How to Choose a Golf Shaft

By Bill Herrfeldt

You've finally decided to buy a new set of golf clubs. You hear ebullient promises by manufacturers on how they will improve your game. A smart golfer is less influenced by marketing than by facts; one such fact being the type of shafts his or her new clubs should have. Below is a description of the various types of shafts that are available and how you can decide which is best for you and your game.


Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Know the five basic categories of flex in golf shafts. Different ratings of shaft have different flexes (their property of bending). The ratings from those with the most flex to those with the least are:
1) Ladies;
2) Seniors;
3) Regular;
4) Stiff;
5) and Extra-stiff.
Step 2
Choose the right shafts based on the distance you get from your driver. For instance, if you struggle to hit the golfball 200 yards in the air, you should probably use seniors' shafts; but if you hit it consistently even shorter, consider ladies' shafts. Many players can carry it about 225 to 230 yards, and they should use regular shafts, while those big hitters who smash the golfball 250 yards or longer should have clubs with stiff shafts. Extra-stiff shafts are almost rigid and are reserved for those players who hit their drivers 300 yards or longer.
Step 3
Have a professional club fitter assess your game, if you have any doubts about choosing the right shafts yourself. He will not base the decision on how long you hit your driver, instead he will start by assessing your game in some detail. For example, he will have you hit several shots to see if you hit the ball consistently to the left or right of your intended target, and how high you hit your shots. He will also use a machine to determine your clubhead and swing speeds. Finally, he will determine if you overswing the club, or try to hit the ball too hard, a problem for many golfers but manageable with the right shaft.
Step 4
Hit a lot of golf balls using clubs with a variety of shafts and see which shaft yields the best results for your game. All the formal ways to determine the right flex of your shafts are secondary to how you feel when you hit the ball.

If a particular type of shaft causes you to hit the golf ball better, ignore the designation (Ladies, Seniors), and use it. Just make certain that the shafts and flexes are be at the top of your list of criteria when buying new clubs.

About The Author

Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

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