Now the go-to material for drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids, graphite shafts have had an interesting rise to fame. Today we will delve into the history and design of graphite golf shafts.
In 1968, Frank Thomas, the Chief Design Engineer for the Shakespeare Sporting Goods Company, invented the first graphite golf shaft. He had been contacted by Union Carbide, who wanted to bring carbon fiber technology to the consumer market. While highly effective, graphite shafts were incredibly cost-prohibitive. It would not be until advancements in production, that prices would fall and allow for graphite shafts to become popular.
Graphite shafts are made out of carbon fiber and epoxy. Carbon fiber is wrapped around a rod using epoxy resin. The entire thing is then heated and the rod is removed. The result is a hollow graphite shaft. These shafts are lighter than their steel counterparts, which leads to increased clubhead speed. Likewise, graphite shafts do a better job dissipating vibrations compared to steel. This makes the golf club feel more forgiving and less harsh for golfers.