Golf Shafts: Regular vs. Stiff

By Bill Herrfeldt
The flex of the shafts in your golf clubs is an important but often-overlooked element in your success on the course.
The flex of the shafts in your golf clubs is an important but often-overlooked element in your success on the course.

What's a golfer to do since he has so many choices? First, he must decide whether he wants graphite shafts, steel shafts or a combination. Then he must choose the right flex of the shafts. Flex is the amount that the shaft will bend when it is swung. All of us have heard the admonition, “let the club do most of the work”. If you choose the right shaft, that can be true. With the right shaft, you'll swing the club easier and get more distance out of your shots.

Different Flexes

If a regular shaft is right for you, you have three choices. The shaft with the most flex is called Ladies and that is for the shortest hitters. The Seniors flex is meant for golfers who swing a bit harder. A Regular shaft is used by golfers who hit the ball an average or farther than average length. For those long hitters, there are Stiff and Extra-stiff shafts that flex little.

A Club Fitter Can Help

Many retailers have professional club fitters on their staffs who provide the service free of charge because it's likely that you will purchase a set of their clubs. Others may charge for their services. A club fitter will use a machine to determine your club speed and will ask you to hit several balls in order to assess your swing. From that information, he will recommend a particular shaft based on the way you play. He also will measure you so the shafts you buy are the proper length.

Or Do It Yourself

If you must decide which shaft you should have, the best measurement is how far you hit your driver in the air. If you barely reach the 175 marker, you probably should choose Ladies shafts. If you hit it about 200 yards, move up to Seniors shafts. If you hit the ball longer than that, say 225-250 yards, you should probably choose regular shafts. Anything more than 250 yards, stiff shafts are for you. Unless you are a huge hitter and average about 300 yards on your drives, stay away from Extra-stiff shafts. Nine times out of 10, this method works well, but you still need to be comfortable hitting with whichever shaft you choose. For example, Tiger Woods who consistently hits shots longer than 300 yards has a Regular shaft in his driver. Go figure!

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