the larger cross section or diameters. The red line is the S-flex, black line is the R1 flex (standard regular) and the blue line is the R2 flex (commonly referred to as senior or A flex).

EI Deflection Curve Area

Since it is the same family of shaft (in this case the Graphite Design Tour AD BB 5), the shape of the curve is very similar. The only difference is the more flexible shafts exhibit a greater amount of deflection.

To put this all in perspective, one way to quantify feel in is to examine the summation of all the individual deflections along the entire length of the shaft. In other words we want to look at the area under the curve (shaded area). If we were to look at the area under the black curve, it would be larger and the blue line even a little more.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogThis leads us to our next topic. Clubmakers rely on frequency analyzers to take a quick measurement of the stiffness of a club or even a shaft by itself with some sort of weighted object attached. Again you have to compare frequencies at identical lengths otherwise you are not comparing apples to apples. But let’s say we have three shafts of all the same frequency, length and similar weight. Should all those shafts feel the same? Many would incorrectly assume so.

There is another factor in shaft fitting that is important to remember and that is the stiffness distribution or what some may say is the bend point or kick point of the shaft. Here are three R-flex shafts that we tested that had the same frequency, very similar weight, but their deflection curves varied considerably, especially near the business end of the club (head).

high mid low deflectionFrom about the 22” point from the tip all the way to the butt end, these shafts all had nearly identical deflections readings. It may not come as much surprise as the shafts had the same frequency which is measured by clamping the butt end. The blue line represents the Accuflex Evolution. Although this shaft is no longer manufactured, I can tell you it was one very tip stiff shaft and always felt much firmer overall than other shafts of similar frequency. The red line represents the Aldila NV Voodoo 60 which is considered a mid-trajectory shaft by the manufacturer. Lastly, the green line represents the Loomis Collegiate Series, which is said to be more high-to-mid launching.

Now let’s tie in what we learned earlier. The less area under the curve would result into a stiffer shaft. Even though each of these shafts is the same exact frequency and similar weight, the Evolution should feel the stiffest and the Loomis Collegiate the most flexible of the three.

Back in 2011, I reported on the UST-Mamiya VTS series that was recently introduced. If you are not familiar with this unique series of shafts, you can click on the link for more detailed information. UST Mamiya was able to produce shafts of the same weight, butt, mid and tip flex, but with 3 different torques, each 1 degree apart or what they said was the minimum threshold at which golfers could feel. The shafts are colored coded to indicate the torque. The Black is the lowest torque version. Silver is the mid torque version or 1º higher than the black. Lastly Red is the highest torque version of 1º higher than the silver. The higher the torque was to provide a softer feel of the grouping.
VTS Deflection
Here are the deflection profiles of the 65 gram S-flex series. At first glance they appear to overlap once another. This should come as no surprise. After all, there were designed to be the same stiffness, stiffness distribution and weight. But there are little nuances with each shaft if you were to look at the individual deflections and measure the area under the curves. The Black (or lowest torque) had the least amount of area under its curve signifying the stiffest “feel”. The Silver was next and the Red exhibited the highest amount of area under the curve.

So what is the real reason for the difference in feel? Remember, In order to alter the torque and maintain everything else requires the materials to be applied at different angles along the shaft forming mandrel and these can alter the deflections along the length of the shaft. For years our DSFI (Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index) was based on torque as well as frequency. Now we have another way to put a number on feel.

Boring Out Hosels – Taper Tip Heads and Crocodile Tears

You have 3 choices when it comes to boring out hosels – what is right for me?

You might know a golfer (or be one yourself) who has had a favorite set of irons or wedges for a number of years. But as we all get older, you find out one needs a shaft that is either lighter, more flexible or both. You go to pull the shaft or take it somewhere to do the work only to find out that the hosels are tapered and your options are very, very limited. How limited? We’ll get to that point later.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogCue the crocodile tears
I am not one that is going to weep crocodile tears in this situation as I have had to confront too many customers in this predicament. I simply give them their options and let them decide. The first suggestion is to pay through the nose for a taper tipped shaft if it exists at all in the flex and specifications the customer requires. The reason I say exists, you will only find one senior flex taper tip graphite shaft in our entire catalog. Hey, that is at least one more than all the L-flex shafts you will find. It is also one more than all of the senior flex steel shaft manufactured today.

725x250_2014_DRIVING_IRON_NEW_LOFTS_INSTOCK
Sure, you might be able to soft step some of the lighter weight R-flex steel shafts. But if you are on a strict budget, you are going to be in for sticker shock. For those of you unfamiliar with that term, soft stepping refers to the assembly practice of choosing a longer than normal raw length taper tip shaft for the clubhead than suggested by the manufacturer to make it more flexible. Even with this option, you may not be able to get down to the flex you require.

