You need to use the right shafts to increase your accuracy and distance. If you’re playing the wrong type of shaft, you are making golf even harder on yourself.
If you like distance, did know that playing the wrong shaftflex can result in some serious yardage loss? And it’s not only distance that can be hurt, the wrong shaft flex can also make you wildly inaccurate.
Your golf club shafts, especially your driver shaft, are essential to playing great golf. Continue reading to find out more about regular and stiff shafts as well as shaft weight and custom fittings. This will help you understand how your equipment is helping you play your best game.
Stiff vs Regular Flex Shaft
There are many options for equipment in golf.
While most of us think about the clubhead when we’re buying a new set of irons or a driver, the shaft is just as important. Some club fitters may argue that the shaft is more important than the club.
Shaft flex is as important as choosing between steel or graphite shafts. Luckily, there’s a shaft flex for every type of player. It’s just a matter of dialing the right shaft for your specific swing.
Heres a breakdown for each type of shaft:
- Senior (A flex and lite)
- Extra stiff (X-stiff)
- Tour stiff (TX).
For most average golfers, you’ll probably fit in the category of a regular or stiff flex… but how do you decide which is right for your swing?
In the past, choosing shafts was difficult. You also needed to have a custom club fitting session in order to find the right one. But now, it’s much easier thanks to personal launch monitors which tell you a ton about your game.
Personal launch monitors provide data such as ball speed, clubhead speed and smash factor. If you don’t have one yet, make sure to read about our These are the best launch monitors.
How to find the right shaft Flex
To determine if you need a stiff shaft or regular shaft, don’t guess and instead, let the data guide you in the right direction.
- Warm up at the driving range or in a golf shop with a launch monitor for 10-15 minutes.
- From wedges in your bag to driver, you can work your way up.
- Once you’re loose and ready to go, start hitting drivers with a launch monitor. Don’t swing out of your shoes and just swing like normal.
- Clubhead speed is the main number you should be focusing on in this session, not ball speed.
- After 10-15 drivers, calculate your baseline average. If you have any shots that are way off, eliminate those so they don’t skew the data.
Once you know your average clubhead speed, you can compare it with this chart from True Spec Golf. Golf Magazine. This makes it easy determine which shaft is best for your swing speed.
Swing Speed for Stiffshaft vs. Regular Shaft
As you can see from the data, if you swing a driver between 84-96 MPH, it’s best to play a regular shaft. This will allow you to maximize distance and get the most out of every club in your bag.
A stiff shaft is best for those who are faster than average and travel between 97 and 104 MPH with their driver. If you’re in this range and have been playing regular shafts, you will see a big difference almost immediately.
Here’s why it’s so important to play the right flex that matches your swing (and what happens when you don’t).
Shaft Too Much Flex
A shaft with too much flexibility can cause serious problems on the green. A True Spec article (a top club fitting company) stated, “A golfer using a shaft that is too flexible may experience a ball flight that is too high, a ball that spins too much, or a shot pattern that has inconsistent dispersion.”
If you are using a regular shaft and a stiff flex, you will hit your golf ball too high. This will result in a decrease in distance and even more misses.
Shaft Too Stiff
Too stiff golf shafts can also cause problems. If you swing a driver at 97-104 mph (the swing speed for stiff shafts), but you play an X-stiff, there will be some problems.
According to the same True Spec article “A golfer using a shaft that is too stiff will experience ball flight trajectory that is too low, golf balls that do not spin as much as desired, and/or a lack of distance potential.”
A stiff shaft will cause a lower ball trajectory, which can affect your total carry distance when you use longer clubs. It is also more difficult to spin the club correctly and stay on it with shorter clubs.
The right shafts are essential for maximizing shot dispersion, increasing distance and improving accuracy.
While finding the right flex is crucial, you can’t forget about the shaft weight either. True Spec experts have this to say about how to find the right shaft weight.
“Some shafts can be lighter in weight, which once again biases a higher ball flight and produces more spin. Shafts that are heavier tend to do the opposite, lowering ball flight and spin rates.”
Steel shafts are heavier and more expensive than graphite, so many golfers enjoy using graphite in their irons. A steel shaft is heavier and more difficult to hit consistently for most golfers.
You must not only find the perfect flex, but also match it to the right weight.
Quick Public Service Announcement: Don’t confuse shaft weight with swing weight.
Shaft Tipping Graphite Shafts
Another factor that a lot of golfers don’t talk about often is shaft tipping. This is when you remove the grip end from the shaft.
According to Golf.com, “When you tip a shaft — which by the way, you need to have parallel shafts to do this — you alter how the shaft performs by making it slightly stiffer and increasing torque for less twisting through impact.
Better players tend to make the most use of this technique in order to fine-tune their shafts to precisely the amount of flex and feel they’re looking for.”
This isn’t something that the everyday golfer will need to do but could happen as you progress. Tipping the shaft allows you to adjust the flex profile and personalize your game.
FAQs to Help You Decide Whether Your Shaft is Regular or Stiff
You can find out more about shaft flexibility by reading our frequently asked questions and answers.
