cycles per minute (CPM)

Golf Terminology: Cycles Per Minute (CPM)

Golf Shaft Cycles Per Minute (CPM)

What a frequency analyzer machine does for golf

For many years a golf shaft’s stiffness was determined by using a flex board. This was a simple device. The flex board allowed the shaft butt to be hooked under a fixture at one end of the vertical board. The tip end then would have a weight hung on it, which caused the shaft to bend into a profile that could be measured against the flex board. So, you got a view of the shaft under stress to see if the butt was firm or the shaft had a weaker tip.

Most importantly, though, the board showed what flex range the shaft fell into, such as if it was a softer ladies (L), senior (A), regular (R), stiff (S) or extra stiff flex (X).

With the invention of the frequency analyzer machine, the time consuming task of using the flex board was not as important. Now club makers could get a fast, accurate reading of a golf shaft by checking the cycles per minute (CPM) the shaft would vibrate.


The frequency analyzer works by clamping the butt end of the shaft in a fixture and then twanging or plucking the tip end. The tip is bobbing up and down through a light source (usually a type of photo-electric eye) and produces CPM readings of the shaft. A cycle is created each time the shaft tip goes through the light beam. 


Here’s an illustration of this:

Take a ruler and place 1 or 2 inches of one end on a flat surface like a desktop. Hold that section down firmly. Let the remaining length hang off the desktop. Twang the ruler tip and you will see the body of the ruler bounce up and down. Note the speed it moves. Now increase the section that you are holding down where it is now about 3 to 4 inches. Go ahead and pluck the tip end again. You’ll see that the ruler now has a much faster vibration (Therefore, it is stiffer.).

The frequency analyzer also can tell you if a shaft has a slightly stiffer or softer side to it, depending on which way you orient the shaft in the machine. Due to the manner that steel shafts are manufactured, the tubular steel shafts tend to be very uniform in flex no matter which way you position the shaft in the fixture.

Composite graphite shafts, when manufactured in a professional manner, are also very uniform. However, some cheaper graphite shafts may have what is known as a “spine.” This is a slight overlap or opening in the way the composite materials were laid up during production causing either a slightly firmer or softer rib that runs down the length of the shaft.

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Some shaft companies go to the trouble of identifying the location of this spine and mark it for the club maker. What seems to be a continual bone of contention is what to do with the knowledge of where the spine is located. Some folks believe that it should be positioned down the back of the shaft at assembly, while others think it should be oriented on the left or right side of the shaft. The USGA — golf’s governing body — has a rule that says that shafts must flex uniformly in all directions. But the USGA does allow club makers to position the shafts a certain way. This tells me that the USGA doesn’t really think all this effort to identify the spine produces much of a difference in accuracy.

Here is a basic formula your average golfers can use to determine what kind of flex they should have on their shafts. The diagram below gauges flex using driver swing speed matched with what particular club one uses from 150 yards.

X-Stiff; 105-plus, pitching wedge.

S-Stiff; 90-104, 8- or 9-iron.

R-Regular; 80-94, 6- or 7-iron.

A-Senior; 70-85, 5-iron or less.

L-Lady; 70 or less, 5 iron or less.





hand stamping

Customization: Hand Stamping

The Art of Clubsmithing: First up, Custom Hand Stamping

2nd Swing Golf offers premier golf club customization services.

hand stamping

When I look at a golf club that has been customized, I immediately become intrigued. 

Not only does this mean that you enjoy golf enough to collect a set, but that you also take pride in the clubs that help you get goosebumps when that ball really listens to exactly what you are talking about. That feeling once is a cure for even an entire lifetime of bad play.

So if we can achieve that feeling more often through the aid of customization, I say let’s get those teeth clenched and fists pumping as you stare down a flagstick.

From the weighting of the head to the size of a grip, any club can be modified and better suited to perform the feats you require. Any swing can be hindered or improved on by the properties of one’s golf set. Not to say that our human nature can not overcome through trial and understanding our ability to adjust to any steel rod with a chunk of metal on the end.

It is just that with each unique swing, we can find that unique customized club for you. We can set that club to your desired specifications and design it to help you send that ball to its proper destination. And, yes, that comes with priority shipping without an up-charge of a swing modification.

hand stamping

Let’s get to the real heart of why I write to you today. I am currently challenged with the task of detailing the workings of our professional club smith, Robert Reitz.

Reitz has been on staff with 2nd Swing Golf working daily on the art of club customization for many years as a complement to his love for the game. I am lucky enough to spend some time with Reitz watching him work and capturing some images of the processes involved in his modifications as the company’s lead photographer.

I have to say that there was a time before I began my work at 2nd Swing when I said, “I know a lot about golf.”

Through Reitz’s work, he has been continuously letting me know that I had no idea what I was talking about.

