The 2014 Dynamic Shaft Fitting Addendum is Now Available

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

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

What Type of Information Will You Find?
For those that are not already familiar with the Dynamic Shaft Fitting Addendum, the first thing you will find out is not all R-flex shafts are created equal – that is in terms of flex, torque, bend point, etc. as every manufacturer are their own standard.  In reality, there are no industry standards for shafts and the reason why this book serves as an invaluable guide.  Consistency has been the key to this text as each of the well over 3000 shafts and 50,000 measurements has been conducted by one individual (yep, yours’ truly) using the same set of procedures and equipment for these past 25 years.

DSFI Table

There are 19 published specifications listed for each shaft that include:

Flex, Uncut Shaft Weight, Tip Diameter, Butt Diameter, Uncut Shaft Balance Point, Cut Shaft Balance Point, Completed Club Balance Point, Total Assembled Club Weight, Head Weight, Grip Weight, Cut Shaft Weight, Completed Club Frequency, Butt Deflection, Tip Deflection, T/B Ratio, Cut Shaft Torque, Raw Shaft Torque, Club Length (and wood bore type) and DSFI (Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index) Rating

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

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

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

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

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

DSFI Table 2

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

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

> CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE 2014 DYNAMIC SHAFT FITTING ADDENDUM

Hireko’s Technical Director Inducted Into the ICG Hall of Fame

International Clubmakers GuildHireko’s own technical director was recently inducted into the International Clubmakers Guild (ICG) Hall of Fame for contributions in equipment & tool design and instruction.

Jeff Summitt Picture Hireko Tech DirectorJeff states, “I was quite honored to have been recognized for his nearly 30 years of service and dedication in the golf club equipment industry, especially with such a well-deserved class of individuals.”

The ICG Hall of Fame has been established to recognize ICG members and sponsors who have made significant contribution to the golf industry in one or more of the following categories: golf clubmaking, golf club fitting, golf equipment & tool design, instruction (repair, teaching, assembly, fitting, etc.), and/or provided noteworthy service for the betterment of the ICG.

Below in alphabetical order are the inductees for the Class of 2014:

1. Charlie Blume
2. Rick Canter
3. Bob Dodds
4. Tim Hewitt
5. Dave Hohnke
6. Don Johnson
7. Ed Mitchell
8. “Doc” Niimi
9. Jeff Summitt
10. Tom Wishon

Hireko Golf Catalog RequestJoin a Clubmaking Organization
Are you a clubmaker looking to advance your knowledge, skills and network with fellow clubmakers?  If so, there is an organization for you called the International Clubmakers Guild (ICG).  This non-profit organization was founded to serve a wide array of individuals from golf clubmakers, golf club fitters and club repairmen to PGA professionals, swing instructors, component suppliers, equipment designers, engineers and even golf scientists.

What is the International Clubmakers Guild?
The ICG is an independent; member owned and operated organization, where the membership determines the benefits and programs of the organization.  The organization is open to professionals and hobbyists alike, which is a great way to foster growth.  So if you want to learn more about the crafts of clubmaking, club fitting and repair this would be a great place to join.

Hireko is proud sponsor of the International Clubmakers Guild.  For addition information on the International Clubmakers Guild, please go to their website at www.clubmakersguild.com.

PURE Grips Now At Hireko Golf

Can You Trust Independent Golf Shaft Reviews?

Use a critical eye when viewing golf club shaft reviews

One thing you do not see me write much on in our blog are golf club shaft reviews, which can be quite a few in the course of a season.  If you (and my bosses who encourage me to do so) are wondering why, it is because there is a big dilemma that occurs every time I try to put pen to paper. I have come to the conclusion that any independent review would be unfair to our readers, not to mention our dear vendors.  Any positive or negative feedback would be only as good as how the shaft fits my unique swing.  Before I can explain what I can best do to help fellow golfers find a golf club shaft they will like, let me try to explain a few things first.

Download Hireko Golf CatalogWe are all like snowflakes
You have all heard this adage a million times before.  Go to a golf course, range or even watch golf on TV and what will you notice?  Each golfer has their own natural swing…well, like a snowflake.  No one will confuse my swing with Jim Furyk’s, Tiger Woods’ or Arnold Palmer’s.  It’s obvious, the pros don’t need the exact same swing to excel at this game; nor do you. Only equipment that complements a player’s swing has to.

