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Shaft Alignment Gains Acceptance Among Pros
by E. Michael Johnson 10

Pros Get Aligned

The spining of golf shafts has caught the attention of PGA Tour professionals, including Jack Nicklaus. In all, more than 70 players on the tour have had shafts in their clubs aligned, according to Dick Weiss, founder of Strategic Shaft Technologies in Miami. And with the SST van now a fixture at most tournament sites, Weiss expects the figure to rise.

Every golf club shaft is as unique as a fingerprint. In fact, because of the vagaries of the various manufacturing stages (for both steel and composite shafts), it is virtually impossible for any manufacturer today to achieve a perfectly symmetrical shaft. Consequently, every shaft has a spine, or seam, that runs the entire length of it. And because shafts are installed into clubheads randomly, most sets of clubs have shafts with spine positions that vary from club to club. Enter spining, or as it's known among golf shaft aficionados, "pureing."

Spining is a process in which a shaft is taken out of a club and then reinserted with the spine--a line where there is a weight imbalance--in a neutral position, usually facing toward the target line.

The theory behind spining is that a non-neutral spine position brings the clubhead to impact in a position other than what the swing would have ordained, while spining lets the shaft load and unload on the same plane.

Sounds interesting. But is it legal? Yes. Though a cloudy issue for some time, a February 1999 ruling by the U.S. Golf Association allows or orienting "the shaft in the clubhead such that the shaft appeared to bend symmetrically in all directions."

Since the rule change, Dick Weiss, founder of Strategic Shaft Technologies, contends his company and its 15 licensees, including Golfsmith, have aligned more than 100,000 shafts. The cost for taking the shafts out, aligning them and reinserting them into the clubhead is $45 to $60 per club (One shaft that cannot be removed and reinserted is the Wilson Fat Shaft). Turnaround time is two to three days.

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