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Difference between regular and stiff

Posted by: Matt Rodway | Wed 21st Sep 2011 08:40 | Last Reply

I have recently acquired an R7 TP 3 wood with a stiff shaft.  I was under the impression stiff shafts were mainly for pro's but I am hitting it really well and it feels so much better than a 3 wood with a regular shaft.

Also, what does TP (Tour Preferred) mean?


re: Difference between regular and stiff
Loud Mouth B.A.
Reply : Wed 21st Sep 2011 09:34


Each shaft manufacturer has its grading system for stiffness and no two manufacturers' systems are the same.

One needs to consider where and how a shaft bends as well as its stiffness. A shaft with a bias towards bending high up (i.e. nearer your hands) will feel stiffer than a low bending shaft.

A quality shaft will have the capacity to bend more throughout its full length, just like a quality hand saw.

'TP'  means exactly the same as 'sprinkled with magic fairy dust,' i.e. absolutely nothing. Mere sales' puff.

Last edit : Wed 21st Sep 2011 09:35
re: Difference between regular and stiff
Reply : Wed 21st Sep 2011 20:32


I think Matt may benefit from you giving him a much more basic and simplified description.  Like a regular shaft bends more than a stiff shaft and is better suited to a swing speed between 85mph and 100mph while a stiff shaft is better suited to a swing speed between 95mph and 110mph.  No doubt you will correct the speeds but you get what I mean

Tour Preferred are slightly smaller heads that are mpre workable but less forgiving.  You'll probably find you get more shape with these but your 'bad' shots are worse

re: Difference between regular and stiff
Loud Mouth B.A.
Reply : Wed 21st Sep 2011 21:21


Matching a player to a universal shaft stiffness label simply via swing speed is unachievable because:

1.   One manufacturer's 'stiff' may equate with another manufacturer's 'regular.'

2.   The two shaft profiles may vary enormously. And in order to cope with say a high flexing shaft a player may need to go down a grade in stiffness.

3.  Players vary in how they apply power.  I fit a father and son. Son is thirty yards longer than Dad and uses a stiff flex. Dad uses lots of wrist lag so needs an 'X' shaft in the same model.

4.  Swing speed is simply an illusion if a player cannot convert it into ball speed because of a poor follow through or whatever. (Poor 'smash factor.'   )

5.  Players do not always have yardage as a primary criteria. Many prefer feel, and because of that choose a shaft stiffness which may not be ideal in theory but nevertheless they prefer it.

6.  All else being equal, a stiffer driver shaft is easier (more accurate) to use and hence a lot of players prefer to play conservatively.

7.  What is right for a player is what they inform you is right for them. Very often  one's charts, beliefs, and fitting criteria count for very little!  laugh" title="laugh" width="20" />

I wish that fitting a player was as simple as you imagine. Fitting would be then so much easier! If you believe that truly it is then please expand on your post (if you wish) as I am happy with mine.

I take your point that 'tour preferred' may mean something vis a vis one manufacturer. It is not however a term which has yet found its way into the science / art of club building and is not a term familiar to me. Thanks for enlightening me.

Last edit : Thu 22nd Sep 2011 06:12
re: Difference between regular and stiff
Dave Smith
Reply : Thu 22nd Sep 2011 20:26

Thanks Sanders, another informative post and makes my shift selection feel correct.

I have a swing speed that is within the 'suggested' range for a stiff shift, but I know I lack that 'smash factor' you speak of and as a result, I'm far far from being a long hitter, so chose a regular against pro advise simply due to feel and accuracy that I was gaining with the regular.  

From someone with considerably less knowledge than Sander, what I'd say with any equipment is try & compare before you buy.

re: Difference between regular and stiff
Loud Mouth B.A.
Reply : Thu 22nd Sep 2011 21:33


You are welcome.

All the knowledge, science, swing analysis data in the world in no substitute in the world for lining up eight or so drivers of various shaft stiffnesses and seeing which performs the best for a customer, and which  he / she  likes the best. Then using that as a starting point for fine tuning via a custom fit. 

Without an agreement of build principles with the customer at that intermediate fitting stage it is quite easy to build a very powerful driver which the customer does not like for a wide range of reasons.  

So, I personally totally agree with Dave's fitting philosophy. A longdrive competitor requires every last yard out of a custom build driver. Whilst a golfer requires much more, and ultimate achievable length often does not even feature as a primary goal. Simplistic stereotyping would be that in LD we get used to our best driver. A golfer on the other hand wants a driver which essentially adjusts to him, not he to it. But a great deal of narrow mindedness exists within both camps!

Last edit : Thu 22nd Sep 2011 21:41
re: Difference between regular and stiff
Tim Hawkins
Reply : Fri 23rd Sep 2011 00:34

Could I just point out, just in the interests of pure pedantry (and to put something Ivan states in less vague terms), that swing speed is not the same thing as club head speed.  Someone with a very high rotational swing speed and a very flexible shaft may very well have a very low club head speed.

Just saying..

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