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Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Understanding the Wishon June 2012 e-Tech Report
every month or so, Tom Wishon has an updated ‘e-Tech Report’ which is more or
less a newsletter discussing equipment, clubfitting and his research that has
been conducted. I have found his e-Tech Reports to be very enlightening, in
particular the last e-Tech report, which can be found here.
latest e-Tech report goes into shafts. Shafts are something I’ve been studying
quite a bit this year. Ironically, I ordered Wishon’s ‘Shaft Bend Profile
Software’ program right around the time the 2012 PGA Merchandise Show happened
and from there I started to notice that I played better with a softer shaft or
so I thought.
Before I go on further, if you’re into equipment and want
to really find the shafts for you, I recommend Wishon’s Shaft Bend Profile
software, which is available to be purchased by the public (even if you’re not a
clubmaker) for $130. The database is updated for free about twice a year to
include new shafts and not only can you start to understand shafts that fit your
swing, but also much more affordable shaft alternatives. The software can be
I think the concept that has to
change about how a golfer thinks about shafts is to stop labeling shafts as a
‘good’ shaft or a ‘bad’ shaft. The reality is that the level of quality of a
shaft does not really differ from one company to another. The difference is that
the shaft may or may not fit your golf swing. So if you like a certain shaft or
a certain companies shafts, you are more or less finding that the shaft(s) just
happen to fit your swing.
Now, some stock shafts are just poorly made in
the sense that they *might* be designed to be a little thinner than their after
market counterpart in order to save some money. But, it’s not like some golfers
cannot hit those shafts well. I just think that they are a little more apt to
break if you slam or throw the club. Also, I believe that the characteristics of
*some* of the stock shafts are different from their after market counterparts.
In fact, Wishon’s Shaft Bend Profile software does indeed have different data
for some of the stock shafts and their after market counterparts.
Even still, some golfers
may hit that stock shaft well. It’s simply a case if the attributes of the shaft
fit the golfer’s swing. You may be a little averse, and rightfully so, to stock
shafts for those reasons. But you should look at shafts as being ‘good’ or ‘bad’
with regards to how they fit your swing instead of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in terms of
One of the first things
Wishon discusses when it comes to shaft weight is when the golfer uncocks their
wrists on the downswing. In Golfing Machine terms, this is called ‘releasing the
#2 Power Accumulator.’
Here’s a set of pictures of golfers with different
times when they un-cock the wrists in their swing.
As the picture frame goes to the right, the later the golfer uncocks the
wrists (the left and middle pic are the same golfer).
So what Wishon is
saying is that the earlier the uncocking, the more important the weight of the
shaft is to the golfer versus the Bend Profile (which I’ll get into in a
Conversely, the later the uncocking of the wrists, the more
important the Shaft Bend Profile is to the golfer. So the golfer on the left is
more dependent on the weight and the golfer on the right is more dependent on
the Shaft Bend Profile for optimal performance.
AND THE SHAFT
One of the things I had questions about is why some
higher clubhead speed players can use ‘softer’ shafts than some lower clubhead
speed players. I had a friend of mine who generated close to 120 mph of driver
speed, yet hit some old True Temper Dynamic Gold R500 shafts the best. So that
always puzzled me when I was at a lower speed and playing better with the X100
You’ll hear a lot of golfers say that it has to do with how the
golfer ‘loads’ the shaft. Well, what does that mean?
I think a simpler
way to put it is ‘how does the golfer get to their top clubhead
Another way to think of it as a sprinter. Let’s say you have 2
sprinters running the 100 meter dash and both clock in at 10.0 seconds. If
sprinter A is 6’3” tall and has long legs and is known as a ‘long strider’, he
may take a while to hit that top speed. Springer B could be 5’7” tall and from
the get-go he’s running fast. So in the first 40 meters or so, Sprinter B could
beat out the long strider Sprinter A. But in the last 60 meters, the long
strider could be running at a faster speed and in the end catch up to the
shorter Sprinter B.
Where it applies to golf is to understand the swing
enough to understand what shaft characteristics fit your swing. And the key part
of your swing to understand is the level of acceleration your swing
Acceleration = the rate of change of velocity per
unit of time.
Let’s say you have 2 cars traveling.
Car A is going
90 mph. The Driver then presses on the gas and is now going 100 mph.
B is going 40 mph. The driver presses on the gas and is now going 60
What has more acceleration?
change in velocity in Car B is 20 mph. In Car A, while moving at a faster
velocity, has less acceleration.
Again, you can start to get an idea of
the golfer’s acceleration in their downswing by when they start to uncock their
Remember Sprinter A vs. Sprinter B?
