Will Wedge Shafts Improve My Game?
For quite a few years a number of the shaft companies have offered shafts specifically designed for wedges. The concept behind the design of most wedge specific shafts is to try to use the shaft as a way to increase the backspin on the shot, since greater backspin is considered an asset in the typical shot with a wedge.
The vast majority of wedge specific shafts are designed with a little softer flex than what would be normal when the golfer’s iron shaft of choice is tip trimmed its normal amount for installation in a wedge. The belief is if the wedge specific shaft is a little more flexible, it will cause the dynamic loft of the wedge at impact to be higher, which in turn will increase the amount of backspin on the shot.
The majority of wedge specific shafts are produced to have the same flexibility as the 8-iron shaft in a full set of iron shafts. In other words, to be about ½ flex softer than what the flex of a normal wedge shaft would be.
The other side of this concept is the thought that some golfers might develop better timing or rhythm with their wedge shots if they can slightly feel the shaft bend or flex a little more during the swing. This of course is a purely esoteric approach because what one golfer feels and likes, another golfer cannot or may not be able to detect from the shaft during the swing. In addition, to be able to even make a shaft bend forward at impact to affect the dynamic loft of the clubhead requires the golfer to have a later to very late release, a swing characteristic that the majority of golfers do not possess.
In truth, I did golfer hit testing some years ago to discover if there was a difference in launch angle and spin with one of the typical half flex softer wedge shafts versus an iron shaft trimmed as conventional for a wedge. In a nutshell, there really is not enough difference in launch angle and spin rate to account for any performance difference with a wedge shaft that is designed to have the same flex as an 8-iron shaft.
That testing is what prompted me to take the direction I did when I designed two different wedge specific shafts for my company. The High Flight steel wedge shaft is designed to be 2 FULL FLEXES softer than a conventional shaft in a wedge. And the Knock-Down wedge shaft is designed to be similar to a XXX flex.
My design intent was that if a golfer really wanted a softer feel or the chance for a higher launch/higher spin shot with the wedge, to actually do that would require making the shaft a LOT more flexible than the typical wedge specific shafts available in the industry. And conversely for the golfer who wants a dead stiff shaft in the wedge because he FEELS this would offer more control and accuracy, to do that requires the shaft to be VERY stiff.
At the end of the day, this matter of wedge specific shafts falls into the category of “if the golfer FEELS it is better,” the confidence that feeling may generate makes the decision worthwhile to do. Otherwise the same shaft you like in your numbered irons will be fine for use in your wedges.