Through a series of updates, I will let you all know my findings. From the perspective of watching the customization take place, to the literal calculated benefits that can be received from each unique customization.

Since I felt compelled to tell you a bit about the premise of my mission, I think today I should leave you with a quick article on hand stamping.

Hand stamping is basically driving a steel stamp into the back or face of an iron, wedge or putter.

hand stamping

After you decide on what you would like embedded into your club, you are then ready to get to work. Common stampings would most likely be one’s initials, along with college or team names and symbols of encouragement. From my initials of D.R.B., to a slogan like “Roll Tide,” stamping is something that could possibly help bring the confidence for consistency, or at the very least, deliver a smile.

When hand stamping, you must first secure the club to a solid mount. Reitz uses industrial double-sided tape to fix the wedges to our reinforced workbench. Then, the metal stamp is struck firmly into the club. The striking is where the skill comes in for this particular modification.

With the quality of the stamp and the weight of the hammer aside, if the stamp is struck too hard or too soft, the impression could be faint, or have a halo from the tip of the stamp being driven into the metal. A quick double tap also can end in a hologram effect in the metal.

So a skilled hand with proper force always is recommended. When a club is properly hand stamped, there will be a mushroom effect around the stamp where the metal is pressed up and out of the impression, thus the term. This is a sign that the club has been genuinely hand stamped.

Once we have the stamping firmly impressed into club, we can now look to coloration. Color is added with a paint marker for ease of use, or you could use a tiny brush and a steady hand. Either way, it is best to use paint that is bondable to metal. The excess then is wiped from undesired areas, and the club is ready for play as soon as soon as the paint is dry.

hand stamping

This customization is something that can be done by our club smith. For more information on all forms of customizing clubs, just email Reitz at and set something up.

This added personalization can help you play proud. And for the good people of the Upper-Midwest, join me in getting back out there this year and enjoying this life we call golf.

Thank you.



Customization: Shaft Tipping, Cutting and Gripping

The Art of Clubsmithing: Custom Shaft Tipping, Cutting and Gripping 

Start with the right fit for you

Distribution of force during a golf swing starts from one’s core and flows down through the arms, along the shaft and is delivered at impact between the ball and the clubhead.

Now, that sounds simple enough (Right?), but there are many points along this chain of distributed energy where power and control can be lost. As we all know or could imagine, in golf we should try and harness every foot or pound of torque and every variable per second of velocity.

The problem is if we lose control and power in the shoulders, elbows or wrists — then we lose control of the shaft’s effectiveness and the club itself. The loss of power in one’s body is a whole separate issue and requires a swing analysis, or at the very least, a lesson or two.

However, with the shaft, we can always find a match that’s best for you. 


Let’s get a run down-on shafts. Shafts come in different flexes, here are some flex suggestions based upon swing speed. These figures are taken from TaylorMade’s fitting system:

Shaft Flex Selection (Driver)

Carry Distance – Swing Speed – Flex

Less than 180 yards — Less than 75 mph — Ladies (L)

180 to 200 yards — 75 to 85 mph — Senior (A)

200 to 240 yards – 85 to 95 mph  –  Regular (R)

240 to 275 yards — 95 to 110 mph — Stiff Firm (S)

More than 275 yards — More than 110 mph — Tour Extra Stiff (X)


Shaft Flex Selection (6-iron carry distance)

Carry Distance — Swing Speed — Flex

Less than 100 yards — Less than 60 mph — Ladies (L)

100 to 130 yards — 60 to 70 mph — Senior (A)

130 to 155 yards — 70 to 80 mph — Regular (R)

155 to 175 yards — 80 to 90 mph — Stiff Firm (S)

More than 175 yards — More than 90 mph — Tour Extra Stiff (X)


The importance of torque in golf

Torque is basically how much the shaft twists and allows the clubhead to open or close at impact. The firmer the shaft, the less torque is distributed down the shaft. So the head will be less active on impact with the ball if there is less torque.

Flexes are extremely important for proper contact when ball striking. This is because the “shaft kick” and the torque of the shaft during impact. This will change the loft of the club as well as the angle of the face at the moment of impact.

Everyone should know that flex absolutely is extremely important and helpful for any and all players. Flex can help add yards to any drive as well as help a club become square at impact if the shaft is properly fit to your specifications. With this said, if improperly fit the shaft can hurt yardage as well as create some serious problems with the clubface at impact. Proper shaft fitting is something that no player should overlook if they want to improve their game.

Torque is a specification that is found on most shafts and can be played to your advantage. However, if unchecked the torque can really throw off your ball flight by affecting spin rates. 

There was a previous article on our blog that detailed shaft “kickpoints.” Kickpoints are very important for every player. The kickpoint is part of what defines the degree of loft at impact. If we want to drop the ball flight down, we can get a shaft with a firm tip.

