How Steel Shafts are Made and Why You Should Care

How many times have you seen something like this posted at a store or clubhouse?

Swing-Speed-Conversion-Chart

Honestly this chart is wrong. There are so many more variables then swing speed that affect the flex of a shaft. This article is aimed at providing a better understanding about the manufacturing process and the affects on the feel and playability of a golf shaft. The objective is to provide information that will help you bypass the marketing portion of the industry and choose a fitter, who is well educated, and understands what is needed for a proper fit.

There are two ways that most golf shafts are formed. A seamless process, starting out as a solid cylinder, and a welded tube process, which starts out as a flat sheet of metal.

SEAMLESS PROCESS:

  • starts as a solid steel cylinder
  • special tool heats and pierces cylinder turning it into a tube
  • stretched until a thin walled tube at 5/8″ diameter “blank” is formed
  • to form the steps a special tool is used to press down and shrink the diameter at a certain point throughout the shaft
  • once sized correctly the raw shaft goes through heat treatment, straightened, and finally nickel-chrome electroplated for strength and durability

WELDED TUBE PROCESS:

  • starts as a flat sheet in coil
  • goes through a rolling process which forms the tube and then is welded
  • goes through a process called “skiving”, where metal on the outside and inside are removed
  • to form the steps a special tool is used to press down and shrink the diameter at a certain point throughout the shaft
  • once sized correctly the raw shaft goes through heat treatment, straightened, and finally nickel-chrome electroplated for strength and durability

These are very generalized steps and there are so many more, all of which take a significant amount of time. I was told, when I had the opportunity to tour the True Temper plant, that it takes approximately three weeks for one shaft to be completed. There is a reason that there are so many more graphite shaft companies then there are of steel shaft manufacturers. One of the main steel manufacturers, True Temper, is known for their ability to change the wall thickness on the inside (ID) of the shaft. Because of this ability, they are able to design and manufacture different types of shafts to optimize the fitting process.

Not as well known, but worth noting, is that there are two different shaft sizes. The taper tipped golf shaft is the original design and still is considered mostly standard. In the 1970’s the parallel tip shaft came to the market and is widely used, especially in the manufacturing and custom side of the industry.

TAPER TIPPED

PROS

  • most OEM’s have designed their hosel on the clubheads to match the .355″ tip
  • manufactured the proper length for each individual club
  • constant weight can be achieved with this process

CONS

  • manufacturing has to be done on each separate length
  • to change flex a different shaft profile is needed

PARALLEL TIPPED

PROS

  • “blanks” are able to be fine tuned to a specific frequency
  • able to create a descending weight set
  • manufacturer can create a single length shaft that can be cut to desired lengths

CONS

  • most OEM’s are not designed to accommodate the .370″ tip
  • understanding of “how” to build a set is needed to get full use of a parallel tipped shaft

As a builder, parallel shafts are my favorite to utilize; however, as stated earlier most OEM clubheads are designed for a taper tipped shaft. There have been many studies on the feel and affect of a parallel tipped shaft vs taper tipped shaft and all have come back with little to no difference. It truthfully is a preference.

What does this all mean for the normal golfer, who is not a builder or fitter? It is there for you to not fall into some of the marketing traps that are out there.

So what should you concern yourself with then? WEIGHT, STIFFNESS, AND FLEXPOINT

WEIGHT: Hot topic for the past few years has been the weight of the completed club from grip, shaft, and clubhead. If the weight is decreased there is an increase in speed, launch angle, and spin rate; whereas,  an increase in weight can have the inverse affect. Clubhead speed is not everything, as I said earlier, because spin and launch angle will affect distance as well.

STIFFNESS: Please understand that there is no industry standard of this, even though most would believe that: regular, stiff, and x-stiff are standards. This is why it is so important to get a proper fitting. A stiffer shaft is going to lower the trajectory and possibly ball speed. Shafts that have too much flex will have a higher launch angle.

FLEX POINT: This is the portion of the shaft at which the shaft will bend. The bend, or flex point is what provides extra power into the clubhead. By lowering the bend point of the shaft a higher trajectory can be created; whereas, a higher bend point will lower the trajectory

A proper fitter is going to look at these, along with some other variables, to get you in the proper fit. In the swing, your tempo, release, path, and speed are going to factor into which shaft fits you the best. That is why charts are wrong, they only show you one variable that needs to be evaluated.

In a few months we will do a deep dive into KBS, True Temper, and Nippon the major manufacturers of steel golf shafts.

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You are Missing Out on Some Great Golf

Heard of golf in Michigan?

Heard of golf in Tennessee?

For most golfers who love to travel, especially here in the middle part of the country, Michigan and Tennessee both are heavy on the bucket lists. How many of you have courses from Indiana and Kentucky on your bucket lists, in particular public facilities?

Golf is well known and marketed well by the surrounding states. There is a need for more recognition about the fantastic golf that both Indiana and Kentucky have to offer! Form Golf is looking forward to providing some amazing information and new resources to learn more about Indiana and Kentucky.

