Anyone have the old Rifle "player fitting guide" and frequency tables?
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That's true of any shaft. No shaft is going to flex inside the hosel, there's a 1/4" shell of steel keeping it rigid. So in effect, all shafts basically perform as if they are tipped right up to the edge of the hosel. If you have 2 identical weight heads with one having a 1" longer hosel, that one will perform as if the shaft were tipped an inch compared to the other, essentially. If you have 2 identical heads but one has the hosel bored deeper than the other, the one with more of the shaft covered will play stiffer.
There are no standards for hosel depth so often a head's playing characteristics can be affected, such as older titleist woods with longer hosels that launch lower because they eliminate some of the flex in the shaft.
As for head weight, as well as length, they place more load (think leverage) on the shaft and make it play softer. There are no real standards for either but usually most models conform to the swingweight scale and play somewhere from D0 to D3. What you'd really need is a frequency machine and a bunch of weights to get a profile for the exact shaft in question. The easiest way to understand this relationship is from soft or hard stepping a set. I did this to mine and it made the shafts play slightly softer than standard without having to buy a different flex. I soft stepped them by putting the 2i-9i shafts in the 3-PW heads, using the shaft designed for 1 iron longer than the head. As a result, the 2i shaft was in the 3i; the 3i had about 7 grams more weight which made the shaft play softer, but it was butt trimmed a half inch to 3i length, making the swingweight manageable for me to swing and the shorter length made the shaft play as it should. Effectively, the frequency wasn't altered significantly, but the kickpoint was moved slightly and I got to use the heavier flex's weight. This resulted in very smooth X flex shafts that are heavier than stiff. That's about as precise as one needs to be in order to get more flex options. In the same manner, you could do this without using taper tip shafts by substituting a parallel shaft tipped for a 6i into a 7i, for example. Or you could tip trim less than half inch increments and get even finer tuning by trimming for example 1/4" extra off the tip but keeping the overall length the same. This would be like a quarter of a flex different depending on the shaft. Usually the trimming instructions let you know: http://kbsgolfshafts.com/downloads/fitting-info.pdf KBS's instructions, for example, tell you you can tip trim 3/16" extra for every 1CPM you want to go stiffer for that iron.
If you're frequency matching a set, you either sort through dozens of taper tip shafts to find a matching set or you buy a set of parallel tip shafts and tip each one bit by bit until it matches the target frequency for that head weight, then butt trim it to length. This is not unique to rifle shafts but it is way too much work; usually only high end clubfitters will go through this process and charge lots of money. Doing it yourself without being fitted is a waste of time and money though. The whole point is to make every club match, but if you don't have an exact frequency and model in mind, you won't be fitted that well. Plus using a discontinued model will bite you in the ass if you ever buy a new set and can't replace them; you'll need to be fitted then with the current shafts on the market.
Are you saying it won't make a diff for the vast majority of clubheads, and I should just go ahead with the Rifle flex recommended for my swing speed/tempo/carry distance?
Let's be real. That applies to almost all shafts other than Dynamic Gold. lol
Yeah, if you go with the recommended flex it should work well. The differences between clubheads are unlikely to make the shaft play vastly different from one another, unless their stock length is designed to be non standard which alters the needed weight. Hosel length is really minor unless you're talking about 1/2" difference or so. Most people would be able to tell a difference from half flexes, or about 5cpm, but anything much smaller than that and you may need a machine to notice.
If you want to fine tune their flex after the fact, you can always pull the shafts yourself and soft/hard step them, tip a bit more, or both. I'd write down how much you trimmed from each and hold onto it. It's unlikely that much fine tuning will be necessary though. This is a service you can pay hundreds of dollars for someone to do that precisely, and is strictly a luxury.
You may need to buy one extra shaft if you do this because you can't replace the trimmed sections of the shafts (though you can add butt extensions); you can only take more off one end or another and change the head it's installed in. But it's way cheaper than getting a whole new set. This only applies to .370" diameter shafts, the taper tip models can only be soft or hard stepped.