Uniquely Shaped Grips From PalmBird and Two Thumb Grips Aim to Improve Your Putting!

New Offerings From Two Thumb Grips and PalmBird Grips Are Engineered To Promote Pendulum Stroke And Lower Scores

You may or may not have noticed we recently added two new lines of putter grips; PalmBird Grips and Two Thumb Grips.  For many of you, this might be your first introduction to either of these companies, but they offer rather unique products brought on through their geometric shapes.

I was taught a long time ago that if you wanted to improve your putting alignment is critical. That person instructed me to place a ruler or yardstick in my hands and take practice strokes as if I was putting.  The ruler is thin and rectangular making it very easy to align to the target. Plus there are two ways in which to hold it that feels very natural. Let me explain those two positions and how it applies to these new putter grips.

Vertical Ruler Hireko GolfVertical position
Imagine the thin side of a ruler perpendicular to the ground.  The wide, flat side of the ruler would rest against your palms and the thin side would fit in your fingers. Take a few quick strokes Palmbird Gripback and forth and you can maintain the flat side of the ruler being square toward the target easier than you can when you hold a rounded object in your hands.

The crescent shape of the PalmBird grip is very reminiscent of the ruler in the vertical position, with the narrow portion is resting in your fingers and the side of the golf grip is firmly against your palms.

Horizontal Ruler Hireko GolfHorizontal position
Now imagine the thin side of a ruler parallel to the ground.  The ruler is now held primarily in the fingers with your thumbs wresting atop.  Again, the geometric shape makes it easy to sense you are putting back and forth toward your target.

The Two Thumb grips have a wide rectangular shape large enough to place both your thumbs (hence 2Thumb) side by side atop of the putter grip as shown.  However, there are other positions you can place your hands and achieve the same assurance of being properly aligned as the ruler in the horizontal position.

You can also install the Two Thumb grips in the vertical position as mentioned above. This would be perfectly acceptable and conform to the Rules of Golf. Your forward or leading hand will feel as if you are back-handing the putt instead of breaking your wrists.

If you are struggling on the green with your flatstick, perhaps a change in the shape of your grip will get you aligned as well as promote a more pendulum stroke by taking the wrists out of the stroke.

> CLICK HERE TO SHOP FOR THE NEW TWO THUMB GRIPS

> CLICK HERE TO SHOP FOR THE NEW PALMBIRD GRIPS

Two Thumb Putter Grips at Hireko Golf

 

Tip For Swingweighting Taper Tip Steel Shafts With Tip Pins With Video Demonstration!

Hireko Golf Technical Director Demonstrates A Quick And Easy Way To Swingweight Taper Tip Steel Shafts

Lead Tip Pins For Steel Golf ShaftsThose lead tip pins you bought for steel iron shafts aren’t going to fit inside a 0.355” taper tip steel shaft – no way, no how! Those were developed for 0.370” parallel tip shafts only.  Sure, you can use tungsten powder, a cork and a ram rod but there is one other solution you might not have thought of to swingweight 0.355” taper tip steel iron shafts.

OK, I’ll admit our labeling of certain products could be a little better.  One of those examples is for the lead tip pins for steel wood shafts. If you are asking “Who still uses steel wood shafts anymore?” all I can say is they come in might handy for 0.355” taper tip steel iron shafts too.  These tip pins will fit the inside of the taper tipped steel shaft rather loosely, but the head on the pin will prevent it from going up and down the shaft as it will get trapped between the tip of the shaft and the bottom of the hosel.  Just make sure not to pound the head onto the shaft too much during installation otherwise you could break off the head of the tip pin.

To take up the slack, you can take a 7/8” long strip of ½” wide lead tape and wrap it around the stem.  You could always use masking tape as well.  In either case epoxy will fill up the void, eliminate any rattling and most importantly increase the swingweight to your desired setting.

VIEW VIDEO BLOG BELOW ON HOW TO SWINGWEIGHT TAPER TIP STEEL SHAFTS WITH TIP PINS!

