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Mulligan Jeff

Iron Shafts Parallel Or Taper Tip Pros And Cons

16 posts in this topic

Is there any advantage to Taper Tip shafts over Parallel Tip?
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Good question. I hope some of the club builders chime in.  I would assume it has to do with the hosel design of the particular club.

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You insert the whole tip 2 inches into the hosel anyway, and you're not bending metal that thick with your swing. No real reason to pick one over the other except compatibility, you need either a shim or to ream the hosel if you switch.

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Taper tips are basically made to make assembly easier. Sets of shafts are available in discrete sets so there is no need to trim to flex - it's already done for you. No need to worry about insertion depth either because the bore taper takes care of that too. Just butt trim to your desired length and you're more or less done. A boon for mass production and OEM's.

Parallel tips have the advantage of being fine tuned to a precise flex. The tip can be carefully trimmed until a specific flex or frequency is achieved. Down side is the time required and attention to detail. It's also fair to say that parallel tips are probably in the minority for modern iron shafts.

If you had to compare which is more popular per iron head available, then it's taper tip by a country mile purely for the reasons outlined - it's easier for assembly. For those looking for the ultimate in flexibility and customisation though, the parallel tip has the edge. Personally, I prefer the taper tip, not because of the obvious differences noted, but because my shaft of choice is the humble Dynamic Gold - and believe me, the difference between parallel and taper DG is night and day.

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That's the information I was looking for Nemicu - what is the night & day difference?
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This Golfsmith Clubmaking link contains this brief history and comparison of taper-tip vs. parallel-tip:

http://golftips.golfsmith.com/parallel-vs-taper-tip-golf-shafts-1358.html

Golfsmith expands on some things which Nemicu discussed:

  • Taper tip shafts have a separate template for each shaft. This makes it possible to equal weight shafts: a 3i shaft weighs the same as a 9i shaft. This supposedly improved the feel of the taper-tip clubs, but blind tests show that golfers can't tell the difference between a TT and a PT.
  • Parallel tip shafts became available in the 1970s. Clubmakers who use primarily PTs could greatly lessen inventory control costs: if you got six dozen (72) Dynamic Golf shafts, you could tip trim as needed to make A, R, and S flex shaft sets.
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Thanks all for your feedback, interesting results on the blind tests.
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That's the information I was looking for Nemicu - what is the night & day difference?

Simply put, the parallel version plays weaker at the same weight. It's difficult to achieve the feel you are looking for if you have a variable weight - if you have to incrementally trim the tip (and then the butt) of a parallel shaft to make a set, you end up with descending weight shafts. Tip a bit more to firm up and you lose even more weight. Taper tips being discrete sets have a constant weight simply because you are trimming the same amount from the butt of each shaft. This creates a more stable feel because of the weight control. Weight is everything with DG (don't get me started on Tour Issue nonsense). You don't get that with parallels IMO - maybe not such a big deal with other shafts perhaps, but when it's your #1 choice it makes a difference to you personally. If you asked a few pros too (who incidentally probably choose the DG by volume over any any other shaft) they'd probably say the same thing.

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Simply put, the parallel version plays weaker at the same weight. It's difficult to achieve the feel you are looking for if you have a variable weight - if you have to incrementally trim the tip (and then the butt) of a parallel shaft to make a set, you end up with descending weight shafts. Tip a bit more to firm up and you lose even more weight. Taper tips being discrete sets have a constant weight simply because you are trimming the same amount from the butt of each shaft.

Difficult to achieve the feel... Club makers conducted tests in which golfer were given the same model iron head club to hit, without knowing if the shaft was parallel or taper : most average golfers couldn't tell the difference between the two (see Golfsmith link). Also, the clubheads for short irons weigh more than those for short irons, so it's not like you will get clubs that "all weigh the same."

Tip a bit more...you lose... not really.

Taper tip sets for irons come with all the tips pre-cut, requiring the clubsmith only to butt-cut the shaft to desired length. Some examples:

  • KBS Tour: 37.5" - 41"
  • KBS Tour 90: 36.5' - 40.5"
  • Dynamic Gold: 37" - 41"
  • Project X 95 Flighted: 36.5" - 40.5"

Parallel tip shafts for irons all come in the same length: 41" in Dynamic Gold, 43.5" in KBS Tour.

So, the clubsmith tip-trims the longer raw parallel shaft to fit each of the irons he's shafting. Then, he butt-trims the shaft to final length. If the clubsmith "firms up" the flex by tipping it - hardstepping it - then he simply cuts more off the tip, and less off the butt. You're trimming parallel tip shafts at both ends.

