Want to look like a professional in your golf club?
Well, there are A LOT of external factors simultaneously affecting your game while out on a golf course.
But if there is one and only factor you should pay attention to, it’s your shaft flex.
In this article, we’ll walk you through what a stiffer shaft entails and WHY you need it.
Moving to A Stiffer Shaft: When Should You Do It?
Shaft flexibility is an often overlooked aspect of the play. This is because most golfers have difficulties detecting changes in their swing speeds.
Simply: your STRENGTH will OVERPOWER your club when you own a highly flexible golf club.
To make your transition to a stiffer shaft justifiable, here are some of the SIGNS THAT YOU CAN LOOK OUT FOR:
#1 General Observations
Nothing beats a good intuition.
If the club FEELS stiff for you, then it probably is.
Try to see if these have ever happened to you:
- Whipping feeling during a swing
- Low resistance when gripped
- Awkward swings
Most of the time, these are observed from an increase in your physical strength.
Such observations can easily tell you that you might need to upgrade your shaft flex.
#2 Inconsistencies With Your Swing
These are BETTER indicators for problems related to your shaft flex.
If you’ve been starting to notice these inconsistencies WHEN you swing, then the upgrade to stiffer shafts might be the right corrective measure:
- Distance and Accuracy. Your usual gameplay may be starting to unpredictably result in BOTH long distances and short distances.
- Low Smash Factors. If you are starting to lose distance, then your SHAFT and CLUB HEAD may not be in sync with each other anymore.
- Vibrational Impact. Your swings could be impacting you stronger than before, showing signs that your shaft has lost its STIFFNESS.
- Hitting Hooks. Inconsistencies could result in the changing of your ball’s trajectory UPON IMPACT with your swing.
- Slice Tendencies. You would likely observe your shot shape to be from LEFT TO RIGHT.
That said, start to worry about your swing when the clubface starts to close and rotate past square.
These are early signs of your swing’s misdirection.
#3 Misdirected Flight Paths of the Ball
Misdirection often happens upon the IMPACT of the golf club with the ball.
Shaft flex would result in the tendency of your club to MOVE FORWARD, resulting in any or all of these:
- Unexpected Heights. Hitting the ball with a flexible shaft often results in HIGH TRAJECTORIES of the ball.
- Uncontrolled Spins. A flexible shaft can result in too much spin, easily making your ball LOSE DIRECTION.
- Wild Shots. These refer to the unpredictability of your shots once you finally hit the ball.
If you are a right-handed golfer with a flexible shaft, you will also notice that the ball will tend to move towards the LEFT side.
Only professional golfers can CONTROL the unpredictability of their shaft flex.
But of course, NONE OF THEM are safe from any awkward swings.
If you’ve answered “YES” to experiencing any of these, then it’s TIME for you to consider a move to stiff shafts.
At the same time, you could also consider the right shaft flexibility for YOU.
Remember: results from a flexible shaft may always vary according to your swing speeds.
But more importantly, there will ALWAYS be a lot of factors you would need to consider.
Factors Affecting Golf Club Flexibility: What Should You Consider?
A flexible shaft is often a result of MANY factors.
These are the ESSENTIAL ones that you need to be familiar with.
Let’s discuss these shaft flex factors and their effects on your gameplay.
Type of Shaft Material
This may sound like the most obvious factor, but it’s worth reiterating: different materials result in different shaft flexes.
The most common ones are GRAPHITE and STEEL:
These are the benefits that come with graphite materials:
- LESS WEIGHT for an increase in swing speed and distance
- FEWER VIBRATIONS for better control and comfort
- EASIER TO SWING for less strained tempos
However, a graphite shaft tends to EXPERIENCE MORE WHIP AND FLEXIBILITY.
While GREAT for a grooved swing, this will likely result in inaccuracy.
Depending on your needs, these are the benefits that you can consider:
- MORE BALANCED WEIGHT for better swing tempo and more control
- FEEDBACK VIBRATIONS to alert you of your swing and impact
- LESS EXPENSIVE for a budget-friendly shaft
The steel shafts are generally stiffer than graphite shafts.
That said, you should choose a steel shaft for better control of the clubhead.
Graphite shafts could only lower your swing speeds and make you lose control during your round.
Swing speed is one of the best indicators to assess your shaft flex.
There is a simple convention to follow:
- FAST SWINGERS should choose a stiffer shaft for better control
- SLOW SWINGERS can adjust easily to more flexible shafts
Swing speed refers to the rate at which the clubhead will travel through the target.
This indicator gives insight into your results and your GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE.
