TECH NOTE 32: I get questions all the time regarding what shafts I like best. I'm reluctant to answer since I'm not a full time clubmaker and just don't have a wealth of experience. My favorite steel shaft was the Apollo Spectre but they went out of business. So much for that recommendation.
I've used a fair number of Precision Composite shafts. I've been quite happy with the uniformity of their frequency. They sell their shafts in about 4 cpm blocks and they've generally been as advertised. Because they are filament wound their differential frequency, or variation as you rotate the shaft, is almost non-existent. I have had some breakage problems however.
I've heard very good things about Apache shafts but I just haven't gotten around to using them much. They have very little frequency runout as the shaft is rotated. Most of the other shaft brands I've used have all had significant differential frequency. It becomes pretty important to spine align these shafts.
I did run into an interesting shaft at the PGA show. I received a sample shaft from the representative at the SK Fiber booth. He told me they guaranteed 1cpm or less frequency variation as the shaft is rotated through 360°. With some skeptizim I told the guy I'd check the shaft out that night on the frequency analyzer I had in my hotel room. He gave me a rather strange look. Doesn't everyone have an analyzer in their room?
I tested the shaft along with another one my roommate had received. I couldn't detect any frequency variation with either shaft. I put them both in a spinefinder and could feel absolutely nothing as the shafts were rotated.
I took these shafts home tested them on my inverted flex board. They turned out to be the most uniform shafts I've ever tested, including steel. The load symmetry index, the ratio of the lowest to highest stiffness plane, was over 98%. I wrote up a report on my testing and sent it to SK Fiber. They immediately sent me six more shafts to test, one of each of their models. I tested these and they were all equally uniform.
Their shafts are interesting in that they have very long parallel section and therefore can be frequency tweaked pretty easily. Because of this long parallel section they play a bit tip weak. They have a really weird approach to measuring frequency so be careful if you order their shafts. They use a 7" clamping length and a very heavy 285 gram tip weight even on wood shafts. Their clamp length causes a higher frequency reading but the heavy weight then reduces it significantly. This results in a frequency that will turn out to be about 10cpm lower than when you measure them with a typical 5" clamp and 200 gram tip weight.
I've been using these shafts lately and they perform very well. A summary of the reports I wrote up for them is available on their web site: www.skfiber.com.