> SHOP HERE FOR TAPER TIP STEEL GOLF SHAFTS

Taper Tip Steel Shafts

How To Get Fit For A Golf Driver

Hireko Golf’s Technical Director Jeff Summitt Discusses Getting Fit For A Golf Driver

Hireko Golf QuikFitGolfers today have much more luxury when it comes to golf driver fitting.  Name brand manufacturers have somewhat simplified the process by using adapter systems, which can interchange various gripped golf shafts that can screwed onto driver heads of various lofts, and the customer can see and feel the interactions whether hitting into a net or outdoors out on the range. With advancement with technology, computer software can simulate the results and provide detailed analysis on which driver/shaft combination produces the best result.

Golf clubmakers have these same capabilities of interchanging heads and shafts as the major manufacturers with the advent of adapter systems such as Hireko’s QuikFit system. However, the independent club fitter can offer much more variety of components that is seen in an array of OEM fitting carts, but in some of the other fitting parameters as well.

Length, golf shaft and overall weight
When using gripped shafts on an adapter, the fitter should set up their demos in a strategic manner.  First, there should be no duplication of shafts (same weight, flex, trajectory and torque).  By varying the weight of the golf shaft, it will vary the overall weight too in order to see if distance can be improved without sacrificing accuracy.  While the shaft weight varies, so too will swingweight.  The fitter has to decide if they want to maintain a standard length and adjust the swingweight when building their demos or varying the length slightly and adding another element to their fitting – length fitting.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment CatalogThe fitter can use the player’s swing speed as a baseline in deciding which shaft to start with, but allow the player to hit golf balls with shafts that are a little stiffer or softer as well as heavier or lighter to see what performs best.  This is called performance based fitting as not all golfers with the same swing speed need the exact same flex due to their tempo and release point in the swing.

Golf Clubhead selection
Most golf club drivers today are the maximum allowable size (460cc).  However they do come in all sorts of shapes and specifications such as loft (for trajectory), face angle (for accuracy) or special features (like offset).  Even if the clubfitting is only using one loft to fit, they have a baseline.  For example, if the head is 10.5º and the player hits the ball a little on the low side, they could suggest the same head in the next available golf clubhead loft as manufacturers will routinely offer driver heads in multiple lofts.  This is where launch monitors come in handy to provide more accurate data than what is possible with naked eye as the correct loft will help optimize launch angle, spin and ultimately distance.

Hireko Golf Clubhead GeometryThe shape of the head is important as well because the center of gravity usually follow the geometry.  That is a deeper faced club will have a higher center of gravity and launch the ball lower with all else being the same.  The manufacturer may have a model where from heel-to-toe is a little shorter or added internal weight toward the hosel to help close the face at impact.

Just like certain heads can hit the ball higher or help close the face, shafts can too.  This is where it is important to be able to pair the two with an golf interchangeable adapter system and allow the customer to be able hit the ball and watch or measure ball flight.  This takes the guess work out and assures the customer they are being fit correctly.

Hireko Golf Dispersion ChartFor stronger golfers, face angle will be more critical because any error is magnified. Remember, there are tolerances will all components and a customer might wonder if what they were fit for will be the exact same as the final product they purchase.  The clubmaker should be able to measure their demo clubs and sort through their inventory. They can use the tolerances to their advantage by picking the head with a lower or higher loft or more closed or open face angle so account for the tendency the golfer has the most.

Golf Grip
Chances are the grips on any demo driver or gripped shafts on some sort of adapter system will be standard size.  Golfers with larger or smaller hands or those that prefer to hold the club in the palm rather than the fingers may prefer a different size.  This is where holding onto grips from a display can help find a grip that is comfortable from both a texture and size standpoint.

The player could use the same style grip and size as they have on their irons – assuming they were fit for them previously.  But most golfers really haven’t been introduced to something other than standard and may be surprised by the results of a right-sized grip.

Weight distribution and final adjustments
If the fitting is using some sort of an interchangeable club head and shaft system, the fitter can add smaller amounts of weight (i.e. lead foil tape) to the driver head to fine tune swingweight. If the demo clubs have holes cut into the butt ends of grip, the fitter can use a counterweighting system to see if alternative weighting may stimulate a difference in the comfort level and performance at the given length and shaft weight one was fit for.  It should only take a few swings by the golfer to see if counterweighting has any positive response.  If not, it can be ruled out and at least the customer had experimented with something few golfers ever do.  For habitual slicers, I would strongly encourage them to consider this.

