'Frequency Matching' in Golf Shafts

Ping Golf shafts
Tim Rue/Corbis via Getty Images

Frequency matching is a service provided by some custom clubmakers or club fitters that helps ensure the ideal gapping from club to club within a golf set in "shaft frequency measurement." We'll explain what that is below.

How important is frequency matching? For most golfers, not very: it trails well behind shaft weight, flex rating and bend profile in importance for all golfers. It does matter at the margins, however, and so, relatively speaking, is more important to the best golfers than it is to most golfers.

Frequency-Matched Golf Shafts

What is shaft frequency, how is it measured, and why bother measuring it? To get a handle on those questions, we went to well-known golf club designer and researcher Tom Wishon of Wishon Golf.

To get a shaft frequency measurement, the shaft is clamped at the grip end. The other end (the clubhead end) is pulled down, then released.

Then, "the shaft begins to oscillate up and down," Wishon said. "The stiffer the shaft, the faster the rate of oscillation; the more flexible the shaft, the slower the rate of oscillation."

An electronic device called a frequency analyzer counts that oscillation rate and displays it as cycles per minute (CPM).

Wishon explains:

"In a set of woods or irons, the frequency reading of the shafts in the clubs will normally increase from longest to shortest club in the set. However, due to many factors, the amount of increase from shaft to shaft is not normally in the same increment.
"Some custom clubmakers offer the service of fine tuning the shafts when installed in the clubheads so that the increment of frequency increase from longest to shortest clubs in the set will be exactly the same from club to club. This is frequency matching."

Do You Need to Worry About Frequency Matching?

The goal of frequency matching, Wishon said, is to "make the progression of grip-end stiffness from club to club more consistent from longest to shortest clubs in a golfer's bag."

So frequency matching of shafts is a very technical approach that can make all the clubs in a golfer's bag more consistent with one another.

But, Wishon said, frequency matching trails multiple other shaft factors in importance:

"If the shaft weight, shaft flex and bend profile are not fit properly to the golfer, frequency matching will not help the golfer. It is far more important to properly fit the weight, flex and bend profile to the golfer than to worry about frequency matching in otherwise improperly fit shafts."