Golf Technology – learn about shaft, grip, head, swing weight and more
As you are aware, a golf club can basically be divided into three different functional parts:
- the Grip being your connection with the club,
- the Shaft that transfers your efforts to the
- the Club Head which in turn provides the only contact to the ball.
A bit more detailed description of the club head is given in the section on
Swing Weight. The following paragraphs cover just the basics, so you know what your golf club maker is talking about.
Grips are the only connection that your hands (and thus the rest of your body) have to the golf club. Therefore it is also a very important part of the club. If the grip is to small, there is a tenancy of the club twisting towards the target just before impact and thus causing the club face to be closed. This happens when the golfer unconsciously grips harder just before impact resulting in the twist.
A grip that is too big for your hand, will tend to break loose at an off center impact thus causing the club face to be open. Club Makers will size the grip he has to build for his customer. Based on the glove size you wear, they know how big your hand is and can make the grips larger or smaller, as necessary.
How do they do this? Grips are put onto the shaft using grip tape, a tape similar to masking tape. By adding or subtracting layers of tape, they can build up the grip in 1/32-inch increments to fit your hand size. When you place your left hand upon the club and the ring and middle finger meet the pad of the thumb, you’ll know that your grip is properly sized. Having the right size grip is key to good performance.
Most rubber grip will last for about a year or two, depending on the frequency of play. There are plenty of models in the market. They are mainly Cord, Half Cord, Rubber, Leather and Winn. Most of the manufacturers have the full range of grip types.
The latest type of grip in the market is shock-absorbing grips. Grips are preference of choice of the golfer.
Winn Grips are good for their shock absorbing but wear off very fast. It will last for about 6 months. The major manufacturers are Golf Pride, Sports Pride, Kelmac, Lamkin and Royal Grip.
When the Golfer swings his club, the only dynamic part of his club is the shaft. This is why, the SHAFT is so important. If it isn’t. then there would be only one type of shaft in the market. Except for the Putter, which the golfer would not want to have any flex, all the irons and woods must have flex. The flex transfer the power generated by the golfer to the club head then to the ball.
During the down swing, the shaft will bend due to the force from the swing towards the ball (target). This bending of the shaft is known as LOADING. Once the shaft is loaded, it will unload bringing the clubface square to the golf ball at impact.
If the shaft is too stiff, the shaft will not be loaded enough to unload, thus it is unable to square the club head at impact, resulting in a slice or fade. If the shaft is too soft, it will load and unload faster, thus causing the clubface to be closed at impact, causing a hook or draw.
The shafts have different characteristics. They are as follows:
- Bend Point
- Flex Point (Kick Point)
- Flex Type ( L, A, R, S, XS )
Some club specialist will dispute this by saying that the Flex point and Bend point is the same. Well, this is for you to decide. Bend point is the highest point of the shaft when it is bend by applying pressure to both ends of the shaft. Flex point is the highest point the shaft is bend, by clamping down the grip and pressure is applied onto the club head, like in the swing. There will be some shafts where both bending point is similar or very close.
In Dynamic Club Fitting, it is the Flex Point that is more important. Flex point will affect the ball flight. The lower the flex point, the higher the trajectory. Flex point however has very little effect on the trajectory of the ball as compared to the loft of the club.
Torque is another subject that we should take note. Torque is the twisting movement of the shaft during the golf swing. Torque is measured in degrees. The more torque a shaft has, the softer it will feel. A shaft with a 3 degree torque will feel much stiffer that one that has 6 degree torque. Torque, to a certain extend, has effect on the shot dispersion. More of the effect would have been contributed by the swing itself. Like flex, it loads and unloads during the swing. If the swing were constant, the loading and unloading would then be constant. Every shaft, graphite or steel, there is a certain amount of torque. Most steel shafts have up to about 3 degrees of torque. Most of the modern shaft in the market has less than 8 degrees of torque. Torque however has slight effect on ball trajectory, the lesser the torque, the lower the trajectory.
Flex, is the most important factor in the shaft. It affects distance and direction. Getting the correct flex in your golf equipment is of the utmost importance. Different shaft manufacturers have differences in their specifications of flex. One manufacturer’s Amateur Flex might be another’s Regular Flex. Generally, the flex are measured as (L) for light flex, (A) for amateur flex, (R) for regular flex, (S) for stiff flex and (XS) for extra stiff. There are 2 methods of measuring flex. The more traditional Shaft Deflection Board and the modern Frequency Analyzer. Both are effective in the measurement of flex.