The earliest golfers inherently knew the right golf shaft made them better players. Since the dawn of hickory shafts and gutta-percha golf balls, finding the right golf shaft for an individual’s swing was paramount.
It’s why the likes of Old Tom Morris kept clubs for years; the shaft married perfectly with their swing and if it broke, finding (or making) a golf club with a golf shaft that worked just as well might take weeks or months to find.
Thankfully, those days are mostly long forgotten but you’d be surprised by how much variance still exists in today’s golf shafts. Modern golf clubs made with steel or graphite provide way more performance, consistency, and feel than their 100+-year-old cousins but still contain manufacturing variance.
With so many advancements in golf shaft technology and no universal scheme to measure stiffness, consumers are often left wondering if a golf shaft can make them a better golfer. While the simple answer is “yes,” how you get there can be confusing.
GOLF SHAFT TECHNOLOGY HAS EVOLVED
Thankfully, today’s golf shaft technology has evolved long past the days of hand-whittling hickory into golf shafts. Golf shafts today are divided into two primary categories: graphite and steel.
The primary advances in golf shaft technology are primarily due to advancements in manufacturing techniques, technologies, and tolerances. For example, while the steel shafts from 1960’s irons are fundamentally the same as today’s steel shafts, bend profiles can now be matched to the player. Thus, a professional fitter can dial in launch, spin, and dispersion and find the best golf shaft for you.
Today’s consumers also have access to an incredible variety of shafts with various golf shaft technology, weights, flex profiles, and price points. While most golfers still fit into stock or off-the-rack profiles, everyone who doesn’t get custom fit (regardless of ability) is leaving strokes on the table.
The 20-handicap might not think he can benefit from a custom-fit golf shaft, but what if that 30-yard slice could be tempered to a 15-yard slice? How many more fairways and greens would they hit? Wouldn’t that tighter dispersion lead to better scores?
WHAT’S THE IMPORTANCE OF GOLF SHAFT TECHNOLOGY?
Golf shaft technology today is all about consistency, tight tolerances, and various bend profiles to match the player. In other words, how close to identical is each shaft as it comes off the assembly line.
Unfortunately, while manufacturing techniques have advanced by leaps and bounds in the last century, the manner in which graphite golf shafts are largely produced has remained basically the same. Almost all graphite golf shafts are created through a hand-made process of wrapping layers of graphite around a conical mandrel (thinner at the bottom and thicker at the top).
Despite how much better graphite shafts have become, there is still some variance when you’re dealing with hand-crafted products. Does the person wrapping the shafts have more energy at the beginning of their day or the end? Are their hands as strong late in the day as when they first arrive at the factory? All of these are factors when using a manual labor process to create a golf shaft.
This variance is inherent to “hand-made” golf shafts. It is also a reason why a golfer goes to get fit by a professional, is fit into a great shaft, receives the club days later, and sometimes struggles to find the same consistency.
This is also the reason professionals test multiple versions of the same shaft until they find “the one” that combines feel, consistency, and desired numbers. And every amateur knows, there’s no worse feeling than spending $200, $300, or $500+ on a new driver shaft and feeling like you can’t find a fairway as you did in a fitting.
Why is that? Because that golf shaft the player found in the hitting bay isn’t identical to the one put into their brand new club. It’s these manufacturing variances where a 1-2% difference can translate into a few more yards offline or wider dispersion.
However, TPT Golf has devised a way to ensure the quality and consistency of every shaft is identical. Through a patented process, TPT produces golf shafts with Continuous Fiber, an automated manufacturing process that makes every golf shaft far more precise than anything the competition can produce.
TPT is the only manufacturer using state-of-the-art manufacturing technology to create a better golf shaft for every golfer. Other shafts on the market are still using the same basic golf shaft technology from decades ago.
PROS AND CONS OF PREMIUM GOLF SHAFTS
When comparing the pros and cons of premium golf shafts there are four primary factors to consider: performance, consistency, feel, and finally cost. Let’s consider each in order.
When fit properly, premium golf shaft technology will optimize the performance of every golf club for that individual golfer. Therefore, performance will increase and scores would decrease accordingly. Today, off-the-rack golf shafts offer very good performance and many average players can make them work for their game moderately well. That is what they’re made to do — moderately fit a wide variety of players for a low price.
It’s important for a golf shaft to perform the same in a fitting, on the range, and out on the golf course. But consistency also means being able to hit the sweet spot more often. When properly fit, a player’s strike pattern and dispersion should also get tighter and more predictable. And when you’re better able to know where your shots are going the game becomes that much easier.
There is nothing like the feeling of hitting a pure golf shot. Regardless of whether the outcome is great or just OK, everyone loves that feeling of the ball melting into the sweet spot of the clubface. That feeling is only heightened and generated more frequently when the player has a premium golf shaft, which improves feedback and control.
While premium golf shafts carry a premium price, that is one of the few drawbacks. Golf shafts are often referred to as the “engine” of the club — they make the club “go.” So, think of the difference between a Rolls Royce and Cadillac. Both are considered “premium” luxury vehicles, but the Rolls Royce is in a tier that’s way above every Cadillac vehicle.
Why is that similar to a golf shaft? The Rolls Royce is all about the ultimate combination of luxury and extreme precision. That level of detail and the resulting performance is unmatched by Cadillac.
IMPORTANCE OF GOLF SHAFT CONSISTENCY BETWEEN WOODS AND IRONS
Imagine your favorite club. It could be your sand wedge or your 8 iron. Or as Tin Cup professed: “[sic] The 7 iron is the only truly safe club in my bag.”
One of the things you probably like about that club is it fits your swing. Now imagine having that same feeling in every club in your bag from your driver through your lob wedge. You’re probably thinking you need different golf shafts in the woods, hybrids, irons, and wedges.
But why? Because that’s how it’s always been done.
However, TPT is aiming to change that with the introduction of fairway wood and soon-to-be-released hybrid shafts.
TPT’s goal is once you get fit into a shaft model, you can then fit that same model shaft into every club in your bag with confidence in its feel, consistency, and performance. Being able to do this with superior golf shaft technology would alleviate a lot of variance from everyone’s golf game.
GETTING PROPERLY FIT FOR GOLF SHAFTS IS KEY
If you’ve never been properly fit for golf clubs, there’s a high likelihood you aren’t maximizing the performance of your clubs. Getting properly fit maximizes everything about your golf swing while tightening dispersion and minimizing big misses.
The best way to maximize performance for your entire golf bag is to test as many premium golf shafts as possible. Doing that also requires making sure TPT golf shafts are available to test.
So, when you walk into any fitter make sure you ask, “Do you carry TPT golf shafts?”
We think once you try a premium TPT shaft with Continuous Fiber, you’ll get the feeling all other golf shafts are made with obsolete technology.