Technical Tips

March 2015

What are the effects of using the wrong shaft flex in my clubs?
By Tom Wishon 

What happens if you choose a shaft flex that is wrong for your golf swing? Bad things, my friends, bad things. Here are some of the possible outcomes if you are using the wrong shaft flex.

Using a Shaft Whose Flex is too Stiff for Your Swing
If a golfer is using a shaft that is too stiff for his swing mechanics and swing speed, any or all of the following may result:

  1. The ball flies lower for any given loft, and possibly shorter in distance, because the golfer's best launch angle for maximum distance cannot be achieved.
  2. The ball may tend to "leak" to the fade side of the target because the golfer cannot cause the desired forward bending of the shaft at impact, which helps bring the face back around to a less open position at impact.
  3. The shot will probably feel less solid and harsh, even when impact occurs in the center of the face, because of the different impact vibrations transmitted up the shaft to the golfer's hands.

Using a Shaft that is too Flexible for Your Swing
If a golfer is using a shaft that is too flexible, here are the likely results:

  1. The ball will possibly fly higher for any given loft. If the golfer is using the proper loft for his swing mechanics, this could cause a slight decrease from his maximum potential distance. On the other hand, if the golfer is using too little loft, which is the case with a very high percentage of players today with the driver and 3-wood, the more flexible shaft could bring his launch angle up to a more optimum trajectory, which could actually result in an increase in their distance.
  2. The ball may tend to draw a bit more from the forward bending of the shaft at impact causing the face to rotate past square to be slightly closed. However, if the golfer happens to slice or fade the ball, this actually could help reduce such a mis-direction tendency.
  3. The shot will feel more solid because impact vibrations transmitted up to the hands along a shaft which is both more flexible and more bent will feel more solid.

Err on the Side of Flexibility

Thus each golfer must take a look at his or her natural swing tendencies before selecting the shaft flex best for their overall game. But at the end of the day, the majority of golfers with swing speeds of 100 mph and lower are going to do far more harm for their game by choosing a shaft that is a little too stiff rather than a shaft that ends up being a little too flexible. In short, when in doubt, always err on the side of more flexibility in the shaft.


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