Golf Driver Summary
The total time to be fit for a driver will vary depending on how involved you want to get or just how poorly the golfer was fit before.  It may be as simple as a new style grip and size or an alteration of length to an existing driver.  On the other hand you might have a customer with a unique set of challenges that you have to go through every aspect of the fitting until you settle on what will help them perform their best off of the tee.

This is just a small amount information you will find in our upcoming clubfitting book.

 

 

Does the Flex of Your Wedge Shaft Matter?

Maybe a change to your wedge shaft may rejuvenate your short game too, but just don’t assume if you see a “wedge” shaft that is the only option you have.

SK Fiber Wedge Force Golf Shaft

SK Fiber Wedge Force Shaft
Finally a performance graphite golf shaft designed specifically for the scoring wedges. Crafted with a firm butt and responsive tip section for optimal launch angles and ball spin. BUY HERE FOR ONLY $38 EACH

How often do you take a full swing with your golf wedges? Trace back to your last round and recall all those ¾ or ½ pitch shots, chips from just beyond the apron or your greenside bunker play – all of those are taken with less than a full shot. Now think about this for a second. Since they are taken with less than a full effort and your swing speed is reduced, so should the flex of your shaft be reduced as well? After all a slower swing speed player is recommended to use a softer flexed shaft than someone stronger than them. Therefore I wanted to investigate does golf wedge flex makes any difference in accuracy and feel.

Download Hireko Golf Equipment CatalogFirst, let’s look at buying habits amongst consumers. If you look at all the name brand golf wedges on the market, what kind of shafts do they have in them? The #1 shaft by far is a version of the iconic Dynamic Gold S-flex taper tip (typically labeled as “Wedge” flex). You may also see some similar weight and stiffness golf shafts in the likes of the KBS Tour Shaft or the Dynamic Gold Spinner golf shaft too. But let me emphasize this fact, in a blade style wedge from any of the major manufacturers, they do not offer a single Regular of Senior flex shaft to match what you may be using in the rest of your set. So in the minds of the major OEMs, either flex must not matter in golf wedges or they only offer this option because the professional golfers like that combination (again in a blade style wedge) and the rest of the golfing population are lemmings and buy what the manufacturers dictate. OK, maybe I am a cynic.

To test my theory, I used the SK Fiber Wedge Force golf shafts because they came in 3 basic flexes and had a similar shaft profile to one another. In addition, as the flex is reduced, the weight reduced as well. I set these up at 35.75” with a slightly oversize grip into three identical loft / lie Power Play Raw Spin 56º wedges. Each came out at D3. The rest of the specs are below.

Wedge Flex Chart 1
I should state what the 5-iron flex equivalent is.  In steel golf shafts, the frequency increases @ 4-5 cpm per club (shorter) due to the normal tip trimming or the suggested raw length of the taper tip shaft by the manufacturer.  So if we were to account for the shorter length and slightly higher swingweights on the wedges compared to the rest of the numbers irons, you would typically see a 15-17 cpm increase in frequency over the 5-iron.

The literature from SK Fiber Golf (I know we own it now) inadvertently lists the 100g model as A-flex, 110 as R-flex and 120 as S-flex.  While there may be some A-flex steel-shafted #5 irons that measure between 293-295 cpm, there are a number of popular lightweight S-flex steel shafts that do as well.  So in reality, the 100 model is not an A-flex shaft. Another way to think about it is a softer version in the SK Fiber Wedge Force shaft family (or Baby Bear) compared to the 110 (Momma Bear) and 120 (Papa Bear) just the same way that not all S-flex shafts are the same stiffness.

To put this all in perspective, if a Dynamic Gold S-flex taper tip wedge shaft was set up in the same manner, the cut shaft weight would have been @ 119 g, overall weight of 471 g (would have had to use a lighter weight head to achieve D3) and a frequency of 339.  This would have been close to the Wedge Force 120 model specifications.

I not only wanted to test partial shots but also full shots with each of these clubs.  For the record, I normally play R-flex in heavier weight steel and S-flex in some of the lighter and more flexible offerings. Another golfer who I had conduct the same test was also using R-flex in his irons and of course S-flex in his golf wedges (because that is all that came stock with them).

