The Shaft of A Golf Club – Important or Not?

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 different shafts used at my Titleist fitting.

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!

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4 thoughts on “The Shaft of A Golf Club – Important or Not?

  1. Jim,

    In my experience I’ve learned that the shaft may be the most important for my game. Of course it’s not the only important factor to fit clubs, but if I could only custom fit one component of my clubs, it would be the shafts.

    Cheers
    Josh

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Having played properly fitted clubs for almost two decades I am in total agreement. The only club I own that isn’t custom fitted is my putter. And when I get the time, I plan on changing that too. But not locally. One of the best ranked fitters in the state is just an hour and a half away so thats where I’ll go. I did some research on that this past summer.

    The fitting for my clubs cost me nothing though I did have to pay retail for the clubs of course. I had it done during a club day at one of the local courses. Twice. The first before they had electronic devices to get all kinds of data. Back then, they used tape on the face and heel and judged ball flight by eye. Today, they can do spin rates, trajectory, and be even more accurate with the electronic devices they have.

    It doesn’t make you a great golfer overnight, but will help your game over time more than you might guess. Especially so if you’re not “average” as far as height, wrist to floor, etc. You’ll see taller or shorter trajectories depending on your need and get balls to stop better on the greens. Even distance gains. I’d happily pay for it if I didn’t have that free option around here. In fact, I may do it again anyway later this year because the changes I made after the lesson have made me think it’s a good idea because I think I may need a stiffer shaft now.

    With putters, among other things, they determine which alignment aid works best for you, make sure the toe stays flat based on your putting style, etc. It should help a lot with consistency if it’s anywhere near as helpful as the club fitting was.

    I highly recommend it if you have the money and are ready for a new set. If not, you can still do it, but it will still cost a bit. Just buying all new shafts can be expensive too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kevin

      Thanks for the comment. Your description and opinion of fitted clubs is very valuable to today’s conversation. It cost $ to $75 to be fitted at Golf Town and is free if you by a set from them. (or at least it used to be) Finding the right person to fit you is as important as the fitting – as you mentioned, you would drive 1.5 hours to work with the right fitter. I definitely see the value in that.

      Cheers
      Jim

      Like

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