Signs You Need a Stiffer Shaft

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Don’t you hate it when you put a good swing on the ball, only to feel like the club wasn’t helping you out? There’s nothing worse than going through your routine, picking a target, and making a good swing… only to see the ball react differently than you anticipated.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of guesswork when it comes to hitting good golf shots. Sometimes, your equipment makes the game more difficult.

Although most people blame their swing, it could actually be your club shafts. All kinds of problems can occur when a shaft bends improperly, or if you have a flexible golf club and need stiffer shafts.

Your performance is directly affected by the shafts you use in your golf clubs. This includes distance, accuracy, ball flight, and speed. Your game will suffer if the shaft is too flexible (or not enough flexibility) or the wrong weight.  

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself, “How do I know if I need a stiffer shaft? Should I play stiff or regular shaft clubs?”

Today, we’ll help you answer those questions and more. Continue reading to learn about the most common reasons you should switch to stiffer shafts and other factors.

6 Signs That You Need a Stiffer Shaft 

While it’s been said the divot never lies in golf, the same could be said for shafts. If you play the wrong shafts – Whether it is too heavy/light, too flexible/not enough flexibility – it can negatively affect your performance too.

However, identifying if you need a stiffer shaft or one with more flex isn’t as easy as learning from a divot. Below are some warning signs to help you decide if you require a stiffer shaft. 

High Ball Flight

High ball flight is the first sign of a shaft thats too whippy. Don’t get me wrong, hitting the golf ball high is a benefit but if it “balloons” up in the air, that can hurt your game. A consistent trajectory and piercing ball flight is important.

What you don’t want is a golf ball that goes straight up in the air after impact. This type of ball flight can reduce your distance and make it more difficult to play in the wind. 

Don’t forget, the longer the ball is in the air, the more that can go wrong too. You can lower your ball flight by using a heavier shaft. This will also help you to find the best shaft flex.

Loss of Distance

Golf is all about distance. The longer you can hit the golf ball, the easier it is to score well, even if you’re hitting from the rough sometimes. 

Many golfers believe that lighter shafts are necessary to increase their distance. This is a common belief. “Lighter shaft means easier to swing faster.” While that’s true in a sense, if the shaft isn’t stiff enough you’re going to actually lose distance.

That’s right, a stiffer shaft can actually help you increase total driving distance.

However, there’s a catch… you need enough swing speed. Otherwise, you won’t reap the rewards of a stiffer golf shaft, especially in your driver. 

Start Hitting Hooks

The dreaded slice is a common problem for golfers. The shot shape doesnt matter if you have a straight or powerful draw off the green. It can also lead to frustration when you try to avoid trouble on the right or play from the trees all day. 

However, if the ball is being swung too far, it could indicate that you need stiffer shafts. The miss is usually caused by a shaft that has too much flex. When the shaft is too stiff, it can cause the opposite effect. 

If you’re swinging too fast, the clubface will be more closed at impact. The clubface will fly more straight to the left if it isnt closed. 

So if you’re hitting unwanted hook shots off the tee, it could be from your driver shaft. This can happen even if you switch shafts. You need to fix your path and square the face at impacts. 


Feels too whippy

While there is a lot of data you can factor into your decision on which shaft is best for your swing, don’t neglect feel either. If you pick up a shaft and just instantly feel that it’s too whippy, it’s probably true. 

The more you learn this crazy game of golf the easier it will be to identify the weight of a golf club. If it feels too flexible, it is likely that it is and will cause you to lose your game. 

Loss of accuracy 

For straight shots, a club face must be square at impact position in order to hit golf shots.

While you can’t expect to hit every fairway and green (even the pros don’t hit 100% of them), accuracy is somewhat important. If you find yourself playing military golf (left, center, right, etc.It might be time to upgrade to a stiffer shaft.

A shaft with too much flexibility can result in a face that is too close to the impact point (also known as a duckhook). It can also cause occasional pushes or cuts. If you swing too fast, it’s harder to square a shaft with too much flex. 

Too much spin

Don’t you hate it when you hit a good drive, only to find that it nearly plugged in its own pitch mark in the fairway? While it might happen with soft winter golf conditions, it shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence. If you don’t get much (or any) roll on your driver, it might be a shaft issue. 

Your shaft can become too flexible and cause a balloon ball to roll off the ground. This can cause a significant loss in distance. 

This is something you should also be aware of when using your irons. Your iron shafts may have too much flexibility if you hit the green with too much backspin. To ensure predictability when the ball hits a green, you need some backspin. However, too much can be difficult to manage. 

Types of shaft Flex 

Now that you have a better understanding of the main signs you need a stiffer shaft, let’s talk about the different options. There are six main shaft stiffness profiles in golf.

  • Ladies shaft flex
  • Senior shaft flex
  • Regular shaft flex
  • Stiff shaft flex
  • Extra stiff shaft flex
  • Tour stiff shaft flex 

These range in flexibility from the most flexible shaft to those with the least.

Ladies flex shaft golf clubs with a ladies shaft have more bend because of a slower swing speed. A graphite shaft is a more flexible option for ladies.

The majority of everyday golfers will use senior shaft flexes, stiff flex, and scratch golfers typically use stiff shafts or X-stiff shafts. They’ll also benefit more from lighter graphite shafts too.

Extra stiff and Tour stiff flex shafts require more swing speed. These will offset their high swing speeds.

If you aren’t sure what type of shaft to play, read our guides below:

  • Regular flex or stiff flex?
  • Senior flex vs. regular flex 

Five Parts of Golf Shafts

When it comes to selecting the right shaft, flexibility is only one factor. Other factors to consider include weight and torque, length, kick point, and length. 

