Am I getting shafted? – “Made for” vs “Proprietary” vs “Exclusive” vs “Real Deal”

The devil is in the details folks!

I get a laugh every year at the various terms and tricks manufacturers use to push the uniqueness of their new equipment lines. As a shaft guy, I always like to ask the more detailed questions regarding the stock and up-charge shaft offerings. Stock shaft offerings by the O.E.M. are determined by a pretty simple process, according to my insiders. The equipment manufacturers come up with the desired characteristics of the shafts that they will need paired to their certain new heads. Then they pitch these desired specs to all the shaft manufacturers who then send the O.E.M samples. The O.E.M then tests those samples with the new head prototypes, and basically commit to the shaft that had the less variant of deviations during testing and most importantly-broke less! All O.E.M have testing machines that either fire a ball into specific locations of the face and or the “Iron Byron” type machines that actually perform full swing shots. All shafts are basically put into these machines and repeatedly hit until they break. Remember not too long ago when most stock shafts from the manufacturers had larger .350 shaft tips vs all the tour shafts  being the smaller .335 tip. Well people, the reality is those larger stock shafts are thicker because they are designed that way –  so they will  break less!

Now during the pre-golf bust, most manufacturers would offer stock shafts very similar to high-end shafts but in REALLY  small letters would write something like “Made exclusively for…..” or “Exclusively made for…..”. Then the bottom dropped out of the golf market and shaft manufacturers actually started to provide some real-deal shafts (which didn’t last long) but still helped everybody to actually sell golf clubs. Now as manufacturers are actually looking to make a profit this year (well at least a few) they have pulled another trick out of their sleeves.

Today’s “stock” shaft offerings are about as close as you can get (visually & graphically) to several of the “Real Deal” shafts that its almost counterfeit. These shafts are so close that I’ve even had several of their rep’s ADAMANTLY point out that the shafts are the “real thing”. Well I have to always ask myself (as should you – the consumer), how can a $350 shaft be offered in a $350 driver? You know the old adage  – If something is too good to be true. Well that applies to stock golf shafts now more than ever.

To summarize, the high-end shafts are built using vastly superior graphite pre-preg (typically 45+ ton or more), which is vastly thinner (allowing for more cross-weave sections and/or layering), vastly stronger (thus requiring much less heavier resin), and made in much smaller quantities (Quality vs Quantity) under more stringent guidelines. This quality material is typically reserved for military, aeronautical, and even space use.

So when you see a stock shaft that looks exactly like,  and I mean EXACTLY like  (lets say for example) – the new Matrix Ozik White Tie 5X4 but  actually reads Matrix Ozik 55X4 – or you see a shaft that looks EXACTLY like the premium Project X  LZ 5.5 but instead of saying “Hand Crafted in San Diego, CA” the identical looking label actually reads “Hand Designed in San Diego, CA” just realize what it is your getting.

So here is my question – If I go out and slap a Range Rover hood ornament on my 1992 Nissan Pathfinder – would I be driving a Range Rover or a Pathfinder (which I wouldn’t do because I LOVE my Pathfinder – hence the reason I have 330,000+ miles on it :).

As always this is just my opinion and just trying to give my readers some more food for thought!

 

 

About Andrew Hodson

I am the youngest with in a golfing family which has spanned three generations. My grandfather started the tradition in England (Bert Hodson-1931 Ryder Cup Team) and has since passed on his knowledge and love of the game. Although I did not follow in the steps of my father and grandfather on a professional golfing level, my love of the game and commitment to accurately fit equipment has only grown. Even as a kid I enjoyed re-gripping clubs which eventually led to refinishing wood heads, re-shafting, and now has culminated in more detailed custom club fitting, building, and repair.