How to Choose Golf Club Shafts

By J.D. Chi

In order to select the right kind of shafts for your golf clubs, you must consider many variables, including your swing speed, distance off the club, what trajectory your ball takes and the weight and length of the shaft. Analyzing these factors, as well as a few others, will help to select the best shaft composition, flex, flex point, torque rating and length. This analysis may be done during a custom fitting.

Instructions

Difficulty: Moderate
Step 1
Choose between graphite and steel shafts. Most golfers choose graphite, which is lighter and sturdier than steel, for woods and hybrid clubs. Because graphite is lighter, it will help you generate more swing speed, which in turn allows you to hit the ball further. When selecting irons for their shot control, carefully consider your swing speed when making the decision. It is best to hit both graphite and steel shaft clubs before choosing. Those with slow swing speed--women and seniors--will want to stick with graphite.
Step 2
Select the proper flex for your swing. The flex of the shaft is critical to making good contact with the ball. Shaft flex depends on your swing speed and the distance you normally hit the ball.

Shafts come in five flexes: extra stiff (X), stiff (S), regular (R), seniors (A) and ladies (L). Extra-stiff is generally reserved for single-digit handicappers or pros.

A general guide to flex:
Extra Stiff: Consistently drive 300-plus yards and hit an 8- or 9-iron 150 yards.
Stiff: Consistently drive 250 yards
Regular: Consistently drive 225 to 250 yards and hit a 7-iron 150 yards.
Senior: Consistently drive 200 to 225 yards
Ladies: Consistently drive less than 200 yards
Step 3
Determine the kick point of your shaft and the amount of torque you generate. The kick point is the spot at which the club bends most during your swing, and torque is how much the shaft resists bending during a swing. The best way to determine your needs for kick point and torque are through a custom fitting.
Step 4
Determine the best shaft weight. This will be the weight that allows you to swing the fastest. A golfer with a slower swing speed will need a lighter shaft, while a golfer with a fast swing speed will need a heavier shaft.
Step 5
Choose the shaft flex point: low, mid or high. The flex point determines the height of ball flight for your clubs. The higher the flex point, the lower the trajectory of your shots will be. If you want your shots to fly lower, choose a flex point of high. Conversely, if you want a higher ball flight, choose a low flex point.
Step 6
Pick the torque rating, which reflects the range the shaft will twist while being swung. The torque rating preference is based on the feel you want from your clubs when striking the golf ball. A low torque rating will produce a stiffer feel. A high torque rating will produce a softer feel. Torque ratings are indicated by numbers of degree (for example, 2.5 degrees for a stiff feel).
Step 7
Select the proper length for your shafts. A longer shaft helps with distance but can compromise control. There is no tried-and-true test to determine the proper shaft length for height, as the length is relative to swing speed and control. Test clubs of different lengths to see how the length affects the trajectory of your ball.

Tips & Warnings

If you play a lot of golf, consider a custom fitting session, as it will help to select the right clubs and could improve your game. Most golf shops offer custom fitting service. There are also custom fitting guides available online. Try out many different clubs to find out which ones are the most comfortable for you.
Try out many different clubs to find out which ones are the most comfortable for you.

About The Author

J.D. Chi is a professional journalist who has covered sports for more than 20 years at newspapers all over the United States. She has covered major golf tournaments and the NFL as well as travel and health topics. Chi received her Bachelor of Arts in professional writing from Carnegie Mellon University and is working toward a master's degree in journalism.

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