One trend you are seeing more and more of in golf shaft technology is counterbalancing or shifting the center of mass closer to the butt end of the shaft.
This concept can help many golfers achieve greater distance. So let’s roll up our sleeves and begin to understand the science behind this phenomenon.
Grafalloy introduced two new shafts to their ProLaunch franchise called the ProLaunch Blue Supercharged and the ProLaunch Red Supercharged and we will use these for our examples. The Supercharged versions have a balance point or distribution of weight that is approximately 3 inches closer to the butt end than the original ProLaunch shafts. Believe me, that is a huge difference!
Balance point comparison
This diagram shows the relative balance points of the clubs as well as the shafts (with the ProLaunch Blue Supercharged shown on the bottom.) If made to the same length, grip and head weights, the drivers shafted with Supercharged shafts will end up with a swingweight that is 3 points lighter. To put that in perspective, that would be the equivalent of adding a 12 gram counterweight in the butt end of the grip, yet doesn’t add to the total weight of the club.
There are a few ways to hit the ball further. One of which is to make the club longer. However, by doing so, makes the club feel head heavy. For each ½” increase in length, you will experience a 3 swingweight point change. So with the Supercharged shafts, you can make the club ½” longer and you will have a normal swingweight and that could result in a small increase in swing speed and leverage to hit the ball. Remember, even if you only end up swinging the club 2 mph more, that will result into an additional 5 yards if you make a solid hit. Not too shabby.
If you struggle with a longer length club, then here is the second advantage to counterbalanced shafts – you can increase the head weight. What was long considered standard weight for a driver head (200g) is no longer a given with modern heads. With adjustable adapter heads, often times they weigh more because of the extra pieces and parts and why you are seeing more and more counterweighted shafts on the market today. Then you also have heads that can be altered in weight with screws, like the Gravity Port in our Acer XV series. Think of driving a nail in the wall. The heavier the hammer, the more force is applied and the easier it is to drive the nail. This works the same way with golf clubs.
Here is a matrix of the various options using the Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue Supercharged with our Acer XV driver. The standard weight with the stock screw (7 grams) is 200g. Using the 2 gram weight you can reduce the head weight to 195 grams for longer assemblies and with the 12 gram weight you can increase the head weight to 205 grams. Five grams one way or another constitutes a 3.5 swingweight change.
ProLaunch Red versus Blue
To select which Grafalloy ProLaunch Supercharged shaft to use is very easy. If you are looking to hit the ball higher choose the Blue. For a lower launching trajectory, opt for the Red. The Red is slightly heavier and stiffer, but the biggest difference occurs in the first 18” of the shaft where the ProLaunch Red Supercharged is stiffer as shown in this deflection chart.If you are searching for more distance, counterbalance shafts could be the answer. So hopefully you have a better understanding of what ifs and whys.