A Golf Pro Shares His Experiences With The Changes In Golf Shafts
My first years in the pro shop bag room began in 1961. We had about 350 sets of members clubs stored. About a dozen sets had wooden shafts. These elderly members seldom played but I had a chance to study the equipment. Iron heads were larger and thinner because they were easier to forge. Wooden shafts were thicker than steel from end to end in order to make them stiffer and less prone to twist or torque. The thick wooden shafts required thin leather grips.
Some of the sets had plastic around the steel shafts. I was told that during World War II there was a shortage of chrome and therefore the plastic prevented rust deposits from pitting the steel.
We only carried Wilson, Spalding and MacGregor clubs in those days. In the Late ‘60s Spalding introduced lighter aluminum shafts that required a larger iron hosel for the fatter shaft tip diameter. This was required to get the stiffness that steel had. I was told that Wilson was forced into competition and may not have had the necessary time to correctly engineer and test the hosel size of the irons; and subsequently their aluminum tip diameter was too small for good control. These developments helped to make the aluminum shaft short lived.
As a Head PGA Club Professional, I qualified for and played in the 1969 Western Open with Spalding Elite woods and irons. I personally liked the performance of aluminum shafts, although some said that the shaft did not react as fast as steel.
Fiberglass shafts were marketed by a company called Shakespeare. Gary Player endorsed their equipment. My little experience with them was not positive. The ones I attempted to hit seemed extremely stiff and heavy.
Graphite Golf Shafts Emerge
The first time I saw graphite shafts in golf clubs was in the middle ‘60s, on clubs owned by a member who was about a 5 or 6 handicap golfer. He had Golfcraft woods and irons. This company was bought out by Titleist. Graphite shafts were first popular for women and seniors because of their light weight but over time of course they’ve come to define performance and consistency.
Even back then, our Titleist sales rep was always touting the Darrell Survey because it proved that Titleist was played by so many players. This highly respected auditing company was on the first tee at every PGA Tour event. They checked each players’ bags or asked questions about their equipment in many categories. These statistics began in the 1930s and are still seen in many golf ads and publications today. Recently I saw driver golf shaft statistics on the Internet.
Aldila easily had the bragging rights for having the most shafts in the Tour players’ bags, with 34 more driver shafts in play than its closest competitor. Aldila’s claim to be the number one golf shaft manufacturer on Tour is backed by the integrity of the Darrell Survey and I’m thrilled to be sharing my experiences as a golf pro, teacher and equipment innovator with Aldila’s blog audience. Look for more blogs by me throughout the year. Until then, play well and enjoy the game.
Aldila’s golf blog is dedicated to bringing you information, news and entertainment about golf and to helping all of us get more enjoyment from the game through golf technology and equipment innovation. Joe CoWhick is a former PGA Head Professional and the founder of Joe CoWhick Golf Innovations, which is dedicated to teaching and improving play in golf.
Author Joe CoWhick has been part of various PGA sections, including; Iowa, Illinois, Gateway and Metropolitan NY; and Joe gave more than 25,000 video lessons in 10 seasons at the world-famous Richard Metz Golf Studio. You can find out more at: www.joecowhickgolf.com.