Finesse shots
The range I frequent for all my testing is one of the top 100 in the nation, so there are lots of flags set to certain distances to make it easier to hone in on your short yardages.  Alternating among the three sand wedges as well as different targets, I came to the conclusion quickly that having the proper length (for solidness of contact), loft (for trajectory), lie (for direction) are far more important based on the accuracy of these variable weight and flex wedges.  I couldn’t say one way or another that any one of the golf wedges was night and day difference in distance and directional control.  However, the lightest and most flexible felt the best and most natural to me.  Based on feel and no loss of control, I would have picked the SK Fiber Wedge Force 100 golf shaft or a shaft based upon the literature I honestly would have never had even tried.

The other player had a similar experience as me as far as the more flexible and lighter wedge didn’t cause him to loose accuracy.  Of course at the beginning I did not tell him what I was handing to him.  However, he could detect the weight differential of the 3 immediately, but could not tell there was any flex difference until later when I told him.  Over time, I thought the two he hit best were the lightest and the heaviest wedge, but in the end he preferred the feel of the heavier model as it was more familiar to what he had been using.

Full shots
Here is where I thought the biggest issue would be concerning distance and directional control by moving up and down in flex.  When I say a full shot, I was not referring to jumping out of my shoes and trying to hit the ball farther. Who does that with a golf wedge anyway?  What I was surprised by was the directional consistency of each one.  After all these were blade style wedges offering little in the way of game improvement features. On the other hand they are shorter so they should be more controllable and easier to make solid contact. There was no glaring tendency other than the heaviest shafted wedge may have tended to go more right of my target than the other two.  I felt the lightest one went a tad higher and further, but if so, I would have needed a launch monitor to tell me for sure.

The other player felt more comfortable with the heaviest shafted wedge for full shots.  The way he describe the feeling, he had more momentum in his swing with the heavier weight which required less effort to swing.  We could have added swingweight (via lead tape) to the head of the lighter two shafts to see if that would have changed his opinion.

Re-testing
I wanted to repeat the exercise so as not to find my conclusions a fluke. One thing I wanted to make sure I tried was to add 17g of weight to the Wedge Force 100 golf shaft with a clay-like substance that I can easily add or remove that will also stick to the outer side of the shaft when hit.  The weight was placed @ 14” from the butt end so I could achieve the exact same overall weight as the Wedge Force 120 and have the same swingweight too.  So essentially I was testing flex only (at least on paper).  After hitting several shots with the club modified this way, I can tell you that even though the overall weight and swingweight were the same, they didn’t feel alike.  There had to be a difference in the moment of inertia (MOI) between the two.  No longer could I judge distance as well with the additional weight in that position.  After removing the clay-like substance, I was back to form.

Next, I experimented by adding some weight to the heads of the Wedge Force 100, 110 and 120 shafts until I felt the performance improved. This made more of a difference than did the flex of the shaft, especially on the two lighter shaft models.  I had to wait until I got back to my lab to see what the swingweights would be and subsequent flex as the additional weight will reduce the flex as well.

Wedge Flex Article Chart 1

In the end, I had three sand wedges with completely different flexed and weighted sand wedges I had confidence I could hit my targets on both partial and full shots.

Conclusion
I’ll admit pitching chipping has never been my strong suit as I don’t practice enough.  During this exercise over a three day span, that part of my game that had been sadly neglected has now become one of my strengths.  The first night out on the course with the softer and lighter wedge shaft was probably the best exhibition I have had in years to and around the green.

There are by far more club fitting parameters to fit for in a wedge besides flex.  So maybe the OEMs aren’t wrong in only offering one flex shaft for all.  But on the other hand, feel is so integral to this game.  As most shots are made with less than full shots and subsequent slower swing speed, I would opt for a shaft weight (first), swingweight (second) and flex (third) that feels most comfortable in my wedge. That is assuming I already know what head, length and grip size I need first.

To play devil’s advocate, I didn’t use a very flexible ladies or senior graphite shaft so I am not saying that flex does not matter altogether.  But those tend to be much lighter than the shafts I tried.  Anyway, I did say that weight and weight distribution (swingweight or MOI) are more critical factors.  But those that nitpick over a whether to tip trim a little more to offset a higher bottom to bore measurement or soft step a raw length or two to create a little more feel are missing the big picture.

Maybe a change to your wedge shaft may rejuvenate your short game too, but just don’t assume if you see a “wedge” shaft that is the only option you have.  Get custom clubfit!  It can make a difference.

