One of the most important choices you have to make when buying golf clubs is which shaft flex to use, with 80% of golfers being suited to either regular or stiff shafts.
Choose a shaft too light and flexible and you’ll overpower the club, causing it to whip round too soon, making misses high and left more common, and the club generally hard to control.
Choose a shaft too heavy and too stiff and you will inevitably swing a touch slower and consequently will struggle to square the face at impact, causing you to miss more shots low and right.
What’s the difference between regular and stiff shafts?
A stiff shaft is firmer and harder to bend than a regular shaft, and so more often than not, they’re also heavier in weight.
As a rough rule of thumb, the more speed you generate, the stiffer your shafts should be. This doesn’t just relate to players who swing quickly though, often a slow accelerating arc can generate more lag and power than someone who swings with a quicker tempo.
The aim of the game is to match your swing with the correct shaft flex to maximise your distance and control.
Remember, just like your score, it’s a case of how many and not how, so don’t be afraid of opting for a regular or lightweight shaft if it offers you improved performance. After all, how often do you look at the shaft specs of other peoples’ clubs?!
Can my irons be a different flex to my woods?
Yes! For the best performance you should have each of your clubs custom fitted. The flatter swing arc ideal for hitting your driver differs to the steeper one needed with an iron, and because of this it’s likely the different actions may need different shaft flexes.
What about kick point?
Kick point is where the shaft flexes the most. A club with a high kick point should produce a lower trajectory and help players who lose distance from a high spinning flight, while a low kick point will launch the ball higher. Because stiffer shafts need more power or a more efficient action to work at their best, they usually feature higher kick points to give you a helping hand.
How do I find out which flex is best for me?
There are a few ways you can work this out. The easiest is of course the old fashioned way of testing both types side-by-side on a driving range or out on the course.
You can also get your swing speed measured on a launch monitor during a session with a professional, where they’ll be able to give you some great advice on what you should be using to get the most from your swing.
The final, and arguably best, way to find your ideal flex is to go for a custom fitting session. Here you’ll get to try various shafts and, equally importantly, various weight shafts to see which works best for you, with launch monitor data providing the proof in the pudding.