The shafts mass is as important as its flex. If a golf club is too heavy, it’s hard to swing with speed and increase distance. A shaft that is too lightweight can also affect your accuracy. 

Graphite shafts are lighter than steel shafts when it comes to their weight. Better players prefer steel shafts over iron shafts because they allow for more control and better shot making. A steel shaft is more rigid.

Higher handicap golfers will reap the benefits of graphite shafts when they play their irons or woods. 

Lastly, don’t forget about kick point too. While it’s not as big of a component as the other four, it can still affect your ball flight and performance. Learn more about kickpoint and how it affects your golf shafts. 

FAQs on Golf Club Flexibility

Are you unsure how to choose the right shaft flex? Continue reading to find out how you can choose the best shaft flex for your swing. 

A stiff shaft can cause me to lose distance.

If you don’t have a fast enough swing speed, then yes, you might lose distance.

You can gain distance with every golf club if your swing speed is faster. 

What happens if my driver shaft becomes too stiff?

The opposite will usually happen if your shaft is too stiff. Here’s what tends to happen:

  • Loss of distance If you don’t have enough swing speed, you will lose distance due to a lower launch angle. 
  • Loss of accuracy. If your shaft is too stiff, you will likely miss a lot of shots to the right as it’s harder to square the clubface at impact. 
  • Club feels too heavy If the club feels like a sledgehammer more than a golf club, it’s probably too heavy and/or has too much stiffness. This will make it difficult for you to swing fast enough.
  • Dont go too low. Your shaft might be too stiff if the ball is a missile against a piercing bullet flight. This will hurt your total distance, especially when it’s cold and wet outside where the ball doesn’t roll very far. 

Can I change shafts in my golf clubs?

Yes, you can change the shafts of any bag-bound golf club. Woods and hybrids with adjustable shafts are easiest to replace. Simply unscrew your shaft using your club tool, and replace it with the new shaft (as long you have a matching adapter).

You will need to do a lot more work in order to replace shafts in your irons, wedges, or putter. First, you or a clubfitter must remove the worn shafts without damaging the fitting. Next, remove the old shafts without damaging them. Wait 24-48 hours before you hit the golf ball.

We recommend that you hire a professional golf fitter to replace your shafts if you do not have any experience in this field. However, if you are handy and want to save some money by replacing yourself, click here to learn how to replace shafts. 

How do I determine if I have to use stiff flex irons? 

Most club fitting sessions involve the fitting of driver shafts. This is to ensure that you have the correct shaft flex for the rest. Once you know your driver flex, it’s recommended to play the same flex in all of your golf clubs. 

There are guidelines for iron fitting. Heres the recommended shaft flexibility based upon 6-iron clubhead speed.

  • Ladies flex = <65 mph 
  • Senior flex = 65-75 MPH 
  • Regular flex = 75 -83 mph 
  • Stiff flex = 84-91 MPH 
  • Extra stiff flex = >92 mph

These should not be confused by your driver club head speed. To avoid big misses, and maximize ball flight, you need the same shaft flex on your clubs. With a driver, the average speed of a male golfers clubhead is 93.4 MPH.

Can a stiffer shaft help me slice better? 

It may help, but it all depends on your clubhead speed. If youre missing shots from a duck hook, it could be due to a shaft that is too flexible. It could be too stiff shafts that are causing you to miss shots from slices. 

While the shaft plays a significant role in ball flight there are many other factors involved when it comes to hitting a slice, including sound swing mechanics. Click here to learn how you can stop slicing your golf ball. 

Should a high handicapper use stiff shafts? 

It’s probably not the best idea for a high handicap golfer to use a stiff shaft. It ultimately depends on your swing speed more than your handicap level. This is why it’s so important to use a launch monitor or get a club fitting session to determine your swing speed.

Even if you’re a 20 handicap, you might actually need a stiff shaft based on your swing speed. A regular flex or senior flex will be more beneficial for golfers with higher handicaps due to their lower clubhead speeds. 

Quit guessing and learn your speed so you don’t waste money on shafts that make the game harder. 

A stiffer shaft will result in a lower ball flight in golf.

Yes, stiffer shafts will help the ball fly lower.

Professionals and scratch golfers alike prefer heavier shafts with greater flex. These players are known for their speed and require a shaft that minimizes spin.

If the shaft is too stiff or flexible, it can cause balloon ball flight that reduces distance. It will also make it more difficult to hit fairways. 

What happens if the shaft of a golf club isnt stiff enough? 

There are a few things that can happen if a golf shaft isnt stiff enough or too flexible. 

First, a shaft that is too stiff will make it more difficult to align the clubface with a quicker swing. This can lead to big misses if the clubface is not closed or open at impact. 

Second, the ball will fly way too high and can kill distance. It is almost impossible to play in the wind with shafts too whippy. 

Are there any pros who use regular flex shafts? 

Not that I’ve seen. Professional golfers require extra stiffness or tour extra stiff (TX flex).

They would lose accuracy and distance if they used regular shafts. This shafts high swing speed helps to promote their natural swing shape. It also ensures that the shaft bends properly.

Pros use a launch monitor to measure their club speed, ball speed and spin rates. They want to control their equipment to make sure they have the best shot on the green. 

Final Thoughts about a Stiffer Shaft 

This will give you a better understanding of the various shaft flex options, and how they can affect your performance on the green. Remember, picking the right shaft comes down to one thing above all else – your swing speed measured on a launch monitor. 

To find the best shafts for your golf swing, get your swing speed measured. Then get the same flex in all of your woods and irons (wedges don’t matter as much) to have the right shafts for your clubs. This will make golf much easier and help you hit the ball more often.

Aside from flex, don’t forget about shaft material and total weight. The 10 best golf shafts for your game are listed below. 

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