What shafts are being played on Tour? Well, it is a very eclectic set of shafts but I can say that players are winning with what works for them. The brands vary significantly from the PGA Tour to the LPGA, Champions and Web.com. GolfWRX has an entire section of their website dedicated to WITB(What’s In The Bag?). Each week we get a peek into the bag of the winner of the most recent tournament. For example, the winner of the Safeway Open had a wide variety of shafts from Aldila, Aerotech and True Temper. On the PGA Tour, representatives from every major shaft manufacturer working closely with the equipment companies like Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist, etc. to offer their latest shaft offerings. After having conversations with several of my shaft manufacturer contacts, and reviewing the WITB and media posts, here are my observations:
- No shaft manufacturer sponsors a tour player. Simply, it is too costly as the majority of the tour players get paid more to play a particular brand of equipment than the shaft.
- Players play close attention to ball flight monitor results when making their equipment and shaft decisions. With the wide spread use of TrackMan and FlightScope on tour, players can easily compare launch, peak height, spin, carry distance and attack angle from one head/shaft combination to another. This is exactly what we do in our club fittings.
- Tour presence carries over to consumer sales. There is a reason that shaft companies have very identifiable markings on their shafts as well as colors. What is seen on TV gets a lot of hype and questions on golf blogs on Monday. What shaft was Phil playing? Did you see that drive DJ hit on 16? Several shaft models have gone on to become “franchise makers” like the Aldila NV, Fujikura Speeder 757, True Temper EI-70, Graphite Design Tour AD DI, OBAN Kiyoshi, True Temper Dynamic Gold, Project X steel, KBS Tour, etc. These shafts got a LOT of play on tour and the various complementary models that came out created a strong consumer following.
- The average amateur should NOT play the same shaft as the PGA Tour players. In fact, Trackman statistics show that the average male golfer would be better served to play what shafts the players on the LPGA tour play! Now the make may be fine(Graphite Design, Fujikura, True Temper) but the model, weight and flex are something that should be determined in a fitting.
- The lightest shafts are in the driver and heaviest in the wedges with a heavier weight progression from longest to shortest club. This is true for every WITB I have looked at. We have been following this fitting formula with our own proprietary twist for over 18 years. If it works on tour, it has to work for amateurs, right? Yes, it really works, but each golfer will have a different weight progression depending upon strength, tempo, transition, release and feel.
So who has the highest representation on all of the tours? That is a tough one as it varies from year to year and depends upon the tour. Darrel Survey actually surveys the tours and publishes a count for each tournament to its subscribers. There will be several folks that will challenge my non-verified results here but here we go:
Driver shafts: Mitsubishi Rayon, Fujikura, Aldila, True Temper Project X and Graphite Design, OBAN, MATRIX
Fairway wood shafts: Aldila, Graphite Design, Mitsubishi Rayon, MATRIX, Fujikura, Project X
Hybrid shafts: Graphite Design, MATRIX, Aldila, OBAN
Iron shafts: True Temper and Project X, Nippon, KBS, Aerotech
Wedge shafts: True Temper, KBS
Driver shafts: Graphite Design, Fujikura, UST Mamiya, Mitsubishi Rayon
Fairway wood shafts: Graphite Design, Aldila, Fujikura, UST Mamiya, Mitsubishi Rayon
Hybrid shafts: Aldila, UST Mamiya, Graphite Design
Iron Shafts: Nippon, UST Mamiya, Graphite Design, Aerotech
Wedge shafts: Nippon, UST Mamiya, Aerotech
So when it comes to shafts the players are using on tour, the short answer is that they play the shafts that give them the best performance. And you should too. So get fit for the right shaft and you will start playing better golf…FASTER!