It seems reading this thread that most do not really understand the concepts of cutting a shaft. It is normal to cut shafts for several reasons, however you will SIGNIFICANTLY alter the charachtersitics of the club.
Manufacturers of shafts give "tip trimming instructions" - this is so the shaft can be used with a variety of club heads lengths etc. Tip trimming alters the flex of the shaft, for example most manufacturers would not tip trim a driver shaft, but advise 1/2 inch tip trimming for a 3 wood and 1 inch tip trim for a five wood. This is if you wanted the shaft to play true to flex. If you put a shaft tip trimmed for a 3 wood in a driver it would play much stiffer than in a 3 wood. This is due to the heavier head of the three would loads the shaft more. If you put a driver shaft in a three wood without tip trimming it would play softer to flex, so a "stiiff" may play nearer "regular" if left untipped.
Butt trimming will not alter the playing charachteristics of the shaft, but will alter the swingweight. every half inch of butt trimming will reduce the swingweight by about 2-3 swingweights. If you trim an inch off your regular 45 inch driver with D5 swingweight you will end up with maybe a C9, or in other words a ladies club !! The clubhead will not load the shaft properly and you have an underperforming club.
So what to do if you want a shorter driver? By all means trim the butt end of the club, but put the weight back in the club. You do this by adding 2 grammes of weight to the club head for each swingweight you need to gain. In the example given where you trimmed an inch you would need to add around 12 grammes to the head. Does not sound like a lot but it is. You can hot melt glue into the head, add lead tape of if a taylormade driver add to the weights.
Most people do see a slight improvement in accuracy with a shorter driver, without losing distance provided swingweight is maintained. Hope this helps !!
Edited: 17/11/2010 at 18:35