Stiff vs. Regular Golf Shafts

Written by jennifer stow
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One of the first things a golfer asks or gets asked by his golf professional when buying new golf clubs is whether you need stiff or regular shafts. To some golfers, this is not significant because they know little about the process of finding the right clubs for themselves, but to the trained professional, it can be more important then the club head itself.

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Definition

When talking about stiff or regular shafts, professionals will use the word "flex." Flex refers to how much the shaft bends during the golf swing. This is important to optimise club head performance to strike the ball with the fastest velocity when the shaft whips through.

Identification

To some people, needing stiff shafts on their golf clubs means they are a better golfer. This is by no means true. The only thing stiff and regular says about someone is how fast he or she is swinging. Swing speed is the first thing club fitters look for when fitting someone with golf clubs. The faster you swing, the stiffer your club shafts needs to be. It is that simple. Most shaft manufacturers have detailed information on what flex you need by what your swing RPM is. Go to the company's website and you can find charts on shaft specifications.

Other Types

So what if your swing speed does not fall into stiff or regular? In this day and age, the golf industry has developed more options to customise your club order. Now you can choose from "L" (ladies), "A" (senior) and "X" (extra stiff). Some shaft manufacturers have come up with more titles or renamed them to set their shafts apart. Some even have "soft stiff" and other in-between names. Precision, one of the makers of Rifle shafts, is identified on a number basis. This is where the help of a golf professional will come in handy when dealing with certain shaft companies.

Choosing

To figure out what flex you need, it is best to have your swing speed checked by a PGA golf professional, certified in club fitting. You would want to look for a pro classified as an A-23 club fitter, but any class "A" pro would have that knowledge. Most professionals have high-tech equipment that can tell you your swing speed after just one swing. If you do not want to go that route, they do make a training aid called the "Speed Stik" (see link in Resources). It is a stick with a measuring device on the end. You just swing it and it can tell you how fast you are swinging.

Expert Insight

When you do decide to get new clubs and choose to get them fitted by a golf professional, remember that there will be other considerations on swing speed and what "flex" you should get. Sometimes it depends on how tall you are, what type of club head you get and even where on the shaft it should bend. Make sure you understand why you need the flex your golf professional recommends.

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