Golf Club Shaft Flex Guide

Golf Shaft Buying Guide
In today’s guide we will review everything you need to know about golf shafts. Picking out the proper golf shaft is very important as it will impact several components of your golf swing. For example, picking the wrong golf shaft flex can cause you to hook or slice the golf ball. It also can hinder the total distance the ball flies by having too much spin or too low of launch.
But don’t worry, at the end of reading today’s guide you’ll be much more educated on the buying process and how to pick out the right golf shaft.

Lets first start with the components of a golf shaft. Sound good?

What Are the Components of a Golf Shaft to Know About?

  • Type of Golf Shaft Material
  • Weight of Golf Shaft
  • Torque
  • Kickpoint

Types of Golf Shafts

Steel Shafts

Steel – A steel golf shaft is usually stronger and more durable (less likely to snap) than a graphite shaft. It’s also less expensive and sometimes stainless steel is used in the creation of the steel shaft. There is also two variations, stepped steel and rifle steel. Stepped is the use of steps down the shaft or ridges you see while rifle is smooth all the way.

Graphite Shafts

Graphite – this type of shaft is usually lighter weight compared to a steel shaft but it’s less durable and more expensive to make. Graphite is one of the most common shaft types used in golf clubs and can arguably be considered the main shaft material used, beating out steel. Graphite shafts weight between 50-85 grams.

Multi-material Shafts

Multi-material – this shaft uses both steel and graphite to create a multi-material that offers the best of both worlds. Usually the shaft is steel with graphite at the tip to help limit whip. A multi-material shaft can be found in both irons and drivers.

Titanium Shafts

Titanium Shafts – this is a newer material type being used to build golf shafts with. It’s much lighter in weight as compared to steel but still offers that same strong support you get from steel compared to graphite.

Golf Shaft Weight

When buying a golf shaft, you’ll see many different numbers in the name of the shaft. For example:

  • ldila NV 2KXV Blue 60 Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip
  • Matrix OZIK X5 White Tie 50 Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip
  • Accra New Tour Z 55 Counter Balanced CB Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip

These numbers are the weight of the shaft in grams. Shaft weights typically range between 50 grams and 85 grams with the 50-60 numbers being pretty common as seen in the example shafts above.

Shaft Weight is important because it can help you generate club head speed and increase the distance you hit the golf ball. Lighter weight shafts tend to be swung faster (since they are lighter), increasing club speed. However, we don’t recommend looking automatically at the lightest shaft and disregarding heavier shafts. It’s important to find the right weight that fits your swing so you can maintain control while also increasing club speed.

Golf Shaft Torque

Torque is the twisting motion the club head has at impact with the golf ball. The torque of the shaft is the what can help control twisting of the shaft during the swing. Higher rated torque numbers means the shaft twists more but it also has softer feel. An example is a 5 degree torque vs a 3 degree torque. The 5 degree torque will feel softer compared to the 3 degree torque which will feel much stiffer.

Golf Shaft Kick point

Shaft kick point is where the shaft bends and affects the trajectory / ball flight. A simple rule of thumb to remember when buying a shaft is a high kick point rating means low ball trajectory. Low kick point means higher ball flight trajectory. It also may feel like the club is “whipping” during the swing while a high kick point will feel more solid and stiff.

Should I Buy Steel, Graphite, or Which Type of Shaft Material?

Now that we’ve discussed a little about each type of shaft (steel, graphite, titanium, multi-material) you’re probably wondering which shaft type is best for you.

For most golfers, a graphite shaft works great. Most iron sets are made with graphite shafts as well so you get that material type by default usually unless you specifically seek out steel shafted irons.

With steel shafts, you may find that golf shots are easier to control. Steel shafts place a greater focus on accuracy as opposed to distance. Since they don’t get as much distance as graphite shafts, steel shafts require faster swing speed to make up for the loss of distance compared to graphite.

We’d recommend a steel shaft for golfers who have normal swing speed (90 to 110 mph) but want some extra control on their shots. This is also our recommended shaft material for drivers so you can hit more fairways and get better looks at hitting the green (from fairway instead of rough) during your golf round.

Graphite shafts are recommended if you want to add distance to your golf swing and are okay giving up some accuracy. They are best for beginners, seniors, and lady golfers who struggle to use steel shafts properly and generate distance with steel shafts.

Graphite shafts are also much lighter weight (50-85 grams) while steel shafts can start at 120 grams in most cases. This lighter weight feel, helps beginners, seniors, and women generate faster club speed to help aid in overall distance.

If price is a concern, beware that a set of graphite shaft irons may cost more than their counterpart steel shafted irons. Overall, consider these factors when choosing which material you should choose for your golf shafts.

Frequently Asked Questions About Golf Shaft Flex

What swing speed requires a stiff shaft?

According to TaylorMade, they created a chart highlighting the distances and speeds of a golf swing and which golf shaft flex they’d likely require. Here’s the link to see the chart.

For the stiff shaft, they recommend golfers who generate a swing speed between 95 and 110 mph. In terms of distance, this would be golfers who hit the golf ball approximately 240 yards to 275 yards.

Is a Stiff flex good for beginners?

