In 1985, I went to work at a very small Real Estate Company. The owner was an old Sailor and a unique Mentor to me. I take many lessons learned under him with me in my daily life until this very day. One of our most popular segments and ongoing bits pertains to the phrase…”What did we learn”. This phrase has it’s basis in my Mentor mentioned above. He would often ask me, what did you learn today? He insisted that no one had all the answers and that we should all strive to learn something new each day. I find myself recording mental notes at golf events and I always try to summarize them in one way or another. The game of golf is a constant learning curve and the curve changes greatly depending on what aspect of golf you might be pursuing.
In the beginning, golf is less about product played and more about mastering some type of swing process. After a moderate level of swing skill is achieved, the chase of products can begin. One local golf shop took full advantage of the lack of knowledge of some customers by often selling newbies a mix of shaft flexes and clubs that they otherwise would have trouble moving. One particular case included 2 different brands of fairway woods with different flexes and different shaft materials. The fitting process is valuable but this can be frustrating when different results are reached by different shops. Long Drive Golf doesn’t seem to have an exact science or fitting process. I’ve been told that the process doesn’t truly apply to high swing speeds. With all of this said, I feel as though I must share at least some basic knowledge that we have learned along the way. The information listed here is not intended to be a definitive guide and there is always room for differing opinions but if we can offer any guidance to assist others so that they don’t have to pay quite as many dues in the process, we will have accomplished a goal.
The first chart that I’d like to share comes from Hireko Golf and relates to mostly standard clubs and standard fitting for actual golf play on the course.
Flex ,Wood Steel ,Wood Graphite,Iron Steel ,Iron Graphite
L1 235 cpm 248 cpm 290 cpm 290 cpm
A 239 cpm 245 cpm 287 cpm 277 cpm
R 249 cpm 255 cpm 297 cpm 291 cpm
S 260 cpm 269 cpm 308 cpm 306 cpm
X 273 cpm 283 cpm 323 cpm 318 cpm
1 L-flex measured at ladies standard length for both the wood and iron models
It’s easy, especially for guys to get caught up in the flex of their clubs and trying to swing clubs that may well be too stiff for their game. We also introduce you here to the concept of CPM rate. CPM is a term of true measurement and is done on a frequency meter. The term refers to cycles per minute. The shaft is placed in a vise and then flicked with a weight on the end. Low cycles equals less flex and higher cycles equals stiffer flex. Some manufactures label shafts wrong and it’s not unusual to find a stiff flex that says regular flex or worse. The CPM measurement doesn’t lie and can be a test to match the frequencies of your clubs. A true CPM rate becomes even more valuable when you move into the sport of Long Drive. Here again, there are some who get caught up in trying to swing really high CPM shafts while others actually need a higher CPM rate in order to produce the desired result. The next chart relates to Long Drive shafts and comes from Accuflex.
|SWING SPEED CONVERSION CHART
Driver Carry…………150 Yd Club …….Club Head Speed………Shaft Flex
300 + Yards…………….PW Iron……………120+ mph……………….. 3X
285 + Yards……………PW Iron…………….115+ mph………………. 2X
265 ~ 285 Yards………8 or 9 Iron………….105-115 mph…………….. X (extra stiff)
240~265 Yards………. 7 or 8 Iron………….. 90-110 mph……………..S (stiff)
215-245 Yards……….. 6 or 7 Iron………….. 80-95 mph……………….R (regular)
180 ~220 Yards……… 4 or 5 Iron…………….. 70 – 85 mph…………. A (amateur, senior)
<180 Yards…………….3 Iron/5 Wood…………<~70 mph…………….. L (ladies)
I find that there are feel players and brute strength players in Long Drive. The feel players generally need to feel a certain amount of flex in their shaft in order to produce optimal leverage and distance while the brute player doesn’t want or need to feel any shaft flex whatsoever. the shaft that is best for you is generally the one that produces the best result. This becomes an expensive process of trial and error but when you arrive at the correct combination, it can be rewarding to truly trust what you hold in your hand. There’s way too much talk about swing speed and far too little talk about what actually works. Our buddy Shank once told a guy that unless he had a swing speed of at least 125 mph, he should forget about trying to do Long Drive. I’d have to say that although he discouraged the guy, it was probably a true statement. There might be minimum standards required to compete but beyond those, it’s a wide open field. The old saying goes that the highway to hell is paved with good intentions and it’s never truer than at Long Drive events. Many well meaning folks will offer swing advice and equipment suggestions. The way to view this advice is to use what seems reasonable and to ignore any opinion that does not apply. Long Drive is a perfect example of how you can arrive at the same destination by many routes. There isn’t 1 perfect and accepted way to swing or to approach hitting the ball far and what works for one person might not work for another.
Regardless of whether you are just starting out, a tournament player or a person with Long Drive ambitions, you can learn something new everyday. Just remember, when you find the things that work for you, trust them and allow yourself to develop the confidence that brings success. I’ll include one more chart below. It’s not really important what shaft company this is but it’s an example of higher cpm ratings.
|Flex||Length(“)||Wt(g)||Butt OD(“)||Tip OD(“)||Tip PL(“)||Torque(°)||KS Freq.
A – Trim to Length from Butt