How to Trim Golf Shafts to Firm Them

By Lyle Smith
A shorter shaft is typically stiffer than a longer one.
A shorter shaft is typically stiffer than a longer one.

Although a shorter golf club shaft tends to be firmer than a longer one, it is important to understand the changes trimming a shaft will make to a club before making such a permanent change. Tour pros often have their shafts "tipped," or cut back from the clubhead end slightly to make the tip of the shaft stiffer. This enables them to keep the same length club but have a slightly stiffer shaft near the ball. Cutting a club from the butt end will have somewhat the opposite effect, making the shaft stiffer overall but shorter as well. The most fundamental difference in a shorter club is shorter shot distance, and you might find the change in stiffness is not worth the change to your club.

Cutting down golf clubs

From the butt: The easiest and quickest way to adjust the length of a club is to remove the grip and cut a given amount of the shaft off the butt end. Traditionally, this is how many youngsters get their first sets of golf clubs. Their parents cut the clubs down so they are easier for them to handle. Keep in mind, though, that cutting the end off a club only adjusts the length. The swing weight, or weight at the head of the club and any additional weighting inside the shaft, is still in place, and cutting the shaft shorter changes the balance of the club as well.

From the tip: "Tipping" is a common term among clubmakers and involves cutting a short amount of shaft off the tip–or clubhead–end of the shaft before putting the club together. Tipping removes the thinnest part of the shaft near the clubhead, making that end of the shaft slightly stiffer than standard. Many pros have their shafts tipped as much as one or two inches. The idea behind tipping is to make the clubhead end of the shaft stiffer and even lower torque than it was designed to be to minimize twisting of the club at impact.

Tools: There are three basic ways to cut a golf shaft down, and some are easier or more difficult based on what material the shaft is made of. Although it is possible to use a simple (and sharp) hacksaw to cut down steel shafts, using this tool on graphite shafts can cause splintering or other damage to the shaft. Most clubmakers use a shaft cutter–the same as a small pipe cutter a plumber would use. This cuts a small groove in the shaft slightly deeper each circle around the shaft until it cuts through. Some clubmakers might use a grinding wheel equipped with a saw blade to cut the shaft cleanly. Make sure you measure properly before cutting.

Changing swing characteristics: Changing the length of a golf club can moderately or severely change the swing characteristics of the club. Removing length from the butt end of the shaft also removes weight from that end and changes the swing weight and balance of the club. Cutting a shaft from one end or the other also changes the kickpoint of the shaft–lowering it if you cut from the butt end or raising it if you cut from the tip. Even a small adjustment to a putter can cause a significant change in feel. Keep these changes in mind when planning any changes to your club.

About the Author

Lyle Smith is an award-winning copywriter with a widely varied background. He has completed work for individuals, small businesses and fortune 1000 corporate clients all over the country. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Villanova University.

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