The Regular ShaftMost golfers begin with a regular shaft and then “upgrade” to a stiffer shaft, but stiffer isn’t always better. A lot depends on your speed of swing, ball flight and distance. The normal rule of thumb is that if you tend to hit the ball 230-250 yards and have a slower swing, with greater accuracy, a regular shaft (denoted R) is for you. If you tend to suffer from a slice or your ball flight is too low, then the last thing you want to do is go stiffer. You might even consider going with one of the more flexible options. The reason for this is that a stiffer shaft can cause the club face to connect with the ball while the head is still slightly open, causing the ball to slice off or fail to gain height. However, there is no industry standard for shaft flex, so different brands will have different flexes. Therefore, you will want to try them out before purchasing.
The Stiffer ShaftsA stiffer shaft usually leads to a straighter shot, but this is only true to a point. If you have a slice, a stiffer shaft will exacerbate the problem. Stiffer shafts are recommended for golfers with a faster swing, and a generally longer distance shot (over 250 yards). The stiff shaft (denoted S) can help with a lot of common errors.
Photo credit: wikimedia.orgIf you struggle with the ball flight that is too high or results in a hook, you probably need a stiffer shaft. The reason for this is that these issues are often the result of swinging the club so fast that you end up closing the face too early, before it reaches the ball. A stiffer shaft will keep the club face open for longer, until the moment just before impact and ensure that you hit the ball on the sweet spot. However, a shaft that is too stiff may cause a slice, go shorter distances, and feel less sturdy. The extra stiff shaft (denoted X) is for those who have a very fast and accurate swing with a distance greater than 280 yards. These really are only recommended for professional golfers, so don’t waste your money on something like this.
The More Flexible ShaftsWomen and Seniors tend to struggle more with distance and swing speed than men, which is why the more flexible shafts are classified this way.
Seniors’ shafts (denoted with an A, for amateur) are for golfers who tend to hit the ball between 180-200 yards. As men age, their swing loses some power and slows down quite a lot, so they will need a club with a bit more flex. A ladies’ shaft (denoted L) is recommended for golfers who usually hit the ball about 150 yards. The ladies shaft is a bit more flexible because women tend to be shorter and have less swing power, resulting in a slower, often lighter swing. However, a female golfer with a lot of power in her swing might consider using a senior or even a regular shaft, if she finds that she is struggling with accuracy. However, a shaft that is too flexible may cause a hook, the ball to pop up higher, but not as far, and feel more sturdy, even when they aren’t.
Photo credit: wikimedia.orgThe best way to decide which shaft to use is to consider your level of accuracy and consistent length. The further you hit the ball, the stiffer flex staff, the better, unless you have accuracy issues, like a slice. In this case, the stiffer flex gives you less room for error. Leave the extra stiff golf club staffs for the professionals. Ladies who tend to hit the ball less than 180 yards will probably want to just stick with the ladies flex and seniors who still have a powerful swing, but less control and tend to hit the ball 200-230 yards should stick with the senior staff. If you’re a beginner man and tend to hit the ball 230-250 yards, stick with the regular shafts. Otherwise, choose between regular and stiff based on the feel of the club and the guidelines below:
- The best way to decide which flex is appropriate for you is to be fitted at a golf store or pro shop.
- If you don’t have access or the time to visit a golf store, you might use this
- Check this out: