Golf pro Scott Sackett on how shaft flex influences attack angle
Golf pro Scott Sackett on how shaft flex influences attack angle.
When looking at how a player drives a golf ball, it’s important to consider all things to find the best driver-and-shaft combination possible. One thing that gets a lot of attention is the shaft. Regular, stiff, and X-stiff are all shaft flexes we are familiar with. Furthermore, swing speed is not the only factor to think about when selecting a shaft. How that shaft flex affects the angle of attack is something that is extremely important and often overlooked. I’ve taken a hard look at this through the last months and recently put some of my ideas to the test.
Recently, a professional golfer I know hit some shots with his X-shafted Titleist 913 and his S-flex Adams driver. The shots on the right are the angle of attack with the 913 driver. As you can see, the attack angle is moving from approximately 0 to as high as 5.6 degrees. This is ideal for this player.
As soon as he gets the S-flex into his hands, the attack angle dramatically changes. As seen in the second image on the right, the average attack angle goes up to nine degrees! We saw as high as 12 and as low as six with this particular driver. It became apparent that simply changing the shaft flex had a huge impact on flight and distance!
As a fitter, I have realized that one of the main reasons that you might move a player down a flex is to increase distance. This might actually increase the angle of attack, thus providing a spin-rate-and-launch-angle combination much more efficiently. Along with contact point, the shaft flex and its result on attack angle and launch must be looked at while analyzing anyone’s driver numbers.
The shots with the lower attack angle in this case had an average carry distance of 281 yards, whereas the shots with the S-flex had an average carry of 254 yards. That is an average carry distance of 27 yards lost by moving shaft flex alone!
Five Top Drivers for 2015*
Callaway Big Bertha Alpha 815, $450
Cobra Fly-Z+, $399
Nike Vapor Flex, $500
Ping G30/SF Tec/LS Tec, $350
Wilson Staff D200, $300
*According to Golf Digest
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