What is CPM??? (Cycles Per Minute)
CPM or Cycles Per Minute measures the ‘frequency’ of a golf shaft. It is measured by using a frequency analyzer to determine the vital factors about the Golf Shaft. Placing the grip end in a clamp and a 205gram weight (Mitchell Frequency Analyzer) to the end of the Shaft and giving a slight bend to allow the Shaft to oscillate causing the Shaft to cycle or “rotate” allowing the laser to measure its frequency.
Shafts with a lower frequency number will have more flex (softer), while Shafts with a higher number will be stiffer (stronger). Choosing the right flex to fit your swing can have drastic output changes to your swing speed, ball speed, spin rates etc. The overwhelming majority of golfers will simply seek the common R, S, X XX, XXX style of measurement, however this measurement does not guarantee an accurate rating across all manufacturers.
As an example: An XX flex Paderson shaft may have a very different CPM rating than an XX flex from House of Forged shafts and thus why CPM should be more closely looked at to maximize launch, spin, control, and of course the one thing we all want, distance.
So why is CPM so important?
Well, the best answer to that is, All Shafts are not made equal. Even though the product may say it is a Stiff (S) Shaft, the actual characteristics of that product may be tremendously different to another product claiming the same qualities. As long drivers, our goal is to maximize our output and hit the ball as far as we can along a 40-yard grid. To do so, we need the best and most compatible equipment to get us there. Getting our equipment tested and measured to see if it is truly the best option for us is a great way to start.
Most long drivers will typically use shafts in the 220-270 CPM range and will utilize various setups depending on the conditions of play. As an amateur starting out, you can never ask enough questions and will find many competitors within the Amateur ranks that are willing to have you test clubs. Depending on budget and how far you want to go in the sport, there are long drive shaft options everyone, but the first thing is to get out on the grid, have fun, and see if it is right for you.
ALD Canada – contribution from Shaun MacQuarrie