If you are asking why so few choices, It all comes down to a matter of economics. The component industry has worked primarily with parallel tip shafts only. Yes, there are a number of OEMs who use parallel tip shafts too, but many still use taper tip shafts in their irons and wedges, especially those devoted to better players. Those shafts are often made to order for a particular club manufacturer who is going to order thousands upon thousands at a time to fulfill production. A component supplier doesn’t have access to those same shafts. Even if one did, they might sell a few dozen of each raw length and that is not worth the investment for the component distributor or the shaft manufacturer. Enough said…

Option number two
The second option I give is to re-bore the hosel out to accept a 0.370 shaft. If you are wondering if that will cause any problems, the answer is no. This is done routinely by clubmaking and repair shops and it only removes a couple grams of weight. Sure, it might hurt the resale value of the clubs, but is that why you bought them in the first place? I’ll show some tips on re-boring in a bit.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner
In either case mentioned above it is going to cost money for labor just to re-shaft as well as the option of re-boring the hosels out to accept far more options. Remember, you (or your customer) have had those clubs all these years and hopefully you go your money’s worth. Don’t be surprised at all if you opt to have the clubs re-shafted and/or re-bored, it is likely to be more money than you bought them to begin with! You may find Beveling Hoselthat you could get a brand spanking new set of irons or wedges with the shaft weight and flex you need for less. The going rate to re-shaft a single club is $18.95 (not including the cost of the shaft) and re-boring may be another $9.95 per club. Not only is time money, but so is some of the equipment necessary to do the job properly.

Re-Boring
What are you going to need to re-bore an iron or wedge correctly? If you think a vise, pair of vise clamps, electric hand drill and a 3/8” or 9.4mm bit is all you need you may be in for a little surprise. You’ll need strong wrists because the first time the drill bit seizes up in the hosel, you will have wished you never tackled the job. It can be ironheadhoselboringfixturedone (more easily on forged irons), but taking it slow is the key. You may even want to start out with a smaller drill bit, like a “U” size letter bit, so you are taking less material at a time if re-boring by hand.

The preferred method is using a drill press with a special fixture C-clamped to the base to hold the hosel directly below the drill bit. Obviously this is the set up for a large shop and not for the do-it-yourselfer.

Whether by hand or machine, use slow speeds. Plus use cutting oil to cool down the bit and prolong its life. If you are re-shafting with graphite shafts, you will also need one additional step of countersinking the top of the hosel to prevent premature shaft breakage.

Decision time
As I see it you have three options; pay through the nose for the shaft specifications you need (if available at all), re-bore the hosels to accept the more plentiful parallel tip shafts or get into the 21st century by buying a brand new set of irons or wedges with shaft weights and flexes suited to your (or your customer’s) strength. But if you decide to re-bore the hosel, ironheadvisepadsdrillbithopefully you have a better understanding of what is required and the best method to accomplish the job.

More information of re-boring of a hosel can be found in the Modern Guide to Clubmaking 6th edition.

The 2014 Dynamic Shaft Fitting Addendum is Now Available

The Hireko Shaft Reference Guide is just another example of how Hireko is committed to educating our customer base and making ordering or selecting shafts more efficient.

Hireko Tech Director Jeff Summitt TeachingBoy, do I feel old.  I just realized that the on-going independent research on shafts I have been working on has entered its 25nd year!  This shares a silver anniversary with of all things the World Wide Web. And to think of it, I had hair back then – a lot of it.  If you are not hip to what all the fuss is about, it marks a small footnote in history that started to get us out of the Stone Age of how golfer’s choose shafts and begun doing so much more scientifically. This was the first shaft-to-shaft study using the same set of testing procedure to see how golf shafts compare after they have been cut and installed into heads on a grand scale.

What Type of Information Will You Find?
For those that are not already familiar with the Dynamic 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 an invaluable guide.  Consistency has been the key to this text as each of the well over 3000 shafts and 50,000 measurements has been conducted by one individual (yep, yours’ truly) using the same set of procedures and equipment for these past 25 years.

DSFI Table

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

Download Hireko Golf 2014 CatalogSome of the specifications may not be important to you or only help you with assembly such as knowing how much head weight you can expect at a specific length.  In other cases, there are several key parameters as shown in the following table which can be considered the shaft’s DNA.

