The shaft is arguably one of the most important parts of the golf club because of its ability to transmit speed and force from your hands to the clubface. There are many different types of golf shafts. Some of you might not know which would be the best for you therefore finding a club fitter would be the best choice here to know which golf shafts suit you best.
There are many factors in choosing a perfect golf shaft for you such as:
- Swing Speed
- Ball trajectory (Preferred Trajectory)
- Flight direction tendency
- Distance Control
By getting some data on your swing from your local fitter, you can figure out the numbers for these factors and get recommended shafts for you. Besides that, the feel and feedback from the equipment matters too so remember to try them out before you make your purchase. You can find fitters in KL at places such as:
Different type of golf shafts
Golf Shafts Flexes
There are many different definitions of shaft flex by different manufacturers. In summary, the shaft flex determines the stiffness of the shaft. A shaft that is X-Stiff will be very rigid and harder to bend than an A-flex or Senior flex which will be very loose and easier to bend.
You might wonder how shaft flex is measured. There are multiple ways but the most common way is to measure the frequency due to the number of cycles per minute. By clamping the butt end of the shaft, attaching a weight to the tip, displace it and measure the cycles per minute (CPM).
Since there is not a standard way of measuring flex, you can correctly assume that there is no standard for labeling flex either. A stiff shaft from one manufacturer could be a regular shaft to another. This is why custom fitting is crucial.
Extra-stiff shafts, denoted with an “X”, averages over 260 CPM with a standard driver club length of 45 inches. The recommended swing speed to use the X flex shafts efficiently are upwards of 110 miles per hour. However, golfers should test out shafts with each clubhead as the two work in tandem for ideal performance. These are around the average swing speeds of the tour professionals.
Stiff shafts, denoted “S”, are measured around 250 CPM. Golfers with driver swing speeds around 95 and 110 mph typically fit into these shafts. These are very fast swing speeds slightly above the average swing speed of male golfers.
Regular shafts, denoted “R”, are measured at approximately 240 CPM. The average swing speed for male amateur golfers fall around this category. Golfers who will comfortably fit into this shaft group will ideally have a driver swing speed between 85 and 95 mph.
These are the amateur or medium shafts, denoted “A” or “M”. Usually recommended for golfers who fall in the senior bracket. Typically with driver swing speeds around 75 to 85 mph.
Ladies shafts are denoted “L”. As the name implies, it is best suited for female golfers or golfers who swing the driver under 75 mph. However, do not let the name of the shaft mislead you as they are not made gender specific.
Regardless of abilities and physical stature, every golfer should test each shaft independently to see which works and feels the best for them. Finally I stress again the importance of seeing a fitter as they would know best what suits you with the data they can gather from your swing.
Golf Shafts Types
There are various types of materials used to make shafts. They vary in prices and durability.
Steel shafts are generally less expensive than graphite shafts and made from carbon steel. Although, sometimes stainless steel is used. Furthermore, steel shafts are stronger and more durable.
With more emphasis on accuracy than distance than graphite shafts, steel shafts would have more control with their shots. Generally golfers would have them fit into their iron shots as those are the shots that require more control and accuracy compared to distance. Moreover, steel shafts do require a faster swing speed to generate the same distances as a graphite shaft.
Two main types of steel shafts
Stepped Steel Shafts
The main type of steel shafts used in the majority of golf clubs by all the major manufacturers is the stepped steel shafts. On a stepped steel shaft, you are able to see a step pattern throughout the body of the shaft. The tips are thinner and the top is thicker to produce the flexibility. This manufacturing process allows consistency from shaft to shaft and gives the same stiffness throughout an entire set.
Rifle Steel Shafts
The main difference for the rifle steel shaft is that the whole shaft is smooth from top to the bottom without steps. The difference with rifle steel shafts is that the flexes can be more exactly tailored for golfers as they use decimals to measure stiffness. Rifle manufacturers claim that it provides greater accuracy due to the stepless design technology eliminating the energy-robbing steps found on most other steel shafts. Moreover, some rifle shafts offer ‘flighted’ versions that can produce variable ball trajectories for different clubs within a single set.
Graphite shafts are more expensive compared to steel shafts. They are less durable and more lightweight. The light weight allows golfers to produce greater swing speeds for more power, but sacrifices control due to the flex generated during the swing.
Graphite shafts are mainly found in drivers and woods. Furthermore, they are often suited for female and senior golfers who cannot produce the swing speed to use steel shafts effectively. There are variations in flexes and colours which make graphite shafts a popular choice amongst all golfers.
The shafts weigh between 50-85 grams as compared to steel shafts at around 100 grams. Thanks to the lighter weight, it allows for more distance to be gained. However, getting a consistent feel is difficult compared to a steel shaft.
A downside to graphite shafts is that they require more care. If the paint on the graphite shaft gets worn off, this will negatively affect the performance of the shaft.
Multi Material Shafts
These are new additions to the shaft market. Multi Material Shafts can be both used on drivers and irons as they combine both steel and graphite into one shaft to try and get the best of both worlds.
Typically the tip is graphite whereas the body of the shaft is steel. Due to the steel section, it allows golfers to control the ball flight more. The graphite tip lets the driver have a limited amount of whip into the ball that can help produce more distance. In addition, the graphite tip helps filter out any unwanted vibrations at contact to optimize the feel of each shot.
A relatively new material used to manufacture shafts is titanium. They are strong and more on the stiff side. Titanium shafts are lighter than steel and have the ability to dampen vibrations. This is good for stronger golfers who have no trouble getting distance on their shots but may be concerned with accuracy.
People might question if shaft flex matters, yes very much they do. The right flex for you allows you to get more consistent shots in with better quality of contact with the ball! There is a lot to learn about shafts. Thanks to innovation and the development of technology, the technology in shafts will constantly advance.
The best advice we can offer is to go see a qualified fitter to get custom fitted. So that your clubs can be tailored specifically to you. This will significantly improve your golf game! Here is a list if you are wondering what the best drivers are in 2021. Besides the equipment, you can help yourself improve by maximizing your practice at the driving range. In addition, being fit for golf will greatly improve your game, check out how you can maximize your fitness for golf.
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