Golf should be a relaxing sport. So to fully enjoy the game, you need to play with a club that feels right.
An excellent golf club should come with an efficient shaft. However, there’s no universal shaft that works for everybody, which begs the question: what golf shaft is right for me?
Finding the right golf shaft is highly dependent on your swing speed. A shaft that doesn’t match your speed and grip may hinder you from making smooth swings. This is why it’s important to carefully assess the features of a golf shaft to find one that really suits you.
In this article, we’ll explore the features and factors you should consider when getting a new golf shaft and how each of them can affect your performance.
Table of Contents
Picking the Right Golf Shaft
To help you pick a golf shaft that would complement your game, we listed below some features you may want to keep in mind.
Flex, by its name, is the flexibility or bendability of the shaft. Finding the right flex should be based on your swing speed and tempo.
Listed below are all the flex categories, from the most flexible (softest) to the stiffest, and the appropriate swing speed for each when using a driver club.
Beginner golfers or those with a swing speed below 75 mph would fall into this category. Take note that the name is merely a label. Not all female players should automatically choose L flex.
Senior (A, M, AM, or A/M)
Senior flex is labeled as “A” for amateur. It can also be labeled as “M” for medium or mature. A golfer with an approximate swing speed of 76 to 85 mph should consider getting a senior flex shaft.
Regular is suitable for golfers with 86 to 95 mph approximate swing speed.
Stiff shafts are for higher-level golfers with swing speeds between 96 to 105 mph.
Extra Stiff (X)
The stiffest flex, extra stiff, is ideal for players with swing speeds above 105 mph.
Here’s a table to illustrate the appropriate swing speed for every flex if you’re using a driver or a 6-iron club and the approximate distance for each shot.
Swing Speed (mph)
The ability of the shaft to flex affects your swing’s accuracy and distance, as shown in the table. This is why it’s important to know the flex that would match your speed to optimize your shots.
How Do You Know if the Shaft Is Too Stiff or Not Stiff Enough?
You’ll know you’re playing with the wrong shaft flex when you feel like you’re not in control of your swings.
If the shaft is too stiff, you’ll notice you’re not hitting the ball as high or as far as you want. Making shaky swings also signifies poor control.
The opposite will happen if you’re playing with a shaft that’s too flexible for you. You might have the ball flying too high or too far, or even lose control of its direction.
The figures and guides presented above are just approximations. You’ll have a better assessment of flexes in an actual setting.
Material Used for Golf Shaft
The most common materials used to make golf shafts are steel and graphite. We’ll show you the differences between these two.
Shafts made from steel can weigh around 130 grams and are heavier than graphite ones. Because of this, they’re more suited for experienced golfers or those who have fast swings. Steel shafts are also more durable than graphite shafts.
Another feature of steel is it resists lateral twisting or torque, which provides more control to the golfer and improves the accuracy of a shot.
Generally, steel shafts are unsuitable for beginners and slow swingers. The weight of the steel can hinder a player from making smooth swings. Steel shafts can also channel vibrations when the club hits the ball, which can be irritating.
Graphite shafts suit beginners because they’re lighter compared to steel shafts. The weight of a graphite shaft can range from 50 to 85 grams. Graphite shafts also have an edge over steel shafts when it comes to dampening vibrations.
On the downside, graphite shafts are more expensive than steel shafts.
Some shafts can be made from both steel and graphite, which is why they’re called multi-material shafts. They have steel grips that give more control over ball flight and graphite tips that dampen vibrations when hitting the ball.
Balance of the Shaft
A golf club has a balance point that lies between the head and the butt end of the shaft. When the balance point is closer to the butt end, it means the butt bears more of the shaft’s weight.
As a result, the head is lighter, and the club is easier to swing. This is a counterbalanced golf club.
A counterbalanced club can be appreciated by players with slow to regular swing speeds. Balance also affects the efficiency of the shaft. That’s why you have to find the shaft balance that will work for you.
The bend point or kick point is the part of the shaft that will bend when you make a swing. It’s located within a six-inch area in the midsection of the golf shaft.
These are the kick points based on their location and their respective target ball trajectory:
- High Kick Point—near the club head = low trajectory
- Mid Kick Point—middle of the shaft = mid trajectory
- Low Kick Point—near the butt or grip of the shaft = high trajectory
What golf shaft is right for me?
It’s a fair question to ask because the shaft’s flex should suit your swing speed. Otherwise, you’d have a hard time controlling the club.
If you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with a soft flex and work your way up to a stiffer option as you progress.
When it comes to the material of the shaft, the main difference between steel and graphite shafts is their weight. You can try the multi-material shaft if you think neither the steel nor the graphite one feels right.
Lastly, find the right balance and bend profile since these two affect the overall feel of the shaft.
When you consider all the factors we discussed above, you’ll have an easier time finding what golf shaft is right for you.