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Hybrid Golf Club Shafts

After many years of fitting with old TaylorMade Hybrid heads I converted to the 2014 Adams XTD Ti head. I believe it is the pinnacle of hybrid golf head design technology. That conversion required me to change the tips on a huge accumulation of fitting shafts. In doing so, I took a hard look at what I was using and assembled a unique set of hybrid shafts. My primary objective was to assemble a diverse set of shafts that did not significantly overlap each other. Having the EI profiles of every shaft I have  made this a manageable task.

I get asked a lot of questions by players in their process of deciding on a club fitter. Some to gauge my experience and expertise, other to understand what equipment I use in the fitting process. My golf shaft review site, GolfShaftReviews is the most comprehensive and detailed source of information about golf shafts on the internet. But there is no clear indication there about what shafts I have in my fitting system.  This is a quick review of the shafts I have available for Hybrid fittings. My fitting system includes about 45 shafts. The selection is from different manufactures and include a wide range of designs and weights. Below is a quick overview of the shafts available for testing during a Fit2Score Hybrid Golf Club Fitting.

KBS Tour C-Taper Lite

I like fitting strong players with steel in their hybrids. They are easy to hit long irons that give a bit more launch and spin than a similar lofted iron. The C-Taper Lite is a lighter softer version of the KBS Tour C-Taper. The lighter weight makes low launch steel an option for more players that the original KBS Tour C-Taper. This is an excellent super low torque option offering superior control for a strong player.

KBS Tour C-Taper

If you are a strong swinger looking for long hybrid shots that do not balloon in the Texas wind this is the shaft. If you do not feel you can take a full swing with your hybrid and not completely turn the head over and create hooks that can get around a barn, this is your shaft. I have had numerous conversations with Kim Braly about hybrid shafts. We have the same opinion, if you are fitting a strong player that hits down through the ball, use steel in their hybrid.

KBS Tour Hybrid

The KBS Hybrid shaft is one of their first designs. By comparison to the current shafts it is soft. It is stepless, the first stepless shaft produced by Femco Steel bearing the KBS name. Like all the Kim Braly designs, it consistently looses stiffness from butt toward tip. The deflection curve shows it is significantly softer than the KBS shafts that followed. If you are looking for a mid weight hybrid, with outstanding torque properties at a reasonable price. you should try the KBS Tour Hybrid

Mitsubishi Diamana Thump

The Diamana Thump is no longer stocked in the US or shown in the Mitsubishi catalog. It is still available on special order from Japan. The torque numbers look like steel. It is a demonstration of what is possible with carbon fiber if cost is no object. The feel is in the name, thump. I play it, I love it. It is not for everyone, most find it too stiff. If you want to try it, its in the Fit2Score fitting system. Be prepared to wait a month to get the shaft from Japan.

 

Mitsubishi Diamana D+

Adams hybrids have over the years offered great shafts in their hybrids. In 2014 the Diamana D+ is the stock shaft in the classic design Adams Super 9031 hybrid, a 2013 model. Mitsubishi no longer labels shafts ‘made for’. Instead a line of shafts, the + models, fill that slot. Compare this shaft to the Thump and you will see the difference, about a half degree of torque. Does it matter? That is a question that can only be answered in a radar tracked fitting session. The Adams version of the Diamana D+ is 10 grams lighter that the catalog version. If you have not developed the strength to hold on for a late release, 10 grams lighter is a good thing.

Mitsubishi Fubuki Ax Hybrid Shaft

The Fubuki Ax Hybrid is the second generation shaft to bear the Fubuki name. The profile is similar to the Diamana Blue Board. In its weigh class, 70-80 grams is is among the best hybrid shafts on the market. A look at the tip torque numbers and radial consistency indicated why this shaft delivers consistent ball flight. It is a first class product. It is a mid launch design that works well for aggressive transition, fast tempo golfers in the moderate speed range. The 80X version is stout. It will not Thump on your wallet, but it will put your hybrid cost close to what the average retail is for a driver.

Mitsubishi KuroKage Black Hybrid

Mitsubishi has always offered a lower price range shaft selection for those that wanted to experience the Mitsubishi feel but did not want to invest in a Diamana. The KuroKage is currently that product. This shaft was last years stock Adams hybrid shaft. These budget priced models are now made with High Density Prepreg strategically placed in the shaft. Not as much as will be found in the signature Diamana line, but enough to make this an above average shaft at a below average price. The profile is similar to the Diamana Blue, soft mid in relation to tip and butt. It tends to launch a little higher than average and is a good fit for a quick tempo swing.

