Stiff vs. Regular Flex Golf Shafts: Which Is Right For You?

You probably want to hit the golf ball as long and accurately as possible, so what type of golf shaft should you choose? In most cases, you will choose between a stiff and regular flex.

Stiff vs. Regular Flex Golf Shafts: What are the differences? A stiff shaft offers less flexibility and more resistance and control, benefiting golfers with swing speeds over 90 mph. A regular flex shaft offers a smoother and easier swing for golfers with swing speeds under 90 mph. 

It’s not as simple as that, though. You’ll want to understand the shaft you need for your driver and irons because it can help you avoid getting stuck in your game.

Read on to learn the type of shaft you need based on your swing speed, driver carry distance, and accuracy.

Read more: If you’re looking for new clubs, check out our in-depth review of the best golf clubs this year.

Stiff vs Regular Flex Golf Shaft: Overview

One of the most common problems many golfers face is choosing between the stiff and the regular flex. You could have a smooth and mechanically-proper swing but still not play your best golf because of the flex in the shafts.

If you have a slower swing speed, you will probably choose regular shaft clubs because the additional shaft flex will provide a little more power and accuracy. When you swing harder, the stiff flex will be more controlled and give you the punch you need for better shots.

But there are more factors to consider, which you’ll learn about now.

Read more: How To Pick The Right Shaft for Your Driver

How To Pick The Right Shaft for All Your Clubs

There are 5 basic factors you will need to understand to find the right woods, irons, or hybrids. They are:

  1. Swing speed
  2. Driver distance
  3. The club you hit from about 150 yards
  4. Accuracy
  5. Graphite or steel

Let’s walk you through how to pick your shaft.

What’s Your Swing Speed?

This is the most accurate factor in the type of shaft flex you should have in your clubs.

You can consider the other two options if you cannot get properly evaluated in your area. You may download an app to assist you if you have a phone.

The recommended swing speed for shaft flex is:

  • Stiff – Between 90 and 105 miles per hour
  • Regular – Between 80 and 95 miles per hour

If you’re wondering, “What swing speed requires a stiff shaft?” The golfers who tend to have a faster swing speed, between 90 to 105 mph.

The professionals often carry an extra stiff golf shaft. The stiff flex isn’t a good choice for beginners because most beginners don’t start with a fast swing speed. It’s too stiff for beginners.

You also have ladies’ flex and senior flex. Manufacturers designed them to swing at slower speeds.

What’s Your Driver Carry Distance?

This is how far you typically hit the ball from the tee to where it lands with your driver and most of your woods. You can possibly do this at the driving range or work with a partner to mark the landing spots for you and then measure.

The typical statistics of stiff vs regular flex using this measurement technique are:

  • Stiff– 240 to 260 yards
  • Regular– 210 to 240 yards

Read more: These are the best driver shafts on the market today.

Which Club Do You Use From 150 Yards?

This will help you find the right flex for your irons and help you get the best iron golf shafts. When using this method, be sure to make a typical, rhythmical swing. Again, going to the range is a great way to find this measurement.

The key measurements for this are:

  • Stiff– 6 or 7 iron
  • Regular– 5 or 6 iron

How do stiff flex vs regular flex irons compare? The biggest difference between the stiff and regular shaft iron is that the stiff is harder to bend. Along with difficulty in bending them, stiff irons are harder to bend.

Distance vs Accuracy

Hitting the golf ball a mile can be a confidence booster and impress everyone around you, but if you aren’t hitting it where you want, this can be a problem. You may want to consider a stiffer shaft if a regular flex driver hits the ball long but inaccurately.

The stiffer shafts should give you more control over your swing without having to swing faster, provided you have the right club in your hands.

Graphite and Steel

You should also consider the shaft’s material when making these important decisions.

The graphite shaft is lighter and less stiff than steel shafts. But it will likely make you swing faster than a steel shaft. That’s the big difference between graphite vs steel. 

So, if a graphite shaft speeds up your swing speed to +90 miles per hour, you’d use a stiff flex shaft.

A steel shaft would lead to slower speeds; if you’re under 90 miles per hour, you will use a regular flex shaft.

What Are All The Golf Shaft Options?

Senior professional golf player taking out one of clubs off bag before outdoor game

Golf shafts come in two basic options: graphite or steel.

Most manufacturers will assemble your golf club as steel or graphite shaft. Steel shafts weigh more and offer better durability. At the same time, they cost less than graphite.

Why, then, would anyone buy a graphite shaft? Graphite shafts give you faster swing speed, translating to hitting the golf ball farther. Women and seniors will especially appreciate the graphite golf shafts.

Who Should Play with Regular Shafts? 

Everyone who swings under 90 mph should swing a regular shaft. If your driver’s carry distance is between 210 and 240 yards. And you use a 5 or 6 iron from 150 yards out.

The only exception here would be if you were a senior or lady.

Women with swing speeds under 60 mph and men with swing speeds under 80 mph should use a ladies’ shaft flex. For those who swing under 70 mph, you could also swing a senior flex shaft.

They each have their own flex shaft.

Who Should Play with Stiff Shafts?

You should choose the stiff club when you swing the club over 90 mph. Players with swing speeds over 105 mph should choose the extra stiff club.

If your driver carry distance is between 240 and 260 yards. And you use a 6 or 7 iron from 150 yards out.

Difference between Shafts for Irons and Shafts for Drivers

There is no big difference between shafts for irons and shafts for drivers. The biggest difference is that iron shafts come in steel or carbon. You can buy driver and wood shafts in graphite.

You should consider a custom fitting for each club to ensure you receive the most from its performance.

What is the Kick Point on a Shaft?

The kick point is part of the shaft that bends the most during the swing. Your kick point matters because it affects the ball trajectory. The kick point on a shaft falls in the high, mid or low category. Low kick points will result in a higher launch, whereas a high kick point will have a lower launch angle. The mid-kick point will hand you the best of both worlds.

You will usually see the kick point labeled on the shaft, or they will label it in the user’s manual.

Suggested Article: The Best Driver Shafts


What Swing Speed Requires a Stiff Shaft?

You should pick a stiff golf shaft whenever you swing the club at a speed of over 90 mph. The stiffer shaft will let you swing the club faster and hit the ball over greater distances. 

Can You Reuse a Broken Driver Shaft?

Once the driver shaft breaks, you can't reuse it. Luckily, they don't cost much, and you can easily replace them. Just be aware that this will be more difficult to replace if you have an adjustable shaft. 

Will I Lose Distance with a Stiff Shaft?

Stiff golf shafts will improve your golfing distance. That's one of the biggest reasons you would choose a stiff shaft because of how it gives you the better distance. 

Final Thoughts

Before you begin your next round, consider finding the right types of clubs for your golf game. The information provided throughout this article should help you to choose the right shaft for your golf swing, whether a regular or stiff shaft.

You may still want to go to a professional club fitting at some point. These services are usually free of charge, but they can help you become a better golfer by helping you use the right shaft, and they’ll teach you the difference between stiff vs regular flex.

Read more: If changing your golf club set could help, check out our full review of the best golf club sets under $300.

Nick is the founder of GolfSpan and an avid golfer. He's not quite a pro but has over 15 years of experience playing and coaching golfers worldwide. His mission is to bring the golfing community a better experience when it comes to choosing the right golf gear and finding the right setup for your game.

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