Why Swing Weight Is Lower with A Lighter Golf Shaft

Golfers are constantly looking to increase the distance they hit the ball.  One way is reducing the overall weight of the club so it can be swung faster and that is mainly a function of the shaft weight.  But re-shafting to a lighter weight shaft does have some consequences.

What happens to the swing weight with a lighter weight golf shaft?

Some golfers assume if the shaft is lighter, a higher percentage of the weight is concentrated near the head resulting into an increase in swing weight (or spelled swingweight).  However, that is not the case and let us show you why.  If you look carefully at a golf swing weight scale, there is a fulcrum point or position that club pivots around located 14" from the end of the grip.  That is a constant.

To obtain a swingweight reading, the club is placed onto the scale and a sliding weight is moved back and forth until the club balances about the pivot point.  Then the swingweight is read from the sliding scale (for example C9, D2, D5, etc.) We remember as a kid playing on a teeter totter the principles of equilibrium where two kids of different mass can balance the teeter tooter depending on how far they are apart from the fulcrum point.  That is how a swingweight scale works.

If we look at the diagram above of the scale, it is easy to understand that if the head weighed more, then the the arm of the scale would rotate counterclockwise and require the sliding weight to be shifted to the right increasing the swingweight.  If the grip weighed more, then the arm of the scale would rotate clockwise and require the slighting weight to be shifted to the left decreasing the swingweight.  Conversely, if the head or grip were lighter, the opposite scenarios would occur. But what about the golf shaft?

Shaft Weight and Balance Point

We know that any weight added to the head size of the fulcrum point increases the swingweight and any weight added to the grip side decreases the swingweight.  When we look at the shaft as one of the components, when need to know where the balance point of the shaft is.  We have denoted this with the red dot on the shaft and it is located on the head side of the fulcrum point.  This makes complete sense because most of the shaft resides on that side.  Even on a 35.5" wedge, the balance point of the shaft will remain on the head side of the fulcrum.

swingweight, shaft weight and balance point

As we reduce the shaft weight (and the shaft length and balance point are the same), then the swingweight will lower.  How much?  It will vary depending how much lighter the shaft is and the length of the shaft.  On a driver, a 7-gram reduction in weight will be @ 1 swingweight point, but on a sand wedge it might require a 15-gram drop in weight to reduce by the same 1 swingweight point.

How do you remedy the situation?

To re-balance the club after re-shafting to maintain the original swingweight, there are several things that you can do.

  1. Increase the club length (each 1/6" = 1 swingweight)
  2. Add tip weights prior to installing the shaft
  3. Add lead tape to the head
  4. Add a different weight screw or weight to the head if one is available

Final thoughts

There are exceptions to every rule such as when the balance point of the shaft changes dramatically.  But we will leave that topic to another blog post.  Hopefully, you have a better understanding of the relationship between shaft weight and the swingweight of the club. You can use our golf club building swing weight calculator to see how shaft weight and balance point affect the overall swing weight of a golf club.