Mitsubishi Bassara Ultra Light Hybrid Shaft

If you’re still reading, you realize by now Fit2Score is a full line Mitsubishi distributor. The 45 to 60 gram Bassara is the lightest hybrid golf shaft I use. It has enough torque to transmit feel to the slower swinger, yet not so much that it compromises dispersion to deliver launch. Look at how the tip stiffness tightens on the EI profile. Launch is accomplished back away from the tip, a further indication that this design does not create dispersion that comes with a soft tip strategy to delivering launch. If your strength requires light, the Bassara UltraLight shafts are as good as it gets in the 50 gram weight class.

Matrix Ozik Altus hX3White Tie

The Matrix Ozik Altus hX3 White Tie is the stock shaft in the 2014 Adams DHY hybrid driving iron. That particular model is at the moment the #1 hybrid on the PGA tour. The low spin balls designed for driver distance are not spinning enough with long irons to create drop and stop flight. The Adams DHy addresses that problem with a lower center of club head that retains the look and playability of a long iron. The EI profile is a common driver shape, not often seen in hybrid shaft designs. The Mitsubishi Fubuki Ax has the same design. That upturn at the tip does a lot for bringing the overall deflection of this shaft into line with shafts that are heavier and stiffer overall. In my first fitting with this shaft in the bag it was the winner for a truly talented ball striker that was best fit with light weight shafts. Early success with any addition to my fitting system always gets my attention.

Matrix Ozik Altus hQ3 Red Tie

Another stock shaft in the 2014 Adams hybrids, the Matrix Ozik Altus hQ3 Red Tie comes with the XTD Ti hybrid. The Adams XTD Ti like many of the 2014 designs merge the patents of the new Adams parent, TaylorMade, with the Adams patents, creating what I think are the best heads in the business.  There must be some other believers as well, Ernie Els just joined the Adams team. This design reminds me of the Graphite Design YS Hybrid. The YS was one of those shafts my customers loved. I would send people to the range, I worked indoors at the time, with the shafts that tested well, and they kept coming back with the YS as their pick. The long tip section makes this shaft easy to trim to the proper stiffness for the range of hybrid lofts now available. I had found the YS to be a mid launch mid spin shaft suitable for a wide range of golfers. The Matrix Ozik hQ3 is like having an old friend back in the fitting bag.  The overall torque is a little higher, but the tip torque is very close. Radial consistency, the ’roundness’ of the shaft is exceptional making the shaft well suited for the rotating hosel of the new Adams XTD Ti hybrid head. Spine aligning this shaft is a waste of time, it is spineless, and in a golf shaft that is a good thing.

UST Mamiya Proforce AXIV Black Hybrid Shaft

I have been fitting with the UST AXIV Black for a very long time. It is still available and the expression, if it’s not broken don’t fix it comes to mind. Compared to the current Elements Wind, there is very little difference. Some profiles are proven by success over time. This is one of those designs. Marketing demands that companies deliver new products every year of so. It is nice to know that this design is going to stay with us in the UST Mamiya Elements line. I have a lot of success fitting mid to mid high launch shafts with low tip torque. They are great in fairways and hybrids. The Proforce AXIV Black is such a shaft.

 

UST Mamiya ProForce VTS TourSPX Hybrid Shaft

A few years ago UST Mamiya launch the VTS line of shafts. VTS stands for variable torque system. Their research ranked the importance of shaft parameters to performance in order of importance as tip, mid, torque, butt. That was contrary to the belief in butt frequency matching espoused by many club makers. Adding three torque models to the matrix of weights and stiffness creates a massive fiting system.  I added only the 85 gram models to my hybrid fitting system. The EI profiles of the different torque designs were not exact matches. But they were not too far from one another to translate into significant performance differences. The design, gradual loss of stiffness from butt to mid, followed by a stiffness ‘lump’ in around 15″ from the tip is very common. More common among most shaft companies than those designs that lose stiffness uniformly down the shaft. Having these shafts in my fitting system gives me one more option in our search for your perfect fit. Some golfers like the feel of higher torque shafts. And good feel generally translates into better consistency.

Aldila RIP Alpha Hybrid Shaft

One of the things I strive for in my fitting cart is a diversity of designs. As I was making the decision of what I would focus on in 2014 I came across the profiles of the Aldila RIP hybrid. A few review samples were in the fitting bag but did not get much use. This past fall I received prerelease review samples of the new KBS Tour V iron shafts. When I looked that the profiles of the Aldila RIP Hybrid, I saw the KBS Tour V and the Nippon Modus3 Tour 130 . This is not a profile I have any significant experience with. It will be getting a lot of attention this year, the KBS Tour V2, the lighter weight version of the KBS Tour V, is the stock shaft in the Callaway Apex Pro irons. I added all weights and stiffness to my hybrid fitting system to explore this new design that Phil Mickelson used in his irons when he won the British Open this past year.

