The key is balancing lightness and strength, says Chris Hilleary, president of Aerotech Golf LLC in Bellingham, Wash. “Really good players want some weight. But if you make a heavier graphite shaft, you have to add a lot of graphite – and the wall gets really thick and the shaft loses some of its playability.” The manufacturer balances its lightweight carbon fiber shafts by winding a steel fiber around the filament wound carbon fiber core to bring the weight up, but keep the wall thickness down.
Field hockey players likewise depend on composites to balance lightness and strength. Rage Field Hockey USA in Los Altos, Calif., notes that breakage is a common problem among wood sticks, and the use of fiberglass can significantly reduce breakage. By varying components, manufacturers can highlight stiffness (to assist hitting) or lightness (to improve dribbling). In its molded products, Rage combines fiberglass and carbon fiber for stiffness with Kevlar® aramid fiber’s vibration absorption properties.