Nuts and Bolts of the Text
If you don’t want to download all 192 pages of this text, I would highly encourage you to at least access Chapter 1, which provides the legends of what each of the specifications are and we would encourage you to read that carefully.  Chapters 2 and 5 are the nuts and bolts of the 2014 Shaft Fitting Addendum with Chapter 2 showing the data and Chapter 5 providing the how to use the information with the master shaft fitting charts in order of stiffness.  Chapters 3 and 4 provide data on shafts that are no longer available, but is still a valuable guide to cross-reference shafts.   This year we have added shafts from Aerotech, Graman and Mitsubishi-Rayon to the mix.

DSFI Table 3
The Handy Hireko Quick Shaft Reference Guide is Also Available
Unfortunately, not every shaft in our catalog and website can be tested for different reasons.  However, that doesn’t mean we can’t provide fitting advice in an accurate and efficient manner.  Once we have tested numerous shafts from a manufacturer, we have a solid understanding of how their flexes run, what the difference between their torque measurements and ours would be, etc.  Using all the information and fitting concepts that we outlined in the 2014 Dynamic Shaft Fitting Addendum, we can apply those same principle to the other shafts we haven’t tested and still confidently know where that shaft would fit.  That is why we put together a handy reference guide for shaft fitting on virtually all the shaft we distribute.

Not only is the Hireko Quick Shaft Reference Guide updated to reflect the new shafts in the catalog, but we have added hyperlinks to each of the products.  With one click, you can now go directly to the product page, read the description, look up the pricing and detailed specifications to compare products and even order.

What does Hireko Quick Shaft Reference Guide do?
The Hireko Shaft Reference Guide helps filter the wood and irons shafts we offer in 3 easy steps; by clubhead speed (or player’s distance), shaft weight and ball flight.

DSFI Table 2

The key is to find the group or category of shafts (#1) based on your or your customer’s swing speed, distance DSFI table 4and tempo.  From there, we break it down in different weight ranges (#2) starting from lightest to heaviest within the grouping.  For example, if you or your custom is looking for more distance, you would choose a shaft that is lighter.  For more control, you would select a heavier shaft.  Once the weight range has been selected, then you can sub-filter those shafts based on trajectory or fade/draw (#3).  In a nutshell, the Hireko Quick Shaft Reference Guide saves times from sorting through 57 pages of shaft in our catalog or thumbing through countless web pages to find a suitable shaft.

The Hireko Shaft Reference Guide is just another example of how we are committed to educating our customer base and making ordering or selecting shafts more efficient.

> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE 2014 DYNAMIC SHAFT FITTING ADDENDUM

Update Your Hireko Shaft Trimming Guide Now!

Are you still using last year’s shaft trimming guide?  If so, you may be cutting your shafts incorrectly and that can be costly.

Even if you were a good clubmaker and downloaded this year’s trimming guide, you may want to get the latest version. From time to time we found errors or omissions to our shaft trimming guide like we recently did.

Aerotech Powercoil 50
In our latest catalog (page 79) is a listing for the Aerotech Powercoil RH50 shaft for A-flex in both 0.335” and 0.350” tip sizes.  Actually this 47” shaft is a senior or ladies (A/L) combination flex shaft and the reason why it is 1” longer than the R or S-flex.  The correct trim chart should be W38 for L-flex and now W37 for A-flex in the updated 2014 shaft trimming guide.  If you go to the 2014 catalog or look at the previous on-line version of the Hireko Shaft Trimming Guide, guess what, you won’t find either of those two codes. DOH!

Again, don’t use last year’s catalog otherwise you won’t trim the shaft correctly.  Here are the correct instructions for tip trimming below or you can find them in the most recent download.

> DOWNLOAD HERE THE 2014 HIREKO GOLF SHAFT TRIMMING GUIDE

Shaft Trimming Chart725x250_2014_LOUDMOUTH

 

How To Eliminate Muscle or Joint Pain When Swinging a Golf Club

Change or lighten up the weight on your clubs to ease up on some of that body pain!

Download Hireko CatalogDid you purchase new equipment or have your existing golf clubs altered and all of a sudden have tennis elbow or pain in or around your shoulders?  If so, you might want to consider a change and lighten up on the weight of the golf clubs.

What is the cause of tennis elbow?  The root of the problem is using a racket that is too heavy to swing.  The same thing can occur with a golf club that is too heavy for a golfer.  Other muscles can be affected too that can be strained or worsened over repeated action as there is a lot of centrifugal forces acting upon the arms and body when swinging a golf club.

