Spine alignment in golf shafts is not commonly discussed among the golf community. The topic is more spoken about between shaft makers and golf “nerds”.
In this article, we will explain what golf spine alignment is and if it’s worth it.
What is golf Shaft spine alignment?
Golf spine alignment is when the residual bend position in the shaft is found. It is the lowest point of resistance and has the least amount of flex.
Because a golf shaft is made up of different layers of materials, there will naturally be more shaft flex in one direction than another. The direction of ‘least resistance’ is called the spine.
Aligning the golf shaft’s spine can improve a club’s stability and accuracy at impact.
How does Spine Alignment work?
Spine alignment helps the club’s face open and close when a golfer wants it to. It allows them to have more control as the shaft is positioned in a more consistent manner.
When the spine isn’t aligned the club “decides” how much it’ll open or close.
Where Should The Spine Be Aligned In Your Golf Club
Two planes in a golf shaft are the droop plane and the swing plane.
The face of the club is parallel to the droop plane. The clubface is perpendicular to a swing plane.
When the spine is in the droop plane, the weakest plane is in the swing plane which enables players to feel and respond to the club easier.
If the droop plane is the weaker plane, controlling the club, even those considered optimal golf shafts, becomes much more challenging.
Putting the spine in the weak plane doesn’t make much of a difference in terms of distance.
📢 Need To Know: The shaft reacts while making contact more favorably and consistently when the spine is in the droop plane compared to when the weak plane is there.
Pros and Cons of Golf shaft spine alignment
- Ball dispersion can tighten up when having the spine aligned which leads to increased accuracy.
- Spine alignment can increase ball speed and distance whether from off the tee or on the fairway. It also helps keep the hosel in the correct position.
- It can aid golfers in striking the ball more consistently on the center of the sweet spot and provide them with more feel. Those two attributes lead to lower scores and improved ball flight.
- Spine alignment can be quite pricey if you’re going to align every club in the bag. Each shaft costs around $30-$35 to have aligned.
- If you don’t play often, it’s probably not worth it. It will take some time to become accustomed to your newly aligned clubs.
Golf shaft spine alignment tools
The Lockie board
Asymmetry of the shaft occurs when the bend plane is the weaker plane and it is put on a board and bent.
The spine, which is perpendicular to the bend plane and located on the sidewalls, is the stiffest plane.
Because the stronger plane is not in a twofold state of compression and tension, such as when it’s bent, the balance happens. The easiest method to see this is by running the same test on a ruler.
The ruler has a spine that is strong, like a shaft. The ruler’s spine is on the sides because it is more difficult to bend than the weaker plane, which is simpler to bend.
The H.O.A.M. (Harmonic Oscillation Analysis Modeling)
The H.O.A.M. locates the spine in a far more unique way compared to the Lockie board and Autoflex methods.
The force necessary to bend the shaft is measured by a strain gauge.
The machine examines the force data, identifies the shaft’s stiffest region, and asks the clubmaker to designate that region of the primary spine.
The Autoflex machine does the same fundamental test as the Lockie board, except that it bends the shaft upward versus downward. After that, it identifies the weak plane, which is inside the bent shaft.
How to install spine align golf shafts
The following YouTube video by club fitter Jim McCleery instructs golfers on how to make a golf shaft spine finder.
McCleery has won many distinguished awards including being named in the Golf Digest Top 100 club fitters in 2011 and 2013. He’s also been named regional clubmaker of the year in Waverly, Ohio.
Do you need to spine a golf shaft?
High-handicap golfers who are just learning the game of golf do not need to spine their shafts. They can, but it’s probably wiser for them to spend their money on lessons rather than an alignment.
Low-handicap golfers can see a difference in their golf swings and improve their game by aligning their shafts. It’s ultimately up to the person.
Does shaft spine alignment work?
Shaft spine alignment does work and can help golfers improve their game. Many players said they increased distance and accuracy after having a spine alignment done.
Spine align vs pureing: Key differences
Both spine aligning and shaft pureing are meant to find inconsistencies in the shaft. The main difference is that pureing uses a special machine called the SST Pure Shaft Analysis.