Ok, I admit it, I am biased. But so should you be! Getting a driver fitting at a box store is an adventure in what manufacturers drivers are available and if there are any custom shaft options. And, I love Tony and the crew at MyGolfSpy to death but I think consumers are learning that testing stock driver shafts will give you a very mixed bag of results. Here are some of the issues with testing off-the-rack stock driver shafts and what to do about it:
Stock Driver Lengths
First off, there are no standard lengths, except maybe for women! We see them as short as 44.5″ and as long as 45.75″. Hard to do a comparison in distance and consistency of contact with that much length difference. We totally advocate shorter driver shafts (44.5″ or less) in order to give you more consistent contact and higher smash factor. This ultimately will create tighter shot dispersion and more distance.
Stock Shaft Weights
This is little better but not much. For the “average” golfer (whatever that is) the typical driver shaft weight will be 45 grams for women and 55 grams for men. What is interesting is that certain manufacturers will increase the weight of the shaft as they increase the stiffness. For example, a Senior (A or M) flex shaft may be 55 grams but an Extra Stiff (X) flex may be 75 grams. So comparing one manufacturer’s driver to another can be difficult if there is more than a 10 gram difference in driver shaft weights. The manufacturer’s theory here is that “lighter means longer”. That certainly does NOT take into account the golfer’s tempo, transition and release which we know dictates weight, flex and shaft profile (Learn More ).
Stock Shaft Flexes
Here is where there can be a big disconnect. The most consistent flex readings are in the Men’s Regular flex. But, in Stiff, the actual flex can be as low as soft Regular to as high as X flex. Now let’s say you went in to test out the new Cobra F9 because you heard it was the bomb! And let’s say that you have always played Stiff flex and the box store launch monitor confirms that based upon your club speed. But when you test the S flex, it feels too soft, especially in the 55 gram shaft. So, you test the X flex and your distance drops and the feel is horrible. Now, you switch to a different manufacturer, say Callaway, and the Stiff shaft feels and performs great! Well, first off, Cobra lost a sale purely (IMO) because the shaft was not the proper flex so performance was compromised. Happens all the time.
The Key Driver Shaft Fitting Parameters
Consistency is the key in fitting a driver shaft. By that I mean, the shaft length, weight, flex, and swing weight must be consistent in order to give an accurate side-by-side comparison of performance. In our opinion, these factors will then allow you to look at the differences in launch, spin, carry distance, and dispersion from one club and shaft to the next. Your best option is to book a fitting with us as we have multiple shaft options that you can try with different driver heads. Once we find the right shaft, we then compare other driver heads to see which one performs best for you. Club or swing speed is just one of the parameters guiding you. Tempo, transition and release point are critical in determining weight, flex and swing weight. Smooth, controlled swings can play lighter, softer flex shafts than aggressive, fast transition swings.