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Technical | Hireko Golf Blog - Page 3

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

DSFI Information for FST Shafts!

I have had a lot of inquiries from customers who wanted the DSFI information for the FST steel shafts we had picked up after the 2011 Shaft Fitting Addendum was published.  So for those that begged and begged and begged, here they are.

Because we are limited on the space alloted in our Blog, the type might be too small to read, therefore I have also amended Chapter 5 of the 2011 Shaft Fitting Addendum to include these shafts in the tables. Those that have already downloaded this chapter may want the most up-to-date version.

Download Chapter 5 of the 2011 Shaft Fitting Addendum Now!

For those that wanted to know the difference between the Pro 115 and the standard FST 115 aside from the latter has a step pattern and the Pro is a stepless design, examine the data for a brief moment.  The Pro 115 has a lower balance point (BP2 column) meaning there is a greater amount of mass concentrated more toward the tip.  This does two things.  The first is even though the two shafts are the same weight, the Pro 115 will have the higher swingweight with the same given head weight.

Subsequently, by adding more weight to the tip section, this also increases the tip stiffness (Tip Deflect. Column) which produces a lower launch angle (T.B. Column).  So expect the Pro 115 to launch the ball lower as well.  That’s how you use some of the data to help filter out and fit for shafts. Hireko offers this kind of information for free in our annual Shaft Fitting Addendum.

A Guide to Women’s Golf Clubs

I hope that all our female readers had a great Mother’s Day either as a recipient of a day off from your daily activities that go unnoticed and underappreciated or were able to spend some special time with your daughter(s), mom or grandma. Possibly you were the one lucky enough to get a round of golf in over the weekend while someone else cooked or straightened up around the house for once. In honors of mom’s everywhere, this week’s topic is dedicated on purchasing women’s golf clubs. Hey, you men might as well listen too!

What is a women’s (or ladies) golf club?
Let’s answer the not so obvious question on what constitutes a woman’s or also called a ladies golf club. There are really two camps that ladies golf clubs fall into. The first is often the way most ladies clubs are made. They start out as a men’s model, but assembled with an L or ladies flex an inch shorter than the men’s version. Lastly a smaller sized ladies grip is installed. Voila, all of a sudden it instantly becomes a ladies golf club. In some cases the club may have a different accent color such as blue, pink or green to differentiate it from the men’s model.

The manufacturer may offer the driver in a highest lofted men’s version to make it easier the get the ball airborne, but all other clubs are the same lofts as the men’s. Not convinced, take a look at the specifications as that will tell you who they were really made for. Yet, there are many women who can play well with what amounts to as a modified men’s club.

The other way in which women’s clubs are created is using a whole new set of specifications. Plus this version are not sold in any form as a man’s set making them exclusive to ladies. An example of this would be Hireko’s iBella Bellissima collection.

The reason why you do not see more of the ladies exclusive type of set is the cost to the manufacturers. In order to make an exclusive new model requires additional tooling charges, when it is much easier to share existing tooling and accept the specification of a man’s set albeit with a different flex shaft and smaller grip. Often times this type of set is produced with greater loft throughout the set, except for the wedges which are already high lofted.

Which is type of set is best for you?
This all depends upon your skill level. For beginners and slower swinging women golfers, the additional loft throughout the set as with the ladies exclusive set will be a godsend and here is the reason why. Women on average do not possess the strength or the swing speed as their male counterparts. Therefore it is much more difficult to produce enough height and back spin to achieve the distance they truly need.

The other thing to look at is the width of the sole or bottom of the club. Even though many men’s clubs are being introduced with wider and wider soles, all sets devoted to women have very wide soles to begin with. The importance is women take more a sweeping motion and will almost assuredly result into the ball being struck low on the club face. In other words they lack the strength to take a divot. So it was imperative to move the weight lower, not only allow the ball to become airborne, but more importantly to provide a solid feel at impact. This is why a wider sole is beneficial as a higher concentration of weight is located there.

As we said earlier, there are fewer options available if you were looking to invest into a ladies exclusive set. If you are looking for less pastels and gender neutral colors, then you can still pieces together the right mix of clubs from the modified men’s sets with a little homework.

Do you need 14 clubs?
While we along with every other manufacturer would more than love for you to purchase the allotted 14 clubs you are allowed to put into your golf bag, not all women will need them all. If you take a look at many ladies exclusive sets, they may offer what is called a short set.

Certain golfers may benefit from carrying even less clubs. This is especially true of many beginning women golfers who tend to have reduced club head speeds (those 60 mph and below). Having all 14 clubs doesn’t produce enough separation in distance between each club, so why end up lugging the on the course?