Avon Grips 2014 LineI confess I like to experiment with golf equipment.  As a matter of fact, it has been more than a decade (maybe much longer) since I went out and played the exact set of clubs or configuration.  I guess that is the hazard of my duties as a technical director at a golf club component company.  Recently I decided to add weight to the heads of my golf irons and golf wedges to make them quasi-MOI matched to my #5-iron rather swingweight matched.  In a nutshell, it makes the clubs have a progressively heavier swingweight (roughly 0.5 point per club) as they become shorter.

While that doesn’t seem like a lot of weight (I think the PW needed 3 swingweights or a little more than 6 grams), it did take its toll on my rotary cuff.  After a couple of rounds of golf and a trip or two to the range, I was experiencing pain I hadn’t had before.  That small amount of weight was compounded as it was located 3 feet from my wrists and another 2 feet from my shoulders.  While I did strike the ball quite well with the added weight it just wasn’t worth the soreness that lingered.  The experiment ended and a lesson learned that I thought I might share with you.

 

Gain the Benefits of an Anchored Putter Using a Near-Anchored Putter

There is an alternative method in building a near-anchored golf putter that will do the same thing as a belly putter but without having it be anchored to the body.

Conventional Golf Putting Swing IllustrationAs the ban on the anchored golf putter is a few years away (beginning in 2016), a certain number of golfers are reluctantly going to want to switch back to a conventional golf putter. This is especially true for those that suffer from the yips.  Spending the better part of the summer season tinkering around in the shop, on the practice green and on ultimately the course, I found a simple solution that I would like to share with you that has helped my game immensely.

Let’s first discuss what an anchored golf putter does. It forms a brace against some part of the body so the putter can be swung in more of a pendulum motion.  Many golfers don’t keep their hands steady during the stroke and some might even say the golfer is “wristy” or “handsy”. With the butt end of the club anchored into say their belly, there is less chance the hands will push or pull the golf putter off-line.

Conventional golf putter
A typical conventional putter might be 34” in length and one would hold the grip at the very end. In all actuality, your upper wrist is at the end of the putter while the center of your hands approximately 6” down on the grip.  Take a moment to look at this diagram and see how it differs from the next few.

Belly Golf Putter Swing IllustrationBelly or anchored putter
A belly putter is basically an extension of a conventional putter – roughly 8” longer. One will possess a very long putter grip where the center of the player’s hands may be a foot down on the grip leaving 6” or so of the grip exposed between the wrist and the end of the putter.  In reality, the hands are in the same position as they would hold a conventional putter.

The idea is a near-anchored putter
Think of a belly putter that, well, doesn’t go all the way to the belly or an inch or so from contact.  In a near-belly or near-anchored putter, the distance from the upper wrist and end of the grip may be only 5”, but the hands will be in the same placement as on a conventional golf putter.

The downside of a putter in this position, it no longer a brace to keep the fluidity of the stroke when one rocks the putter back and forth. Instead, there is a tendency for the wrists to move or pivot due to the weight of the head.

Near Anchor Golf Putter IllustrationNow, I want you to think of a seesaw or a board with a pivot somewhere in the middle that will allow it to rock up and down.  If a child sits on one end and no one is on the other end, there is no equilibrium and the child just sits impatiently on the ground. However, add enough weight in the right location opposite the child and the seesaw will pivot in harmonious motion.

With a near-anchored putter, there is plenty of room to place an ample amount of weight above the pivot point of the hands to help offset the weight of the putter head to promote a pendulum stroke and reduce the movement of the wrists.

Counterweighting
In my experimentation, I used my favorite putter – Dynacraft Hindsight Mallet. The built-in forward hand press and roll face are two great technologies that more golfers should find out about.  Hireko offer different forms of counterweighting.   I started out with a conventional counterweight that is installed at the very butt end of the shaft. The Tour Lock Pro system works great for this type of testing as you can
Near Anchor Counterweighting Illustrationinterchange different weights without having to replace a grip.  Pivot With Counterweight IllustrationI found there was a benefit or improvement in putting with the maximum 100g weight; but still not enough.

Tour Lock offer another product called the Opti-Vibe that fits down inside the shaft and locks in place.  These come in various weights just like the Tour Lock Pro. Over countless trips to the practice green and course, I found the 150g Opti-Vibe placed just below where the 100g Tour Lock Pro (as shown) was my optimal configuration.  You may find a different combination based upon the components weights of your putter and the length.

Near Anchor CounterweightsAs you can see, there is an alternative method in building a near-anchored putter that will do the same thing as a belly putter but without having it be anchored to the body.  This way with a slight modification, you don’t have to ditch your belly putter and continue to use your putter from now until the new rule takes place and never miss a beat.  Even for a brand new putter, this makes a viable choice for those that suffer in the putting department.

