Golf equipment has evolved greatly since I started playing golf. In over 40 years, you name the piece of kit and we can trace a plethora of advancements. Before we chase the rabbit down its hole, we can discuss the merit of these changes at a later date. During my fitting a few years back, there was one piece of equipment Jeff Stephenson, the Titleist fitter, said was critical to this entire process: the shaft. He indicated that fitting the right shaft to the correct swing speed made the difference between a good set of clubs and a great one.
Virtually every player I talk to about golf equipment emphasize the importance of the right shaft in their clubs. They spend a great deal of time ensuring their shaft matches their swing speed. Of course, we as amateurs talk generalities with respect to shaft type, for an expert opinion I recommend you see a professional.
The following information is from the Taylormade Custom Club Fitting website. Thank you Taylormade for the information.
“Flex” refers to the ability of a golf shaft to bend as forces are applied to it during the golf swing. These forces are generated by the type of swing that you have – fast or slow, smooth or jerky. There are five generally used ratings for shaft flex: Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior and Ladies, usually denoted by the letters X, S, R, M and L (“M” is used for Senior because this flex stands for medium/mature). How much or how little a club’s shaft flexes plays a major role in how and when the club face is squared at impact. It is important to have the proper flex for your swing speed. Without it, there’s a good chance that you’ll have a hard time making good solid contact on a consistent basis, thereby affecting both the direction and distance of the golf shot.
|Shaft Flex Selection (Driver)|
|Carry Distance||Swing Speed||Flex|
|Under 180 yards||Under 75 mph||Ladies|
|180 to 200 yards||75 to 85 mph||Senior/A/M|
|200 to 240 yards||85 to 95 mph||Regular|
|240 to 275 yards||95 to 110 mph||Stiff/Firm|
|Over 275 yards||Over 110 mph||Tour (Extra) Stiff|
|Shaft Flex Selection (6 Iron Carry Distance)|
|Carry Distance||Swing Speed||Flex|
|Under 100 yards||Under 60 mph||Ladies|
|100 to 130 yards||60 to 70 mph||Senior/A/M|
|130 to 155 yards||70 to 80 mph||Regular|
|155 to 175 yards||80 to 90 mph||Stiff/Firm|
|Over 175+ yards||Over 90+ mph||Tour (Extra) Stiff|
Over the years, I have noticed that players with the wrong shafts on their clubs, adjust their swing to match the equipment instead of the other way around. This rookie mistake happens every time they impulse buy a club. They like the advertisements or even the look, but do not pay attention to their specs. Then wonder why the club does not work for their game.
I can honestly say that I have made the same mistake as described above until about 10 years ago. I started to become a student of the game and realized that ill-informed buying was a waste of my money! Hence, I came to understand that the shaft is a critical and often overlooked piece of golf equipment. Now that I have the knowledge and experience of a fitting, the shaft is the one of the critical aspects I pay attention to when buying new clubs.
On other important piece of information I found out during research is that each manufacturer has a different rating for their clubs. If they describe their shaft as stiff, for example, ensure you read the specs and compare apples with apples.
If you are wondering, my swing speed is between 95 and 105, it does vary depending on the club. So, I was fitted with a standard stiff shaft from Titleist. It worked in all my clubs except my driver, but that is a story for another day.
I am a grateful golfer! See you on the links!