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Real vs. Imposter Golf Shafts

Aftermarket versus OEM shafts – Certain “Premium” Shafts May Not Be What They Appear To Be

If you are paying premium dollar for premium golf shafts, should you be receiving what you thought you were ordering? If you say “Yes”, then you better read up on a practice that is happening in the golf industry to make sure you are really getting the product AND by the manufacturer you thought you were receiving all along.

What if…?
XYZ manufacturer spent months (if not years) developing a new shaft using exciting new materials and/or technology. That golf shaft was eventually sent out on tour to validate its performance. A few weeks later it was used in the driver of a tour player who happened to hold up the winning crystal trophy. Word of mouth spreads and a couple weeks later starts showing up in the bags of several tour players. The golf club shaft becomes easily spotted on TV. Instantly, demand begins from the public for that golf club shaft.

A short time later, that same shaft becomes available with a price tag of $399. Finally, golfers can buy the exact same shaft as their favorite tour player used or won with or the one they saw in the media that they just had to have. This is how those tour player aftermarket golf shafts enter the marketplace.

Hocus Pocus, what have we here?
A short time passes and all of the sudden you start to see a major manufacturer begin offering their newest golf club with XYZ-brand’s exotic new golf shaft – or is it? Maybe the silkscreen on the name brand golf shaft has marked 60 instead of a 55, meaning the aftermarket vs OEM golf shaft is a lighter version. Or maybe the color is different, but the markings aren’t exactly like the one that you saw. You are probably asking yourself, “Hey, what is going on?”

That is what we call "Made For" shafts. These are variations off of popular or expensive aftermarket golf shafts. These may be slightly watered down versions of the real shaft in order to hit a certain price point or make them a little more user-friendly for golfers who doesn't swing anything like or as hard as the pros. One clue is to look at the retail price. If the "premium" version of the golf shaft retails for $399 and the retail price of the entire finished club is $499, then you know it is the "Made For" version.

Abracadabra, watch me pull a shaft from this hat

There are some people who feel that the name brand companies who use "Made For" shafts ought to go to jail for false advertising.

But what if that "Made For" golf shaft wasn’t even made by the company that originally designed the shaft? What if the name brand club manufacturer went to the shaft maker and said, "Hey, we want this other company to produce a shaft for us, but we would like to slap your name on it because it is good marketing. We will pay you x-amount per golf shaft and you don't have to manufacture the shaft. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy those royalty checks because your name is worth something to us."

Shocked? This practice happens everyday.

Don’t get burned
If you want the real deal, you are going to pay for it one way or another. The tour grade golf shafts are indeed the real thing – not a watered down or totally unrelated product to appear as the one you thought you were getting in the first place. It’s the same story on those shafts you found on eBay for a terrific price as it is really hard to say what they are, where the came from or even who produced them.

Caveat emptor…

Courtesy of Jeff Summitt