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Let us talk about the golf shaft for a change. Unglamorous yes, but this part of a golf club is unbelievably important.
But why? After all, it is just a long thin chunk of metal that connects the grip to a club head, right?
WRONG! Without the right shaft for your clubs, you will find it near impossible to perfect your game to the levels you strive for.
So, let’s get newbie golfers introduced to our new favorite friend and answer some basic (but important!) questions about golf shafts.
What Are Golf Shafts Made of?
The modern golf shaft is commonly made in two different types of materials. These are steel and graphite (carbon fiber).
Steel shafts are typically heavier than their graphite cousins and can weigh on average between 90 to 120 grams. These tapered rods come in various lengths depending on what type of club is used.
Steel shafts are usually cheaper than carbon fiber and are popular because they have reduced flex (shaft flexibility) compared to carbon fiber which suits some players.
Graphite shafts on the other hand are much lighter and weigh around 50 to 90 grams.
This reduced weight helps the club swing faster through the air…and thus generating more power to hit the ball further down the fairway.
Most tour pros prefer steel shafts because they have less give and are stiffer – the trade-off for reduced extra distance is extra control which is crucial on the demanding PGA tour.
But in golf, there are always exceptions to the norm and this probably the most important factor to remember for newbie golfers.
Why are Golf Shafts Tapered?
When we talk about the tapering (going from thick to thin) of golf shafts we generally think about the whole club, from grip to clubhead.
Golf club shafts are tapered because we need a thicker grip section (top of the club) to able to hold the club in a secure manner whilst the thinner end of the club connects to what we call the hosel.
A hosel is a section that connects the clubhead to the shaft.
So why are golf shafts thinner at one end? The main reason is to make the club swing at optimum speed whilst being able to maintain direction and accuracy.
For improved customization, shafts can be cut down at the thinner end – this is called tipping and many golfers prefer to have their clubs at a certain length to best suit their swing and to help improve overall performance on the golf course.
The “tip” (the thin end of the club shaft) is the measured diameter which is usually calculated in imperial inches.
So when you see golf shafts for sale online you will often see something like .335 or .355 – this refers to the diameter of the tip and to make classification of tips easier they are often referred to as soft, flexible, medium, firm, stiff and extra stiff.
The thicker the diameter the less flex (or give) the shaft has when swung through the air.
Beginners at golf often have thicker tips to help maintain a consistent swing.
Are Golf Shafts Left and Right Handed?
There is no need to stress about whether you need a left or right handed golf shaft as they are universally the same.
The same shaft will fit into a right or left handed golf club.
Do Golf Shafts Come with Grips?
When you buy a full set of golf clubs, the shafts on the clubs will have a grip attached. It is one of the main advantages why these starter club sets are so popular with beginners.
But when it is time to upgrade to better golf shafts – these will not have any grips fitted to them.
To solve this issue, many online golfing stores or your local club pro shop can help fit a grip to your new shaft for you.
Why Are Golf Shafts So Expensive?
The reason why premium golf shafts from top brands like True Temper, Nippon, Aerotech, Aldila, KBS, Fujikura and Mitsubishi are so expensive is that they incur high research and development costs.
Every year these companies compete against each other to earn the right to have PGA tour pros use their equipment and this, in turn, helps drive sales to the general golfing market which is worth billions of dollars every year.
Premium shafts are also a statement accessory for every serious club player and thus the best always costs a lot more than cheaper alternative golf shafts.
Do Golf Shafts Wear Out?
Remember we talked about the two types of shafts? Well, steel golf shafts do not wear out but some golfers claim that carbon fiber shafts wear out due to UV issues but there is no credible evidence that golf shafts wear out.
You might get issues with shafts warping or rusting and because most players on average are advised to replace their golf clubs every two to three years so worn golf shafts is never an issue for the modern amateur golfer.
It’s more likely shafts are replaced because there is better tech available rather than the shaft wearing out.
Do Golf Shafts Break Easily?
Even the softer carbon fiber golf shafts are made to last so in general golf shafts do not break easily but if you hit the ground before striking the ball then there is a small chance that the shaft could snap.
Other reasons why golf shafts could break are:
- You are hitting the ball too close to the hosel or heel of the club face.
- A poor swing that that is causing you to strike the ball in the wrong part of the club face.
- Aftermarket shafts that are unreliable and prone to snapping.
- In anger! We have all done it haven’t we? Hit a bad shot and slammed the club into the ground and shattered the shaft into two pieces.
Can You Paint Golf Shafts?
A new trend is to customize our clubs and golf shafts are no different. After all, it can cost hundreds of dollars for a premium shaft so can we paint it?
The good news is that you can effectively paint a golf shaft without worrying about it affecting flex or adding unwanted weight.
To paint your shaft, you should follow the following basic steps to ensure the best results and be the envy of the fairway!
- Step 1: Rough up the existing shaft to get the steel or chrome looking dull – this enables the metal to take the paint better and eliminates unwanted residue or grit that could stop paint from being applied evenly.
- Step 2: Apply a good primer first – your local auto store could be the best place to get some great metal primer.
- Step 3: Do not smother in primer – Applied too thickly and the paint will easily chip!
- Step 4: Ideally use a spray gun to ensure even coverage, gently turn the shaft around so you can paint the whole area without fuss.
- Step 5: Leave to rest on supports such as a couple of bricks of pieces of wood which should be placed underneath the clubhead and grip areas.
- Step 6: Wait for 72 hours for the whole paint job to dry – don’t be tempted to pick it up!
- Step 7 (optional) – Find some snazzy local decals on eBay or Etsy to pimp out your new club!