Understanding the differences in golf shafts has never been easy. There are a lot of terms used to define a shaft, too many to review in this article. Without any industry standard, they have little value to anyone trying to understand the differences between two shafts. Over the time I have been involved in club fitting, I have tried several systems. Each had limitations and finally, I gave up and invented my own. Yes, I added one more system to the plethora of systems already in use.

That system is based on text book mechanical engineering beam theory. Bending is he product of the elastic modulus E and the area moment of inertia I of the beam cross section at a point on the beam. The formula looks like this:

w is the bending of the beam, x is the location and k is the curvature. This is the fundamental science used by all golf shaft designers of significance. It makes simple sense to use the same system to understand their designs.

What this formula means is that if you know the EI along the shaft it can be transformed into the bend profile of the shaft as shown in this illustration.

I picked these two shafts to illustrate the value of knowing the EI profile of golf shafts. These two shafts are both rated by their respective manufacturers as S flex. The EI profile shows the butt and tip stiffness to be about the same. And yet, they show very different bend patterns when loaded as shown on the right.

The loading illustration is what you would see if you used a deflection board. I borrowed this image of a deflection board from GolfWorks. This is a classic tool used by clubmakers to understand shaft bending properties and to rate stiffness.  Frequency instruments have replaced this instrument in most club makers shops. Frequency gauges give the club maker a number from which many systems translate frequency of oscillation to stiffness. What is not seen on frequency instruments is the bend profile seen on a deflection board. The shortcoming of deflection boards is that they do not quantify the bend profile, leaving the club maker to compare bend properties with tracings.

Using EI values along the shaft, the deflection profile can be calculated and quantified as shown. And this lets a shaft engineer translate material properties, shaft wall thickness, shaft wall diameter and shaft taper into computer simulated bend properties of a golf shaft.

The club fitter, equipped with EI measurements, understands the bend properties of the shafts he fit with.

And that understanding is why I felt it was necessary to invent my own instrument and system for measuring golf shafts. The amount of load applied during a golf swing is transformed into shaft deflection. The amount of deflection is what you feel as stiffness when you swing. Feel feedback helps you time your swing. Too much deflection creates dispersion, too little, bad timing. The EI bend profile determines not only the amount of deflection but also the shape of the deflection. And that shape influences how your swing presents the club head to the ball at impact. EI profiles guide me in fitting my clients into the best shaft for their golf swing.

Aldila NV 44 Magnum Golf Shaft Author: | Posted in: Aldila, Golf Shafts |

Aldila NV 44 Magnum Golf Shaft 2012

Profile of the R & S Aldila NV 44 Magnum vs the Aldila RIP Phenom

Aldila 44 Magnum EI Profile

This is a early look at the Aldila NV 44 Magnum, due to release to dealers in November. At the time of this post only the R and S Flex versions were available. I compared them to the similiar weight Phenom R & S shafts. The raw shafts are about 5 grams lighter than the Phenom at 44 and 46 grams respectively for the R & S models.

It looks like the 44 Magnum will play similiar to the Phenom with a slightly higher launch.   Like all shafts in this weight range, the torques of 6.5 and 5.8 are typical.

My view of shaft alignment has matured since my last video and an update is in the works.  The Aldila 44 Magnum shafts, with only 2 CPM points between the strong an weak planes are exceptional in this weight range.  These shafts can confidently be used in a driver with a rotating hosel and will play the same in any orientation.  2 or less CPM differences are considered tour quality shafts.  To see that number in a 44.3 gram R flex shaft is rare.  Nice work guys.

This is a study of the radial properties of 6 shafts.  It is a supplement to the golf shaft alignment video. I discussed bow vs spine in that video, and mentioned that the two did not necessarily align with each other. But the example used in the video very closely aligned with one of the FLO’s. In this larger study of 6 shafts, there are examples showing more clearly the point that was made in the video.

The charts below show the effectiveness of the Three Point bearing tool, often referred to as a spine tool and a tip weight laser tool in locating the radial stiffness high and low points of a driver shaft.  The tip laser device, often refered to as Flat Line Oscillation FLO or Vertical Oscillation Plane VOP was an effective tool for finding the stiff and weak planes of the shaft.  This can be accomplished by the club maker by FLOing the shaft in a CPM device and noting the CPM of the shaft at each of the two FLO planes.  The stiff and weak planes are easily identified.

