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Which Golf Component is Most Important?

How many times have you heard “the golf shaft is the most important component of the club”?  If you follow all the golf forums… probably a lot.

But is it?

Surprise, surprise, it’s another one of those “it needs to be qualified” answers!

What in the actual hell?

Look, the shaft’s important, but think about this: what if you find your most “perfect” shaft, but play with a loft too low for your swing speed?

What good is having that “perfect” golf shaft only to still find you’re not hitting it farther?

Another thing to consider: what if you find the perfect shaft, a club head with the correct loft, but a grip that hurts your hands?

As an aside… I wonder how many people actually debate golf grips?  Can you imagine that conversation?

-“I only use these expensive Japanese grips”

-“Oh yeah?  Well, Tiger uses those tour velvet-style grips”

-“Oh yeah?  Well, mine are made of cork!”

-“WTF, dude?  Mine are made out of kangaroo hide!”

Who.

Cares?

They’re each a different component that makes up a golf club, not a NASA shuttle.

All you need is a grip that feels good to you and is correctly sized to your hands.

You don’t want anything that promotes a “death grip”, or else you’ll lose distance and/or accuracy.  Trying to grip it like Ben Hogan isn’t a bad idea.

In all seriousness, most conversations just get to the “that’s cool, bro” phase and end.  But with shafts, it can get bad.

Maybe it’s an ego thing.

Personally, I don’t care what shaft you play.

I don’t care if you care what shaft I play.  If you want to spend $400 on a shaft, more power to ya.  If you wanna play a shaft that cost you $50 or less, more power to ya.

It’s when they look at stuff like this:

component golf shaft profiles

that tends to lead people to lose their minds.

Why?  Golf shafts aren’t special snowflakes.  Just like anything else in this world, there’s bound to be similarities across different brands and models.

Here’s a shaft bend profile of the Integra iDrive 3.5, the same shaft I used until recently (that you can get for $12 at Value Golf!):

integra-idrive-wood-golf-shaft-profile

This is in R flex, mind you. I use the S; but we can still prove a point.

There are two other shafts in the graph: the Accuflex Acculaunch 50 and the UST ProForce V2 HL, both in S flex.

Now, let’s dig a little deeper:

ProForce V2 HL component golf shaft graph

Three more hits!

By putting in the ProForce V2 HL (S-flex) into the Wishon Golf Shaft Bend Profile software, we get three more hits:

  • Grafalloy PFC 60 (R)
  • Mitsubishi Fubuki A 60 (S)
  • UST ProForce V2 65 (S)

As an aside, notice that the V2 regular and the HL (“High Launch”) version profile out to be the same?  Makes one wonder why it’s considered “high launch”…

Batman's wondering furiously

For myself alone, I have six shaft options of varying price-points based on (and including) my current gamer.

Another thing I should point out: “high-launch”, “low-launch”, “low-spin”, “high-spin” as it pertains to the golf shaft is a matter of perspective.

As I’ve said before, shaft flex is more about what you “feel”.  If it’s too stiff, impact will feel harsh.  If it’s too soft, impact will feel “dead”.  It can have an effect on your sense of timing and tempo.  However, it’s not that important to launch conditions.  The loft of your driver head has more say over launch conditions than what shaft you’re playing.

It’s just one component of many that makes up the whole.

What happens if you do have that “perfect” golf shaft?

Well, assuming you do have it, let’s look at what happens if you mess up on head choice.  We’re going to assume you have a 90mph swing speed, the higher end of average:

90mph loft effect w/ perfect golf shaft

In this example, you’re gaming a 9.5* driver and you attack the ball with a level swing (hence the 0* angle of attack).  With that level swing, you don’t have any influence on the head’s effective loft at impact.

See the distance you get?  Not much, at 182.6 yards of carry.  But what if we bump the loft up to 10.5*?

10.5 loft for golf swing

A little better…

…but not what you could potentially get.  What’s it gonna take?

This:

14 degree loft with perfect golf shaft

201.7 yards of carry distance!

With your 90mph swing and level angle of attack, you should be looking more for a driver at 14* of loft!

Not gonna lie… it’d be tough finding that in a big box store.  The closest you’ll get will most likely be 12*.  If you look at a component golf store, like Hireko Golf or the aforementioned Value Golf, you’ll have more luck.

By now I hope you see just how much each component of the club needs to work together- while working with you- for you to get the most out of your potential.

About the Author

Justin Blair is the founder of Green Lantern Golf. When he isn't bringing his 10+ years of excellent craftsmanship experience to golf club fitting, building, and repair, he's geeking out about Star Wars (he's watched them all about 8,437 times!) and things like the MCU and LOTR, he's drinking mead and craft brews. If you wanna know more, check out my About Page!

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