Grafalloy Prolaunch Golf Shaft Sale

Save Time & Money – Epoxy Safety Tips for Clubmakers

Be wise with your golf clubmaking epoxy habits and save time and money

Hireko Golf Clubmaking Epoxy

Hireko Golf Clubmaking Epoxy Model #EP01

While your clubmaking operation may be in full gear at this time of the year, one thing you want to check on is your golf clubmaking epoxy.  Believe it or not, you are relying on its’ strength to form a long-lasting bond between any club you build or repair for your customers.  But when was the last time you checked how old it is and whether it is still effective?

Most clubmakers will assume that epoxy for golf clubmaking is good as long as there is some left in the bottles.  But that is not entirely true.  Many epoxies have shelf lives just like milk, bread or that spinach that is starting to wilt in your refrigerator.  After a year, they start to lose their strength.  After two years, I wouldn’t use it for anything golf club related.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogMark Your Bottles
No matter how organized your shop may be, I doubt you will know immediately when you last purchased it by looking through old invoices. When you receive a package with your epoxy, the first thing you should do is take your Sharpie pen and mark the date it arrived on the bottle or container and it will always be there in plain sight.  If you have the small one-job packets, don’t worry, these have an indefinite shelf life.

Individual Epoxy Packets

Individual Epoxy Packets Model #EPS-001

Buy in quantities you will consume
If you buy golf clubmaking epoxy in bulk (or in larger containers), you can save money per ounce or per club you build.  However, if it goes to waste by going past its effective date and you have to throw it out, you really haven’t saved money have you?  I guess you can still use it for small household fixes, but the point I am trying to make is buy enough to last you a full year.

By following these simple tips, you can rest assured that the clubs you assemble or repair for your customers (or yourself) is one less of life’s worries.

Model #EP01-001
Model #EP05-001
Model #EPS-001
Epoxy A+B 4oz Bottles
24 Hour Epoxy 1.0oz Tube
Individual Epoxy Packets
$8.95 each
$5.95 each
$1.50 each

Black Widow Tour Silk II Golf Grips

Online Golf Shaft Trimming Instruction Charts Easier To Find Now! View Online Accounts Balances Too!

For those of you who have needed to find the appropriate trim chart for the shaft (and flex) you ordered we have updated our website with a nice new feature to make that task just a bit easier.  All you need to do it go to the webpage with the shaft you ordered.  Next, scroll down to where the product description is located and click on the SPECIFICATION tab.  One the right hand side of the specification table you will find the trim chart entries.  Simply click on the trim code shaded in blue and a pop up box will appear with that trim chart and any trim notes.  This is just another example of how Hireko is striving to make your club assembly operation more efficient.

Online Trim Chart Feature
Online Trim Chart Feature 2

View Account Balances
Now you view your account balances online.
1. First log into www.hirekogolf.com
2. Click on “My Orders” in the left hand column
3. Then click on “View Accounts Receivables”
and that’s it!

View Accounts Balance 1

View Account Balances 2Power Play Warp Speed Irons

 

 

 

Download For Free The Handy Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting Guide!

Simply the best way to select the right golf shaft for your golf game!

Dynamic Shaft Fitting IndexOne of the comments we received from customers on our new golf clubmaking catalog was “Where was the golf shaft fitting chart located in the back of the golf clubmaking catalog you had the past 3 years? I used that a lot for reference.”  To be totally honest, we didn’t have the room this year to insert the 3 extra pages needed in the catalog.  However, we realize that a lot of our customers used this as a handy reference guide so we have now updated it and made it downloadable on our site.  Not only that, but we made it more interactive at the same time.

What is different?
Not only is the Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting Guide updated to reflect the new golf shafts in the catalog, but we have added hyperlinks to each of the products.  With one click, you can now go directly to it’s Hireko golf shafts page, read the description, look up the pricing and detailed specifications to compare products and even order. This will help you choose the best shaft for your game.

What does Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting Guide do?
For those not familiar with the Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting Guide, it is a guide to help filter the wood and irons shafts we offer by clubhead speed (or player’s distance), shaft weight and ball flight.  The categorization is based on our ongoing golf shaft testing project called the Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index or DSFI for short.

