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Darkfrog

Driver Shaft Change Questions

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Let me preface my question with some information about myself. I'm not really a golf equipment expert or junkie, especially as far as understanding how shaft attributes impact swing/ball flight. All my clubs are off the shelf, and at most I'll goof around with the adjustable hosel. So far this has been good enough for my golf abilities. I just make my swing and try to hit the ball crisply, and I'm not really thinking too much about how heavy or light, or how stiff/flexible the shaft is.

During a recent lesson, I was working on driver with my teacher, and she mentioned that my driver shaft might be causing some problems (of course, getting the swing right is primary focus). She said that the shaft is probably too light/soft for my swing, and I would be better off with something different. During my next lesson (in about a month, right before Thanksgiving), she is going to have me try a selection of different shafts and see if we can find a better fit for my swing.

So my question is, what kind of changes should I expect with a better fitting shaft? Tighter dispersion, more distance, different ball flight?

Will a different shaft take some time to get used to swinging?

I should also mention I am not looking to buy a brand new expensive shaft, so I'll be looking into lightly used shafts with the right adapter. How easy is it to find shafts in the second hand market?

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The change could be really significant, or could feel natural.  I know that in driver fittings they'll work to get the optimum combination of launch angle and backspin to maximize your distance, but the shaft certainly could change your lateral dispersion too.  You can find literally hundreds of shafts on ebay, but I don't know if you can always find an exact match to the ones you try.  If possible, it would be nice to come away with 2 or 3 options that seem to work well for you.  I think that any decent golf shop can put the right adapter tip on for you at a pretty moderate price.

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I just changed my shaft from a women’s flex to senior and it improved my drives significantly by lowering my ball spin and launch angle. I hit high naturally and was already at 8 degrees loft. I launched at 18 degrees with spin in the high 4000s with the women’s flex- I could still carry 180 on average but with almost no roll, not even in winter. So my instructor let me tried a couple drivers with senior and men’s regular flex and found that just changing the shaft lowered my spin to mid 2000s and my launch angle dropped to 15 degrees, and I gained both carry AND roll to 200+.

Since I only have 4 more weeks left in my golf season, I did not want to spend $500 on a new driver, so I went to golfmart and changed my shaft to a generic senior with similar weight/characteristics of the one I tried for $80. It’s only a few grams heavier and I had it shortened to my normal length and put on the same grip as before. No noticeable difference when handling/swinging the club but my drives are significantly more powerful. I am not sure if there was any winter roll today when I played (high 40s) but I crushed my drives with an average of 220yds for the day, which has never happened until I changed the shaft.

According to the golf simulator, using a men’s regular flex produced similar results of lower spin and launch angle, but my instructor said my swing speed is not fast enough to jump to a men’s regular now. And I could tell the weight difference and my arms got a bit tired after just 15 balls. 

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4 hours ago, DaveP043 said:

You can find literally hundreds of shafts on ebay, but I don't know if you can always find an exact match to the ones you try.  If possible, it would be nice to come away with 2 or 3 options that seem to work well for you.

Getting several options with similar characteristics is a good idea. I don't think there will be time during my lesson to do a full fitting and fine tune the launch characteristics, but the place where I take lessons also does full bag fittings, so at least I'll be able to to try out some heavier and stiffer alternative shafts during the lesson and see if there's any improvement in driver performance on the launch monitor. I think my teacher's suggestion was focused more on lateral dispersion than distance, however I wouldn't complain if I got a distance boost along with tighter dispersion.

57 minutes ago, FlyingAce said:

I just changed my shaft from a women’s flex to senior and it improved my drives significantly by lowering my ball spin and launch angle. I hit high naturally and was already at 8 degrees loft. I launched at 18 degrees with spin in the high 4000s with the women’s flex- I could still carry 180 on average but with almost no roll, not even in winter. So my instructor let me tried a couple drivers with senior and men’s regular flex and found that just changing the shaft lowered my spin to mid 2000s and my launch angle dropped to 15 degrees, and I gained both carry AND roll to 200+.

Wow, sounds like a fantastic improvement. I've never really considered the benefits of having equipment that matches my swing characteristics. I'm not expecting a huge jump in performance but if there's an incremental but noticeable difference, I might be tempted to try it out.

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7 minutes ago, Darkfrog said:

Wow, sounds like a fantastic improvement. I've never really considered the benefits of having equipment that matches my swing characteristics. I'm not expecting a huge jump in performance but if there's an incremental but noticeable difference, I might be tempted to try it out.