The shaft Master winner Bubba Watson uses is a Bi-Matrix Shaft with a steel tip to help almost eliminate tip flex. To increase the height of your ball flight, we can find a shaft with a lot of tip flex to help add loft to your clubface at impact.

Now that we see the importance of flex, let’s get into the modification process. Just about any shaft can be tipped to fit into your club. Where older clubs are shafted straight into the head, newer clubs have shafts tipped to allow of adjustability as well as ease in changing shafts.


Tipping a shaft involves the removal of the paint from the tip of the shaft to allow the epoxy glue to form a strong bond to the shaft. This is done either with a hand tool or a grinding wheel.

A grinding wheel can remove the paint, however. So to be more precise with the paint removal, it is usually preferred to have the paint removed with a hand tool to guarantee that the shaft’s graphite composition is not damaged and that only the paint is removed.

Once the paint is removed, the inside of the shaft tip is scoured with a tool to give greater surface area inside the tip. This also allows the epoxy to have a stronger bond to the inside of the tip. With the proper epoxy mixture we then coat the inside of the tip as well as coating the tip of the shaft itself. The tip is then slid onto the shaft and adjusted to insure the epoxy is even inside the tip  and that the tip is properly aligned with the shaft to allow for the adjustability to be correct with the manufacturer’s specs.

Once the tip is secured and the epoxy has dried creating a strong bond, we can now move onto shaft cutting. Shaft length is equally important as shaft flex. With a shaft that is too long, we can face difficulty with the control of the clubhead. The longer the shaft, the stronger one’s wrists must be to get the club square at impact.


But a longer shaft will produce a higher swing speed. A good analogy for this is to reference the gears on a bicycle. With a larger gear, you can get faster speeds with the same effort given for a small gear. However, to start pedaling in high gear can prove extremely difficult. In golf that would be like having a shaft that is too long to consistently hit square by leaving the clubhead open at impact.

Here are some Taylor Made’s specifications on shaft lengths:

Men’s New Modern Standard Length

Club – Graphite – Steel – Ladies

Driver — 45 to 46 inches — N/A — 44 to 45 inches

3-wood — 43 inches — 42.5 inches — 44 to 45 inches

5-wood — 42.5 inches — 42 inches — 41.5 inches 

7-wood — 42 inches — 41.5 inches — 41 inches 

Utility No.  3 graphite — 40.5 inches — 40 inches — 39 inches 

Utility No.  4 graphite —  40 inches — 39.5 inches — 38.5 inches

Utility No.  5 graphite  – 39.5 inches — 39 inches — 38 inches 

Utility No.  6 graphite – 39 inches — 38.5 inches — 37.5 inches

3-iron – 39 inches — 38.75 inches — 38 inches 

4-iron – 38.5 inches – 38.25 inches – 37.5 inches

5-iron –  38 inches — 37.75 inches — 37 inches

6-iron  – 37.5 inches — 37.25 inches — 36.5 inches

7-iron – 37 inches — 36.75 inches — 36 inches

8-iron – 36.5 inches — 36.25 inches — 35.5 inches 

9-iron — 36 inches — 35.75 inches — 35 inches

Pitching Wedging – 35.5 inches — 35.5 inches — 34.5 inches 

Gap Wedge — 35.5 inches — 35.5 inches — 34.5 inches 

Sand Wedge — 35.25 inches — 35.25 inches — 34.25 inches

Lop Wedge — 35 inches — 35 inches — 34 inches

Note: All the estimates are different on their standard length and loft. These figures are an average.

Any shaft can be cut down to find the point where we achieve maximum clubhead speed without sacrificing control. One thing to keep in mind is when a shaft is cut down, it will become stiffer. As the strength of the shaft remains the same, the distance between flex points is decreased. So, you always have to factor in the cutting process when assessing your desired shaft flex.

Cutting is done with a high-powered cutting wheel from the desired length at the butt of the shaft.


Once the shaft is cut, we can now grip the club. Gripping is done by wrapping the butt of the shaft with grip tape. When wrapping the shaft, we can add extra grip tape to add girth to the grip. If we have a midsize grip that we would like to make a little bit larger, we can wrap the shaft several times with tape to add grip size.

The grip is then slid onto the shaft with an air-compressed gripping attachment. If you want to kick it old-school, you can bust out your bottle of grip solvent and force that bad boy onto the shaft by hand. But I can personally attest that the air gun makes gripping a whole new game when it comes to ease of use.


Once the shaft is cut, we can now grip the club. Gripping is done by wrapping the butt of the shaft with grip tape. When wrapping the shaft, we can add extra grip tape to add girth to the grip. If we have a midsize grip that we would like to make a little bit larger, we can wrap the shaft several times with tape to add grip size.