The key is to find the group or category of graphite or steel shafts based on your or your customer’s golf swing speed, distance and tempo.  From there, we break it down in different weight ranges starting from lightest golf shaft to heaviest within the grouping.  For example, if you or your custom is looking for more distance, you would choose a golf shaft that is lighter.  For more control, you would select a heavier golf shaft.  Once the weight range has been selected, then you can sub-filter those golf shafts based on trajectory or fade/draw.  In a nutshell, the Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting  Guide saves times from sorting through 50 pages of shaft in the catalog or thumbing through countless web pages to find a suitable shaft.

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

> Download The Free Hireko Quick Shaft Fitting Guide Now!

“Flighting” Golf Shafts

Before we touch upon our topic of “flighting” golf shafts, when need to first look back at last week’s blog where we showed you how certain shafts can be trimmed in multiple ways to create alternative flexes.  This process allows club fitters greater latitude in producing in-between or custom flexes for their clientele.  In the case of the KBS Tour, you saw one shaft could be used to create a range of flexes and in some cases this produces flex overlap.

Flex

FCM Range

R

4.0 – 5.5

S

5.0 – 6.5

X

6.0 – 7.5

For instance, if you wanted the equivalent of a 5.5 flex, you could elect to take the R or the S flex shaft and then follow the appropriate trimming table as we will show shortly.  While the X flex range may appear too stiff to create a 5.5 flex, I am going to let you onto a little secret.  Actually it is no secret at all, we are just applying the principles we learned in the previous article.  We know in order to create a 6.0 flex we would take the X-flex blank and use the following trim chart.

Using the Principles in Reverse
One of the questions you may ask in the back of your mind is how many golfers still use a 1 or 2 iron (or even hybrid) anymore?  The answer is few.  So what if we started with the 3-iron and took 1” less off of the tip than what is suggested?  We learned that cutting 1” additionally increased the FCM level by 0.5 (5 cpm) or ½ flex.  Therefore, if the opposite would occur by leaving an extra inch from the tip, we should see a reduction in the FCM level from 6.0 to 5.5.  Now we have three different shafts that could literally produce the exact same frequency numbers and slope.


Concept of “Flighting
Just because we produced the same frequency numbers, does this mean we produced the exact same stiffness?  The answer to this is a big “NO” and here is the reason why.  A golf shaft is a hollowed tapered tube.  This stiffness is defined by many parameters such as the weight, wall thickness and outside diameters of the shaft.  One of those parameters you can see quickly on a stepped steel shaft is the distance of the parallel tip section or the distance to the first step.

The raw, uncut R-flex KBS Tour shaft had a parallel tip section of 12”, the S-flex 11.5” and the X-flex 10.5”.  However, if we followed the trimming instructions from the previous chart, you will notice how the parallel tip section changes.  While the R-flex appeared to have the longest parallel tip section, after our aggressive tip trimming to increase the stiffness to the 5.5 FCM level, we have much less parallel tip section remaining as this chart will show.

On the other end of the spectrum, the X-flex blank had the least amount of parallel tip section in the raw, uncut form.  However, we opted to tip trim less off of the shaft to create a softer (5.5) frequency level.  Here’s the skinny, if you have two similar geometry shafts with the same frequency, then the one with a shorter parallel tip section should provide a lower trajectory as the tip will be stiffer.  Conversely, a longer parallel tip section with very similar geometries will produce a softer tipped section and subsequently a higher launch angle.

This is how “Flighted” shafts are produced to be able to offer higher launching shaft in the long irons for ease of play, mid launching in the mid-irons and lower launch in the scoring clubs by a manipulation in tip trimming of different flex blanks.  Some may say these have progressive bend or kick point, but it is really manipulating the parallel tip section that is creating these changes.

You cannot do this with any unitized, parallel tipped shaft.  Rather, the manufacturer has to produce a series of blanks that are nearly identical other than the raw, uncut frequency (stiffness) and possibly weight.  Few manufacturers are going to do this because of cost and the reason why these types of shaft demand a higher selling price.

This is a good exercise in understanding the effects of tip trimming on shafts and how you create differences is initial ball flight or trajectory.  Secondly, this is one reason why you might see an R-flex shaft create a higher ball flight versus the same exact shaft in S-flex.  Lastly, this illustrates why two clubs of the same length and frequency (stiffness) don’t always play or feel the same.

