Golf clubs occasionally break. A golfer doesn’t need to golf infinite rounds to, at some point, have the club head fly off the shaft after making contact with the ball, or to see something similar happen to a fellow golfer speaking from experience.
There are multiple parts of the club that could be at risk, especially where the head meets the shaft. But how about the shaft itself? How long do golf club shafts last?
Typically, golf shafts, whether metal or graphite, are built to stand the test of time and thousands upon thousands of strokes. There are situations that could cause cracking, but barring misuse, a golfer will probably outgrow his shafts before they show any sign of weakening.
So in this article, we’ll take a look at how to get the maximum life out of your golf shafts, as well as how to prevent them from breaking in the first place, and how to repair them if you’re unfortunate enough to get one cracked.
Do club shafts last a predictable amount of time?
Experts agree that golf club shafts can last many years and potentially even several decades. That doesn’t mean that they never break.
Usually, though, a break of the shaft results from either a manufacturing defect or misuse.
Shafts are made to impact a golf ball countless times.
They are not made to hit concrete or repeatedly dig holes in the ground (however, even frequent divot-creators shouldn’t worry too much).
Some posit that proper use of a club resulting in a broken shaft would most likely occur in a sand wedge, since digging a ball out of a trap is a much more impactful experience for a club than picking a ball out of the grass.
Again, golfers typically move on to their next set of clubs before seeing any issue with their old shafts, thus making predicting the life of golf shafts difficult.
An interesting poll of British amateur golfers revealed that most golfers replace their clubs between four and ten years of use.
Whether shafts tend to last 30 years or 60 years, the number doesn’t really matter for most players, or even those who buy their clubs as a second or third user.
Do graphite shafts break more easily?
Graphite shafts are a bit of a miracle in the golf world. They are much lighter than steel shafts and stay stiffer over the course of a swing. The gut reaction would be that graphite shafts are more breakable than steel shafts.
After all, what could be stronger than steel? And furthermore, doesn’t the lightness of graphite make it more breakable?
No. Graphite is unbelievably strong for how light it is. That’s why it is used in the construction of race cars and airplanes. While graphite shafts are easier for golfers to get around, they are actually less likely to break than metal shafts.
It used to be true that a golfer might only have a graphite shaft on his driver. Its use extended to other woods, and eventually, has spread to irons as well.
There are even ultra-light, ultra-tight graphite putters out there for golfers who can’t live without it. There are some outdated internet claims that graphite shafts are more likely to break than steel ones, but improved technology has resulted in the opposite.
The exception to what’s been stated is an imperfect build, which does tend to happen more frequently with graphite clubs.
Sometimes a graphite club may have a little crack known as a “splinter.” It won’t take a golfer long to find out if this is the case with a newly purchased graphite shaft.
Usually a splinter spreads dramatically after several shots. The club feels hollow and eventually breaks.
How can a golfer maximize the life of golf club shafts?
Whether a golfer wants a newly purchased set of clubs to last for life, everyone wants to maximize use and avoid broken implements.
There are several ways golfers can ensure that their clubs stay in one piece. The elements can combine to break shafts down.
Metal rusts, and clubs left out in the rain or left wet from moist conditions can deteriorate the shaft.
It’s important that golfers store clubs somewhere where they won’t get wet and carry a towel on the course to take care of moisture accumulation.
Extremes in temperatures, particularly heat, can do strange things to a shaft that manifests themselves during use. This information is a caution to golfers who like to keep their clubs in the trunk.
A rare circumstance that can cause shaft damage is the bumps of transporting clubs via airplane. Golfers should store their clubs carefully before checking them at the airport.
One hack is to tape a few clubs together in each slot of the golf bag. Even a pair of clubs taped together are much less likely to be damaged than a single club.
So if shafts don’t break, do they bend?
Yes, club shafts can bend. And obviously, a bent shaft will affect the golf swing, resulting in inconsistent results on the course. As has been established, golf shafts are strong and made to handle countless shots.
However, steep swings into driving range mats placed on top of hard ground or extensive hitting out of the bunker can cause shafts to gradually bend.
Additionally, many golfers who order clubs online notice a curve in the club when they look down the shaft.
The good news is that small bends in golf shafts can be fixed manually. When in doubt, golfers can get their clubs re-shafted at a golf retailer for an affordable price.
Golf shafts typically last for years and are made to withstand thousands of shots. There are situations that may cause cracking, but barring abuse, a golfer will usually outgrow his/her clubs before they show any signs of weakness.