Golf Shaft Fitting: How Does 'Transition' Affect Shaft Selection?


The transition is the change in direction of the golf club during the swing that occurs when the backswing ends and the downswing begins.  Golfers vary a lot in the speed, force and tempo of their transition from smooth with a gradual acceleration to start the downswing to fast, forceful and very aggressive, to variations in between those two extremes. 

The transition move has an important bearing on shaft stiffness fitting because it determines the initial bending force that is applied to the shaft by the golfer. In addition, the difference in how forceful the golfer begins the downswing can be important to determine the best shaft weight and the best swingweight/MOI of the club, i.e. the head weight feel of the club during the swing. 

Typically if you have two golfers with the same clubhead speed, the one with a more forceful transition move will do better with a stiffer shaft (higher swing speed rating) than what would be normal for that swing speed, with a 10 to 20g heavier shaft weight and a swingweight in the area of 2 to 3 swingweight points higher than the golfer with a pause at the end of the backswing and a very smooth, gradual transition move to begin the downswing.

Golfers with a strong transition who end up with too light of a total weight and/or too light of a swingweight tend to experience a higher degree of off center hits, more heel side hits, and even the tendency to make a slight outside in path become more outside in.