What are interchangeable shafts?
In the last three years, several companies have designed driver heads that allow the golfer to quickly change a shaft using a connection system that usually involves an adapter on the shaft that can be tightened into the hosel of the driver using an screw-type connection. We began using this type of system for fitting in 2004. Burrows Golf (no longer in business) had a system like this for their drivers but purely for fitting purposes. In the last two years, Alpha Golf, Nakashima, and Versus Golf have developed heads that have adapter mechanisms for quickly interchanging shafts. The major OEM’s like Callaway Golf (Opti Fit) and Taylor Made (Select Fit) have developed fitting systems that make it much easier to dial a golfer in to the proper shaft rather than having several bags full of demo clubs. For example, we can easily try stiffer, softer, longer, shorter, heavier, lighter shafts with the same head to determine which combination gives the best result. Now, the USGA is allowing you to change shafts before a round without having to go to a club maker to change out the shaft.
When will this be available?
Three companies started the interchangeable shaft systems in their driver heads : Alpha Golf, Nakashima, and Versus Golf. Again, innovation comes from the small companies. Taylor Made, Callaway and Titleist among others followed suit shortly after. This is great news for every golfer. Now you can get dialed in to the best shaft option available without having to purchase a new driver. How each company will bring this to the marketplace is not certain. For example, will you be able to buy a package with two shafts for your driver? Will you be able to exchange one shaft for another for a fee? The other issue is that each company will likely have their own unique connection system so you will not be able to swap a Callaway IS(interchangeable shaft) into a Taylor Made head. Again, there will be no “standard” connection system in the industry.
What does this mean for YOU?
For starters, it will now be easier, assuming you have a good club fitter, to fit the shaft perfectly for you that will give you the best distance, accuracy and trajectory. Second, it will be less costly to switch out shafts since you can keep the same head and just buy a new IS (interchangeable shaft). Third, if you are a competitive golfer, you will be able to change shafts between rounds if you need a draw bias or fade bias shaft from one course to the next, a la Phil Mickleson. As a custom club fitter, this is a great thing as we will be able to provide you with more options at a lower cost than having two or three drivers in your bag. Lower spin, low launch shafts for windy conditions and higher spin, higher launch shafts for normal playing conditions. The best of all worlds!
Since 2008, we have seen some very exciting things with this new technology. The bottom line is that all of this is designed to help you hit longer, straighter shots with more consistency. Helping golfers play better can only enhance the enjoyment of the game. What a concept!