Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the 1994 World Scientific Congress of Golf

By A. J. Cochran; M. R. Farrally | Go to book overview

42

Golf shaft flex point-an analysis of measurement techniques

A. Chou and O.C. Roberts

Titleist and Foot-Joy Worldwide, Carlsbad, California, USA

Abstract

This paper provides a brief view of the accuracy of several popular methods of shaft flex point measurement in terms of predicting resulting ball trajectory. A review of flex point terminology is first presented along with the concept that shaft performance can be measured in absolute terms by analyzing the ball flight that is produced. Steel and composite test shafts are measured for mechanical specifications and then tested under both machine (robot) and live golfer conditions. The resulting ball flight information is recorded and analyzed. Conclusions are made regarding the general lack of accuracy of the flex point measurements that were tested and additional research is suggested.

Keywords: Flex point, Bend point, Kick point, Balance point, Frequency, Torque, Trajectory.


1 Introduction

The role of the golf shaft in the total performance of the golf club has traditionally been the subject of much discussion. The effects of shaft properties such as weight, flex, and frequency have been discussed and acknowledged. Various methods of measurement have been recognized and some have even been standardized. However, a minimal amount of scientific research has been published towards establishing a direct cause and effect relationship between shaft properties and club performance or, more notably, ball flight.

One of the more misunderstood of these properties is flex point. There is even a variety of terms used to describe “the position of maximum bending of the shaft” as it is referred to by Maltby (1982) and Wishon and Summitt (1992). The terms flex point, bend point, and kick point are all used (sometimes interchangeably) for this purpose and often different methods of measurement are even used to establish each value. Whatever terminology is used, however, it is traditionally believed that flex point has the major effect of influencing ball trajectory height. Common theory holds that a flex point that is lower, or closer to the shaft tip, creates a higher trajectory and that a higher flex point results in a lower trajectory.

The goal of this paper is to evaluate the accuracy of three popular methods of flex point measurement in determining relative ball trajectory height. We will discuss our experimental methodology, establish our experimental results, and then draw conclusions based on these results. Our aim is not to endorse any methods in particular but more to assign scientific ball flight data to what has traditionally been a laboratory measurement.

Science and Golf II: Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of Golf. Edited by A.J. Cochran and M.R. Farrally. Published in 1994 by E & FN Spon, London. ISBN 0 419 18790 1

-278-

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