Golf shafts vary in weight, feel, and performance. But which is best for your needs? This article breaks down the differences between stiff vs regular flex golf shafts and why it matters to you (it can impact your play)!
What Is a Golf Shaft?
A golf shaft is a crucial part of golf equipment. It connects to the club head and is located in the middle of a golf club, right between the head and the grip. A golf club’s grip covers the top of the shaft, and the bottom of the shaft goes into the club head.
It then enters through a hosel. A hosel is hollow and is the bonding point for the club head and the club shaft. The hosel may be referred to as the socket or the neck.
Different Types of Golf Shafts
Different manufacturers have their own definitions of what constitutes a golf shaft. However, they all agree that the stiffness of a golf shaft is determined by the shaft’s flex.
Extra stiff shafts are rigid and much harder to bend than senior flex or A-flex shafts. The latter is very loose and significantly easier to bend.
The different types of golf shafts are extra stiff, stiff, regular, senior, and ladies. The best shaft for your needs depends on how many miles per hour your swing speed is. Extra stiff shafts are typically used by professionals on tour with swing speeds of up to 110 miles per hour.
Your physical stature should not dictate the type of golf shaft you use. Try out a variety to see what works and feels best for you. You can also work with a professional fitter, as they’ll help you choose the best golf shaft.
Stiff Golf Shafts
Stiff golf shafts are harder to bend. These firm golf shafts are also heavier. As you generate more speed, you’ll need a stiffer golf shaft.
If your drive distance is 260+ yards, it’s advisable to use a stiff golf shaft.
Graphite shafts are traditionally lighter than their steel counterparts. This makes them easier for golfers to control.
It’s common for stiff shafts to feature steel, as this material is heavier and offers less flex.
Regular Flex Golf Shafts
If your drive distance is between 220 and 260 yards, then you’d want to opt for a regular flex golf shaft.
Regular flex golf shafts have greater flexibility, which means the driver can better bend. This is what produces the flex. Material plays a key factor here, with heavier materials equating to a heavier shaft.
Since these golf shafts flex more, they’re advantageous whenever you’re looking to hit balls at lower speeds.
What to Consider
As you select the best golf shafts for your game, it’s important to consider several aspects. Here’s what you should focus on.
If, when using a driver, your swing speed is between 97 and 104 miles per hour, then it’s best to use a stiff flex golf shaft. If you have a slower swing speed of 84 to 96 miles per hour, you’d want to stick with a regular golf shaft.
For reference, the swing speed of the average golfer is 93 miles per hour.
Should your swing speed land between 72 and 83 miles per hour, then you would benefit from a senior flex golf shaft.
Your Driver Distance
Regular shafts are ideal for the majority of golfers. Anyone who hits a 150-yard shot using a 6 or 7 iron should use a regular shaft golf club. When you use a flex shaft that best suits your needs, you’ll find that the club performs better and you’re able to achieve distance with each shot and improve your golf game.
This results in fewer misses and greater consistency when playing. An exception might be golfers who require a stiffer golf shaft in their wedges. Wedges typically feature less flexible shafts, since this is known to improve the amount of control you have over your short game.
150 Yard Club
The flex you use also depends on what you use for your 150-yard shot, as previously mentioned. As you approach this type of shot, you’ll need to take into consideration your different flex options.
If you’re using a 9 iron, the best golf shafts should have an extra stiff flex. When using an 8 iron playing golf, you’d want to use a club with a stiff flex. If you’re using a 7 iron for your 150-yard shot, then you’d benefit from a regular flex golf shaft.
Anyone using a 6 iron should consider using a soft senior flex golf club, and golfers who use a 5 iron should use a senior flex golf shaft. Another rule of thumb is anyone using a 4 or 5 iron should use a ladies’ flex golf club.
Graphite vs Steel
Steel shafts are usually much heavier than graphite shafts. They’re also more durable and less expensive to purchase. You’ll commonly find them made from stainless steel.
Steel irons have less lateral twisting and torque than graphite shafts. They typically offer golfers more feedback, something that should be taken into consideration when choosing a golf club.
Some golfers may opt to forego graphite’s potential gain in yardage because they prefer the way steel shafts feel.
Graphite shafts, on the other hand, are much lighter. They’re also more expensive compared to their steel counterparts. Since graphite shafts are more lightweight, they can help golfers achieve a greater swing speed with more power behind them.
Find Your Golf Shaft
Now that you know the difference between stiff vs regular flex golf shafts, you’re ready to begin your search for golf equipment. It’s important to follow these guidelines when considering all the different types of golf shafts, as the best fit will help you play your best.
Gather Baseline Information
Begin by hitting golf balls with every club in your set. You can work with a professional golf coach or a local fitter to gain data from your swing as you try out each club.
You’re looking to identify which clubs you hit well with, and what clubs you need extra support with. This will help you determine what your true swing speed is, which clubs you tend to favor, and if you’re losing or gaining speed with any clubs in particular.
Next, you’ll need to research the different club types you have. This means gaining insight into the brand, model, weight, flex, torque, and more. As you research each golf club, ask yourself if the description of each club matches your needs.
You’ll want to consider the club’s length, flex, tipping, weight, kick point, and torque. Once you have this information, you’ll be better equipped to purchase a new club (or set) moving forward.
Test the Clubs
Once you’ve researched different clubs and have an idea of what you need, it’s time to test the different clubs. You can work with a fitter or contact local golf courses and ask about demo days that allow you to try out different shafts.
Determine the clubs that work best for your golf game and which feel the best. Then all you have to do is purchase your golf club (or clubs) and you’ll be on your way! It’s ideal to work with a professional builder, ensuring a perfect fit shaft as they custom build your clubs.
Check Your Performance
Once you’ve completed the above steps and have your new set of golf clubs, it’s time to monitor your performance. Your shaft should match your golf swing and, ideally, improve your golf game.
As you’re out on the golf course, begin playing a few rounds. Take note of your game and how your clubs feel.
Are you still encountering frequent misses? If so, you should inform your fitter so you can work together, as your clubs may require a few different tweaks to get your game where you want it to be.
Whenever you make changes to your golf swing, always keep an eye on how well you’re performing. Whether you gain or lose speed, you may need to start these steps over again to find the best shaft that matches your new (and hopefully improved) swing.
Stiff vs Regular Flex
The type of golf shaft you use depends on your performance, specific needs, and your comfortability. Always test a variety of golf clubs and shafts before committing, and work with a professional fitter whenever possible. They’ll consider your drive distance when helping you choose between a stiff vs regular flex golf shaft.
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