Golf Shaft Tipping


By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

Tipping_EiIt is a common practice to tip driver shafts. This is a quick overview of the effect of tipping. The charts in this article show three shafts, a 60 S, a 60 X and a 60 S tipped 1 “. The first chart shows be bend profiles.  Notice how the tipped shaft slightly shifts the profile toward the tip.  It is unchanged, just slightly shifted. In this model, the 1” tipping is not even a small percentage of the difference between the S and X flex versions of this shaft.

Tipping_TbWe can see this clearly looking a the numbers. The butt stiffness of the shaft increased one tenth of a pound, the torque, three tenths of a degree.



The effect on torque for this model shows some change that a good player might notice. This particular shaft had one of the higher torque changes from 1″ tipping I have measured. It was 3 tenths of a degree, one tenth is more typical. Again, the comparison with the X flex version shows the effect of tipping to be very small compared to the next stiffer flex.

Tipping _Signature


The bend signature of this shaft design gives further insight into the effect of tipping a shaft. We see a very small shift in the profile signature of the tipped vs untipped shaft in comparison to the next higher flex. The designer of this shaft chose to make a significant change in the mid section of the stiffer shaft.



In the examples shown to this point, we looked at a shaft with stiffness descending from butt to tip in the tip area. That is not the case in all shafts. The tips of many designs actually get stiffer toward the tip. Our first measurement is made at 6″. But, we are measuring the flex of the 1″ to 11″ range of the shaft at that point. While the scale on the chart shows 6″, the flex is actually out to the tip of the shaft. In this golf shaft design you can see the shaft stiffness turn upward from 11″ toward the tip. The tipped shaft cuts away this stiffness and results in a softer tip than the original design.

Tipping driver shafts will produce a very, very small change in ball flighting. However, you must know the tip characteristic of a shaft before you alter it. You could well be creating exactly the opposite effect you had hoped for with tipping.

  • Ryan Welch

    That is really interesting, did tipping the 60s result in any reduction in spin versus the non-tipped version? If so my guess is it would be pretty insignificant just based off of what you have mentioned and the graphs. Also I wonder how radically different the playability was on that second set of shafts with the change in midsection stiffness

    • DevotedGolfer

      Ryan, I do not typically tip but your comment has motivated me to do some range testing on a tipped vs untipped shaft. The numbers posted here were done by simply measuring the shaft as if it had been tipped.

      • Ryan Welch

        Russ, Thanks for taking the time to do some testing. Interesting results. I guess there really isn’t much of a change, but unless you know the design characteristics of the shaft you are planning to tip you could very well produce no change, a small change in a good way or a small change in the way you didn’t intend. I guess it pays to really know your product intimately.

  • C Potato

    This is really fascinating. Why do manufacturers of shafts that stiffen towards the tip (Diamana, AD DI etc.) still recommend tipping for FW shafts? Is the myth of tipping just so ingrained? This seems to be the only place I have seen that recommends against tipping these shafts.

    • I truly do not know. I have had numerous conversations with shaft designers that have spent time on tour, we share the same opinion, some shafts should not be tipped. Tradition in golf often carries more value than science. It is only when you can get a professionals undivided attention to listen long enough to the science gets through.