The grip is then slid onto the shaft with an air-compressed gripping attachment. If you want to kick it old-school, you can bust out your bottle of grip solvent and force that bad boy onto the shaft by hand. But I can personally attest that the air gun makes gripping a whole new game when it comes to ease of use.


At 2nd Swing, we have a large selection of upgraded shafts for any and all to come in and try. We have professional fitters who can help you find exactly what shaft flex, tip strength and shaft length works best for your unique swing. We also have a large selection of grips that can be added to your new or current clubs. Remember you are always welcome in either of our Minnesota locations to try out all of our inventory as well as free fittings with all club purchases.

If you happen to be out of state, or would like to browse the possibilities from the comfort of your own home I strongly recommend taking a look at From rare and unique clubs to the best deals on genuine pre-owned clubs, 2nd Swing has you covered. As always, it is a pleasure to write to you on the possibilities of club customization and how all of this can help you enjoy a round on our fine U.S. courses.

For any customization questions or requests, please do not hesitate to email 2nd Swing Golf clubsmith Robert Reitz at We are also happy to talk about your game via telephone at (612) 216-4152, or go online to 2nd Swing’s fitting page.

Please see our images of the tipping, cutting and gripping processes for more details. Thank you for the read, and I hope all the best as you march the fairways this year.





golf fitness tips

Stretching/Warming Up: Tips for Golf Fitness

Tips for good golf fitness and health: Ditch the cart and hoof it

Golf fitness and your health

Golf witnessed a major transition over the last 60 years. In the past, players walked, carried their bag or used a caddy. Gradually, the game has become dominated by golf carts. The use of motorized golf carts transformed the golf industry in a number of ways.

Golf health facts

There have been numerous studies to determine the exact impact a round of golf has on physical fitness. As a society, Americans overall continue to exercise less and become more overweight and obese, despite some recent trends in the other direction.

While golf does not provide high-impact movement similar to other sports, golf still offers an excellent opportunity to maintain your health — if you take advantage of the opportunities for fitness that the game provides.

According to a study conducted by the National Golf Foundation, 34 percent of U.S. population is within a healthy weight, 33 percent are overweight and 33 percent of the population is obese. Among the golfing population, 27 percent of golfers are within their normal weight range and the exact same percentage are obese, 27 percent. Meanwhile, 46 percent of the population is overweight.

Walking the golf course provides many health benefits, and not just from burning calories and and fat, increasing strength and stamina, shrinking cholesterol numbers and heart rates and to lessening stress and increasing brain endorphin production (which makes us feel happier).

golf fitness tips

Golf cart usage

In 1984, 45 percent of rounds were played with a motorized cart. By 2002, cart usage rose to 66 percent and by 2006 increased to 69 percent.

Its estimated that roughly just one-third — or less — of all  rounds walked today. The majority of golfers use a golf cart.

In fact, some areas and courses estimate cart usage is over 90 percent.

According to administrative staff at several golf facilities in Myrtle Beach, Fla., walking rounds there are virtually non-existent. They estimated that 95 percent of rounds played at specific facilities are with golf carts.

However, there are still clubs that promote the original traditions of the game. Some courses restrict cart usage until certain times of the day while others require walking at all times. Clubs that require walking are in the minority.

Older courses were typically built on less than 100 acres and made walking convenient. They usually have short walks between the green and next tee box.

New courses, tough, tend to stretch between 160 and 260 acres where homes and communities are constructed between hole locations. It’s become common for long walks between holes, which puts a strain on some who’d rather not use a golf care. So, we’re in a dilemma where many newer courses are not suitable for walking and others restrict walking altogether.

Annually, the golf industry produces approximately two million jobs and generates more than $75 billion in revenue. Golf facilities are designed to create make money on cart rentals and encourage golfers to ride. More and more often golf courses expect to drive greater profits — and what better way than with mandatory golf cart fees?

golf fitness tips

Calories burned through golf

Many believe walking is more beneficial than riding in a cart, but how effective is a round of golf on physical fitness?

On average, you walk the equivalent of five miles during 18 holes of golf. In addition, a four-hour round of golf is similar to a two-hour singles match of tennis.

A scientific study sought to find out exactly how calories are burned during golf. Walking and carrying your clubs or pushing a cart burned approximately 1,440 calories while walking with a caddy burned nearly 1,250 calories.

On the other hand, those that preferred to ride burned approximately 820 calories. Indirectly, they still walked nearly a mile during the round.

Even players who fail to make it to the course can still burn a few calories playing video game golf. It is estimated a 175-pound man could burn 150 calories playing Nintendo Wii golf for 45 minutes while a 125-pound woman could burn approximately 100 calories in that same time frame.

golf fitness tips