Tipping the Golf Shaft


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. One golf instructor looked at this illustration and commented that on this shaft tipping would move the soft section closer to the tip creating higher launch and spin. An excellent observation.

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.