While the head of your favorite golf club is the most easily identifiable piece, and at least partly the reason you selected that club to purchase in the first place, probably the most important component of any club--the engine of the golf club--is the shaft. But how do you select the right shaft to get the most out of your swing? Keep a few simple principles in mind and you'll find the right golf club in your hands without any trouble.
Determine the type of swing you have. A high handicapper with a slow swing will require a different type of shaft than a low handicapper with a 100-mph swing. You can visit your local pro for a lesson or an assessment on a launch monitor to measure your swing speed.
Translate your swing into stiffness and shaft material. If you can hit your driver over 250 yards routinely, you should consider a stiff or even an extra-stiff shaft. If your swing speed is around 80 mph or slower, you should probably consider a lightweight, ladies or senior shaft.
Determine the type of club you are buying or re-shafting. Most drivers, woods and utility clubs come with graphite shafts. And many low-handicap golfers prefer steel shafts in their irons. Some of this is personal preference, but some of this choice is based on what works best for different types of shots. Generally, the longer the shot, the more likely you should consider graphite shafts.
Determine your optimum trajectory. Highly skilled players with low handicaps and competitive golfers usually prefer to hit a lower-trajectory shot that drives through the air with more spin. Higher-handicap players can usually use a little extra help getting the ball into the air and therefore prefer clubs with a higher launch angle.
Translate that choice into low or high kickpoint. Generally, shafts with a high kick point launch the ball on a lower trajectory and shafts with a low kick point launch on a higher trajectory.
Try a variety of clubs with different shafts. Visit your local driving range and/or pro shop and try a variety of the same club with different shafts, if you can. This will give you practical experience with how different shafts work with or against your swing.
Select your shaft. Pick up your new club or visit your local pro shop or club maker to have your old club re-shafted with the engine that works best for your swing.