The type of golf club shaft that best suits your golf game will vary based on things like swing speed, ball flight, skill-level, personal preference, and more.
However, in all cases, there are 6 main things you need to consider when choosing the right shafts for your golf clubs:
- The flex of the golf club shaft.
- The material used to make the club shaft.
- The weight of the shaft.
- The length of the shaft.
- The kick point and torque of the shaft.
- The manufacturer of the shaft.
Let’s take a look at each of these factors so you can choose the club shafts that are the perfect fit for your unique game!
Table of Contents
- 1. Shaft Flex
- 2. Material Used to Make the Club Shaft
- 3. Shaft Weight
- 4. Shaft Length
- 5. Shaft Kick Point and Torque
- 6. Manufacturer
- In Closing…
1. Shaft Flex
The shaft flex of your golf clubs is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new set.
But, how exactly does shaft flex affect your golf swing?
Well, if you choose a shaft that’s too flexible, your club head will move around more during your swing. This makes it difficult to arrive at a consistent impact position, resulting in a loss of accuracy.
On the other hand, if you choose a golf shaft that’s too stiff, the lack of “spring” can significantly reduce your clubhead speed, resulting in a decrease in distance.
How to Choose the Right Golf Club Shaft Flex
Golf shafts are classified into 5 different categories based on their flexibility:
L – Ladies
A – Senior
R – Regular
S – Stiff
X – Extra-stiff
The one that you should select is usually based on your average swing speed. For example, below is a chart that shows the average clubhead speeds of several different types of golfers, and the associated shaft flex they should have.
|Distance (Carry – Yards)||Swing Speed||Recommended Shaft Flex|
|< 180||< 75 mph||Ladies (L)|
|180-200||75-85 mph||Senior (A)|
|200-240||85-95 mph||Regular (R)|
|240-275||95-110 mph||Stiff (S)|
|275+||110+ mph||X-Stiff (X)|
|Distance (Carry – Yards)||Swing Speed||Recommended Shaft Flex|
|< 100||< 60 mph||Ladies (L)|
|100-130||60-70 mph||Senior (A)|
|130-155||70-80 mph||Regular (R)|
|155-175||80-90 mph||Stiff (S)|
|175+||90+ mph||X-Stiff (X)|
(Data sourced from TaylorMade Golf)
As you can see, the shaft flex you should have depends on the amount of clubhead speed you generate throughout your swing.
The higher the clubhead speed, the more likely it is that you will need a stiffer shaft, and vice versa.
If you don’t know what your clubhead speed is, the chart above provides the distance equivalent.
You could also get a more accurate estimate by visiting your local golf store. They’ll probably have a simulator that will give you tons of data like clubhead speed, launch angle, distance, and other helpful stats.
2. Material Used to Make the Club Shaft
Another important factor that comes into play when selecting a club shaft that will maximize your performance is the materials that are used to make the shaft.
But… What are golf shafts made out of and how will the material affect your golf swing?
In the early days of the game, shafts were constructed out of wood.
Thankfully, advancements in technology have given us more choices that involve fewer splinters. Some of the most popular include:
There are two types of steel golf shafts – rifle steel and stepped steel.
Rifle shafts are smooth from the grip of the club all the way down to the clubhead. This uniform one-piece design creates a consistent feel across your entire set. Rifle shafts are great for those who wish to minimize spin and reduce their launch angle.
Just like rifle shafts, stepped shafts start off thick near the grip and gradually reduce in diameter as you get closer to the club head.
However, throughout the length of the club, you’ll notice a series of ridges or “steps.” The big benefit of stepped shafts is that you have more flexibility in determining where the kick point will be on each club.
Many pros enjoy this because they believe it helps them shape the ball, achieve a higher launch, and have more feel through impact.
You can tell which type of steel is used simply by running your hand down the club shaft. If it’s stepped steel, you’ll actually be able to feel the ridges throughout the length of the club.
The major benefit of steel shafts is their durability and relatively low cost compared to other materials.
That said, one of the drawbacks of steel shafts is that they’re heavier than other variations. They weigh about 130 grams on average.
Graphite is another popular material used to make club shafts. Compared to steel shafts, graphite variations tend to be much lighter, averaging about 50-90 grams per club. (For more on the difference between steel and graphite shafts, see this article: Steel Vs. Graphite Golf Shafts – Which is Better?)