10 Piece Beginner’s Set
This is what a 10 piece set should look like with your tee club, one higher-lofted fairway, a couple of hybrids to bridge the gap to the irons like a #3 and 5 combo or a #4 and 6 combo, the easier-to-hit irons, a couple wedges and finally a putter. As you progress you can always add to that set (if they are offered) or graduate to the intermediate set.

13 Piece Intermediate Set
For more intermediate or advanced women golfers, having a full compliment of clubs can be justified.  Here is an example of what a 13-piece set might look like. Certain clubs can be substituted to make your perfect set.  After all it is your choice!  But I would encourage the addition of more fairway woods and hybrids than the irons as the lower center of gravity and wider soles are much easier to hit solidly.  Don’t even think about a 3-iron, those should be outlawed and the reason why you do not see ladies sets with them today.

Of course if you want to add there is room for one more club such as a gap wedge, chipper or 60 degree wedge, probably in the order of their importance.

Grips and Shafts
Don’t always assume woman need the smaller sized ladies grips that come standard on ladies clubs. Many prefer the standard men’s size to accommodate their longer fingers or just feel more comfortable if they take a 10 finger grip.  Golf Pride paid attention and introduced a ladies line of grips called Vyne where larger sizes are available.  My suggestion is to use whatever size feels the most comfortable to you.

In regards to shafts, well the shaft doesn’t care if it is a man or woman swinging it.  But most ladies flex shafts are geared to hit the ball higher, with few exceptions.  The key performance consideration is weight, while some shafts L-flex shafts tend to run more flexible than others. Preferences for brand and color may help sift through the myriad of models made available to you.  More powerful women golfers can easily use men’s flexes as some you out there can pound the ball past some of your male counterparts.  There is no rule set in stone you have to use ladies flex if your strength indicates otherwise.

Know the difference between women’s clubs disguised as men’s clubs compared to those sets designed specifically for most women golfers. The lofts should give them away. Buy only the clubs you need, especially for slower swinging golfer as you will end up with several clubs that seem like they all go the same distance.  Don’t always assume because it has a ladies label attached, that it automatically mean’s that right for you.  Comfort in the hands and matching a shaft to your strength is paramount. Those are just a few things to look for when it come time to purchase your next or possibly first set.


Re-shaft With Confidence

Did you know Hireko offers a full line of specialty ferrules to re-shaft a number of name brand clubs and do it the right way?  Well, we do!  A few companies such as Callaway, Nike, Ping and TaylorMade require specialty ferrules other than what are commonly found. The reason is many of the heads are counter-bored and requires part of the ferrule to fit inside the hosel or the outside diameter of the hosel is larger than normal and requires a special ferrule.

Ferrule for Taylor Made R7 Irons

Ferrule for Callaway Woods – 0.335

Shaft Conversion Ferrule .350/.335

Ferrule for Callaway Woods – 0.350

Ferrule for Ping G Series Woods – 0.350

Ferrule for Taylor Made Woods – 0.350

2° Ferrule for Taylor Made & Ping Woods

2° Ferrule for Callaway Woods

While our catalog and website explain what specialty ferrule goes into what models, there are a few additions I would like to add to those.  For example, the ferrule for the TaylorMade R7 irons will not only fit the R7 and the R9, but also the newer Burner irons too.  The specialty ferrule for many of the Callaway woods will also fit the Diablo and the FT-9.

Many of the OEM clubs use .350” shafts but many of our replacement wood ferrules are sized to allow the use of 0.335” which are more common and offer a wider variety.  Aside from the product specific model, we offer a generic 0.350” shaft conversion ferrule to use a 0.335” shaft.  However, we do stock the popular replacement models from Callaway, Ping and TaylorMade to use the original 0.350” shaft size as well.

We even offer ferrules for face angle or called “clock” ferrule.  The 2º Ferrule for TaylorMade (& Ping) woods as well as the 2º Ferrule for Callaway woods fit most of the newer models.  By rotating the ferrule into the head you are able to change the face angle instead of accepting how it came from the factory.  Instructions are included, but make sure to use the flap and the alignment line marked on these unique ferrules to alter the lie and effective loft via face angle.

So next time you have a re-shaft of a name brand driver you can re-shaft with confidence and do it right the first time.

What Is a Ribbed Golf Grip?

In today’s market, golfers have a plethora of grips to choose from. They are offered in a multitude of materials, textures, firmness, styles and color combinations not to mention sizes so it is understandably that golfers can easily be confused by their subtle differences or by the terminology. One such term that I have been asked about recently is concerning ribbed grips. Not familiar with that term? Then you might be new to golf.

