How to Pick the Right Golf Shaft

Written by mitchell dahood
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How to Pick the Right Golf Shaft
Golf shafts can affect the trajectory of the ball. (golf clubs image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com)

Choosing the right shaft for your golf clubs is one of the most important decisions you can make to ensure you play your best golf. The golf shaft affects the distance, accuracy, and trajectory of the ball flight. The characteristics you should be most concerned about when selecting the proper golf shaft are flex, length, weight, torque, and kick point. To make the right choice in these areas, you will need to know your swing speed and desired ball trajectory.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Access to a swing speed machine.

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Determine your swing speed. The easiest way to do this is to go to a retail golf store, and tell the staff you're interested in having your swing speed measured. If you're going to be selecting shafts for irons, then have them test your speed swinging a 5-iron. If you are looking for shafts for woods, then have them test your swing with a driver. Make sure you have warmed up properly before being tested.

    Your swing speed, in combination with your swing tempo, will determine the shaft flex that is best for you.

  2. 2

    Determine the correct shaft flex. As a general guide, a swing speed of 80mph or less with a driver would best be suited by a ladies' or senior flex. A swing speed of 80-90 mph would need a regular flex. Golfers with a swing speed of 90-100 mph would need a stiff shaft. Subtract 15mph from these speed ranges to determine the flex for irons.

  3. 3

    Determine the desired torque. Torque is related to shaft flex in that stiffer shafts tend to have lower torques. As a general rule, if you swing over 100mph with your driver, you will want a shaft with a torque rating of 3.0 or less. If you swing 90-100 mph, you will want a torque rating of 3.5 or less. If your swing speed is 80-90 mph, you will want a torque rating 4.0 or less; below 80mph and you will want a torque rating of 4.5 or more.

    All things being equal, a shaft with less torque will feel stiffer than a shaft with a higher torque rating.

  4. 4

    Determine the correct kick point. The kick point of the shaft will determine the trajectory of the ball. The lower the kick point, the higher the ball trajectory. In general, a more flexible shaft will have a lower kick point and a stiffer shaft will have a higher kick point.

    If you want to hit the ball higher than you do now, choose a kick point that is lower than your current shaft, and if you want to hit it lower, choose a shaft with a higher kick point than your current shaft.

  5. 5

    Determine the shaft weight. Determining the shaft weight is mostly a matter of feel. However, golfers with slower swing speeds may want to choose the lighter graphite shafts which allow them to swing faster with the same effort. There are also lightweight steel shaft options if price or durability is a concern.

  6. 6

    Determine the shaft length. As a general guide for irons, a man between 5-feet-9 and 6-foot will use a standard length shaft. A man 6-1 to 6-3 will use 1/2-inch over standard. A man 6-4 to 6-6 will use 1 inch over standard. A man 5-7 to 5-9 will use 1/2-inch under standard.

    For a driver shaft, 44 inches is standard for a steel shaft and 45 inches is standard for a graphite shaft. Tiger Woods has used a driver with a shaft as short as 43 inches to achieve greater accuracy.

Tips and warnings

  • It is important to understand that there is no true standard with regard to shaft flex and length. Each manufacturer determines their own standard. Be sure to check the manufacturer's specs before making your final decision.

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