Reshaft for More Distance
One of the most common performance upgrades you can do to your equipment is re-shafting your driver. Major manufacturers use shafts aimed at fitting most players with “average” swings. Any of us who have ever watched a few foursomes tee off at our local club know there really isn’t any such thing as an “average” swing. Based on this simple fact, it makes perfect sense to check into having your driver shaft changed to match your swing – not an arbitrary “average” swing as prescribed by the major OEM’s. Let’s explore some of the things to consider when upgrading the performance of your driver towards the Ultimate Driving Weapon!
Many of us choose a shaft as a result of trying someone else’s club and hitting it well. It is important to keep in mind that the shaft itself is only one part of a successful re-shafting experience. Your driver’s head design plays a key role too. If the loft on your driver is not the same as the one you test hit, ball flight can be very different. If the length of the “test” driver is not the same as yours, consistency will differ. If the bore type and depth of the two clubs differ, feel and performance will likely differ as well. It’s very important to remember that when selecting a new shaft, you look not only at the shaft, but at the driver head as well in order to get your desired results.
A first key specification in your performance upgrade search is driver length. Any change from your current driver length will potentially change your setup and impact position – which could be a good thing or a bad thing. Swinging the longest driver that you can return to impact consistently should be your goal. If you are used to a 44” driver and you have it re-shafted to 45”, directional and consistency problems may result. Make certain you and your fitting professional determine what length driver is best for you before making changes.
Shaft frequency, of flex, is the next parameter in making sure your newly shafted driver performs as it should. A first thing to realize is that not all companies measure the stiffness of their shafts in the same manner. What one company labels as a stiff shaft, another may actually call an “A” flex, or a full 2-flex difference. The same applies to shaft torque. Torque is the resistance to rotational twisting in a shaft. Torque is labeled in degrees, with 2.0 being considered “low” and 6 degrees or more being considered “high.” But, here again, there is no standardization in how torque is measured from one company to another, making the number somewhat meaningless for comparison. What this does mean is that your fitting professional will need to be aware of the differences in flexes and torques from one company to another. He or she should also provide you with demo clubs fitted with specific shafts so that you can be sure that the shaft you think you want feels and works as it should for your game.
Be sure to consider a shaft’s launch characteristics when having your driver re-shafted. A shaft designed with a stiffer tip for lower launch is fine for certain drivers, but if yours is a 7-degree model, this low-loft head, low-launch shaft combination might not be enough for you to consistently get the ball airborne. The opposite would be true if your driver is a high-lofted model. If you combine it with a high-loft head and soft-tip, high-launch shaft, you may end up ballooning your drives and losing distance as a result. You may have heard the terms “high bend point” and “low bend point”. Bend points have relatively little to do with the actual launch angle of a shaft when compared to its tip design, but bend points do play a role in how a shaft feels. Low bend point shafts tend to feel softer than do high bend point models. Typically high launch shafts will have softer tips and lower bend points than will lower launch design shafts.
While there is no specific swing speed/club loft/launch angle formula, the chart below provides general guidelines of what many expert launch monitor fitters consider to be “ideal” launch and backspin conditions. Keep in mind that all players swing differently and the chart is to be used as a generalization only as actual launch monitor results may vary.
Re-shafting your driver to improve its performance is one of the best investments you can make in your equipment. Before you make the change to the latest shaft that is popular on Tour or that your playing partner is touting, make sure you and your fitting professional analyze the characteristics of not only the shaft you are contemplating, but the characteristics of your swing and the specifications of your driver head as well. Doing so will ensure the best possible head/shaft/player combination, leading to a successful driver re-shafting performance upgrade.