Why Ribbed?

Most golfers are only intimate with the outside of a grip as that is the only contact they have on a golf club. For those that re-grip their clubs or for others, or for someone that picks up a grip for the first time notices that it has a large opening at the mouth (bottom portion) and is hollow to allow it to slide over the butt end of the shaft. If you hold the grip up to your eye and pointed toward a light, one can see the inner portion of the grip. In the vast majority of the grips offered today the inner portion will be perfectly smooth.

The inner core of a grip can be designed with an internal feature than when placed onto the golf shaft will produce a pronounced raised rib in order to change the feel of the grip. This rib can aid in hand positioning. The term “reminder rib” is also used to describe a ribbed grip as it can help “remind” the golfer the proper position. This is permissible in the Rules of Golf for any non-putter grip. The raised rib must be straight, run along the full length of the grip and must not exceed a certain dimensional tolerance. If by chance you look inside the grip and see what looks like a flat side extending the length of the grip, it will be apparent that you have a ribbed grip.

Prior to 15 years ago, the vast majority of grips on the market were ribbed. Many grips at that time had very intricate patterns of paint fill that needed aligned so the grip didn’t look crooked when installed. If the grip was correctly aligned, then the rib would be positioned perfectly along the backside of the club (or 6 o’clock position). This would position the raised ribs in the fingers of both hands when held with an interlocking or overlapping grip.

Change of Buying Habits

In 1992, Lamkin introduced the Perma Wrap and Golf Pride the Tour Wrap, which looked liked simulated versions of leather wrapped grips. These grips where plain black and did not possess the intricate paint fill of so many of the grips at the time. For someone haphazardly installing the grips onto the shaft, this would lead to the rib being positioned anywhere but the traditional 6 o’clock position on the club. As these grips became overwhelmingly popular, soon the trend was for manufacturers and clubmakers alike to use the round or non-ribbed version of those grips to reduce the possibility of incorrect installation.

As time passed, people have become accustomed to requesting round grips, to the point where many golfers relatively new to the game may never have felt what a ribbed grip was on a golf club. Grip manufacturers have produced most of their popular models in both round and ribbed versions, even though many component supplies may choose to stock one or the other, rather than both. Often times in the catalog literature the component manufacturer will list whether or not the grip is round or ribbed.

What “Ribbed” Models does Hireko Offer?

Looking for a ribbed grip? Then Hireko has the largest selection to choose from in the entire industry in men’s and women’s (undersized) sizes plus corded models.

Golf Pride
New Decade Multi-Compound (0.580″)
New Decade Multi-Compound (0.600″)
Tour Velvet Undersized Black (0.560″)
Tour Velvet Undersized Black (0.580″)
Tour Velvet Undersized Pink Logo (0.580″)
Tour Velvet (0.580″)
Tour Velvet (0.600″)
Tour Velvet BCT Cord (0.580″)
Tour Velvet BCT Cord (0.600″)
V55 BCT Cord
Crossline (0.580″)
PCi Black
PCi Hybrid

What Is Shaft Torque?

Torque is the simply the amount a shaft (shown in blue) twists when subjected to a known amount of force (usually one foot-pound of force is applied) and the torque value is always expressed in degrees. It is a term commonly associated with composite or graphite shafts, but steel shafts have a certain degree of torque too. However the amount cannot be independently changed from the frequency (or stiffness) of the shaft like a composite design, thus torque of steel shafts is generally not listed by the manufacturer. A lower torque value (i.e. 3.5° versus 4.5°) resists the shaft from twisting on the downswing with all else equal.

Is there a standard?
The answer to that is no, just like most parameters in the golf industry. I like to say “the only standard in the golf industry is there are no standards.” Each manufacturer has an internal method for measuring torque that will vary from one to the next. However, each shaft by the manufacturer will be measured using the exact same clamping dimensions and force for all their shafts. To explain this, let’s look at the following diagram.

The top shaft shows how Hireko measures torque for our Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index. We clamp 1” of the tip where the tip weight or force is applied. Of course for this to occur, the butt end is clamped (in our case 2”) to secure the shaft. The difference between the clamps is called the beam length. At Hireko, we measure a longer beam length than any manufacturer which is important to know when looking at out listed values versus those by the actual manufacturer.

For the sake of example, this 46” raw shaft (with a 43” beam length) happens to measure a torque of 6.0º using 1 foot-pound of force. By most standards, this torque rating may seem high.

