By Mike Stachura
In our test with national clubfitting leader Club Champion, we had a 10-handicapper with a higher-than-normal swing speed hit 10 to 12 shots each with four shaft models from the same company, cycling through the shafts every three swings.
All were labeled “stiff,” but each had a slightly different profile, or what’s called an “EI curve” that measures the relative stiffness of different sections along the shaft. In other words, all of these stiff shafts were the right starting point, but in theory they were different enough that one might produce better results based on the way our player swings the driver.
Although not instantly clear from the distance and dispersion circles seen here, the data showed that shaft C and shaft A produced the best average distances (with shaft C a little longer and and shaft A a little straighter) by about 17 yards over shaft B and about seven yards over shaft D.
The differences were even more dramatic than expected for Club Champion founder Nick Sherburne. He saw swing-speed improve by three miles per hour from the worst to the best shaft, for example.
“The shaft was clearly making him release at different times, and this was with shafts with only minute differences,” he says. “It’s what we see every day and why you should get fit.”
Still, there’s uncertainty. Factoring in the standard deviation showed less clarity among the four shafts.
And there’s this: Our player, without knowing the results, did prefer one of the two shafts with better numbers but wasn’t completely satisfied with the feel of any of them.