The bearing based Spine tool is not a reliable device for identifing the stiff and weak planes of a shaft.

This study was inspried by the writing of my friend, Dave Tutelman.  This link is his article on the subject, http://www.tutelman.com/golf/shafts/allAboutSpines.php

Four properties were measured as follows:

Stiffness

The stiffnes of the shaft as measured every 10 degrees.  The shaft was clamped at the butt end, the tip was deflected 1″, the load cell was set to zero.  The shaft was then deflected 5″.  This method measures the stiffness of the material without any affect from any bowing or curvature in the shaft.  The readings are shown as the blue line.  The readings were smoothed to eliminate measurement ‘noise’.

Vertical Oscilation

A weighted laser tip was attached to the shaft.  The shaft was deflected 3″ and released.  The laser trace was recorded in a 5 second timed exposure.  The shaft was rotated until a stable plane of oscillation was found.  The photo of the trace is shown to the right of the shaft.  The shaft was then turned 90 degrees and the second stable plane was located.  The solid red line shows the stable plane of the shaft closest to the stiff side of the shaft.  The dashed red line, the stable plane that was on the softer side of the shaft.

Bow

Using a three point bending tool the bow of the shaft was located.  This tool is a pair of bearings in a tube.  The shaft is inserted into the ID of the bearings and a third bearing is used to deflect the shaft.  The shaft turns to the bowed side to minimize the stress of the loading force.  The Bow is shown as a Yellow line.

Tip Deflection

The shaft was inserted into a machining chuck which can be rotated.  Two pieces of card stock were bent 90 degrees and set against each side of the tip.  The shaft was rotated.  The cardstock was pushed away from the shaft as the tip moved during the rotation.  The points of maximum deflection to the right and left were noted and indicated by the black line.

 

 

We recently updated this blog and changed our video hosting platform. I had to go through all the posts and relink the videos. This post falls into a category I must call legacy material. It was early in my discovery of EI profiling and shows version 6 of my instrument. Its crude compared to the current instrument, and so is the production. But, it has been watched thousands of times. It is on the list of productions that need a remake.

Golf Shaft Flexural Rigidity – EI Profiling

Young’s modulus is a measure of the stiffness of an elastic material.  It is often used to determine the strength of a beam.  Shaft stiffness varies along the length of the shaft.  Using Young’s modulus, the ratio of stress to strain, a shaft can be measured at different points along its length.  This has come to be known as shaft profiling.  When the values are expressed per Young’s modulus, this is called EI Profiling.  Other databases, using different methods to measure stiffness, are also used for the same purpose.  A fitter uses knowledge of the flexural profile of shafts to quickly find a shaft that fits a golfers swing.

Golf Shaft Stiffness Measurement

The flex terms one commonly sees, R, S, X have little meaning to a fitter that knows the EI profiles of the shafts he uses.  As one comes to understand the many, many shaft stiffness profiles available today, flex letters become little more than a shaft manufacturers method of swing speed rating their shafts.  There is no uniform standard for defining shaft stiffness.  And as you develop a knowledge of EI profiles, you understand the futility of thinking that a standard could be defined.  Each design will load and unload differently in the hands of different golfers.  What works for one style of swing at a particular speed will behave differently with a different swing style at the same speed.

Golf Shaft EI Measurement Instruments

When I learned about EI profiling, I discovered there was no uniform system for measuring beam stiffness of golf shafts.  Laboratory instruments used by some shaft companies, cost in excess of $10,000.  A friend and I undertook the design and creation of a EI measuring instrument.  Our objective was to use gravity to apply the load that is applied by hydraulics in the expensive laboratory equipment.  When an early version of the instrument was shown at a club making convention, many asked that we make a machine for them when making our own.  Guiding weight without introducing friction lead us to invest in a milling machine.  Producing 15 machines for friends took all of our spare time for 6 months.  Today, 2 years later, databases with hundreds of shafts, are shared among the owners of the EI measuring instrument.

Shaft Alignment Author: | Posted in: Golf Club Making, Golf Shafts |

Shaft alignment has been debated by club makers for a long time.  A esoteric language evolved with terms like type 1, 2 & 3, N1, N2, NBP.  My experience and my understanding of the 8 page article, http://www.tutelman.com/golf/shafts/allAboutSpines.php written by my friend, Dave Tutelman is the basis of this video.  There is a lot of misinformation about shaft spines.  Most of which is a based on so called spine finders.  These three point deflection devices show an apparent tendency of a shaft to snap to a particular plane.  This video show exactly what they measure and goes on to truly measure the radial profile of a shaft.