Now let’s take the same exact shaft and change the clamping dimensions. Some manufacturers may elect to clamp 3” up from the tip and use a 32” beam length on their woods. This means the butt end of the shaft is clamped 11”. While this may sound like a lot of shaft is not being included for the torque measurement, there may be a valid reason. Some manufacturers have been measuring torque on their shafts since the days when wooden woods were common. In those days the shaft would exit the head 3” from the tip. Plus the shaft would be cut to length and not used at its full length. The clamping dimension further down the butt end would be closely associated with the position of the lower hand or portion of the grip.

By changing the beam length, the torque value of this shaft goes from 6.0º down to 4.3º, which is no longer considered high, but more average for a wood shaft. None of the manufacturers that I am aware of show how their torque is measured. So comparing torque values from manufacturer to manufacturer is not an exact science like it is by looking at the values from shaft-to-shaft with one particular company’s product line. This is one of the reasons why Hireko continues to test all parameters using the same testing methods and publish those results in our annual Shaft Fitting Addendum.

Is lower torque better?
The one thing about torque is that it is perhaps the most misunderstood shaft parameter and to the bewilderment of many, may not make complete sense. There is a myth out there that the lower the torque the better and will result into a straighter shot. While that may had started in the early days of graphite production, this is not entirely true today.

One of the reasons shafts with higher torque values are considered less accurate can be attributed to the cost. Often times the higher torque wood shafts (above 6°) will be less than $9 retail and may not be 100% graphite, but have a certain percentage of fiberglass mixed in. One clue is to look at the shaft weight. A heavier weight will be a sure sign that is contains a high percentage of fiberglass. Some shafts that are found in boxed sets or very inexpensive composite shafts contain fiberglass.

Low cost graphite shaft are constructed with low modulus (lower strength) materials. Often times these shafts will exhibit both high torque and a softer tip section. In the hands of a stronger player, this combination would be less accurate than a lower torque model.

But not all higher torque shaft use low modulus material. Contrary, some of the world’s most expensive shafts have higher torque values and here are a couple reasons why. With the advent of 4-axis winding, manufacturers might elect to wrap high modulus graphite plies at 0º angles on the mandrel to increase the hoop strength and control shaft ovalization allowing for better shot consistency. These fibers have no contribution to the torque of the shaft.

Secondly, shaft weight plays an important factor. If you do not believe me, look at any shaft line that is produced in different weight options. It should come as no surprise that the lighter the shaft; the higher the torque value. When you think about it, this makes complete sense. If less material is used (due to the lighter weight), there is less material available to control torque or resist twisting.

This year will there will be a focus or at least a trend toward lighter and lighter weight drivers. These drivers will be using shafts in the 50 gram and even lighter range. All of these super-lightweight shafts will require better quality materials to achieve the target weight and limit breakage. As a result of the thinner walls these shafts may have torque value by the manufacturer close to 6º (or 8º using Hireko’s longer beam length method), yet will produce highly playable clubs.

If you have control problems with these lighter weight / higher torque designs – don’t blame the torque. Blame the longer assembly length or the potential that the club is just too light for you to handle. Additional torque could actually be your friend, especially if you tend to fade, push or slice the ball as this could help to close the club face and not resist it.

Bottom of Bore to Ground Line Measurement

For clubmakers, there is a term that you need a full understanding of and that is the bottom of bore to ground line measurement (or BBGM for short).  For example, let’s say you pull a shaft out of one 3 wood and place it into another 3 wood.  What could very well happen is the length, swingweight and even the flex of the club can change.  If you are asking “aren’t all 3 woods created equal?” then you better listen up.

To explain how the length discrepancy occurs, let us take a look at the anatomy of the hosel area of a club.  The dimension labeled HL is the hosel length along the axis of the shaft.  This is measured using the lie of the club from the center of the bore to the point it intersects the ground line.

The dimension labeled ID is the insertion depth of the shaft into the head.  There is no industry standard for this dimension, but often it is slightly greater than 1” at the minimum and could range to the same dimension as the HL in clubs that are true thru bores or where the shaft exits the bottom of the sole.

The last dimension is the BBGM which is simply the difference between the hosel length and insertion depth.  For example, the HL in this diagram might be 2.375” and the insertion depth 1.125”.  This means the BBGM is 1.25” or how far the tip of the shaft, once fully seated in the hosel, rests above the ground line.