One of my best friends is approximately the same age and height and we both have almost identical swing speeds with all our golf clubs.  I’ll take a new club with the shaft du jour or one that I happen to like.  He will go to hit it and says it doesn’t feel good.  The ball flight substantiates his claims too.  Then he will hand me a club he raves about the performance and feel.  I’ll end up telling him, “Meh”.

Golf Shaft fitting is all about swing speed isn’t it?
The answer to that is a big no!  While golf swing speed is a starting point, it does not tell the whole story. Speed tells you how fast an object is moving.  But the other piece of the puzzle is how and when the player loads and unloads the club.

Basics of Golf ClubmakingTo put this in perspective, loading is a force a player puts onto the golf club or golf shaft during the downswing.  The magnitude of this force is caused by the acceleration or the rate of change in the velocity during the course of the swing.  One example might be where one player exerts a very large acceleration at the initial part of the downswing. Another golfer might gradually accelerate the golf club until some point and then he/she may accelerate the club again immediately after releasing the club prior to impact. The point I am trying to make is the amount the shaft loads (or deflects) can vary even though the same swing speed is achieved at impact.

Then golf shaft fitting is all about the golf club’s frequency (butt stiffness) isn’t it?
The answer to that is a big no as well.  Recently I took three identical length golf hybrids out to the range for me and my friend to test.  Each also had a different shaft (although they were all labeled S-flex by each manufacturer).  I had to sort through my collection of golf shafts to find ones that were the same frequency (measure of shaft stiffness) and where the weights were with +/- 1 gram of one another.

Many clubmakers would assume that just because the weight, length, torque and frequencies were near identical, that these would play the same.  If you follow the Dynacraft Shaft Fitting Index I have been testing and publishing the results for the past twenty plus years, you would already know this isn’t always the case. Plus I recently acquired a new toy (called an EI Golf Shaft Profiler)  for my R&D lab that examines shafts better than what I had been using and I wanted to test a theory eliminating as many variable as possibly to come up with a conclusion.

Understanding stiffness distribution along the length of the golf club shaft
Here is a plot of deflections of those three golf shafts from the tip (left side) to the butt end (right) using a shaft profiler. To understand this chart, look at Series 3 or the deflection curve plotted in light green.  Near the tip, the deflection is far less than the others, indicating this is a stiffer tipped shaft.  When we get to the area 16” from the tip, these all have the same deflection.  As we get closer and closer to the butt end, the deflection is once again much less on the green plot line denoting a stiff butt section.  The blue line or Series 1 would have the softest tip.

Golf Hybrid Deflection Chart
My friend didn’t know the differences between these golf shafts prior to hitting them as not to form a bias.  Handing him one after another to hit, he indicated the Series 3 felt the best (most solid) to him after hitting several shots.  When he hit Series 1 (blue), he felt that it was too flexible like he had to be careful how he swung it in order to control it – something he didn’t have to worry about with the other shaft.  Remember now, these all have identical weights and frequencies (stiffness).

What he had discovered was the difference in stiffness distribution along the length of the golf shaft giving it its own unique feel. Now you know why each manufacturer produces a wide variety of golf shafts although they may be labeled R or S flex and have the same weight to appeal to specific tastes.

So how good would my golf shaft reviews be anyway?
Like I mentioned before, golf shafts that I like he doesn’t.  I hit these same three golf clubs and found the club with the Series 1 (blue) shaft to be by far the best for me.  As a matter of fact, according to the launch monitor I was 14 yards further than with the Series 3 golf shaft and with no difference in swing speed.  Well guess what, if I had given my review of these shafts, one would have been stellar and the other not so stellar.  Not to mention, if he had read the review knowing that our age, height and speed were nearly identical, he might have bit the bullet and bought the Series 1 shaft instead of the Series 3 he really liked.

How I can help golfers find the right shaft
Part of my job is to help educate customers on the products we sell.  It is not to tell which products that performs well for me and those that do not. However, if I do find a product that performs well for me, I make sure to know as much about it as I can so that I can find similar shafts to it.  The vehicle that I have used to express these findings has been our annual Hireko Golf Club Shaft Fitting Addendum which is available for free to download. By using our new measurement tool and building a better library of shaft profiles for customers and fellow clubmakers to access, they will have a better grasp of what shafts to confidently choose.

