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Thursday, May 31, 2012
A Look Back At the Harrison ShotMaker Insert
follow up question I received after the ‘Thinking Man’s Guide To Finding Your
WITB’ series was on the Harrison Shotmaker insert.
The ShotMaker Insert
is a small, lightweight ‘rod’ that a golfer or clubmaker can insert into the
golf shaft. The marketing behind the Insert is that it will help make the ball
fly straighter and give up to 40% more accuracy.
The ShotMaker is meant
mainly for wood shafts because their current models only fit in 0.335 tip
shafts. That’s usually what drivers and fairway woods have for shaft tip
diameters. Cleveland and Taylor Made have drivers that carry 0.350 shaft
diameters. There would be a way to work around that if you put a 0.335 shaft tip
in those 0.350 hosel diameter by adding a shim in order to ‘fill the gap’
between the 0.335 shaft tip and the 0.350 hosel diameter. You could then just
insert the Harrison Shotmaker into that 0.335 shaft tip and go about your
Anyway, the question was in regards to why I got away from the
Harrison ShotMaker insert?
First, I still believe that the Harrison
ShotMaker insert can be a useful tool to many golfers. I know I saw my ball
flight lower a tad with a little less spin. I felt I was more consistent with
the ShotMaker insert as well. Also, there had been reputable customers and
clubmakers online who had shown FlightScope and Trackman data showing lower spin
and a little lower launch with the ShotMaker insert versus no ShotMaker insert
in the same driver.
Here’s where understanding the Shaft Bend Profile
comes into play.
Essentially, all the ShotMaker insert does is stiffen
up the tip section of the shaft. Thus the ball launches a little lower and spins
less. Sounds simple. However, I think it still has some value in the
little while ago Tom Wishon stated that the high priced, popular shafts like the
Diamana models, Matrix, Graphite Design Tour AD-DI tend to have a common shaft
bend profile…fairly stiff in the butt section and stiff in the tip section. In
fact, the Nunchuck shaft has a bit of an underground following and it has an
extremely stiff butt and tip section.
This leads me to believe that the
majority of golfers in the scratch to 15 handicap range tend to play with shafts
with too soft of a tip section. This probably stems from golfers usually going
with a ‘stock shaft’ that they get at the golf store or pro shop. I know many
golfers and clubmakers will steadfastly claim that the stock shafts in most
clubs are not quite the same as the after-market shafts that are the same model.
I also have to question using frequency matching to fit for the shaft
because usually the frequency matching either measures the frequency of the
shaft as a whole or just gets the butt section stiffness. With Shaft Bend
Profiles, it measures the shaft at usually 4 or 5 different locations, from the
butt end to the tip end. So, it’s possible to have 2 different shaft models that
match up on the frequency machine, but react very differently for the golfer
(even if they are the same weight and bend-point). One shaft model may be much
stiffer in the tip section and that will cause a lower launch and lower spin,
despite the frequencies being the same.
What I wind up seeing from
clubfitters is that they usually go at least one flex stiff with graphite
shafts. Instead, if they better understood the shaft bend profiles, they could
get a more accurate fitting for the golfer.
Getting back to the ShotMaker
It can be a great tool for a golfer who likes the feel of their
shaft from a stiffness perspective. This is usually where the stiffness of the
butt-section matters. But, if they have problems controlling their shots, it
could be likely due to the tip section being too soft. So by adding the
ShotMaker insert, that will help them to some degree. For some golfers, it may
help them tremendously. For others, the tip section of the shaft may still be
way too soft for them.
Furthermore, the ShotMaker Insert is also light
as a feather, so it really doesn't affect swingweight or static weight. From my
experience, it will affect MOI by less than 10 kg/cm^2.
Of course, one
may say ‘get a shaft with a stiffer tip section.’
While that sounds fine
and dandy, you will need to have a clubfitter who knows the shaft bend profiles.
Or you will need a fitter with either a Trackman or a later model FlightScope
along with plenty of different shafts so you can look at the launch angles and
spin rates. Then you could be wind up wanting a $300 shaft. Combine that with
the charge for the fitting and then having the shaft installed, a $100 ShotMaker
Insert may not be a bad