Now let’s go back to our first statement that we pulled one shaft from a 3 wood.  We will use this example for simplicity.  If we put that same shaft into another 3-wood that had a BBGM of 1.5”, then we would have a club that now measures ¼” longer.  If we had the same head weight, there is a good chance the swingweight will increase and that will have a slight effect on the shaft flex and lie.  This becomes an easy fix as the grip can be removed and the extra material be taken from the butt end of the shaft.  In this case no harm, no foul other than the clubmaker’s time and cost of another grip

However, now let’s use the opposite scenario where the BBGM is only ¾”.  This means the shaft is closer to the ground by 0.5” or the same as if it was tip trimmed ½” more.  The length will now shorten by ½”, the swingweight is reduced (with same head weight and CG position), shaft becomes stiffer and the lie flatter.  You can fix the length by removing the grip and extending the shaft.  The will have an effect of increasing the overall weight of the club as you have to account for the additional weight of the extender. Even though the shaft length and club lie are now resolved, the flex cannot be fixed.

While the BBGM can vary from one model to the next even within the same company’s product line, the good news is the BBGM does not vary within the set of like clubs.  That is the BBGM of the 3 iron is the same as the 4 iron, the 5 iron…and so forth. This is one of the reasons why you might need to alter tip trimming for different models or understand you just can’t one shaft pulled from one club and place it in another without some consequences.

How To Remove A Graphite Shaft

How To Remove A Graphite Shaft

There are many instances where you might want to save a graphite shaft intact. First of all, it is much easier when re-shafting a driver that the customer broke or simply did not like. One method to remove a graphite shaft is to remove the ferrule, cut the shaft off at the hosel and drill the remaining part out of the hosel. However, on modern drivers, fairways and hybrids which are nearly all hollow inside, could potentially could push material into the cavity of the head and cause it to rattle. From that standpoint alone, it is worth removing the entire shaft intact.

A more obvious reason is monetarily. Graphite shafts can be quite expensive; some costing several hundred dollars each (at least from a retail price, not necessarily a production cost). Many golfers will go out and purchase a new driver only to find out they don’t particularly like the stock shaft that came with the driver or they will read on the internet or in a golf magazine that a new graphite shaft by the XYZ-company came out and was the winning shaft on the PGA Tour that week. Whatever reason, golfers are never happy with their equipment and are always experimenting in quest for greater distance and accuracy.

Build Better Clubs Now! The Modern Guide To Clubmaking In It’s 5th Edition Only $22

Golfers are now getting accustomed to walking into a club repair shop and wanting to pull the stock shaft out and put in the popular shaft of the week to try, knowing full well if the new shaft did not work, that the old shaft could go back in. Well, in theory that is correct, but let me explain a few things first.

Rule #1 – Never promise that a shaft can be saved

What is the reasoning for this statement? First is how a shaft it manufactured. A graphite shaft is made from many layers of graphite pre-preg or long continuous strands of carbon fiber wrapped around a forming mandrel. To hold the layers or strands together, an epoxy resin is used. This same epoxy resin is not much different from the epoxy that is used to hold the head onto the shaft. In order to remove the head from the shaft, a heat source needs to be applied. That same heat can transfer or permeate into the shaft and potentially break down the epoxy matrix holding the shaft layers together.

Secondly, chances are you weren’t the person who put the club together. The shaft may have been previously installed by another clubmaker or an individual who did not put the club together with the proper supplies. Urban legend or not, dumping gunpowder down a graphite shaft and securing it somehow is not a good method for increasing swingweight. But more commonly is the type of epoxy that was used to secure the head. Golf club manufacturers and component supply companies use only a handful of different epoxies because they work well to hold the head onto the shaft, but also this allows the club to be removed without excessive or a long duration of heat. Believe me; removing a club that had been affixed with JB Weld is not an option, especially a graphite shaft that you want to remove intact.


Continuously reusing graphite shafts is not a good habit either. Each time the shaft is exposed to a heat source, there has to be some effect to the shaft. We are not talking about leaving the club in your truck of your car on a blacktop surface in Phoenix Arizona during a hot, steamy summer day, rather from the trying to remove the shaft with high heat. Buying shaft pull-outs is a risky proposition as you cannot verify how safely it was pulled or how many times the shaft was exposed to heat previously. Any club you put together or repair, ultimately you are liable for.

Rule #2 – The shaft needs pulled off straight

Most importantly, when removing a clubhead from a graphite shaft it is imperative that the clubhead be removed by pulling it straight off of the shaft. Twisting and pulling on the clubhead to remove it from the shaft (like you would on a steel shaft) will result into a shaft tip failure. A graphite shaft puller is an absolute must for this job. Shaft pullers can range anywhere from around $20 for a devise that looks like a modified pry bar (you still need a vise and shaft clamp) to several hundred dollars for a hydraulic model. Regardless, invest in a good shaft puller if you are repairing clubs in any sort of volume. Remember how much shafts cost again. Potentially saving just one that can be reused in another club that you can the charge full retail price will more than pay for itself!

