autoFlex Lures Golfers In With The Promise Of Easy Power Off The Tee

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    2024.07.02

Dumina, a boutique golf shaft maker based in South Korea, began operations in 2013. While players on the KLPGA and LPGA enjoyed tournament success with their early releases, the small outfit barely registered a blip on the equipment radar stateside until their showy autoFlex model that comes in hot pink and rainbow colorways debuted last year. The driver shafts retail for just under $800 or more than double what a Fujikura Ventus will set you back.  

While the price tag might induce sticker shock, the tony tubes quickly gained a following thanks to glowing feedback from early adopters who reported significant leaps in ball speed and driving distance. The shafts were the talk of the table at a McIlroy family holiday gathering and Michelle Wie raved on Instagram that autoFlex is the closest thing golf has to a magic wand, claiming she gained 4 mph of clubhead speed and felt less strain on her wrists. The list of pros who’ve put AutoFlex in play in tournaments includes Adam Scott, Branden Grace, Louis Oosthuizen, Ernie Els and Fred Couples.

“We are proud and exhilarated that our golf shafts are being enjoyed by golfers throughout the world for their outstanding performance and ease of use. We hope that our product has brought back fun and enjoyment to the game of golf for its users,” Gun-yul Park, Dumina’s Chairman, says by email via a translator.

PROMOTED

 

Dumina credits the proprietary “Korean Hidden Technology” which the company will not divulge any specifics on for powering the extra whippy action an AutoFlex shaft produces while still managing to somehow return the club head to a square position at impact. Purportedly, the shaft also increases the time the ball stays in contact with the clubface in the service of longer carry distance and tighter dispersion.

“Until now, all golf shafts have relied on various specific measurements (CPM, torque, bend profile and spine alignment etc.) and the interpretation of those numbers in choosing a shaft. Autoflex shafts, however, do not depend on these factors and only use a golfer’s average swing speed to determine a suitable shaft,” Park says.

MORE FROMFORBES ADVISOR

 

“We wanted to simplify the shaft fitting process which had been quite confusing, and let the shaft do the work for the golfer. We chose the name AutoFlex, as we wished for golfers to trust that our shaft will do what it is supposed to do, and just enjoy the game without over thinking it,” he adds.

 
 

The choice of lingo seems to take a page from autonomous vehicle feature marketing, a fitting choice as their main selling point is that golfers can swing easier and still generate tremendous power by letting the shaft technology do the grunt work.

“In our younger years, golfers rely on power and speed to create distance. But as we age, the distance aspect of our game deteriorates, making this game harder to play. More than anything, we wanted golfers to enjoy this great game for as long as possible, and perhaps also turn back the clock a few years in driving distance. Autoflex allows the golfer to increase club speed without any additional strength training or strain on the body,” Park says.

No Silver Bullet

 

“Ego-flex is my nickname for it. I’ve made shafts and when they couldn’t tell me what was special about the shaft other than hidden Korean technology and all this stuff, I got a little nervous,” Sherburne says.

He admits that the brand has done a great job of courting 50 or 60-year-old guys who were previously hellbent on sticking with 60 gram stiff shafts and not going down in flex despite the inevitable creep of age diminishing their swing speed.

If a heavier, stiffer, lower torque shaft is too much for a golfer to handle it’ll slow them down. Sherburne explians he could just fit them with a 50 gram regular flex shaft at half the price of an AutoFlex and achieve the same performative benefits.

“There’s a big newscaster here in Chicago and he’s the perfect example. I love him to death but I think he knows that I would sometimes call him an egomaniac. When he comes in for a fit, it’s very hard to fit him because there is always a power struggle between what he needs versus what he’s willing to swing,” Sherburne says.

This client had heard about AutoFlex pretty early on from a buddy who was very high on the product. Autoflex doesn’t put an ‘R’ for regular on their shafts, instead going with the letter ‘X’ eliminating any stigma certain golfers would perceive if they chose to swap into a softer shaft.

With some prodding Sherburne ended up fitting the client who is a member at multiple country clubs with a 50 gram regular driver shaft in another brand. After playing it for a couple of months he was smitten and thanked Sherburne for steering him away from AutoFlex as he could now afford to put new shafts in all his golf bags because he saved money.

“I’m not going to say it’s not a great shaft, it’s probably a really well-made shaft but I just didn’t like their approach. It didn’t help my fitting story too well, the price tag didn’t make sense and so we stayed away from it,” Sherburne adds.