You can get your swing speed PROFESSIONALLY MEASURED on a launch monitor during a golf session.
Shaft Length and Weight
The right shaft flex needs to be properly matched with the club’s length and weight.
- LIGHTER SHAFTS have a higher tendency to achieve HIGHER BALL FLIGHT and MORE SPIN
- HEAVIER SHAFTS have a higher tendency to achieve LOWER BALL FLIGHT and LESS SPIN
That said, your stick’s tensile strength and flexibility should adjust to your clubhead’s size.
This should match your swing strength and own height as well.
In other words, only YOU will know which shaft has the perfect weight for YOUR swing power and personal biometrics.
The right flex is the one right for YOU.
YOU need to understand your practices while in-game:
- Natural swing tendencies
- Dominant shot shape
- Playing patterns and strategies
Simply know your preference in a golf shaft. Only you will know if the shaft is too stiff or not.
Effects of Using the Wrong Shaft Flex: Why Should Flex Matter?
Club shafts with the WRONG SHAFT FLEX FOR YOU result in poor game performance.
These are the general effects that you can notice:
- Less distance covered
- Inaccurate targets and trajectories
- Underwhelming shots
This is because the golf clubs will flex AGAINST YOUR WILL during your swing.
Your clubhead, in turn, changes position and affects your projected shot.
That said, choosing a STIFF OR FLEXIBLE SHAFT comes with its own sets of consequences.
What Will Happen If I Use Golf Shafts That Are Too Stiff?
A golf shaft is too stiff if you start having problems with shot trajectory and carry distance:
- Low Ball Flight resulting in less distance covered
- Slices and Weak Fades caused by stiffness that will keep the face square upon impact
- Inconsistent Swings caused by hindered follow-through
Yes, stiffer shafts do help better your shots.
However, you are likely to become less versatile during the entirety of your golf game.
Even professional golfers have difficulties adjusting to clubs that are too stiff.
So When Should I Move To A More Flexible Shaft?
If your club feels like a STEEL ROD, it is probably TOO STIFF.
The best shaft flex should tell you when the head’s weight has been loaded onto the shaft.
What Will Happen If I Use Golf Shafts That Are Too Flexible?
A golf shaft with too much flex will result in more spin and inconsistent release points.
You’ll tend to notice these instances during your golf games:
- Draw Golf Ball Flight caused by the forwarding of the shaft to rotate past the square
- High Trajectories caused by the usual misdirection of paths
- Shorter distance Covered caused by the absorbed impact of the club
Simply, the distance and accuracy of your shots will be MORE UNPREDICTABLE.
1. What Is The Difference Between A Regular Shaft and a Stiff Shaft?
A stiff shaft is HARDER TO BEND and is MORE FIRM.
On the other hand, a regular shaft has the right flex, perfect for a beginner’s balance.
Both differences will be noticeable depending on your SWING SPEED.
2. What Are The Different Types Of Shaft Flex?
From the type that requires the lowest swing speed to the highest, these are the types that you can settle for:
These options and types are often categorized by club head speed.
Simply, VERY FAST swing speed golfers should ideally get X-stiff shafts.
Remember that an incorrect flex and swing speed match will compromise your distance and accuracy.
3. Is It Possible To Change The Shafts Of A Club?
Yes, it IS possible to change shafts.
Depending on your club, the process will vary: drivers are easier to be replaced than irons.
Ask assistance from your local trainers or store professionals.
4. Are Shafts Personally Measured For You?
Yes, you can get a personal fitting.
It’s similar to giving your golf clubs a “test drive.”
That said, our one advice is to invest in a good regular or x-stiff for a BETTER and EASIER game.
5. Can Stiff Golf Shafts Cause A Slice?
Yes. That is one of the MAIN CONSEQUENCES of settling for such stiffness.
This is because the shaft will fail to unload the ball properly.
The Final Verdict
Your golf club should NOT be too stiff or too flexible.
Key indicators for knowing when to start getting a stiffer shaft include:
- General Observations and Intuition. Trust your gut feel. YOU are using the golf club.
- Inconsistencies With Your Swing. Study your gameplay and take note of ANY changes in your performance.
- Misdirected Flight Paths of the Golf Ball. Observe what happens when you HIT THE BALL with your golf club: it SHOULD follow your desired position.
Likewise, move to a more flexible shaft once you notice that your shaft is too stiff.
Determining factors for ALL of these decisions include:
- Shaft Material
- Swing Speed
- Shaft Proportions
Do NOT be afraid to consult professionals about this.
Your golf club is key to a perfect match.
Let us know in the comments below!