Not that we established why we need a shaft puller and the potential pitfalls from a warranty / customer service stand point, now we need to look at a few other things before getting started.


Rule #3 – Have a magnet handy

Here is a little trick, try to stick a magnet to the hosel of the head. If it sticks it will take less time to remove the shaft than if it doesn’t stick. Why? A magnet will stick to both carbon and stainless steel, where it won’t on titanium or aluminum. A magnet will also not stick to a “wooden” or head made wholly of carbon graphite / epoxy either. However, those two materials are rarely seen in the market that we will not talk about them in this article. If you heat a stainless steel hosel, it remains hot in the area that it is heated. Where as titanium and aluminum are very good conductors of heat and the heat will transfer to the other parts of the head. Thus it takes a longer duration of heat to break the epoxy bond loose. On a titanium head, it may or may not say titanium on it, but have numbers like 6/4, SP700, DAT51, etc. Heads made from aluminum, will not have aluminum engraved on them, rather stamped Ti Matrix or Ti Alloy. Aluminum heads are normally found in inexpensive boxed sets, equipped with very cheap shafts and are normally the hardest to work on.

Rule #4 – Before you heat, take a peek

Before grabbing the propane tank, take of peek of the finish because this will tell you what type of heat source to use. If the hosel is a satin or high polish finish, you should have no problem using a propane (or butane) torch or heat gun. However, if the hosel is painted or tumbled with a clear urethane coating, then caution should be made to protect the head as best as possible from discoloration.

Take a peek at the top of the crown as well. If it has a carbon crown, then you have to worry that the heat will transfer past the hosel and possibly damage the carbon shell. If this is the case, go to you local welding supply center and get a bottle of a product called Cool Gel. This is very cool stuff! Just spray it on the carbon surface only and it will protect it from any wayward heat like an accidental pass with the torch. When you are done, you can just wipe the head with a wet paper towel or rag to remove the gel.

I get several questions on what is the better heat source; propane or a heat gun. Both do a good job, but in my opinion one is not better than the other. The torch may discolor the head if you keep the heat in one place too long. A heat gun will take about three times as long to produce the same amount of heat to break the epoxy bond. During that time you still can discolor the head. On light colored heads (champagne, baby blue and light coppers) or the clear urethane coated heads (like the original Callaway Big Bertha titanium) I will avoid the propane torch like the plague. But before grabbing a heat gun, there is an alternative.

During the time I taught at the Dynacraft Clubmaking Institute, Forest Sands (a fine gentleman who volunteered his time to help teach each group of students) came up with a rather simple solution to avoid discoloring the heads. Getting the idea from going to the ophthalmologist (fancy name for eye doctor) who submerged the lens of his glasses in hot sand to make adjustments, Forest poured ordinary play sand (that you would use in a child’s sand box) into a deep fryer he had lying around. The hosel area of the clubhead could be submerged into the heated sand at 300° and left there for 20 to 30 minutes while you were doing other tasks. (Tip: keep a candy thermometer in the sand if it doesn’t have a heat regulator) The only concern was to make sure the graphite shaft didn’t touch the side of the deep fryer. For those that are health conscious, there is not better use for the deep fryer!

Once we have determined the material and the type of finish on the club, now it is time to heat the head. At this time I will have the shaft puller set up in the vise, but I don’t install the club in the shaft puller. For reference a Mitchell STEELCLUB© shaft puller is what I normally use. However, if you have a hydraulic puller, it may be best to set the club into the devise.

Rule #5 – Read the directions to your puller

Each puller is slightly different so follow the directions that came with it. After a while you will get the hang of it and find the most efficient method for yourself. I personally like having the club out of the puller for now as I am able to spin the hosel in the propane flame or in the direction of the heat from the heat gun. I can see better as the work up close and at hand, plus I am usually less likely to discolor the head when it is not stationary. However, if you do heat the club with it in the shaft puller, make sure to heat the rear of the hosel. If you do discolor the head, at least it will be on the back side that it least likely to be seen by the golfer when the club is at address.

You are now ready to apply heat to the head for the purpose of removing the head from the shaft. It is best to remove the shaft as soon as the epoxy breaks loose. By doing so, this will limit the possibility of heat penetrating into the shaft and causing it to break down.

