Golf Club Heads
There are two methods of manufacture;
Investment casting - where molten metal is poured into a cast and then trimmed and polished, and
Forged - where a billet of white hot metal is hammered into shape ... though today, to contain cost, forged irons are invariably roughly cast to shape before being subject to the forging process.
A variety of medium strength grades of stainless steel are used in the production of ironheads. Some are softer and mark more easily, others have a harder surface and, even after years of use, show little wear. In both cases the ball comes off the club face equally well. Some steels are best suited for casting (17-4, 304 and 431) while more malleable carbon steels (8620 and 8630) are chosen for forging.
Stainless steels will rust - some more easily than others. Stainless is a term of comparison with other ferrous (iron) based steel alloys. The term is "Stain-Less" not "Stain-Never". .
Though there are still a few wooden woods around and experienced golfers can drive nearly as far with them, metal woods, being hollow, permit the club designer to vary the center of gravity (CG) location and to change the weight distribution within the club head to provide greater forgiveness for off centre hits and, with trampoline styled faces, greater distance too. Drivers can be designed with a deliberate draw bias or fade bias to suit individual requirements (i.e. Phil Mickleson playing with two drivers in his bag).
Most drivers are made from one or more titanium alloys and most fairway woods from stainless steel, though titanium fairway woods are becoming more available.. Because the heads are hollow, construction is more complicated. Anything from two to four or more separate pieces are welded together to create the finished product.
As the word suggests hybrids are a cross between a fairway wood and a long iron, combining both investment casting and hollow shell construction to produce a club head with similarities to both. Designed mainly for distance control manufacturers have taken the center of gravity and moved it back and to the bottom of the club, which helps to launch the ball into the air with a higher spin rate so that the ball stops faster and with more accuracy. Shafts are shorter and club face stiffer like their iron counterparts.
GOLF CLUB SHAFTS
It's an old saying but every bit as true today as it was then. "You can put a poorly designed club head on a good shaft and you'll have a playable club. However, put the best designed club head in the world on an inferior shaft and the club will be no better than the shaft."
Which shaft for you? First, rate your interest in golf on a scale of 1 - 10. If you are a once or twice a year social player - rate that as 1. If you are totally committed to improving your game and reducing your handicap to single figures - rate that as 9 or 10. Most of us will probably be somewhere in between. Now, using the same rating scale, choose the shaft for your game. Shaft cost is a pretty good indicator though the cost of steel is always less than a comparable graphite shaft. Every shaft supplied by Golf Clubs Down Under is of high quality. Our True Temper or Apollo steel and Swing Science graphite standard shafts are equal to, if not better than, many brand name club sets. However, the secret is, choose the best shaft you can afford - your game will benefit.
What is the difference between Steel and Graphite Shafts? In a nut-shell; Graphite shafts are lighter but, remembering that the majority of shots are struck between the centre and toe of the clubhead, will twist more than Steel shafts which are heavier. Graphite shafts weigh from 50 grams to 85 grams while steel shafts start at about 95 grams. When we talk distance, club head speed (the speed of the club head as it contacts the ball) is the all important factor. A graphite shaft being lighter reduces the weight of the club making it easier to accelerate on the down swing; additionaly we can lengthen the shaft without altering the swing weight of the club and so increase the size of the swing arc. Either way there is increased club head speed and, ipso facto, increased distance. Graphite shafts are also inclined to absorb some of the shock of impact with the ball Steel shafts are heavier but the tendency for a shaft to twist down its length is less than with a graphite shaft. Logic says if you are going for distance choose graphite. For the shorter game, where accuracy is more important, choose steel.
What about Flex? Graphite shafts and Steel shafts both do the same thing and are calibrated in very much the same way. The shaft transmits the power from the hands through to the club head. Because at the beginning of the down stroke the hands get ahead of the tip of the shaft, the shaft flexes. It is the unwinding of this flex which provides the power and presents the club head squarely at ball contact. Depending on the club head speed and the desired trajectory - high, mid or low - the shaft manufacturer controls; a) the shaft's resistance to flex - Ladies, Amateur/Senior, Regular, Stiff and X-Stiff and b) where the flex point is on the shaft - high, mid or low. This is one of if not the most important factors when fitting clubs. Too stiff and you rob the shaft of power, too soft and the shaft unloads its energy before hitting the ball. It is when the flex is right that you get that great feel of a solid impact and the ball flies away down the middle. Golf Clubs Down Under offer an obligation-free Custom Fitting service to help you make the right choice.
Woods. Should you choose Steel or Graphite Shafts? Today, the majority of players, pro's included, choose graphite for their Driver. The small loss of control is more than out-weighed by the extra distance achieved. Fairway Woods - opinion is divided though more and more players of all calibre are choosing graphite.
Irons. My preference is for steel. When we use our irons we are looking to place the ball as precisely as we can - not that we don't hope to do this with our woods. All shafts (steel & graphite) flex similarly but steel shaft but are more resistant to twisting along their length. However, having said that, the weight difference between graphite and steel shafted clubs is quite considerable - we can all benefit from this but especially ladies, seniors, those with joint problems (arthritis, etc.) and those with a slower swing speed who want extra distance.
How long is a golf club? There is no exact industry standard for golf club length. Club makers and the brand name manufacturers work to a measure which supposedly suits a male between 170cm and 185cm tall. Translated (the industry uses imperial measure) for a steel shafted #5 iron this is between 373/4 " and 381/4 ". Measured from the line of the sole plate of the club up the back of the shaft to the butt end of the grip. Graphite shafts, because they are lighter, are generally 1/2" longer. Ladies standard length is 1" shorter largely on the presumption that they are smaller.
For those interested in comparing our club lengths to other club makers here are our measures:
Club Building Extras
Extra Tape Wraps:
When we assemble your clubs we place a single layer of adhesive tape at the top end of the shaft over which we then push the grip. The tape assures that the grip seats firmly on the shaft and does not move when you hit a ball. By adding additional layers of tape we can also make adjustment to the size of the grip; two, three and even four layers of tape can be used to make the grip larger in diameter without going to the next grip size, which may be too big.
Ideally, when you take your stance the sole of your clubhead will lay flat on the ground. The angle between the sole of the club and the shaft is known as the lie angle. Lie angles are described as too upright, too flat or correct. A lie angle that is too upright will cause the ball to go left of the target for a RH player and a lie that is too flat will cause the ball to go right of the target. Players who need lie adjustment generally are aware of their need and will be able to select the degree of adjustment they require.
The lie angle providedt by the club head manufacturer is designed to accommodate golfers between 170 cm & 180 cm tall fitted with a standard length shaft. i.e. To suit off-the-rack club sets.. Unless you are particularly tall or on the short side the standard, factory set lie angles, with appropriate shaft length and flex, is OK for most people.
The lie angle of a club head generally can be adjusted through 2°, even 3°, but bending beyond this is likely to compromise the club head resulting in hosel breakage, if not immediately at some later stage. Forged heads using malleable steels can often be bent to a greater extreme.