Alternative Trimming – KBS Tour Shafts

Clubmakers can often become bewildered when it comes to tip trimming a shaft. That is why it is important to read the directions carefully before you cut the tip as you can affect the final flex of the shaft. For instance, you purchase a stiff flex shaft. However, you may miss an important trimming note or your eyes go over one column or row too many and inadvertently trim the 3-iron shaft for a 4-iron or vice versa. All of the sudden you ruined the shaft…or did you?

When a manufacturer provides trimming instructions, it is often a suggestion rather than an absolute. What I mean by that is a shaft manufacturer is making a round tapered tube that is designed to fit into a variety of manufacturers club heads that may not all weigh the same nor will be the same final length. In many cases, at least with unitized parallel tip shafts, the trimming can be modified by the clubmaker to create an alternative flex as long as they are consistent in their methodology. This gives the clubmaker flexibility when it goes to custom fit and build a set for their customer.

Due to space limitation, it is impossible to provide all the scenarios possible when trimming a particular shaft. Therefore most clubmaking catalogs or websites will provide only one set of tip trimming per shaft to keep things simple. But I would like to go over one shaft line that goes beyond and provides alternative tip trimming.

KBS Tour
The parallel tip version of the KBS Tour are produced with a generous 43.5” length and come in 3 different flexes (R, S and X) or what I am going to say are “blanks”. The trimming instructions provided are the following. Please note the correct trimming for the 8-iron as a numeral was omitted in the 2012 Hireko catalog.

When you buy an S-flex shaft and follow these trimming instructions, you end up with an S-flex.  But what exactly is an S-flex?  KBS shafts are designed by Kim Braly. If you don’t know who he is, he and his Dad (Dr. Joe) were responsible for creating the FCM (Frequency Coefficient Matched) system – a patented system in the 1980s geared at frequency matching golf shafts / clubs.  Instead of a flex designation of S or stiff, flex was designated by a numerical format such as 5.0, 5.5 or 6.0.  You might be more familiar with those flex designations as part of the Project X and Rifle lines as True Temper acquired the company Kim originally worked for in the early 2000’s.

FCM explanation
If you are wondering what 6.0 represents, it is short for 260 or the frequency (cycles per minute) the clubs oscillates at when clamped at the butt end and set in motion. A 5.5 flex would be 255 cpms as you simply drop the decimal point and add a 2 in front of it.  However, the 260 cpm was for only one club in the set as we shall see from this chart.  At the time, drivers were 43”.  They were also steel shafted when the system went in place.  While neither condition exists today, the system still works and that is the beauty of it.

The flex designations were built around the club that was 43” long and as the clubs became shorter, the frequency would increase at a rate of 4.3 cpm per ½” or 8.6 cpm per inch.  For instance, if the 3-iron was 39” long, the frequency would be higher than the driver.  Doing the math, 4 inches times 8.6 cpm would be 34.4 cpm added to 260 for a total of 294.4 or 294 for short to remain a 6.0 flex. In another example, within the set could be a 36” 9-iron.  Here it is 7” shorter times 8.6 cpm or 60.2, plus 260 cpm for a total of 320.2 or 320 if rounding. When plotted, you would see a perfectly straight line suggesting a perfectly matched set. This is of course assuming that you are working with the same shaft as well as making sure the swingweights are identical as well.  Plus there are a few other considerations such as consistent hosel lengths and insertion depths.

Back to our original question, when you buy a KBS Tour S-flex shaft and follow the trimming instructions, what do you end up?  In the FCM system, it would equate to a 5.0 flex or the lower end of what a standard weight S-flex shaft would be. In clubmaking circles, one full flex is considered to be 10 cpm.  In our example it would be from 5.0 to 6.0 (remember that is short for 250 and 260 cpm at the 43” club).

Creating additional flexes
The parallel tip version of the KBS Tour S-flex iron is extra-long (43.5”) and has ample parallel tip section (11.5”) that if you were to cut more off of the tip than what was listed earlier, you could create several other flexes and still have enough length for standard length assemblies.  For instance, if you were to tip trim an extra 1” off of the tip, it would increase the flex by 5 cpm or increase the flex level by 0.5.  Instead of trimming 2 1/8” off of the tip of the S-flex for the 5-iron we trimmed 3 1/8”, we would end up with a 5.5 flex.  Trim an extra 1” and it becomes a 6.0 flex.  Finally, tip trim 1” beyond that and the shaft becomes a 6.5 flex.

