In our last blog on this topic we discussed the impact of the golf shaft on accuracy. Another one of the major premises of our shaft test using Trackman and the GEARS Golf motion sensing system was that the proper shaft can also improve distance. Or, conversely, the wrong shaft can negatively affect distance. Four shafts varying in weight from 53 to 68 grams and from senior to X-stiff flex were used in the test.
This part of the test yielded some very interesting results. For some of our testers, the distance differences between shafts were almost negligible, i.e. 3 yards at 260 yard total distance. For others, the distance gains (or losses) we pretty huge. One tester lost 26 yards with a shaft that was very heavy and stiff (from 200 yards to 175 yards), which was a loss of 12.5%. From a TrackMan fitting perspective, the biggest factors affecting distance were smash factor (face impact location), launch angle, spin and for certain golfers, club speed. For the stronger players, there was very little variance in club speed between the different shaft weights and flexes. But the slower club speed golfers (75 to 90) saw drops of as much as 2 mph with different shafts. Bottom line is that the wrong shaft can have a dramatic impact on distance but it is very dependent upon the individual and their swing dynamics. We will be publishing a detailed white paper on the results once we integrate the GEARS Golf information regarding tempo, transition and release.
The results are very similar to what we see in our driver fittings. If there is a big discrepancy between what the golfer is currently playing in terms of weight, flex, and shaft profile versus what our BGF Fitting System recommends, we are able to get some pretty significant distance gains. But, there are a lot of other factors (club head characteristics, loft of club, length, swing weight) than can also have an impact on distance. While we believe the shaft is a major contributor to accuracy and distance, going through our detailed fitting process will also identify other equipment areas that need tweaking in order to optimize our golfer’s performance.