- Shaft (golf)
The shaft of a
golf clubis the long, cylindrical piece - generally made of steel or graphite - which connects the golfer’s hands to the club head. While hundreds of different designs exist, the primary purpose of the golf shaft remains the same - to provide the player with a way to generate centrifugal force in order to effectively strike the golf ball.
Early golf clubs had wooden shafts, most commonly made of hickory. These shafts were resilient and withstood the forces created by the golf swing, but their high flexibility required a skilled swing to produce consistent results.
In the early 1900s players began experimenting with steel shafts. By 1931 True Temper [http://truetemper.com] steel shafts were the most popular among amateurs and professionals. Steel shafts could be made with varying degrees of stiffness, allowing players to develop a more aggressive style of golf swing. Steel shafts in many varieties remain a fixture in today’s game.
Graphite shafts began to emerge in the late twentieth century. These are woven from
carbon fiberand are generally lighter in weight than steel shafts. Graphite shafts became popular among amateurs, because lighter weight helped generate increased club-head speed. The carbon fiber also dissipated some of the stinging vibrations that were caused by poorly struck shots.
Professionals and skilled amateurs were initially skeptical of the new technology. Graphite shafts were at the time viewed as inconsistent when compared to steel; however, advances in technology eventually changed this perception. In early shafts only one layer of composite fibers were used, which hampered the performance by allowing the shaft flexure. Modern composite shafts have three layers of fiber winding, adding substantial rigidity, and in turn, performance. [http://www.custom-golf-clubs.com/fujikuraGolfShaft.htm] Companies like [http://www.fujikuragolf.com Fujikura] , [http://www.ustgolfshaft.com UST] , [http://www.grafalloy.com Grafalloy] , [http://mitsubishirayongolf.com Mitsubishi] , and [http://www.aldila.com Aldila] are leading manufacturers of composite shafts.
* Material - Described above - generally steel or graphite/carbon fiber. More exotic materials have been offered with minimal success.
*Flex - The measure of a shaft’s flexibility. This measure is relative and varies among manufacturers. Most commonly referred to in terms of regular, stiff, senior, or ladies.
*Flex Point - The point over the length of the where it is designed to bend. Individual shaft models are designed to flex at different points. Generally, flex points nearer to the grip end of the club tend to produce lower launching, lower spinning shots. Flex points nearer to the club head tend to produce higher launching, higher spinning shots.
*Length and Weight - These variables are used to tailor a golf club to a particular player. Shaft lengths can be altered to suit golfers of different heights. Golf shafts are manufactured in various weights to suit players of any skill or strength level.
*True Temper [http://truetemper.com]
*Royal Precision [http://www.royalprecision.com]
*SK Fiber [http://www.skfiber.com]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.