These two great states which I call home have some of the best natural terrain for golf to be played on. From the northern plains of Indiana, through the hilly terrain of southern Indiana and most of Kentucky, and finally to the beginning of mountainous terrain in eastern Kentucky. Coupling the terrain and some of the coolest coloring in the fall and you have a magnificent setting for some great golf.

INDIANA

Indiana is home to the Pete Dye trail. I grew up loving to play some of these beautiful and torturous golf courses. Pete Dye, along with his wife out did themselves when they designed what I personally believe to be the crown jewel of Indiana, The Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick. Yet what is great about the trail is that it shows off other courses that are just as magnificent. Starting from the northern part of the state:

–        Mystic Hills | Culver, INkampen980d

–        Ackerman Allen | Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

–        Kampen | Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN

–        The Fort | Indianapolis, IN

–        Brickyard Crossing | Indianapolis, IN

–        Maple Creek | Indianapolis, IN

–        Pete Dye Golf Course at French Lick | French Lick, IN

These are just some of the Pete Dye courses in Indiana. There are so many other courses that deserve mentioning include Rock Hollow in Peru, Otter Creek in Columbus, Belterra in Florence, and Fuzzy’s golf courses just north of Louisville, Kentucky. This is not even an exhaustive list of the public golf courses that should be must visits.

NOT FORGETTING YOU_ PURGATORY

KENTUCKY

There are some amazing public courses in Kentucky as well. What makes Kentucky great for golf courses is the same reason that this area is known for its bourbon and horses. The landscape is sitting on top of some of the largest limestone deposits and caves with natural springs feeding the ground above. Some of the prettiest rolling green hills are found in central Kentucky.

Kentucky State Parks golf courses are by far some of the best state courses I have ever had the privilege of playing. Most if not all are carpeted with Zoysia fairways and surrounded by mature trees. Some of these courses include:

–        Barren River Lake

–        Mineral MoundMineralMound

–        Dale Hollow

–        My Old Kentucky Home

–        Greyson Lake

–        Pine Mountain

Pretty sure I would get a call if I forgot to mention Marriott’s Griffin Gate in Lexington, Kentucky, especially since I worked there many years ago. Both Gibson Bay in Richmond and Heritage Hills south of Louisville are tough tests. Just like my list in Indiana this is not an exhaustive list of the great public courses in Kentucky.

Lexington, KYHorse Capital of the World

As I was writing this article Golf Digest launched a tweet which sadly included a great course in Kentucky that no longer is open. This is one of just the many reasons on why Form Golf hopes to inform golfers who would like to visit these great states of some of the places to play.

Form Golf is striving to work up even more relationships and bring amazing content. While I love many of the private courses in both states a heavy focus will be on the public golf courses that are more accessible and normally forgotten in publications.

I look forward to hearing your feedback. Please come out and enjoy these two great states!

 

Soft Good Launch Days?

Before I started working in the golf industry I always looked forward to launch days for the new equipment. This has predominantly been mostly hard goods while the soft goods launches are not as heavily marketed. This is something that I hope to change and show everyone that there are some awesome companies out there that you will not always see in the big box stores.

If there are any companies out there that you the reader would be interested in please comment below or shoot me an email: bryanamontgomery@yahoo.com.

Vacation Thoughts

Form Golf has grown from a simple thought to a small social media company and website. Hoping that the things I am working on here on vacation become some great things for all of my current and future readers. Destin is such a gorgeous place and it is nice to get some rest and write a little while hanging out with my family as well. Look forward to sharing with my readers some new articles and information when I get back.

Enjoy your week and Look Good and Play Well!

This Chariot Will Make You Run!

Surrounded by corn fields and the surrounding town with a population of a whopping 50 people there lies a fantastic golf course known as Chariot Run!

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Once part of the Horseshoe Casino about 20 minutes down the road in Indiana, Chariot Run really is a spectacular and challenging layout. For years I have told many that the best layout within an hour of Louisville, Kentucky is Chariot Run and not one of the more well known courses in the area. And I would even go as far to say that if this golf course was located in town it would cost a fortune to play and many more would know about this wonderful golf course.

  • Ranked #4 Best Courses You Can Play in Indiana by Golf Week in 2018
  • Tipped out at 7,300 yards
  • Slope and rating of 76.1/138

Once you get use to fighting the tall grass, bunkers, and water you find at a links style golf course the back nine decides to throw tress at you just to throw you off a little. The bunkers have a live edge look and of course you will love or hate the rolling hills that you will find in Southern Indiana. Once you find the greens you will have a hard time finding a smoother consistent putting surface that normally range between 11-13 on the stimp meter.

 

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Located just 40 minutes west of Louisville, Kentucky and a little over an hour from French Lick, Indiana Chariot Run is in a great location to add to a golf trip or to visit for a day of fun on the links. When you are not out on the golf course there are plenty of amazing hotels and restaurants to be entertained by just down the road.