The problem with graphite shafts has always been consistency, and there’s a simple reason for this. All of the large graphite shaft manufacturers use a process known as the “roll-wrapping method” to make their graphite shafts, and the process hasn’t changed very much over the decades.
The roll-wrapping method has an inherent flaw, and it has to do with the shape of a golf shaft. If a golf shaft was a perfect cylinder, one with the same diameter throughout, the roll-wrapping method would make more sense. But as we all know, a golf shaft isn’t a perfect cylinder. It’s a tapered cylinder, one where the diameter shrinks from the butt section to the tip section.
If you’ve ever gift-wrapped something, you know the challenge of laying, cutting, creasing, and taping the paper in just the right locations. Wrapping a box that’s a square or rectangle is doable, but what happens when you’re wrapping a different shape? Let’s use the example of a megaphone, the cone that cheerleaders and sports fans yell into to amplify sound. Impossible, right?
The reason it’s so hard to gift-wrap megaphone is that it’s tapered. Like a golf shaft, its diameter shrinks as it moves from its base to its tip. No matter how good of a job you do wrapping a megaphone, the finished product is going to have several overlaps. The wrapping paper is going to be thicker in some areas and thinner in others. And the same thing happens when you construct a golf shaft using the roll-wrapping method.
In the golf world, these areas of overlap are known as “seams” or “spines,” and they hurt the feel and performance of a shaft. They’re the reason that custom fitters do things like “spine” or “flow” or “pure” a shaft before they install it into the clubhead. These processes don’t fix the problem; they just minimize the problem. In some cases, they make problems even worse.