Selecting Golf Club Shaft

By Bill Herrfeldt

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The decisions a golfer must make about the shafts of his new clubs are possibly the most important he will make because they will contribute more to the way he hits the ball than any other aspect of the clubs. The shafts will influence distance and accuracy of the shot, making the choice critical to enjoyment of the game. There are three elements a golfer must think about before committing to buy the most appropriate set of clubs.

Steel Or Graphite?

Critical to the choice is the composition of the shafts. Steel shafts are less expensive than graphite ones but are somewhat heavier, making them more difficult to swing, particularly if the golfer has a slow swing speed. The more expensive graphite shafts will enable him to hit the ball longer because he will swing faster, translating into greater distance. Some golfers will have graphite shafts in clubs such as the driver, hybrid clubs or long irons where they want the greatest distance, and steel shafts for the remaining clubs.

Swing Flex

Flex is the amount a shaft will bend when the club is swung. Another term is "softness." It describes the degree of bend in the shaft. There are five shafts that can be chosen from, and the easiest way to be sure of your selection is to determine how long you can hit your driver because distance reflects swing speed. The five flex shafts are ladies, seniors, regular, stiff and extra-stiff. If you are a relatively short hitter, with the ball going 175 yards or less, you should choose ladies shafts. But if you get 250 yards or more from your driver, you should have stiff shafts, with seniors and regular shafts the choice for those hitting the ball shorter. Unless you routinely hit the ball 300 yards, stay away from extra-stiff shafts.


The best way to decide on the length of clubs is to get measured by a professional club fitter. Just because you are tall doesn't automatically mean you should have longer clubs because you might also have longer-than-normal arms. And the selection of the length is no more critical than in the selection of a driver. Many golfers opt for longer shafts in their drivers because they think it will enable them to hit the ball longer. What they might not realize is they will give up accuracy in the process.

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.