Today the term kickpoint is being replaced by the phrase "bend profile." The reason is that kickpoint connotes the thought that the shaft has a "hinge," which is definitely not true. "Bend profile," on the other hand, offers the explanation that the shaft's overall stiffness may vary intentionally over its entire length as a way to change the bending feel and the trajectory the shaft offers to the flight of the ball.
By varying the outer and inner diameters of the shaft, along with the wall thickness in-between at any point along the shaft, it is possible to make shafts of the same overall stiffness but which differ in where they are more or less stiff. For example, it is possible to make two shafts of the same letter flex - such as an R-flex - that are different in their bend profile design. One shaft can be an R-flex but be more flexible in the tip end of the shaft, while another R-flex shaft can be made to be more tip-stiff. Same thing with the grip end of the shaft as well as the center section area of shafts.
Different bend profile designs of the same letter flex (i.e., R-flex) exist to help better match the bending feel and the trajectory the shaft offers the shot to the golfer's swing motions of transition, tempo and release.
A few general guidelines about bend profile:
- The smoother the transition of a golfer's swing, the less stiff the grip end of the shaft should be;
- The more forceful the transition, the stiffer the grip end of the shaft needs to be to fit the golfer.
- The earlier the golfer's release of the wrist-cock, the more flexible the tip section should be;
- Conversely, golfers with a late release should use a shaft with a stiffer tip section design.
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