What Does Tipping a Shaft Do? – Golf Myths Unplugged

What is Tipping and Why Would You Do It?

“Tipping” a shaft refers to cutting it from the tip end (where the club head goes) prior to installing the head.  It’s done with the intention of making the shaft feel and perform as if it were stiffer.

As always, we wanted to know if this does what it’s supposed to or if golfers are mutilating shafts to no effect.

The Myths

Myth #1 – Tipping a shaft changes the feel

Myth #2 – Tipping a shaft will reduce spin

Myth #3 – Tipping a shaft will reduce launch angle

Myth #4 – Tipping a shaft will improve accuracy

How We Tested

For this test, we brought together five golfers with handicaps ranging from 10 to +3.  Each player hit five drives with each of three shafts.  One shaft was untipped, one was tipped 1/2″, and one was tipped 1″.  The shaft used was the Nippon Regio Formula B.  Each shaft was built to the same finished length and swing weight.

All testing was done at and with the help of Club Champion

The Results

Tipping a shaft unequivocally changes the feel.  All five of our testers noticed a difference, though some were more sensitive to it than others.

Despite not knowing which shaft they were testing, each one identified the feel as you would expect: the untipped version felt the softest, the 1″ tipping felt the stiffest.

If you like the shaft you’re playing but want a stiffer feeling, tipping it should deliver the desired result.

Tipping a shaft, just like choosing a stiffer flex, does not guarantee lower spin.

As our players moved from the untipped shaft to the 1/2″ tip to the 1″ tip, two of them did see lower spin.  However, two of them registered their highest spin numbers with the most heavily-tipped shaft.

Interestingly, the two players who saw a spin reduction from tipping were our two slowest swingers.

The result here is probably predictable in light of the myth above.  Tipping a shaft does not guarantee a lower launch angle.

Only one of our testers produced his lowest launch angle with the 1″ tipped shaft.  Two players launched that same 1″ tipped shaft the highest.

There was no clear correlation between swing speed and how the tipping affected launch angle.

You can’t buy accuracy with a stiffer shaft, and you can’t get it by tipping your shaft either.

None of our testers saw the 1″ tipped shaft stand alone for accuracy, though two were equally (or near equally) accurate with the 1″ tip and the untipped shaft.

Two of our testers – one of our slower swingers and one of our faster swings – were significantly less accurate with the 1″ tipped shaft than either of the other two shafts.

Conclusion

If you want a shaft to feel stiffer, tipping it will get results.  However, tipping (just like playing a stiffer shaft) is no guarantee of lower spin, lower launch, or greater accuracy.  If you’re interested in maximizing your distance off the tee and hitting more fairways, the best approach is to work with a high quality club fitter.

The Data

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

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7 Comments

  1. If the tipped shafts feel stiffer then does this mean they will produce different CPM value as well?

    • Matt Saternus

      Amirul,

      We didn’t measure the CPM, so I can’t say for sure. Our primary interest was in what the golfers felt.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Milton Taylor

    That was a great article! Really informative and cool to know the facts. That’s good work Matt.

  3. Hello Matt,
    Great info. Finally tipping issues are put to rest. I do have one question. Most shafts that is built for fairway woods are tipped 1/2″ to 1″. Does that change feels well? I was told different answers on this.
    Thanks
    Jon

    • Matt Saternus

      Jon,

      Based on what we found, I think there would be a substantial difference between installing a shaft in any club without tipping, with 1/2″ tipping, or with 1″ tipping.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. Wouldn’t this be dependent on the type of shaft though? Some shafts have soft mids that get firm by the tip, and others are firm mid with softer tips.

    • Matt Saternus

      Interesting question. I don’t have a definitive answer. My guess is that tipping may be more noticeable in some kinds of shafts and less noticeable in others, but that’s only a guess.

      Best,

      Matt

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