It is pretty common, at least in steel shafts, to have what is referred to as “combination flex” shafts, which allows usually two flexes by following one set of trimming instructions or another. Now you have seen how one long shaft can become 4 distinct flexes by altering the trimming instructions.

If we had bought the R-flex shaft and followed the trimming below, we would end up with a 4.0 flex.

By adding up to three inches of tipping, we create a range from 4.0 to 5.5. Furthermore, if we had purchased the X-flex and used this trimming table, then we create a 6.0 flex.  Again by adding up to three inches of tipping, we create a range from 6.0 to 7.5.  By trimming more off of the tip, we create not only a stiffer shaft, but one that will launch the ball lower.  This will lead us to our next topic for next week talking about “Flighted” shafts.

SHOP KBS SHAFTS HERE!

Replacing Rifle Steel Shafts

The Rifle steel shaft line had been a popular premium or upgrade shaft since their debut in 1996. But like all good products, there is only a limited life span. The Rifle series was discontinued at the beginning of this year and no longer part of the commercially available Project X line. With so many shafts still being in use today, what if the shaft was to meet its fate and breaks? How would you or your customer get a suitable replacement?

First, let me give you a little background on the Rifle shafts. These started out as blanks or a longer untrimmed master shaft. There is a series of Rifle blanks that are responsible for creating all of the flexes you see, such as 4.0 (A flex), 4.5 (R flex), 5.0 (R+), 5.5 (S), 6.0 (S+), 6.5 (X) and finally 7.0 (X+). At the factory, they are carefully frequency calibrated by trimming a specific amount off of the tip for an individual iron. These were often pre-packaged in sets of eight shafts to form a set, but were also available for the individual shafts as Hireko sells here that would be eventually butt cut to length.

Let’s say one of your customers broke the shaft of their 7-iron. Normally you would first look at the shaft label on the shaft to detect what flex it was. For our example, we might have a 5.5 flex. Next, we would determine if the shaft was parallel or taper tip. Let’s say it is parallel. So we would look at our website to find the appropriate shaft for a parallel tip 5.5 #7-iron. Only one problem, one is no longer available.

There is a solution by looking for another 5.5 shaft in the set. Perhaps you found a parallel tip 5.5 shaft for a #3-iron. Could you use it in this situation? Yes and here is how it works. As we stated before, each shaft was frequency calibrated at the factory by tip trimming for a certain iron head. The following chart shows the progression on how much more a shaft for a particular iron is trimmed compared to that of a #1-iron.

The 7-iron would have been tipped 3.375″ more than a #1-iron in the set and the #3-iron would have been tip trimmed 1.125″ more than the #1-iron. Therefore, if you took the shaft dedicated for the #3-iron and cut the difference from the #7-iron, you would need to cut 2.25″ (3.375 – 1.125) and you would end up with the same flex as long as you made sure to cut to the same length and build to the same swingweight as it was originally.

If all you found were shafts for an #8 or 9-iron or the wedges, you would unable to use them and maintain the flex as they would have been tip trimmed too much previously than the #7-iron making the shafts too stiff.

What if this happened to be a taper tip shaft? Well unfortunately you won’t be able to tip trim the shaft and have the shaft fit back into the tapered 0.355″ hosel unless you re-bore the hosel, which is always a possibility.

What if you have a 0.370″ parallel bore head and all you could find was a taper tipped shaft, could you install it? In some cases, yes because the taper tip versions started out as parallel tip and the tips were swagged to form the taper for the first 2″ of the shaft. As in our example before (if it were a taper tip #3-iron shaft instead), we would be taking off 2.25″ or up to where the shaft is parallel. If the shaft was dedicated for #5 or 6-iron where tip trimming would be minimal, then the shaft would be too loose to rely solely on the epoxy without using a shim.

Luckily for you, Hireko still has inventory of some raw lengths and flexes that will enable you to replace a broken Rifle shaft with a little ingenuity and make a happy customer.

Rifle Steel – Tapered Iron #RIFM $16.95 each
Rifle Steel

#URIFM $16.95 each