autoFlex SHAFTS - ARE THEY WORTH IT?

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    2024.07.02

Over the past twenty years, golf club manufacturers made some incredible advances in technology which allowed their drivers to send the ball higher and further than ever before. This eventually caused golf’s ruling bodies to put a limit on the amount of ‘spring’ a driver face could have in an attempt to stop the golf ball going further and further. To some extent this move has been successful, and despite some superb new drivers being released over recent seasons, any distance gains have been minimal, and more often than not caused through expert fitting and individual optimisation. 

 

This has not stopped golfers from searching high and low to try and find something – anything - that will add a few extra yards to their drives. One potential avenue to explore is that of the shaft. Often referred to as the engine of a club, a correctly fitted shaft is a huge part of optimising driver performance and can make a substantial difference to trajectory, spin rates and overall ball flight. This can then have a significant impact on both the carry distance and total distance that a drive will travel. 

This leads us on nicely to a new product that we are extremely excited to be stocking at Scottsdale Golf, the autoFlex shaft . When doing a driver fitting, finding the perfect shaft for your swing can increase the length of your drives but rarely will it significantly affect your clubhead speed, or more importantly your ball speed. The extra distance is gained by optimising every statistic across the board, like launch, backspin and peak height. This is where the autoFlex shaft differs. Virtually all players that try the autoFlex shaft find they get a significant increase in clubhead speed and ball speed, giving them the potential to hit their drives much further.

What kind of sorcery is involved here though and how exactly does a shaft do this. The answer lies within this Korean company’s new concept that results in the autoFlex shaft being 20 to 30 grams lighter than a conventional golf shaft. The fact that a lighter weight allows for something to be moved faster is certainly not a new idea, and this has been tried many times in golf with varying levels of success. On virtually all earlier attempts where significantly lighter shafts have been used, the clubs they have been installed in have been aimed at the mid to high handicappers as any speed gains were usually accompanied by a loss of control.  

 

autoFlex have used their patented formula K.H.T (Korea Hidden Technology) which allows for a lighter weight shaft to be used but instead of losing control, golfers can expect to see hugely improved control and shot dispersion. K.H.T optimises the transfer of energy from clubhead to golf ball creating increased ball speed and more carry distance and roll. The autoFlex shaft also has lower CPM (Cycles Per Minute) which causes the shaft to kick at impact to create optimal dynamic loft and creates a higher ball flight without any unwanted increase to backspin levels. The unique characteristics of the autoflex shaft also allows the club head to return on the downswing which creates more centre face impact strikes and improved accuracy. 

I am no different to most golfers, I will try anything and everything I can to try and add yardage to my drives, and so the introduction of the autoFlex shaft to our shaft fitting matrix in our fabulous Performance & Build centre certainly piqued my interest. The correct flex of autoflex shaft to try is determined by a ten mile per hour swing speed bands as seen below. The first thing to notice when the correct shaft flex is selected is that they feel significantly whippier than you would usually expect to use, which can feel a little strange at first. When you start to swing it, you at once get the sensation that you are using it in the same way you would crack a whip and the lighter feeling gives the impression that you are able to move it more quickly.  

In my early morning testing session, I used my own Callaway Rogue ST Triple Diamond LS 9° head and hit twenty shots with my own shaft in it – Accra FX-3.0 (which I love) - and twenty shots with an autoFlex 505x in it. I made sure I was fully warmed up by hitting several drivers before counting shots on the test. The first thing I noticed when I moved over to the autoFlex was how much lighter it felt. This is very much by design as this 505x is supposed to play at a swing-weight of around D1 whilst a normal driver shaft will usually play around D3/D4. Immediately you feel like you can move the club more quickly without the need for any extra effort.  

I must admit to having some initial fears that I would see a large loss of control when using the autoFlex shaft, mainly due to the perceived extra whippiness. When hitting balls though, the sensation transforms into something that feels extremely stable through impact and the shaft seems to somehow stiffen as your swing approaches the hitting zone. Purchasing an autoFlex is not an inexpensive decision and so some significant improvements in performance are required to justify the extra spend. Let’s have a look at the results from my testing session to see if the autoFlex shaft made a marked difference to my driver statistics. 

 

In every category that matters the autoFlex shaft proved to be a clear winner. My clubhead speed jumped up immediately thanks to the lighter weight and crucially this was reflected by a significant increase in ball-speed. When you consider that all variables apart from the shaft remained the same, that is a highly impressive achievement, and is enough on its own to warrant making the change. You might not think that an average increase of 9 yards extra carry is significant, but nothing has ever come close to having that effect before. What was even more impressive was that the ceiling for longer drives was far, far higher. My longest carry with the autoFlex was eighteen yards longer than the best with my own shaft. It must also be noted that I didn't play around with loft settings or head weight when trying the autoFlex, I simply screwed it into my head. I believe with a little bit of time spent with the master fitters in our Performance & Build Centre , I could see even better results. 

It has been over a year since I have managed to carry one over 300 yards on our GC Quad downstairs and, as I am now approaching 50 years of age, I feared that it was something I would never be able to do again. On my 6th shot with the autoFlex installed I carried one 303yards (330yards total) with a ball speed of just under 164mph. For those of you who may smell a rat, fortunately I captured it on video for you all to enjoy.



Based on my own results and the results customers have had in our fitting centre, there is absolutely no doubt this shaft does exactly what the manufacturers say it does. If you are looking to add some serious zip to your drives, then I highly recommend giving the autoFlex a try. The only problem for me now is that I simply must buy one. It is not possible for me to know that this improvement is out there and yet not have it in my bag.  

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