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Thanks, but I really don't need anyone to explain how my irons feel to me. And with 30+ years experience, how to build them either for that matter. I can tell the difference between parallel and taper DG - no question - however you build them. So can many others who will testify the same. But thanks anyway for sharing your thoughts - or Golfsmiths anyway.

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I though I'd share Tom Wishons thoughts on the subject:


It all depends on how the shaft company chooses to make their taper tip and parallel tip versions. In the old days prior to the invention of parallel tip steel shafts in the early 70s, taper tip shafts were typically made in a much more expensive manner. The steel shaft companies used to make separate tooling to create each different raw length for a set of shafts within each flex. They did this so each different length taper tip shaft would end up weighing exactly the same.

So for example in the original taper tip Dynamic pattern from True Temper, the 35" raw length taper tip shaft for use in the #9,PW heads weighed the same as the 39" raw tt shaft used in the 2 iron - same for every other discrete length tt Dynamic shaft for each flex.

Then when the par'l tip shafts were invented and all steel shaft companies began to do this, they figured out "why not just make the taper tip version of this shaft from the longest parallel tip shaft - we can just tip trim the par'l tip shaft for each different taper tip length for each head and swage the tip end (mechanically squeeze it) down to the 0.355 taper tip.

Doing that saved the companies a TON in tooling costs versus the old way of making an actual separate tt shaft for each different length required to build a full set of irons.

But not all companies today do that because there are some who do prefer that each shaft in a set of taper tips end up weighing the same. So pretty much the way you can tell if a taper tip version of a shaft also offered in par'l tip form is different or not is by looking at the weight of each different raw length taper tip shaft.

If all the different raw length tt shafts in a set weigh the same, then you know each different raw length tt shaft was made separately. But if you see each different raw length tt shaft drop progressively in weight as the raw lengths get shorter, this tells you the tt version was made from the par'l tip version.

And therein lies the possible difference between a tt version of a shaft and the par'l version. With all par'l tip shafts, each shaft in the set gets lighter in weight as it gets shorter. In building the set, this means you end up using a slightly greater amount of headweight for each club to achieve a matched swingweight in the assembled set. But in a tt version where each different tt shaft weighs the same, here you don't use as much headweight for each club from long to short iron.

This in turn can cause each shaft to bend a little differently from the influence of a greater progressive amount of headweight in the par'l tip version compared to the tt version.

But you are right in saying that it is easier to do frequency matching of the shafts to each other in a set using par'l tip shafts versus tt shafts. Any additional tip trimming of a tt shaft requires you then to ream out the hosel bore to accept what has become a little larger taper tip diameter while you never have to do that with a par'l tip version.

TOM

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You're focusing on just one model from true temper, have you had experience with more shaft brands? Dynamic Golds came out a long time ago, so I don't think it's accurate to say all models are different. Graphite, for one, but also models from manufacturers like Nippon and KBS. Lots of manufacturers are frequency matching as well as weight sorting these days so I'd imagine they can make both models exactly the same if they want to.

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You're focusing on just one model from true temper, have you had experience with more shaft brands? Dynamic Golds came out a long time ago, so I don't think it's accurate to say all models are different. Graphite, for one, but also models from manufacturers like Nippon and KBS. Lots of manufacturers are frequency matching as well as weight sorting these days so I'd imagine they can make both models exactly the same if they want to.

Lucius,

I picked the DG because it a very common one. Many months ago, I bought a DG R300 raw shaft (parallel) and had clubsmith mark it for a 5i tip trim - I use it when I explain shaft trimming to interested people.

I had my X20 Tours reshafted in NS Pro 8950GH (R.flex / 97 grams), replacing PX 5.0 Rifle Flighted (115 grams). Both are taper tip.

At the GolfWorks school, I got a "clubmaker 101" understanding of shafts. As a windfall from testing the SLDR irons for TST, KBS linked me in to an online course on their shafts. Golf industry people get continuing education credit for completing it. Hopefully I can learn more details on shaftdom by taking the course.

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Ok, shaft weight gets lighter as you go through the set from 4 to pw, but head weight gets heavier, so...
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Good topic. Along these lines I just fit a practice TM Rocketbladez Tour 6i .355 TT (standard) to .367 with a Project X Flighted shaft in lieu of stock KBS. Basically hard stepped with better frequency. Still have my OEM TM 6i with KBS Tour 110g. But I wanted to fine tune and test another club. Also put DG Spinner+ in my TM Tour PW & AW. This increase in weight to 131g worked fine for me. Parallel would have to be tip trimmed to suit what your trying to achieve also but club head dictates the shaft tip (.335, .355, .350, .370, etc.).
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