The Terrible Twos Syndrome of Golf Club Fitting: Part Four
Having provided certain information about specific golf shaft traits that can be relevant to and intertwined with the fitting of one’s best golf grip size, I would advise you here to not become too concerned or overwhelmed if you cannot see any connection(s) between the two at this point. Constant-weight versus unitized shaft comparisons, while important, become more applicable when getting into comparing different clubs within a so-called matched set of golf clubs that have other club specifications that deviate within the set. That is a bit more advanced work than the figuring of one’s best grip size for any one, single golf club. A club comparison near the end of this testing sequence will begin to bring the shaft information discussed thus far into play, and the information needed to be furnished before reaching that point.
But the initial comparisons and the purpose of these comparisons are to first learn about certain very basic relationships between a golf swing and proper golf grip sizing for that swing. So it really does not matter what shafts one might choose to use for initial testing as long as they are all the same part number (getting back to the established purpose of this sequence of posts), including the same uncut shaft length, particularly important for constant-weight shafts that are manufactured in various lengths. (This would also apply to any new or revisited shaft designs, like one or more designs currently available that actually increase in weight as the shafts get shorter). Even graphite or any other material would suffice if more conveniently available. My choice of S300 shafts is for reference purposes because other shaft specifications (of whatever shaft is used) may need to be referenced during testing.
Whatever model is chosen must be as consistent as possible among the individual shafts selected (as per the various shaft specifications provided and measuring them as well as one’s experience allows). Quality control among individual shafts (as well as other club components) that often comprise multiple specifications can still be pretty bad at times. Being as detailed as possible can be more critical when doing such testing than when an actual playing set of golf clubs is ultimately constructed if a proper education regarding certain things about one’s golf swing and associated equipment fitting is to be acquired. Each shaft should be installed in a consistent manner with respect to some point about each clubhead. Utilizing the same clubhead part numbers is highly recommended, and consistent distances through the shaft centerlines from their tip ends to the ground lines when the clubheads are properly soled on the ground are better (albeit harder to measure) than more simplistic measurements to the physical heels of the clubheads.
The point of intersection between the shaft centerline and the sole line of the club is the same point used for most accurately determining both a golf club’s lie and overall length (two club specifications that are intimately connected to each other). Because the way a shaft is installed into a head can also be related to the lie and/or length chosen for any given golf club, it makes the most sense to also use the same reference point for shaft installation purposes. Furthermore, and more directly relevant to this testing, failing to consistently adhere to this shaft installation element can have serious repercussions later with respect to learning about and choosing one’s ideal golf grip size, which I will discuss more at the appropriate time(s). Adhering to this shaft installation facet will also provide more club-to-club consistency for crucial grip sizing aspects if the same clubheads are not available for all of the test clubs (or if the same clubheads are too inconsistent in certain of their specifications).
Looking ahead for just a moment to the testing that will follow, the static or total weights of the clubheads used will need to begin somewhat on the lighter side of what would be considered typical for golf clubs constructed to “normal” club specifications. The reason for this will become clearer shortly. I honestly do not know if there is a “standardized” weight listing these days for say a men’s 5-iron clubhead (supposes that 5-iron-specific or unitized shafts properly trimmed to 5-iron lengths will be used for the test clubs), but if there is, the clubheads used should be about 10-20 grams or around a half ounce lighter. This assumes the test clubs will be made to so-called “standard” lengths (whatever that happens to be today), but see further below for another option. Many clubheads today have weight ports to which weight can be added or removed as desired, and many such heads will presumably go down far enough for needed testing with an emptied port, but any given head design may not go down far enough even with the port completely empty.
Lacking that option, one could ground some weight off of the clubheads (these are only test golf clubs), and the amount of weight to be ground off will be addressed shortly, but I would strongly urge you to not attempt this on your own without previous experience and even then to use extreme caution especially when using more powerful grinding devices. Another option would be to cut the test golf club lengths after shaft installations shorter (and all consistently the same) than what otherwise might be considered standard. This would have a comparable effect for the majority of golfers (playing wise) to reducing the weights of the clubheads. I will thoroughly explain this effect at the appropriate time(s) and prescribe how much shorter to cut the clubs if that option is chosen.
The actual technique(s) for securing the shafts to the heads, while extremely important, is not something that will be addressed at least here and now, as this is not the prime focus of Waggle Weight Wisdom™. This area has more to do with club “making” than club “fitting,” making it a completely independent area of study if one desires. It has been quite a while since I personally have referenced any such material(s), so I cannot really advise where it might be best to turn for such information if choosing to do this yourself. There are many available sources for clubmaking information like how to position shafts in clubheads (as discussed above) and secure shafts to clubheads. Given the number of shaft changes that can oftentimes be associated with in-depth clubfitting, you might find yourself seeking out such information at some juncture even if you dislike and/or have no interest in performing such tasks (like me) just to prevent yourself from going financially broke.