"The shaft is the engine of the club." Savvy golfers believe it to be true, but some golfers don't place much stock in it. Many choose to focus first and foremost on which driver head they think will work best for them, and they should—the clubhead plays a massive role in driving results, and you need to nail down the right model for you before thinking about additional options. But to completely ignore the power of the correct clubshaft, especially with the major driver players offering a slew of premium shaft options as stock? Come on! It's a two-pronged approach these days: find the best clubhead, then find the shaft that can really make it sing.
To illustrate how significant shaft selection is to driving performance, our friends at True Spec Golf performed a controlled robot test using a Titleist 917 D2 clubhead with 10.5 degrees of loft and a new Pro V1x ball. The test was performed with a variety of X, S and R flex shafts from the major manufacturers, and all shots (six per clubhead/shaft combination) were struck in the geometrical center of the clubface. X shafts were tested at 112-113 mph swing speed, while S shafts were tested at 100 mph and R at 87-88 mph.
The test produced a dizzying array of key performance parameters (see the chart below). Not surprisingly, all clubhead speeds produced similar gaps in spin, carry distance and total distance—bad fits take no favorites. Regardless of speed, the matrix of possible head/shaft combos yielded approximately eight yards difference in carry distance across the board.
What the data shows is that finding the right "engine" for your club is key to optimizing the performance of any driver head. If you don't do this, you could be leaving some major yardage on the table.