Another tip, if you are heating the club when it is not in the puller, I would suggest leaving the ferrule on shaft. If the heat source accidentally moves away from the hosel and onto the shaft, the ferrule could protect the shaft from the flame. Plus it is easier to cut the ferrule off if it is warmed up.

Use a torch as the method of heating

Apply heat to the backside of the hosel or rotate the hosel in the flame for only a period of 15-20 seconds. If this is a stainless or carbon steel head, this short of duration can break the bond loose. If the clubhead does not come off at this point, reheat for a period of 10 seconds. Remember, you can always reheat the hosel, but you can’t remove heat if you heat the club too long. Continue this method of heating for 10 second intervals until the shaft puller has forced the clubhead from the shaft. Again, be patient. Sometimes these steps will have to be repeated as many as 3 or 4 times (or more) before successfully removing the graphite shaft from the clubhead, especially for titanium and aluminum clubheads. The more pressure that the shaft puller applies the less heat it takes to remove the shaft from the clubhead.

Use a heat as the method of heating

If you use a heat gun instead of a torch, then the duration of heat will be longer. Again, apply heat to the backside of the hosel or rotate the hosel in the flame for only a period of 45-60 seconds. If this is a stainless or carbon steel head, this short of duration can break the bond loose. If the clubhead does not come off at this point, reheat for a period of 25-30 seconds. Remember, you can always reheat the hosel, but you can’t remove heat if you heat the club too long. Continue this method of heating for 25 second intervals until the shaft puller has forced the clubhead from the shaft. Again, be patient. Sometimes these steps will have to be repeated as many as 3 or 4 times (or more) before successfully removing the graphite shaft from the clubhead, especially for titanium and aluminum clubheads. The more pressure that the shaft puller applies the less heat it takes to remove the shaft from the clubhead.

Use a sand pot as the method of heating

The sand pot provides the luxury of time. As stated before, you can leave the club in 20 to 30 minutes at 300°. I once had an expensive Japanese driver that belonged to a real finicky customer. Knowing full well I didn’t want to discolor the head, I decided to use the sand pot method. Sometimes you get distracted with a phone call or two and next thing you know that 20 or 30 minutes turned into 3 hours! After realizing the club was still being heated, I rushed over to the deep fryer expecting to find a club devoid of any finish. To my amazement, the paint and urethane were not harmed in any way. But it was a good lesson learned and luckily for me I didn’t have to reach into my wallet to replace it. The other part of using the sand method is the portion of the shaft that was in the hosel was relatively cool that you could safely touch it with your fingers right after if was removed, even though the head had to be handled with thermal gloves.

Rule #6 -Check the shaft tip

Once you are able to extract the shaft from the head, immediately put the shaft tip on the ground and push down on the butt end to deflect the shaft. If the tip crushes or looks like one of those exploding cigars, then you applied too much heat and the shaft is ruined and become a tomato stake. However, if the shaft tip stays intact, take a closer inspection of the tip section to see if you notice any longitudinal cracks or delaminating, or basically anything that you think would be considered damage. If not, there is a good chance you could reuse the shaft into another head or the same head later on.

At this time, clean to tip of any old epoxy as it is easier to remove when it is warm rather when it cools off. Another thing to do is remove any lead / brass tip pin that may be present for swingweighting in the tip of the shaft. Usually a pair of pliers will suffice. You may also have to remove any epoxy core that is inside the tip of the shaft as the hole needs to be clear to allow the shaft to seat the next time. A long 1/8” drill bit works well for this purpose, although I have found shafts that had as much as 20” of junk inside the shaft, but I will leave that for another article.

Successfully removing graphite shafts is not that hard of a skill to learn. All you need is a good shaft puller, patience, the proper heat source for the type of material as well as the club head’s finish and of course good common sense. You may not be able to save all of them successfully, but following these tips will put you on the path to proficiency.


Does Resale Value Factor Into Your Golf Club Purchases?

Don’t let the potential resale value of a golf club be a reason to purchase one.

Are you deciding between a standard stock club(s) straight off-the-rack verses a custom made club(s) because the standard stock club will have a greater resale value?  If so, you should think about this. You are going to take a huge loss regardless compared to what you originally paid for them when you trade in your clubs.  After all, who ever takes in the trade-in has to make a profit to resell your set.  Sadly but true, clubs equipped with stock offerings (length, shaft, grip) will have a higher resale value than those that have been customized or altered slightly from a manufacturers standard specifications. After all, you or the buyer will have to find another customer that fits your specifications or cut the price so the player have afford to have to modified to his or her specs.

