Tip Soft Shaft: What Does it Mean for Your Swing?

Posted by on Jul 17, 2013 in Shaft Fitting | 46 comments

What is meant by a “tip soft” shaft?  A shaft can be designed with any variation in its stiffness over its whole length.  So a tip soft shaft is one that is designed to be more flexible in the tip area of the shaft.  Likewise there can be any number of variations in how stiff the tip section of a shaft is designed.  The reason this is done is to help golfers with different swing characteristics find the right shaft that matches best to how they swing.

Most typically, golfers who unhinge the wrist cock early in the downswing are better fit with tip soft shafts, while golfers who hold that wrist cock until very late in the downswing are better fit with a tip stiff or tip firm shaft.  Those who unhinge the wrist cock somewhere in between early and late then are typically better fit to shafts that are more what is called a tip medium design.

But these terms “tip soft/tip firm/tip medium” are completely generic in their description and in no way tell you HOW TIP SOFT or HOW TIP FIRM is the shaft exactly.  That’s why we created this Bend Profile Software so that clubmakers can see exactly how much stiffer one shaft is than another, and where on the shaft from butt to center to tip is the shaft more or less stiff.

Let me explain using a graph and data from our Bend Profile Software data base.  In this software we store the FULL LENGTH STIFFNESS measurements of over 2,600 different shaft models and flexes so that clubmakers can empirically compare the stiffness design of one shaft to another to help them make better shaft fitting recommendations for the golfers they fit.

CLICK to Enlarge.

Shaft Profiling
These are two different shafts which are designed to be virtually the same exact stiffness from the butt to the center of the shaft, but then different in stiffness for their tip section. In the graph and data box, the 41 to 11 columns tell you WHERE the stiffness measurements were made on each shaft, in inches up from the tip end. So the 41/36 measurements are considered the BUTT end of the shaft, the 31/26 measurements the CENTER section of the shaft and the 21/16/11 considered the TIP Section of the shaft. In the measurements, the higher the number, the stiffer the shaft is at that point.

So from this you can see that the Gold Tour R shaft is more tip stiff than is the Gold Plus High R because the 21/16/11 measurements of the tip section of the Gold Tour are higher and thus more stiff than the same location measurements of the Gold Plus High shaft.

The best way to be sure you are properly fit for the right shafts that match all your swing characteristics is to find a GOOD Clubmaker/clubfitter in your area and have them use their knowledge and experience to custom fit you.

~Tom

46 Comments

  1. Thanks for all your articles and info Tom, I have learned so much from your articles. This article aligns with what I have been experiencing when looking for new irons. I fight a early release and a high ball flight and have always been told to play DG s300,KBS C taper, etc to keep the ball flight down. But no matter what iron shaft you put in my hands I hit it high, not ballooning just higher than normal. I have found with the “tip soft” shafts my dispersion seems to be better, which I guess from reading you comments is correct with my early release.
    James

    • James

      No change in equipment with regard to the shaft will ever bring the ball down enough for you to see a distinct visible change. The early release is causing the clubhead to pass the shaft and hands coming into impact which adds loft at the moment of impact. The people who have been advising stiffer shafts or stiffer tip shafts simply do not know what they are talking about because they do not know how to look at the golf swing to evaluate this situation. Not until you work on your release to stop the clubhead from passing in front of the hands at impact will anything change with regard to your shot height. I am sorry to tell you this but it is the truth and I have seen this countless times in my research in fitting so I know it very well. Best wishes to you if you make the commitment to really work on this.

      TOM

  2. I have a question of how to lower the torque in a shaft to a lower number. I was told that half an inch of cutting the tip relates to a certain lowering of the number of torque. Is this true or false?
    I bought a prgr egg bird driver 2013 with a swingweight of C3.5. Hitting this driver with a shaft length of 47 gave me trouble in fading the ball about 15 yrds. I replaced the shaft with one that has a torque of 4.8/5.1. The fading disappeared. I would like to hold on to the egg bird/fujikura shaft that the driver came with and cutting the tip of the original shaft so I land up with a torque of about 4.8. The problem is that I don’t know the number of torque of the original shaft. Q; is there a correlation between cutting the tip with an inch or half this amount and the lowering of torque with a certain amount/number? Thank you.

    • GERARD

      Please understand when you change shafts in a club and you experience a good result, it is a lot of very careful work to try to determine what caused the change in the performance of the club. For example – in the club with the new shaft, was the length the same as before? Was the swingweight the same as before? Was the shaft weight the same as before? Was the entire, full length stiffness the same or different and if it was different, HOW was it different compared to the full length stiffness of the previous shaft? What was the torque of the previous shaft?

      You cannot simply assume that it was the torque of the new shaft that caused the improvement in the performance of the driver. All of these other things I mentioned in questions can have a significant effect on the performance of the club. If you cut the tip of the old shaft, you will lower the torque but you will also increase the overall stiffness and the tip stiffness at the same time. It is not possible for anyone to predict with any accuracy how much the torque or the stiffness will change when you cut the tip by any specific amount. This is because shafts can be so different from each other in their full length stiffness design, in their diameter progression from butt to tip and in their wall thickness progression from butt to tip. They can also be quite different in terms of what raw materials were used to make the shafts.

      The only way to know for sure is to have both of these shafts and to conduct measurements of everything – weight, full length bend profile stiffness measurements, and torque. I am sorry I cannot help more specifically but there are many variables that have to all be analyzed carefully before an accurate answer can be determined.

      TOM

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