For a golfer to be told that a stiff club shaft no longer suits his swing can be a humbling experience. After all, stiff shafts are often equated with power and distance.
“It’s an ego thing,” said Chris Sweeney, 45, territory sales manager for Mizuno, who was encouraged to switch from playing a Dynamic Gold S300 130 gram stiff shaft to a Nippon NS Pro 950 97 gram regular shaft.
The bearer of such news was not a personalized custom fitter, but Mizuno’s impartial Shaft Optimizer, which debuted regionally in the fall and is now available nationwide at major retailers and a growing number of green grass shops.
The Shaft Optimizer created the most non-equipment buzz from the annual PGA Merchandise Show in January. Simply, the Shaft Optimizer practically squeezes nearly all of the guesswork out of shaft fitting.
“Through talking to retailers and fitters there was one thing that we heard over and over again, that the interchangeable systems are intimidating,” said Chris Voshall, Mizuno golf club engineer. “There are so many options and combinations that not only are the players getting confused and overwhelmed, but so are the fitters.”
There are a number of technological devices that help in custom fitting a golfer to the proper club, but none, until now, hones in on the club’s “engine” as Voshall refers to the shaft. The proper shaft flex helps keep the clubface aligned at impact, allowing shots to remain on target.
“There have long been standards for how to measure length, lie, etc., but the shaft has always been one part that was unfortunately overlooked,” Voshall said. “A person can be fit perfectly into a set of iron heads, but if the shaft isn’t matched up to their swing and how they load the club, they are giving up distance and accuracy. The Shaft Optimizer is the new standard for shaft fitting.”