I took apart several of my golf drivers that I use in my rotation to see how their golf shaft profiles compared.  Here is a plot of 4 of them plus one additional one I threw in that I didn’t fare well with.  Can you guess which one it was? That’s right it was the one in aqua (light blue), yet again the same basic frequency as the others. One thing of note, some of these shafts are labeled by the manufacturer as regular and others as stiff, but doesn’t really matter as long as the numbers are the same.

Golf Driver Deflection Chart
Now whenever I go to the range to test a new head I have to remember to make another one up with a shaft profile my friend already likes otherwise I am not going to get any feedback on the head, only grief about the shaft he doesn’t like.

What type of golf shafts are right for your customers?
First, utilize something like our Hireko Golf QuikFit system so you can interchange different golf shafts onto the same head to eliminate all but one variable (shaft).  But more importantly when you go to set up you demo golf shaft collection, make sure to get shafts that vary from one to another so you can maximize your investment – absolutely no duplication to avoid confusing your customer and tying up your money.  Lastly, read as much as you can and personally try out the products you offer so you are intimate with them.

2013 Shaft Fitting Addendum Now Available to Download

The 2013 version of the annual Hireko trademarked shaft testing project provides up-to-date measurements of thousands of shafts.

2013 Hireko Golf Shaft Fitting AddendumNormally we would make a much larger announcement, but fewer shafts were added to this year’s 2013 Hireko Golf Shaft Fitting Addendum than in any other year we since its inception.  However, I would like to give a call out and thank True Temper (who also makes Grafalloy and Project X graphite and steel shafts), FST (who produces KBS steel) as well as the fine folks at UST-Mamiya for participating this year and sending samples for us to cut up and test so clubmakers and consumers alike would have a better idea of how the shafts stack up against others that have been tested.

These free resources are just another prime example of how Hireko is committed to educating our customer base. Whether you are clubfitting your customer trying to select the correct golf shaft or a golfer deciding which golf shaft is best for your game, Hireko has made it easier and more efficient for you. Take advantage and be sure to use these resources to their fullest.

The 2013 version of the annual Hireko Golf Shaft Fitting Addendum trademarked shaft testing project provides up-to-date measurements of thousands of golf shafts. Included are technical measurements of raw and cut weights, frequencies, torques, balance points and recommended swing speed ranges for each shaft. Included is an explanation of how to use the Dynamic Shaft Fitting Index (DSFI) in total club fitting applications. Written by Jeff Summitt.

> Download the 2013 Hireko Golf Shaft Fitting Addendum Now!

> Shop for Hireko Golf Shafts

Hireko Golf Interactive Clubfitting Calculators

New Shaft Testing Equipment Added to Hireko’s R&D Lab

Santa was especially kind to me this year and delivered a new piece of equipment (called an EI shaft profiler) to augment the equipment we already have on hand to educate you more on the proper golf club shaft choices.  See, it pays to be nice!  If you are not familiar with EI (short for elasticity times inertia), as few will, it is a 3-point bending test that measures the golf club shaft deflection along a span of the golf shaft. By taking measurements from the tip to the butt and plotting the results provides a more comprehensive look at the golf shaft’s stiffness distribution and a better understanding of how that shaft will react.

I began scientifically testing shafts in 1989 to more accurately compare one from to another. In 1991, I created the DSFI (Dynacraft Shaft Fitting Index) formula as a way to accurately compare shaft stiffness based on the interrelation between golf club frequencies and torque that is still published annually to this day. That was the first year the data was published to help fellow golf clubmakers fit more precisely. In 2006, I expanded it one step further and started compiling tip and butt deflections measurements and added them to the DSFI formula.  This would provide a much clearer picture as how two shafts, that at least on paper appeared to be the same, could be actually quite different.  With the addition of our EI shaft profiler, we hope to provide you with more accurate shaft fitting for years to come.

It will take a while to compile all the data and put in into a format that will be easy for our customer base to understand and use.  I wanted to let you know we don’t rest on our laurels and hope to expand our knowledge base so that we may increase yours too.  Here is a snippet with a comparison of three cut #5-iron shaft deflections. All are of the same length, frequency and weight but completely different shaft stiffness distribution profiles.

The left side of the chart represents the tip and each of the 14 data point’s measures 2” closer to the butt.  The lower the reading; the stiffer the shaft is at a certain point.  For example, Series 2 (or the shaft in red) has a much stiffer tip section that the other two, but is more flexible in the butt end.  This shaft should produce a lower golf club launch angle, while the shaft in green will produce the highest golf club launch angle as they exhibited at the range. That is how to interpret the data.