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Shaft Flex doesn't matter! - Mark Crossfield - Page 3

post #37 of 80

@saevel25 ,

 

I would still like to see a better study design than Crossfield is presenting.  It should have more data and be a double blind study with a minimum of 10 golfers in each handicap range, (i.e. scratch, single digit, 10 - 19, 20+).  If the golfer knows which shaft he is trying, it can really influence the results.

post #38 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by boogielicious View Post
 

@saevel25 ,

 

I would still like to see a better study design than Crossfield is presenting.  It should have more data and be a double blind study with a minimum of 10 golfers in each handicap range, (i.e. scratch, single digit, 10 - 19, 20+).  If the golfer knows which shaft he is trying, it can really influence the results.

 

I don't buy into the Crossfield video (yet) either.

 

Shaft flex matters. It alters launch angles. It alters spin rates. And as we've already said it alters the feel, which even if that was the only thing it changed, would matter quite a bit!

 

His video is not a terribly "scientific" one.

post #39 of 80

In the 3rd video, Crossfield describes a trial done by the R&A in which they gave a large number of golfers different shafts to use: in one part the shafts were blacked out and no information was given about the flex etc. This was then repeated with no blacking out. He says that for the 'blind' shafts, most golfers went for a more flexible shaft.

 

I agree that the videos (while interesting) are not conclusive, so I looked for the study he mentions. I couldn't find it, but I did find a link to this study (obviously not the same one) in which the R&A participated.

 

 

 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22900403

Effects of golf shaft stiffness on strain, clubhead presentation and wrist kinematics.

Abstract

The aim of this study was to quantify and explain the effect of shaft stiffness on the dynamics of golf drives. Twenty golfers performed swings with two clubs designed to differ only in shaft bending stiffness. Wrist kinematics and clubhead presentation to the ball were determined using optical motion capture systems in conjunction with a radar device for capturing ball speed, launch angle, and spin. Shaft stiffness had a marginally small effect on clubhead and ball speeds, which increased by 0.45% (p < 0.001) and 0.7% (p = 0.008), respectively, for the less stiff club. Two factors directly contributed to these increases: (i) a faster recovery of the lower flex shaft from lag to lead bending just before impact (p < 0.001); and (ii) an increase of 0.4% in angular velocity of the grip of the lower flex club at impact (p = 0.003). Unsurprisingly, decreases in shaft stiffness led to more shaft bending at the transition from backswing to downswing (p < 0.001). Contrary to previous research, lead bending at impact marginally increased for the stiffer shaft (p = 0.003). Overall, and taking effect sizes into account, the changes in shaft stiffness in isolation did not have a meaningful effect on the measured parameters, for the type of shaft investigated.

(my emphasis)

 

This is only the abstract of course, but on the face of it, it does  providing some support to Mark Crossfield's basic claim that shaft flex is less important than many other factors. He's also quite clear that the feel of different flexes is very important, even if the numbers don't change much.

post #40 of 80

I think Mark is 90% correct here, but I also think there are some golfers for whom the shaft is going to matter for more than just feel. In Mark's swing, you can see in his high speed video that the shaft load releases before contact, so there will be no significant effect at contact (see video 2 at 8:00). I think you might see different results with someone like Sergio Garcia, where the load is still releasing at impact. But I think it's going to be a small percentage of golfers who have that kind of swing.

 

post #41 of 80

I really like Mark Crossfield's past videos in which he compared two sets of irons, such as the Ping G25 vs. the Titleist AP1. Good comparison of the two clubs on launch angle, ball dispersion, etc.

 

This Shaft Flex Doesn't Matter series, however, represents a real step down. Basically, it's a bait-and-switch that uses a grabber headline on flex to lure readers into a discussion of clubfitting. The three-part series doesn't reveal anything I hadn't already experienced or heard about from trained clubfitters.

 

Some shafts of different flexes will have similar performance characteristics. I particularly found this when I first tried the superlight iron shafts two years ago, a couple of seasons after I dumped stiff shafts in all non-wedge clubs. I found there's a crossover point between flex and shaft weight. Comparison club = Mizuno JPX 825 (I'm drawing from my notebook remarks from the St. Louis Golf Expo).

  • Miyaki 75 gr. graphite Stiff shaft felt good, smooth with solid feel; no need to "press" my swing.
  • NS Pro 8950GH R.flex, 97 grams also had a good feel, smooth without being mushy (eventually used these to reshaft X20 Tours which had PX 5.0, 115 grams).

 

MC's wrap-up of Part I - go with what feels best - should win the 2014 Duh! Award. In driver fittings, I ended up with two shafts and heads that had similar performance characteristics. The performance patterns help  you find your "short list," and then you make final selection by what feels best, gives you the most confidence, etc. That's old news.