Many golfers enjoy this lightweight and compact design because it helps them see an uptick in their swing speed.
However, there is a caveat – graphite shafts tend to be less durable and will need to be replaced more often.
They also tend to be slightly more expensive than their steel counterparts.
It’s also possible to combine steel and graphite together to make a composite shaft. The idea behind this design is to minimize the weight of the shaft while maintaining its durability.
Last, in recent years, some manufacturers have started designing shafts out of titanium. Performance of this type of shaft lies somewhere in between that of steel and graphite shafts.
For example, titanium is slightly lighter than steel but heavier than graphite. It’s also more durable than graphite, but less durable than steel.
What Type Of Golf Shaft Should You Use?
The type of shaft you should select depends on what kind of player you are.
For players who are lagging in the distance department, you might want to consider investing in graphite shafts because they’re lighter and will help you increase swing speed.
If you have plenty of speed, a durable steel shaft might be your best bet to help you maximize control.
And finally, if you’re somewhere in the middle, you might want to consider composite or titanium shafts for your clubs for the best of both worlds.
3. Shaft Weight
The weight of your club shafts will vary depending on the type of material they are made from and what club they are for.
What Is The Average Golf Club Shaft Weight?
According to D’Lance Golf – a top 100 club-fitter in America (Golf Digest) – the average club shaft weight for both men and ladies are as follows:
“Driver shafts typically weigh 55-60 grams for men and 45-50 grams for ladies. Iron shafts can be as light as 55 grams in graphite, and 130 grams in steel. The professional tours offer great examples. LPGA driver shafts are typically between 50-65 grams while PGA Tour driver shafts are 60 to 85 grams.”D’Lance Golf
How Does Shaft Weight Affect The Golf Swing?
Although it’s important to realize that there are exceptions, here’s how club shaft weight generally affects your golf game:
Swing Speed – lighter club shafts allow you to swing the club much faster and are therefore prefered by those with slower swing speeds.
Ball Flight – As the weight of the shaft increases, ball flight tends to lower, and vice versa. If you struggle with a low ball flight, you might want to consider some lighter shafts.
Distance – This one is tricky. A lighter club shaft will help you swing faster. This is true. But faster doesn’t necessarily mean farther.
Let me explain:
Jason Fenstermaker, a golf instructor at PGA Tour Academy, claims that in order to maximize your distance, you need to launch the ball at an optimal angle while reducing spin rate.
Unfortunately, sometimes when your swing speed increases, so will the spin rate. This means that although you’re swinging faster, more energy is wasted, and you likely won’t hit the ball further.
So, if you decide to switch to a lighter club shaft with the idea “Lighter = Faster and Faster = Farther Drives,” you might be in for a surprise.
That’s why it’s important to look at YOUR game as an individual. The key is finding a shaft that allows you to launch each shot at an optimal angle while minimizing spin.
For someone who struggles with a low ball flight that’s “dead” off the face, that might mean a lighter shaft would work better for them.
For someone who hits high “fluffy” tee shots with lots of spin, that might mean opting for a heavier shaft.
Accuracy – heavier club shafts tend to provide a higher level of consistency when it comes to contacting the sweet spot of the clubface. Again, these shafts typically reduce spin rate, helping to hit the ball straighter.
So, if you’ve ever found yourself asking the question, “does shaft weight make a difference,” here’s what you should take away from this section:
Yes. The weight of the club shaft can have a measurable effect on many important areas of your golf game including distance, accuracy, swing speed, and ball flight.
4. Shaft Length
Making sure your golf clubs are the appropriate length is critical to your success on the course.
But how long should each of your clubs be?
Let’s take a look at the average club length for drivers and irons, depending on the type of shaft that they have:
Average Length of Golf Clubs
|Club||Graphite-Shafted Club||Steel-Shafted Club||Ladies-Shafted Club|
Data sourced from TaylorMade Golf
Of course, the length of shafts you’ll need for your golf clubs will vary based on your individual body type.
How To Measure The Appropriate Golf Shaft Length
Shaft length is measured by calculating the distance from your wrist to the floor while standing upright in a comfortable position.
This is contrary to the popular belief that tall people will always need longer club shafts and short people will always need shorter club shafts.
If you’re a tall player, but your arms hang down low, you might be able to get away with using standard length clubs.
