The golf industry is an ever-evolving dynamic challenge for manufacturers and technology embraces a continuous improvement philosophy.
Amateurs and social golfers are lead by the exploits of the professionals, who hit the ball further, straighter, and with controlled spin.
We all want to do the same.
Looking at it simply, golf club shafts are like the engine of a car.
Various capacities produce more or less power depending on how hard we press on the throttle.
Knowing the velocity at which any individual golfer can swing the club, is the starting point for deciding on what shaft will fit his game.
This is the speed that is measured at contact with the ball.
Most golf retail stores and teaching professional golfers will have the equipment to measure this.
Knowing the above will simplify the exercise and narrow down the search for the best shaft to suit the individual golfer.
Without this detail, it will be like walking in the dark.
Types of Shafts Available
Over the years the manufacturers have sought to build a range that will accommodate every golfer that takes to this game.
Irrespective of build, size, height, sex, flexibility, and age, a game-improvement shaft is available.
Currently, steel, lightweight steel, and graphite shafts are the most popular.
It must be emphasized that the below information is a guide and manufacturers all have slightly different specifications which can change depending on the composition.
XXS – Extra, extra stiff for golfers who swing the club above 115 mph.
Many professional golfers use this flex in the driver and irons but they are extremely difficult to control.
XS – Extra stiff for golfers with a swing speed of 110 mph to 115 mph.
The young and strong golfer who lets it “rip” without compromise.
S – Stiff shaft for swing speeds of 100 mph and 110 mph.
Physically strong players who seek control within the game.
U – Uniflex shafts are for golfers who swing the club above 90 mph.
Ideal for most male golfers and those tending to lose their strength.
R – Regular flex for swing speeds from 75 mph to 90 mph.
The slow swinger relies on the “kick” of the shaft to get the ball out there.
A – Soft regular or senior shaft for a swing speed below 75 mph.
A perfect shaft for the aging player and many women golfers.
L – Ladies shaft.
Manufactured for women and ideal for the beginner who struggles to get the ball airborne.
Other Factors that Influence the Type of Shaft Required are:
Simply put this is where the shaft flexes the most during the swing. It can be high, mid, or tip of the shaft.
Another word for torque is the twist. On the downswing, the shaft twists due to the force applied.
Graphite shafts have become very popular due to the lightweight that allows for increased clubhead speed.
It offers an easy launch with less effort.
Graphite is good for the slow swing speed and suits senior golfers and women.
A downside of graphite can be high torque (twist) and too much flex on faster swings.
Uniflex shafts are probably the most used steel shaft in the game.
- Heavier than graphite
- Easier control during the swing
- Low torque (less twist) than graphite during the swing
- More accuracy
A normal steel shaft weighs 115 gm to 125 gm.
The powerful golfer with a high swing speed can control the heavy shafted irons and use the stiffness to generate great distance.
Light-weight steel shafts can weigh anywhere between 95 gm and 110 gm.
We all like to hit the golf ball far, but without control, distance can mean further into the woods!
Most male golfers make the mistake of overestimating their strength or swing speed with the irons.
As a result, the steel shaft is either too heavy or too stiff to maximize distance and control.
Instead of hitting the ball further, they hit it shorter and “thin”.
Uniflex shafts were introduced to cater for the golfer that generates a swing speed at the top range of regular and the bottom range of stiff (no man’s land).
In other words, above 90 mph but less than 100 mph.
Unfortunately, as amateurs, the swing speed inconsistency between shots is a reality and most manufacturers tend to rate this shaft as more “regular” than “stiff”.
This shaft has become a game-changer and hence the most popular iron shaft for men.
The shaft is also good for the beginner due to the inconsistency of the swing speed.
Weights of shafts differ from one manufacturer to another.
The flex of the shaft is also manufacturer-specific and should be checked before the purchase.
Having read the above it is evident that many factors should be considered before any purchase of a set of irons or new shafts.
No two people swing the same or want the same result out of each shot, other than distance!
Note: The above facts relate to irons.
Drivers, Fairway Metals, and Hybrids:
The continuous development of the graphite shaft for the above clubs sees the best players in the world making use of this technology.
Some even use graphite in the irons, but a word of caution:
The top professional players have shafts and clubs made up specifically to their independent preference.
Therefore don’t expect to find them on a retail store shelf!
Retail stores and professional golf teachers have the skill and equipment to test your swing speed and all the other attributes to finding the right shaft.
Take the guesswork out of play and trust the people who know.
I encourage all golfers to get tested and make this tough game we play a little easier!
Use your next “winnings” from your next few games to pay for the test!
- How To Pick The Right Shaft For Your Driver?
- Do I Need Longer Golf Clubs? Reasons To Increase Shaft Length
- Is Your Golf Club Shaft Too Stiff? Symptoms & Solutions
Nick Lomas is the founder of GolfSpan, an avid golfer, not quite a pro but has over 15-years of experience playing and coaching golfers from all over the world. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience then it comes to choosing the right golf gear, and finding the right set up for your game.