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Understanding Shaft Geometry and the Effects on Ball Flight

Key Golf Shaft Variables To Learn When Shopping For Your Next Set of Clubs or Re-Shaft Project

Following our back-to-school theme, last week I spoke about how the geometric shape of your putter grip could improve you putting.  Today, we are going to switch to golf shafts and show you a few things to look for when looking to re-shaft or purchase your next set of clubs.

Did you ever wonder why certain golf shafts hit the ball higher or to the left or right more than others? This has to do with a number of parameters, one of which is the shape or geometry of the shaft.  Let’s take for example parallel tip steel iron shafts. The majority of men’s flex parallel tip steel iron shafts have a tip diameter of 0.370” so they can fit into numerous heads across the industry and a butt diameter of 0.600” to accommodate the majority of golf grips.  The geometry between these areas is what alters the ball flight.

Golf Shaft AnatomyIf you look at steel iron shafts, each model has its’ own unique step pattern.  The stepping is done to change diameters or the rate of taper and ultimately the geometry of the shaft.  The same thing occurs on non-stepped shafts as well; the shaft becomes larger in diameter from the tip to the butt end.

Download Hireko CatalogThe step pattern may be constant, like the True Temper TT Lite with consistent 1.5” steps or an FST 115 with 1” steps.  The shaft might have variable steps such as an Apollo Shadow with 9 small ½” steps and then increasingly larger steps as you go toward the butt end. The stepping helps to identify a model.

Why does a more flexible shaft hit the ball higher in the same pattern of shaft?  This goes back to geometry as the step pattern will be the same, but the more flexible shaft will have a longer parallel tip section and shorter parallel butt section. Since the shaft is skinnier near the tip, it will allow the shaft the bend further forward prior to impact creating more dynamic loft and/or a more closed face. Conversely, if you want to stiffen a parallel tip shaft, you do so by taking more off of the tip and that will resist the forward bending.

Less than a year ago, we added a piece of equipment to help us measure shafts more precisely.  We have measured quite a few shafts already. Two of which are the Apollo Acculite 85 S-flex and a True Temper Dynalite Gold SL S-flex.  These might not be common shafts that our readers have had an opportunity to hit, but both are listed a high launching by the respectively manufacturers, had nearly the identical final frequency for a 5-iron and they are pretty close in cut weight (Acculite 85 at 87.3g and Dynalite Gold SL at 93.1g).  On paper these would appear to be similar.

Our shaft profiler measures the deflection or stiffness along the length of the shaft so you get more of a complete picture.  The following chart shows the deflection of the two shafts with the left side showing the tip end and the right side is the butt. More flex is indicated when the line is higher on the chart.

Tip Stiffness

From about 14” up from the tip to the butt end, these two shafts are nearly identical. Where you can see the main difference is tip section as the Dynalite Gold SL being much stiffer.  This is due to the fact that the shaft tapers quickly.  Instead of the entire parallel tip section remaining 0.370” up to the first step, both of these shafts has a tapered section before the first step to give them stability.  Just underneath the 1st step the Acculite 85 is 0.400”, but the Dynalite Gold SL is a whopping 0.445” below the first step!

That explains the difference as the larger cross section or shaft diameter, the stiffer the shaft becomes.  I shafted these up into identical heads and head to the range for me and others to hit as we could look at the effect on ball flight when one area of the shaft is decidedly different.  What we witnessed was the Acculite 85 would hit the ball more to the left than the Dynalite Gold SL (we were all right handed).  For those that fade or push the ball would prefer the Acculite 85 as the softer tip will help close the face at impact.  For those that pull or draw will prefer the Dynalite Gold SL. Or is it simple as that?

The reason I bring this question up has to do with clubhead selection.  While we saw a definite change in ball flight between the two shafts in the same head, we could have placed the Dynalite Gold SL in a head with more offset and the Acculite 85 in a model with less offset and you might hit the ball the same direction and height.  Just as easily, we could have had placed the Acculite 85 in a high offset head and created a draw or hook and the Dynalite Gold SL in a low offset head and produced a fade or slice.

Remember that a club is a system consisting of the head, shaft, grip and length. This is where fitting is extremely important and how our QuikFit system can help identify combinations of heads and shafts that will work harmoniously with a given player’s swing.  But now you may look at the shaft geometry in a different perspective and understand better why you may like or not like a certain shaft or why.

SK Fiber Wraith Golf Shaft