Which is better, regular flex or stiff flex?
It is crucial to decide whether you prefer regular flex or stiff flex for your success on the course. One isn’t necessarily better than the other… it’s about matching it with your clubhead speed. You will lose accuracy and distance.
The chart below will show you the ideal clubhead speed for each flex shaft.
Do you prefer regular flex or stiff irons?
You want to use the exact same shaft flex for all of your golf clubs.
Professional fittings or launch monitors will show you which shaft is best for your game. Don’t mix it up with your woods, irons, or wedges as it will impact trajectory, distance, and accuracy.
Who should use stiff flex shafts
Players who can swing a driver at speeds between 97 and 104 MPH. If you’re above that, you should probably opt for an even stiffer shaft (X-stiff) to maximize distance and not sacrifice accuracy.
What is the average speed of a clubhead?
After hitting golf balls with a launch monitor, it’s easy to want to learn more about what’s average or above average in terms of speed.
According to Trackman Golf, “The TrackMan Combine data collected from over 10,000 golfers of all levels from around the world will be used to analyze his performance in hopes of better understanding where improvement(s) can be made. The AMA has an average club speed of 93.4 mph and an average total distance of 214 yards.”
For more information on how you compare, read our full article about average distance for all golfers.
If you’re above 93.4 mph, you are an above average player. Speed training is a great way to improve your speed and make more distance with every club in your bag. Well discuss this further below.
Can beginners use stiff shafts?
It’s not recommended for beginner golfers to use stiff shafts. Regular flexes or senior flexes are better for beginners as they allow for a slower swing speed. As you gain speed and improve your skill, you can play a stiffer or more heavy shaft.
Do pros use stiff flex shafts?
Pros use X-Stiff and TX. X-stiff is available with all iron sets, fairway woods, drivers and iron sets. TX can only be ordered custom. They’re much harder to find these incredibly stiff shafts (usually eBay) and they’re significantly more expensive too.
Plus, they’re only made for .001 of the golfing population as they require a swing speed of 110+ MPH with a driver. I have a swing speed of 108-110. I tried a TX shaft, but it was too stiff. To confidently swing these types of shafts, you will need a swing speed between 108 and 110.
Is it possible to slice a shaft that is too stiff?
Yes, a stiff shaft can lead to a slice. A stiffer shaft will only cause more swing problems if you have already hit a slice or cut shot.
The ball will move more left to the right and lose distance even if you have a solid swing. You will have a shorter carry distance which allows you to make longer approach shots. This is why it’s so important to play the right shaft based on your clubhead speed.
What is the shafts kick point?
If you’ve been researching new golf gear in order to optimize driver distance, chances are you’ve seen the term kick point frequently. Kickpoint simply means the part of your golf shaft that bends most during a golf swing.
The shafts kick point determines the launch angle. A high kick point will result in lower launch angles.
Do I need to do a custom fit?
If you aren’t sure about the right stiff shaft driver or driver shaft to match your favorite club head, a fitting isn’t a bad idea. A club fitter is available to help you.
- Test graphite vs. steel shaft in irons
- Try the same shafts in different drivers
- Explore shaft options (flexible shaft vs. stiffer shafts)
- You will be amazed at how different shafts and kick points affect your results
These fittings are most common for professional golfers but even an average golfer can benefit from them. They’ll give you more confidence in finding the right club for your golf game.
How can you increase clubhead speeds?
As you can see, the key to finding the right shaft for your golf game is clubhead speed. You will need more shaft flexibility to match your swing speed. You will see a big drop in distance, trajectory, or direction.
While Golf workouts can help with distance, overspeed training is an even more effective way to add distance. You can read our full article about increasing swing speed here. Or click here to see our complete review. Superspeed Golf – the #1 tool to start speed training for amateur golfers.
These weighted sticks, along with the training protocols, make it easy to increase your games speed. What’s great is that you only need to use them 3X per week to get results. You will see a difference in your swing speed within 4-6 weeks.
Each MPH you increase, it equates to three additional yards with your driver. It’s a great way to spend the off season to come back stronger than ever.
Final Thoughts on Stiff Shafts and Regular Shafts
To hit the ball better, you need to pay attention to shaft stiffness. True Spec experts said that, “In equipment circles, there is a common cliché that the shaft is ‘the engine’ of the club.”
The sooner you can find the right shafts for your golf equipment, the better. You can see that the key to a great golf swing is finding the right shaft flexes.
For a faster swing speed, stiffer shafts are required. However, a slower swing speed golfer will require more flexibility.
Your accuracy and distance will be affected if your shafts are too stiff or too whippy. Once you find a good shaft flex, don’t forget to think about the shaft weight too.
When you buy new clubs in the future, make sure to always check that it’s the correct shaft specs too. And if you turn into Bryson DeChambeau and get into speed training, it’s a good idea to measure your swing speed in case you need more flex.
If you’re ready to buy some new shafts for your clubs, make sure to read our Here are 10 of the best golf shafts.