What Is the 'Spining' of Golf Shafts and Do You Need to Care?

Golfers practise at the driving range of the palm fringed golf course Golf del Sur on March 25, 2011 in Tenerife, Spain
Golfers on a driving range: Have they even thought about spining? More importantly, do they need to?. EyesWideOpen/Getty Images

"Spining" (one "n," as in "spine") is a term that applies to golf shafts and describes a process of matching all the shafts within a set of clubs so that their most consistent bending positions all point in the same direction. Spining is a service to golfers offered by some custom club makers and club fitters.

Your first question might be: Do I really need to be concerned about that? We'll answer that question, but first a little more explanation about spining.

What Is Spining?

We turned to golf equipment guru and custom clubmaker Tom Wishon, founder of Tom Wishon Golf Technology, for a more in-depth explanation of spining. This is how Wishon explaining golf shaft spining and the reasons behind it:

"It is almost impossible to manufacture golf shafts that have precisely the same stiffness in all possible directions of bending. To do so would require so many time-consuming manufacturing procedures that the price of shafts would well more than double.

"While the top-quality shaft makers do manufacture shafts with very high accuracy and consistency, there are shafts in the golf industry that possess a variation in the consistency of the stiffness about their circumference. If severe enough, these inconsistencies can cause misdirection problems when the shaft is installed in such a way that those inconsistencies get in the way of the required bending of the shaft. When shafts are identified to be inconsistent in their stiffness, they are said to have a 'spine.'

"Therefore, the practice of 'spining' is offered by some custom clubmakers. Spining involves, first, locating the most consistent bending position of the shaft; and second, installing (or re-installing in already finished clubs) the shaft so that its most consistent bending position is pointing directly toward or directly away from the target line."

The spining service — installing or re-installing shafts so that their spines all point in the same direction — is touted as a way to improve the consistency of feel and performance within a set of golf clubs.

The Importance of Spining in Today's Golf Shafts

Spining was once a pretty important service provided by custom club fitters to highly skilled golfers and to other golfers who love diving deep into the technical side of golf equipment. But with the improved golf shaft manufacturing standards of today, is spining still important?

Here's what Wishon says:

"Today, many shaft makers pre-test their shafts to locate a consistent plane of bending in the shaft, and only then paint and apply the name/logo to the shafts. Thus, with the vast majority of quality shafts made today, there is little need to have the shafts checked for spine location and re-installed in the clubheads."

Do Recreational Golfers Need to Think About Spining?

The answer to this question is easy: No. The spining of golf shafts is not something that any recreational golfer needs to be concerned about, nor is it a service on which any recreational golfer needs to spend money.