That’s why it makes more sense to have a fitting after one has already developed a repeatable swing. I purchased my clubs early last season after a fitting, which determined that I needed my irons to be 3 degrees flat and 1/2” short. I did not pick the brand/model, just whatever the clubfitter was representing. I was doing fine with them until a few months ago when I felt my distance has hit a plateau, especially my driver. That’s when I started working with my instructor who uses launch monitor/video. He confirmed it wasn’t my swing but the numbers don’t add up, so we looked into equipment instead and I am glad we did!!

Would love to get an update on your performance if you end up changing your shaft!

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On 11/1/2019 at 3:38 PM, FlyingAce said:

Would love to get an update on your performance if you end up changing your shaft!

I'll definitely update this thread with launch monitor results as well as on course results once I get a different shaft. My next lesson isn't until 11/27 so the current shaft will have to suffice until then, at least.

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18 hours ago, Darkfrog said:

I'll definitely update this thread with launch monitor results as well as on course results once I get a different shaft.

Interested in what you do and find. In my case, as a 74-year-old, I thought light senior shafts would be for me. That is true in my drivers. BUT interestingly, I found slightly heavier regular shafts are best in my irons as opposed to lighter senior shafts in my other set of irons. Not sure why. Keep us posted. Best, -Marv

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I have changed a number of older shafts on my irons to what Ping calls a soft regular from either stiff clubs or a overly flexible shaft that were added by a previous owner.  I gained a good similar feel throughout the bag.  Within my set of irons and wedges, I have many shots marked SR

When I upgraded from my venerable Ping G5 to my G410+, I went with the new Alta CB 55 SR.  The difference in the shafts, for me is amazingly positive. High launch is now owner operator error and not the fault of the weapon. Though for my  son, the same combination is almost like golfing with a bull whip!

In short, make your clubs what works for you. I have most trustworthy shop I go to for new clubs, shaft changes, grips, souname it.  I'm lucky that they will also fit, with monitors as need be, almost every option. Without going into too much detail, I now have a set of newer Ping clubs with shaft and grip changes that work for my game.

Edited by DrMJG

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Okay, so I had a chance to try some different driver shafts. The current shaft in my driver is a S-flex, 60-gram, high launch shaft. I hit some shots with the current driver shaft, and then tried a couple different drivers with heavier shafts and different launch profiles. I didn't swap out shafts on my driver head, as this was just a 5-minute session at the end of my lesson. Based on instructor observation of the shaft/club head delivery during the swing, the recommendation was that I should try a heavier shaft with mid or low launch profile. I found a shaft to try on eBay for less than $100, so I'll swap it out in the interim and see if there is any real life difference.

The ultimate recommendation was to get a full bag fitting. Based on instructor feedback on my swing speed and tempo, I fall somewhere between S and X flex shafts. I play R flex through my wedges/irons, and S in hybrids, fairway woods, and driver. I've never really given much thought to having the right shaft as my swing was always a work in progress, but now that I have had a year of lessons, and my swing is in a much better place, I think it might be time to make an effort to optimize my equipment.

So long story short, I will be scheduling a fitting for early next year to sort out my bag. I'm hopeful that the fitting can focus on getting the right shafts, as I am not really ready to spend a ton of money on a whole new bag.

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Got out for a round yesterday and tried the new driver shaft (10g heavier, low launch profile versus high launch profile). It did seem to make a difference, but my observations could also just be my own confirmation bias, and this is an n=1 experiment so far.

Normally, I have a roughly even distribution with driver; a third miss left (big hook), a third are center, and a third miss right (usually a push, either straight or with some fade). Yesterday I only had one left miss, and everything else was center or missed right.

Granted I probably need to play a bunch more rounds to compare, and ultimately get on a launch monitor.

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Just now, Darkfrog said:

Got out for a round yesterday and tried the new driver shaft (10g heavier, low launch profile versus high launch profile). It did seem to make a difference, but my observations could also just be my own confirmation bias, and this is an n=1 experiment so far.

Normally, I have a roughly even distribution with driver; a third miss left (big hook), a third are center, and a third miss right (usually a push, either straight or with some fade). Yesterday I only had one left miss, and everything else was center or missed right.

Granted I probably need to play a bunch more rounds to compare, and ultimately get on a launch monitor.

You have made a similar change to me, and I only have 2 rounds under my belt with my new shaft. The jump was larger for me, but same idea. The reason you are seeing less misses left is that as a shaft gets stiffer or heavier, it flexes less at impact which means the face tends to be more open. When I first heard this, I was baffled, because I figured that the head would be trailing the middle of the shaft at impact. It is actually the exact opposite. I will post a video to show what it actually looks like at impact, because it was eye opening for me.

As your face control gets better with the new shaft, you should see your dispersion come back towards the center, and may get tighter than it was since the shaft is most likely a better fit.