There isn’t a rule that says beginners should not use a stiff golf shaft. However, most beginners have slower swing speeds when they are first learning golf and this usually qualifies them for a regular shaft instead of a stiff shaft.

But if a beginner player already has a decent swing motion and generates clubhead speed between the range of 95 to 110 mph or more, then a stiff shaft or extra stiff shaft could be justified to be used by a beginner golfer.

What flex should I use golf?

In order to pick out the proper golf shaft flex, you should get fitted by a club professional. They can connect you to a golf launch monitor, which can detail important information about your golf swing tendencies and help the club fitter pick out the proper golf shaft flex for your swing.

However, if you plan to pick your own flex out, it’s recommended you test different flexes. Ask the golf club shop for a driver with a regular, stiff, and extra stiff shaft. Practice hitting several balls with each and see which one produces the desire ball flight, speed speed, and feel that you desire.

Do golf shafts make a difference?

Golf shafts do play an important role in the performance of your golf swing and the success of the ball flying far and straight. During the golf swing the shaft causes deflection (bend) that causes the clubhead to be in a forward and toe downward position relative to the grip of the club. This can help generate launch on the golf ball to hit it high, straight, and far.

According to GolfScienceLab here are the major things shaft flex can impact:

  • Height of golf shot
  • Curvature
  • Speed of the club head
  • Direction the clubhead is traveling (swing path)
  • Club face relation to club path

As you can see it impacts all the important components thus why it’s important to select the proper golf shaft for your swing.

What swing speed needs a senior flex shaft?

The same TaylorMade golf swing chart referenced above, recommends a senior flex shaft for a golfer with a swing speed between 75 mph and 85 mph. You don’t need to be a senior in age to use a senior shaft flex. It’s again based around golf swing speed so if you’re a beginner, a female, a teenager, etc. you can use a senior shaft flex if your swing speed fits in that recommended range.

Do stiff shafts go further?

According to Golf Science Lab, the shaft flex does not have systematic effect on clubhead speed. This means that picking out a more stiff shaft flex will not make you swing the golf club faster, and thus you won’t automatically hit the ball farther either.

If you want to hit the golf ball farther, you should work on the mechanics of your golf swing and learn how to generate more power in your legs, core, and arms to swing the club head faster through the impact zone. This will be the fastest way to increase distance with your golf clubs.

Do I need a stiff shaft or regular?

Determining which golf shaft flex your need (stiff, regular, senior, etc.) requires club fitting and testing. Start by using a launch monitor to analyze your golf swing speed. If your swing ranges between 85 mph and 95 mph then you should start with a regular flex. If your swing speed is faster than 95 mph, then you should try a stiff shaft.

But we recommend practicing with both flexes at a club fitting shop so you can feel how each swings and test how each launches the golf ball to ensure you are getting the optimal ball flight, launch angle, back spin, etc. This is something in which a club fitter can help you determine since they are the expert with the data.

Does golf shaft flex matter?

Yes, playing with the wrong shaft flex can cause your ball flight to come off the face low and make the curve and direction of the shot harder to control. This also leads to less distance than what you could be achieving if you played with the correct golf shaft.

What is the best shaft for a slow swing speed?

If you have a slow swing speed, you should use a golf shaft labeled women’s, senior, junior, or regular. It really depends on how slow your golf swing speed is. If it is under 75 mph then you should use a ladies flex. Senior flex is best for 75 mph to 85 mph.

What is the best shaft for a fast swing speed?

If you believe you have a high golf swing speed that could compete with that of the PGA Tour players and the long drive golfers, then you likely fall under the extra stiff golf shaft flex category. However, most golfers with fast swing speed will fall under the stiff flex (normal) instead of extra stiff. Try out both and see which feels best and performs best for you.

What happens if your golf shaft is too stiff?

When the golf shaft is too stiff, it doesn’t unload properly at impact. This can lead to the face staying open and result in a slice golf shot. Beware, a slice isn’t always an indication the shaft is too stiff so if you already have a slice, it could be caused by another fault in your golf swing. However, too stiff of a shaft flex can cause the slice to get even worse and more severe.

What are the best golf shafts?

Here are 11 of the best golf shafts to buy in 2019. These are shafts for the golf driver club, but there should be similar models you can also find for fairway woods and hybrid clubs.

  • Aldila NV 2KXV Blue 60 Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip
  • Matrix OZIK X5 White Tie 50 Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip
  • Accra New Tour Z 55 Counter Balanced CB Driver Shaft + Adapter & Grip
  • Aldila Rogue Black 60 Graphite Wood Shaft
  • Fujikura Vista Pro 55 R-Flex Shaft + Ping G / G30 Driver Tip + Grip
  • Project X PXV R-Flex Shaft – TaylorMade SLDR, R15, M1 Tip
  • Fujikura Vista Pro 60 – TaylorMade M1, M2, R15 Tip
  • Aldila VS Proto 60 Stiff Shaft – SLDR, R15, M1 Tip
  • Aldila Rogue Silver 60 Graphite Wood Shaft
  • Project X PXV R-Flex Driver Shaft, Ping G30 Driver Tip
  • Accuflex PRO LD 50″