 

Parts 2 and 3 were better in comparisons, but still choppy and a bit hard to follow.

 

MC needs to stick to his comparisons of competing iron models. He has much better data and information analysis in these side-by-side tests.

post #42 of 80

I will only say that last year one of the bombers at our course broke his driver during our round. One of the senior guys offered to let him use one of his drivers on the back nine.

 

He got up on number 10 tee box and made a swing with that driver and it was one of the funniest things I've ever seen on a golf course. The shaft looked like it was going to wrap around his neck on the way down. He looked like he was about to fall off balance trying to control it and hit the most wicked duck hook I've ever seen in my life.

 

He handed the club back to the senior and told him thanks but no thanks.

 

The thing that was most funny about it to me was that he should have at least had enough sense to make a few practice swings and get a feel for it, and maybe back off of that club head speed a little.

 

Totally off topic:

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Saturday a new guy showed up to play in our Saturday game. They asked him what he normally shot and he said he figured he would shoot a 65. As we were sitting there getting ready to play he and another guy were talking about all of the "longest drive" contests he had won.

I didn't get on the new guy's team but as we were playing the 8th hole I noticed him a couple of yards in front of number 4 green getting ready to chip.

I asked him if that was his tee shot and he said yes. The hole he was playing is 355 yards up a pretty darned big hill and very unlikely to get any roll. That was a poke. Wish I could have been on his team so I could have gotten a video of his swing.

Not a big guy. Maybe 6'1" and 180 lbs. but pretty athletic looking.

post #43 of 80
He is saying shaft flex is the least important factor when getting fitted, and if your just getting fitted by shady flex your getting fitted for the wrong reasons. You should get fitted by the important numbers and not get hung up on shaft flex, that is what I got out of the vids.
post #44 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowcelica View Post

He is saying shaft flex is the least important factor when getting fitted, and if your just getting fitted by shady flex your getting fitted for the wrong reasons. You should get fitted by the important numbers and not get hung up on shaft flex, that is what I got out of the vids.

then why do fitters even bother with measuring swing speed?

every time I have been fitted the first thing that is measured is swing speed, a shaft is then fitted to the club head and then the lie board is introduced.

I have never gone to a fitting without a club head in mind, maybe next time I will choose a stiff shaft and ask the fitter to find a club head to match.?
post #45 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by motsco View Post

then why do fitters even bother with measuring swing speed?

every time I have been fitted the first thing that is measured is swing speed, a shaft is then fitted to the club head and then the lie board is introduced.

I can't speak for the fitter you go to. The last few times I went to get fit, they never said, "Oh you swing this, you need to hit this". The fitter basically lined up about 4-5 different shafts and we just looked at the numbers, and also how I felt about the club. If that ended up being a regular flex shaft, then so be it. A fitter who isn't willing to step outside the norms of Swing Speed = This Flex is a bad fitter. Given there is probably a trend for higher swing speeds liking the feel of a stiffer golf shaft. It probably feels more controllable. In the end, it's pretty much trial and error.
post #46 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by saevel25 View Post


I can't speak for the fitter you go to. The last few times I went to get fit, they never said, "Oh you swing this, you need to hit this". The fitter basically lined up about 4-5 different shafts and we just looked at the numbers, and also how I felt about the club. If that ended up being a regular flex shaft, then so be it. A fitter who isn't willing to step outside the norms of Swing Speed = This Flex is a bad fitter. Given there is probably a trend for higher swing speeds liking the feel of a stiffer golf shaft. It probably feels more controllable. In the end, it's pretty much trial and error.

I agree. When I tried out the G30 today it originally had the tour stiff 80g shaft in it. I said that probably wasn't the right shaft for me. His response was "we won't know that unless we use the flightscope".. He's really a good club fitter because he wants you to try multiple clubs and shafts when you are going to buy something. He said he cringes when someone comes in to buy something and doesn't want to even bother hitting it or testing other clubs first. The mentality of "I read a review and I want this" bothers him, as it should if he cares about what he sells to someone. He also doesn't want to just sell something to someone, because he told me flat out not long ago that I shouldn't even consider buying a new driver until I got better control over my swing. That's what sold me on going back to him in the future when I'm considering a purchase, because he won't just sell me a club to make money. He sincerely wants to make sure you make the best decision he can, even if it means he doesn't make a sale.

post #47 of 80
never been told I need a certain shaft before SS was measured , after SS was measured went through a few shafts that fit my swing,.
Edited by motsco - 8/3/14 at 10:57pm
post #48 of 80
I found a club fitter in Golf Digest that did not measure my swing speed at all. He just had me hit quite a few shafts and ended up fitting me with a regular flex hard stepped. I carry my 8 iron about 175, but I also play Burner 2.0's. I have hit plenty of stiff shafts and don't like the feel. Obviously the flex fits my swing.
post #49 of 80

I think one thing that does matter when it comes to flex is, if someone is using a shaft that flexes a whole lot, how long will that shaft last before it snaps? The repeated stress of the shaft bending extreme amounts would lead to quicker failure wouldn't it?

post #50 of 80
Thread Starter 

If someone wants to talk about flex of a shaft, they are better served talking about the bend profile and how the club loads. 