Another very important consideration, there is a very good chance the standard stock club will not fit you for length, lie, and shaft type or grip size. If so, you will never be able to hit the clubs to your full potential.  In that case your investment is not a very good one and not a valid excuse to opt for the stock setting for the higher resell value.  The bad part is maybe there is only one specification that is different than the stock offering such as the length 1/2” longer, lie 2 degree flatter or the grip midsize instead of standard and the cost of the upgrade may be minimal, if at all.

When you buy a custom suit, the idea behind that investment is that you intend to use it because you know that it fits and not because of the potential resale value.  After you get your use out of the custom fit suit (or out grow it), you are only going to donate it to charity, give it to a fellow friend or family member that it might come close to fitting (they can have altered) or throw it away if it badly used.

Golf clubs should have the same amount of consideration when buying them – the intent that they will work the first time you take them out.  If you are unsure if a stock club will fit, don’t buy the whole set.  You can buy a single club first.  If it fits, then you can buy the rest of the clubs around it.  In the unfortunate event it does not fit, you are not out much and in many cases the club can be altered to fit for a nominal fee. Don’t let the potential resale value of a golf club be a reason to purchase one.


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One of the Newest Trends in Golf: Drivers Under 300g

Is Lighter Better?

Humans are enamored by numbers.  For example, the media gets in a tizzy whenever a new century or decade rolls around.  Or we use numbers for benchmarks like they are magical, for instance when the Dow reaches 10,000 or the S&P at 2,000.  In golf, players get excited the first time they break 100 or 90, but never a number like 95.  So it should come as no surprise the new fascination in golf club marketing is drivers that are under 300g.

Back in the old days when woods were made out of wood and shaft of steel, a driver weighed 13 ounces.  Just goes to show you how long 20 years ago seems, heck, we didn’t use grams back then.  Well for you metric challenged individuals, 13 ounces is the equivalent of 368.5g.  Over the years golfers have moved away from shiny chromed steel shafts for much lighter weight and colorful graphite shafts in attempt to gain more distance off of the tee. It must have worked as you don’t see steel shafted drivers these days.

Chances are in your golf bag right now is some sort of large headed titanium driver with a 60 something gram graphite shaft assembled at 45”.  The reason why, that has been the modern men’s standard for the past several years.  By now you know heads have been much larger over the years and are capped out at 460cc.  Yet the weight of the head has not change from the days of the wooden head.  For the most part, the majority of manufacturers make their driver heads 200g +/-4g which is quite a small range when you consider the different philosophies that exist in the golf industry.

The biggest impact on weight reduction has come in the shaft.  The modern shaft is nearly half the weight of its steel predecessors.  With newer materials, they are becoming lighter and lighter each year.

Standard sized men’s grips have pretty much held the line at 50 grams for some time now, except for just recently with the debut of the new WinnLite grips.  Both those are the exceptions rather than the rule.  This means the modern driver is approximately 320g, which is nearly 2 oz. lighter than the previous generation of steel-shafted drivers.  Don’t forget to factor in @ 5g for items like epoxy, grip tape and the ferrule. So the goal of making a sub-300g driver is not far away.

In fact most ladies driver are almost there anyway because of the smaller and lighter grip (40g) used and the shorter assembly length.  They tip the scales closer to 305g.  But for men’s driver to get there and not make the head any lighter required the use of very light shaft in the neighborhood of 45g.  If you look through the catalogs, shafts this weight are far and few between.  Examples are Grafalloy’s ProLaunch Blue 45 and Apollo’s Masterflex HP48.

The easiest way to reduce the weight now is with one of the newer breed of lightweight grips.  This is one of the secrets the name brand manufacturers have in combination with a lighter shaft when making their sub-300g drivers.  As you can see from the chart, even using a common 65g graphite shaft and one of the WinnLite grips can match this feat.

If you want to make the lightest possible driver you can use a combination of a lightweight grip and shaft and tickle the ivories at a mere 275g or 9.7 oz. for you fossils out there. Now there is nothing magical because the weight of a driver is now 299 verses 304 or even 320g.  Good marketing?  Perhaps, due to the fact that people are fascinated with numbers. But will the customer see a difference going to these lighter drivers is the most important point.  I will tell you this, not everyone will benefit from these sub 300g drivers, just like not all golfers can use X-flex shaft or 46” drivers.  This is just another custom fitting option that is available to golfers today.  But I wanted to show you how this happens and what components to look at if your goal is a lighter weight driver for potentially more speed and distance.


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