You can watch this straight, or even slow it down with settings in youtube. Notice the flex direction on impact, and how much flex is there. Obviously we are not pros here, but it gives you a really good idea of why a stiffer shaft will tend to shoot more right/fade biased with the same swing. Imagine if he had a L flex in his hands. He would be hooking it so far left that no one would find it.

Here is a good screen cap of how much flex there is.

jt driver.PNG

Edited by Bonvivant

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1 hour ago, Bonvivant said:

You have made a similar change to me, and I only have 2 rounds under my belt with my new shaft. The jump was larger for me, but same idea. The reason you are seeing less misses left is that as a shaft gets stiffer or heavier, it flexes less at impact which means the face tends to be more open.

Good to know. I'm hopeful that this trend continues in future rounds, as now I can focus on correcting one miss rather than two!

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23 hours ago, Bonvivant said:

Here is a good screen cap of how much flex there is.

Not necessarily. That may not be a rolling shutter, but if it is, the shaft flex might be very different.

(But I think that's not a rolling shutter, so I think that graphic is pretty close to reality.)

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Forgot about rolling shutter, but I think you are right. Probably close to real life. I'd love to see a pro with a L flex to see how much bend they generate

Edited by Bonvivant

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On 12/6/2019 at 12:53 PM, iacas said:

(But I think that's not a rolling shutter, so I think that graphic is pretty close to reality.)

 

On 12/6/2019 at 12:56 PM, Bonvivant said:

Forgot about rolling shutter, but I think you are right.

I also don't think this is rolling shutter. Pretty neat to see how much the shaft flexes during a swing. I can't swing as fast as JT, but cool to see the shaft working like that.

I got another round under my belt with the new shaft, but it I'm throwing it out as a data point. I was missing all over the place, and not just with driver. Fairway wood, hybrid, irons, and wedges were all awful too. I was hitting a lot of really fat shots which hasn't been an issue for me for quite awhile now. My full swing just felt completely out of sync for the entire round.

I decided to make a change in my iron shafts as well, also suggested by my instructor. Right now I have TT DG in R300 from 4-GW, and I just ordered a set of TT DG S400 off ebay. I don't expect this will have a drastic impact on my game, but i'll have a little more confidence knowing the shafts are a better fit for my swing. I'll either install these myself over my upcoming holiday break from work, or take them to a club builder, depending on how much free time I have at the end of the year.

 

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Shaft weight and shaft flex are two very different things. For me, shaft weight affects your tempo and you have to find the weight that best fits your swing. Shaft flex is a less important factor and gives you a slightly lower or slightly higher ball flight. My experience.

In my experience, a "regular" flex in a heavy shaft is usually stiffer than a "regular" flex in a light shaft.

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Just this last Saturday, went to see a fitter and we explored about 15 different club and shaft combinations.  I have a Mizuno ST180 with a x stiff 70 shaft.  Even going to a 60 stiff shaft didn't make enough difference and no other combinations we tried and got all the trackman specs on could make enough of a difference to justify changing shafts or buying a new driver. 

I typically had about a 25 yd from center fade with a 15 yd dispersion. 90.4 swing speed. 215 avg carry distance.

Played 36 Sunday and on the last 4 holes, I think I figured out why I keep getting the fade.  Move the ball forward in my stance about 2 inches and starting hitting further and straighter.....  Sigh...…  Just hope I can remember that next spring...….

So, by suggestion would be to see what stats you can get from getting checked out by a golf specialty shop.  I went to an Austads and was very pleased with the knowledge and service I got.  So, all you have to do is travel to Cedar Rapids Iowa and ask for Chris...…  LOL

 

 

Edited by IowaGreg

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42 minutes ago, IowaGreg said:

Just this last Saturday, went to see a fitter and we explored about 15 different club and shaft combinations.

The equipment changes I've made recently were just "eyeballed" recommendations from my instructor. She observed my swings on video and looked at my shafts, then she commented that they're not the best suited for my swing speed and transition move, and made some general recommendations. I tried a couple different driver shafts at the end of a lesson, and found something similar/comparable used on ebay to try as an experiment.

As you suggest, I'm planning to schedule a true fitting for early 2020 and see if I can optimize my equipment (for a reasonable cost). Perhaps I'll learn that I don't need to make a change, which I would prefer, as I like to spend my money on the golf course and lessons, and not on equipment.

Right now, I still believe that the biggest issue for me is that my swing is work in progress, so I'm not expecting any magic bullet. But I'm getting to a point where I think better fitted equipment can make a noticeable difference.

My lessons are indoors with a GCQ launch monitor, but I'm not really focusing on club/ball data, more so on what feels/technique my instructor is getting me to work on. She does point out when there is a change in club/ball data from what we are working on so the data is nice for affirming progress. For example, after recent change in my backswing and transition move, my 7-iron swing speed went up from ~78 to ~90 mph.

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