On the other hand, if you’re short but your arms don’t hang down very far, you might actually need extended shafts.
Here’s a chart that shows the appropriate club shaft length based on the distance from your wrist to the floor:
|Distance (Wrist-Floor)||Recommended Club Shaft Modifications|
|More Than 42″||+2″|
|Less Than 25″||-2″|
Data sourced from TaylorMade Golf
Does a Longer Shaft Mean Longer Drives?
If you’ve ever watched the World Long Drive Championships, you’ve probably noticed that the drivers they use are much longer than the 45” average. In some cases, they can be as long as 48”!
This is because a longer club shaft can help you generate more clubhead speed which can often result in more distance.
However, as the length of the shaft increases, it becomes more difficult to hit the sweet spot consistently. And if you miss the sweet spot by just ½ an inch, you risk losing 10, 20, or even 30 yards off the tee.
Let’s say you hit 6 drives with a 45” driver and 6 with a 48” driver:
While your best drive with the 48” driver traveled 13 yards more than your best drive with the 45″ driver, you were only able to hit the sweet spot on 2 of the 6 drives with the longer club.
With the 45” driver, you made solid contact on 4 of 6 drives.
When you add up the total distance of all 6 drives with each driver, you’ll notice that overall, you had 20 yards more distance with the shorter driver.
The key is finding a happy balance between distance and consistency.
5. Shaft Kick Point and Torque
What is the Kick Point in a Golf Shaft?
The kick point of a golf shaft refers to the area that bends the most as you initiate the downswing and make contact with the golf ball.
It’s important to understand the difference between low kick, mid kick, and high kick shafts because this feature plays an important role in determining the trajectory of each shot.
High Kick Point
A high kick point shaft means that it will bend the most at the top of the club near the grip. High kick points generally help produce a lower ball flight.
Low Kick Point
A low kick point shaft is one that will bend most at the lower end of the shaft, closer to the clubhead. Low-kick points help to produce a higher ball flight.
Mid Kick Point
A mid kick point shaft will bend the most in the center area of the club shaft, resulting in a moderate to high ball flight.
What is Torque in a Golf Shaft?
Torque refers to the twisting forces that act on the golf club during the golf swing. It is measured in degrees and can range anywhere between 2 and 8 degrees. The higher the torque of a club shaft, the more it will twist during the swing, and vice versa.
But why is torque important?
Torque is a large contributor to the feel of the golf club. When you make contact with the ball, it’s actually possible to feel the club twisting. Some players enjoy the feedback this provides on each shot while others prefer minimal movement.
It’s important to not confuse the feeling of shaft torque with shaft flex. Because you can feel the twisting effect of the club at impact, many golfers assume that this sensation is simply a product of the shaft bending or flexing. However, it’s actually shaft torque.
This is why some stiff shafts feel like they are bending more than others at the point of impact.
Low Torque Golf Shaft
Low torque golf shafts will usually be limited to about 2 or 3 degrees of twist through impact.
High Torque Golf Shaft
High torque golf shafts will typically have 6+ degrees of twist through the impact zone.
Mid Torque Golf Shaft
Mid torque golf shafts display anywhere between 4-6 degrees of twist during the swing.
How Much Shaft Torque Do You Need?
It Depends. In general, stronger golfers with high swing speeds will need low torque shafts. For them, too much torque might result in shots feeling soft and leaking out to one side of the fairway.
On the other hand, many golfers with slower swing speeds prefer high torque shafts. This is because they benefit from having more feel through the impact zone instead of each shot feeling “dead” off the club face.
Golf shafts might vary depending on the manufacturer. For example, two regular flex shafts from two different brands might have noticeable variations in their feel.
This is simply due to different company specifications and methods used during the manufacturing process.
That’s why, when you’re getting fitted for a new set of clubs, it’s always a good idea to test a few different types of shafts from some of the top brands.
Every golf swing is different, and therefore, the art (yes, art) lies in selecting the club shaft that is best suited for YOUR game. You want to make sure your club shaft maximizes accuracy without sacrificing power.
If you would like to make sure you make the right choice with your golf club shafts, I would recommend visiting a certified club fitter.
They’ll have the expertise and technology needed to analyze your swing and set you up with the perfect shafts.
I hope this article helps you shave some strokes of your handicap!