 

http://www.golfshaftreviews.info/index.php/ei/

 

Here is a great website on golf shafts. Goes into the EI (bend) profiles. Could Bend Profiles be taken as "Flex", in some regards yes. It is an over simplification of it. Cause you can take two shafts, both extra stiff, and they could behave totally differently. For example, Erik fitted me for my Edel Wedges. He had me try C-Taper, KBS shafts. Well, I was chunking them. The tip was WAY too stiff for my swing. My guess is I couldn't feel the weight of the clubhead because the tip wasn't loading. So, we tried some less tip stiff, and the one I chose was the KBS Tour. 

 

KBS_EiGJ

 

Just to give the point on how FLEX is to simplified. Both the C-Taper and the Tour were basically the same flex. The Bend Profile on the left shows that the C-Taper and Tour are nearly the same shaft till you get to the mid section and tip end. The C-Taper is softer in the middle (slightly), and stiffer in the tip end. They look very close, but for me it was a drastic change. If I just said, "Eh, they are both extra stiff" then I might end up buying a wedge I would struggle to hit. 

 

I think that is why Mark always says in his videos, "Go get fitted". Actually hit the club you want to buy. Doesn't matter the flex, it wont change the numbers (optimization) by much, but it could have a BIG impact on the feel of the club when you swing it. 

 

 

Here is Tom Wishon talking about Shaft Flex

 

Quote:
 

Shaft Myth #7 – The flex of the shaft has an important effect on shot performance for all golfers

 

For some golfers, very definitely this is true. But for many golfers, approaching even the majority of golfers, the flex of the shaft is one of the very least important of all the fitting specifications of a golf club.

To sum it up, the higher the clubhead speed, the more forceful the transition move, the more aggressive the downswing, the later the unhinging of the wrist-**** angle, and the more the golfer has an specific preference for the bending feel of the shaft, the more important the shaft flex will be to shot performance. For a slower swinging, smooth tempo, early release golfer who does not have a refined sense of feel for the bending action of the shaft, the flex is virtually unimportant and the WEIGHT of the shaft becomes the only important fitting element related to the shaft.

The one swing characteristic that has the most influence on making the flex become an important part of the performance of the shaft is the point of the wrist-**** release during the downswing. The later the wrist-**** release, the more the shaft can arrive at impact in a flexed forward position – which is how the shaft flex can have a visible effect on the launch angle, height and spin rate of the shaft.

Second after the release in terms of the swing moves that dictate the importance of shaft flex is the force the golfer applies during the transition move to start the downswing. The more forcefully, the more sudden, and the more aggressive the golfer starts the downswing, the more bending force is applied to the shaft. The more the golfer bends the shaft at the start of the downswing, the more the golfer could feel differences in shaft stiffness and from that, develop a preference for a specific type of bending feel in a shaft that if satisfied, can make a big difference in shot consistency and clubhead speed.


Shaft Myth #8 – The higher the clubhead speed of the golfer, the stiffer the shaft should be

There are two reasons this is frequently not true. First, as we said previously, with no standards in the golf industry for shaft flex, there are very definitely a lot of R flex shafts that are stiffer than a lot of S flex and even X flex shafts. So it can be very possible for a golfer with a certain clubhead speed to be properly fit with an S flex in one company’s shaft model, but to find that another company’s R flex may in fact be stiffer.

The second and main reason this statement is frequently not true is because clubhead speed is not the main element in the swing that determines how much a golfer actually bends a shaft during the swing. The swing element that applies the chief amount of bending force to a shaft is the golfer’s transition move to start the downswing. Among two golfers with the same clubhead speed, it can be very common for one golfer to have a short backswing with a very forceful, abrupt and sudden acceleration to start the downswing, while the other golfer might start the downswing with a much smoother, more gradual acceleration of the club.

Among two golfers with the same clubhead speed, the one with the stronger, more forceful transition move will always put more bending force on the shaft, and from it, will typically need a stiffer shaft than the golfer with the same swing speed who has a smooth, gradual acceleration of the club during the downswing. It is also not uncommon to see a golfer with a slower swing speed and stronger transition as well as a golfer with a higher swing speed and smoother transition move. In such a case, the slower swinging golfer with stronger transition would need a stiffer shaft than the golfer with a higher clubhead speed but smoother, less forceful transition move.