The swing on the left is more
like 5’7” short Sprinter B. They have less acceleration and get their speed up
as soon as the starter’s gun is shot in the air.
The swing on the right
is more like the long-strider Sprinter A. They have more acceleration as they
start out slower and gradually build up a lot of speed in a
1) The later the uncocking of the wrists = shafts that
are heavier and stiffer in the tip section.
2) The earlier the uncocking
of the wrists = lighter shaft and softer tip section.
So that’s why my
friend liked the old R500 Dynamic Gold Shaft. He generated more speed overall
than I did, but his swing had less acceleration. I don’t think they make the
R500 anymore and I do not have the shaft bend profile numbers, but my guess is
that the shaft had a soft tip section.
The butt section determines the feel of the shaft and
helps with squaring up the clubface. Have you ever hit a shaft that is supposed
to be the correct flex for your swing, but it feels ‘stiff’ and ‘boardy?’ Or how
about that shaft that you feel like you ‘can’t get around on?’
are the butt section profile is too stiff for your swing. It also may have more
of the weight towards the butt section of the shaft.
Again, here’s where
we start to look at how the golfer accelerates the club. But instead of focusing
on the uncocking of the wrists, we are looking at the golfer’s downswing
To me, this is a little more of a murky area. But, Iook at
the golfer’s swing mechanics in the startdown.
Somebody like Jamie
Sadlowksi is a good example of a ‘forceful’ startdown.
If you look at
Sadlowski’s startdown, while he’s clearly lagging the club, he almost does it
all with a rotational motion of his shoulders and it has a look of him really
cranking down. Granted, Sadlowski generates unearthly clubhead speed numbers.
But to me, if he only swung at 110 mph, his startdown would be still considered
‘forceful’ and he would probably need a bit stiffer of a butt section profile on
his shafts over other golfers with 110 mph of clubhead speed.
like Boo Weekley I think has a smoother and less forceful
Boo lags the club as well, but he
utilizes his wrists and shifting the body pivot towards the target in the
startdown to help with that. His rotation of the shoulders is not nearly as much
as Sadlowski’s at this point and he has a look that is less ‘cranking down’ than
That’s not to say one is superior than the other as
Weekley generates about 115 mph of clubhead speed and is one of the best
ballstrikers on Tour. But, it’s to say that part of the way they accelerate the
clubhead in the downswing is different and it would provide different butt
section profiles that fit them best.
The tip section plays a bigger role in the launch angle
and spin rate. The stiffer the tip section, the lower the ball launches and less
There’s a common fallacy amongst amateurs that they want to
have as little spin as possible in order to maximize distance for their clubhead
speed. Instead, they should look to maximize launch conditions because if you
can increase carry, it will help you hit it further more than if you can
increase roll. Of course, one can overdo it by having too much carry and not
getting any roll out of the ball. But, we generally want to see launch
conditions optimized and to get the ball to land on an angle of about 40-45*, so
we maximize total distance.
Tip section profiles is one of the reasons
why I stopped worrying about ‘frequency matching’ shafts. To my knowledge, most
frequency shaft measurements either measure the total frequency of the shaft or
the butt frequency of the shaft.
If it’s just measuring the butt
frequency, that would be good to know when trying to fit the butt section
profile, but what if the tip section is way too stiff or way too soft? The
launch conditions won’t be optimized.
Again, we go back to the uncocking
of the wrists on the downswing to help point us in the right direction for tip
The later the uncocking of the wrists (right) the stiffer the tip
section will likely need to be. Of course, clubhead speed does play into this as
shown by Wishon’s chart in the e-Tech report.
Once you understand your downswing mechanics along with
speed, you should be able to get a general idea as to what shafts work for your
For instance, here’s a swing I made back in January.
I generate 110 to 113 mph of driver head
speed. I’ve found that I play best with a ‘stiff’ butt section shaft, but a very
tip firm (X-stiff) shaft. That’s because I have a fairly average aggression in
the startdown with a later uncocking of the wrists. Since I uncock the wrists
later (and I uncock them later now than in the video), shaft weight is not as
important than if I uncocked the wrists earlier in the swing.
So I play
with a UST Mamiya VTS 65x shaft in my driver. With the 3-wood I play a UST
Mamiya VTS Red 75x shaft. And then I play with the KBS Tour stiff flex shafts,
which spin a little too much for me, but again…they have softer tip sections. So
that’s why I’m in the process of switching to a Wishon Stepless steel shaft,
which has a stiffer tip section to help bring down the spin a