The bottom line is that while clubhead speed definitely offers a starting point for flex selection, the most accurate shaft fitting involves a careful evaluation of the other swing movements that have a direct effect on how much the shaft is flexed during the swing.

 

 

 

 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeremie Boop View Post
 

I think one thing that does matter when it comes to flex is, if someone is using a shaft that flexes a whole lot, how long will that shaft last before it snaps? The repeated stress of the shaft bending extreme amounts would lead to quicker failure wouldn't it?

 

Not sure, never had a club break on me yet. Graphite is pretty cool stuff, and that it can last a good amount of time. I would say it is possible that a VERY flexible shaft might break quicker with a golfer who swings fast. I think the golfer would probably adjust and swing slower. I sometimes find swinging a club that FEELS too stiff causes me to want to swing harder to load it.

 

Just my guess on that. 

post #51 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by motsco View Post


then why do fitters even bother with measuring swing speed?

every time I have been fitted the first thing that is measured is swing speed, a shaft is then fitted to the club head and then the lie board is introduced.

I have never gone to a fitting without a club head in mind, maybe next time I will choose a stiff shaft and ask the fitter to find a club head to match.?

I never said it didn't matter I said it was the least important when getting fitted. Things like launch angle, loft etc... are more important when trying to maximize your distance. Obviously if you have a swing speed of 110 and you pick out a senior flex shaft it's probably not going to work out good for you. But if you're trying to maximize distance then shaft flex is not that important as long as your not being ridiculous, and trying to hit a senior flex when you swing way to fast for it.

post #52 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slowcelica View Post
 

I never said it didn't matter I said it was the least important when getting fitted. Things like launch angle, loft etc... are more important when trying to maximize your distance. Obviously if you have a swing speed of 110 and you pick out a senior flex shaft it's probably not going to work out good for you. But if you're trying to maximize distance then shaft flex is not that important as long as your not being ridiculous, and trying to hit a senior flex when you swing way to fast for it.

Swing speed is important for figuring out what clubhead and loft combination to put you into. Once you find appropriate values for those two, you can tinker with shaft and flex options for final fine tuning of spin and dispersion. But it's a very low order of priority compared to the first two. Obviously you need a shaft installed while trying out different heads and lofts, so swingspeed is a fine estimate for what shaft to use as a placeholder. But the point of the videos is that regardless of which shaft you use as that placeholder, you won't get massively different results. 

post #53 of 80
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolo View Post
 

Swing speed is important for figuring out what clubhead and loft combination to put you into. Once you find appropriate values for those two, you can tinker with shaft and flex options for final fine tuning of spin and dispersion. But it's a very low order of priority compared to the first two. Obviously you need a shaft installed while trying out different heads and lofts, so swingspeed is a fine estimate for what shaft to use as a placeholder. But the point of the videos is that regardless of which shaft you use as that placeholder, you won't get massively different results. 

And to amplify earlier points, when the final fine tuning is taking place, it's about finding the shaft the person will feel best in. You're talking about marginal gains for the most part. When they give you a placeholder shaft based on swing speed, it's basically reflecting the trend that "Most people with speed X tend to prefer flex Y, so let's use that for now so we're in the ball park statistically." No reason to give a very fast swing speed a ladies' flex if that person won't feel right in it or will most likely wind up preferring a stiffer flex once they start comparing different shafts. Even though the videos stand for the proposition that they won't see much of a difference in performance among the different flexes. 

post #54 of 80
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkolo View Post
 

Swing speed is important for figuring out what clubhead and loft combination to put you into. Once you find appropriate values for those two, you can tinker with shaft and flex options for final fine tuning of spin and dispersion. But it's a very low order of priority compared to the first two. Obviously you need a shaft installed while trying out different heads and lofts, so swingspeed is a fine estimate for what shaft to use as a placeholder. But the point of the videos is that regardless of which shaft you use as that placeholder, you won't get massively different results. 

 

 

No, the videos point was that no matter what FLEX you use. They were trying to isolate the importance of FLEX. As they said in the video the primary influence the shaft has is on how if feels to the golfer. You wont be seeing drastic changes in actual numbers.

 

Now how it feels is based on the Bend Profile, the weighting, the clubhead weight, and how the club loads in the golf swing. Which if you want to say extra stiff is how much it can bend, then yes flex is a very OVERLY SIMPLISTIC way of saying that. Yes you probably wouldn't fit a high swing speed to a very soft bend profile (less stiff shaft). There is probably a correlation between swing speed and certain overall stiffness in bend profiles. Yet there is no significant difference in the actual launch monitor data. 

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