Everyone's swing is unique, so we won't all use the same flex of shaft in our clubs. Hannah Holden takes a closer look

It should be no surprise that the shaft of a golf club will have an element of flexion. That is to say that a shaft will bend if pressure is applied at one end of the club. However, why does this golf shaft flex exist, and moreover, why do some clubs flex differently to others?

At its most basic, the flex in a shaft helps to store energy throughout the golf swing, ultimately delivering this energy at the point of impact. Not only will the correct flex enable you to deliver the maximum amount of energy for your own swing, it will also help to deliver the clubhead more accurately, aiding with a more consistent strike. Whilst tricky to explain, you can see this storing of potential energy most evidently as the golfer begins their downswing, with the clubhead often being left behind (known as lag), due to the speed at which the handle of the club is now moving in the opposite way than in the takeaway. 

golf shaft flex

Due to the broad range of golfers and indeed golf swings that exist, having a ‘standard’ flex would simply be illogical in the world of modern club fitting. Take the example of the 90-year old golfer, perhaps swinging a driver at 75mph, versus a PGA Tour golfer swinging closer to 120mph – it’s extremely unlikely that if given the same club, with a shaft suited to either one, that the other may hit their best shots!

As such, manufacturers developed varying flexes to suit the needs of a broad spectrum of golfers. Generally, these are; X-Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior, and Ladies. In the case of these five, the Ladies shaft will usually be the lightest, with the most amount of flexion – helping female golfers to create added speed. At the other end of the spectrum, the X-Stiff shaft will flex much less, meaning that golfers who swing the club more quickly will still see a small amount of bend in the shaft, but with the head of the golf club much less prone to excess movement – creating more consistency and better strikes. 

golf shaft flex

However, golfers shouldn’t be too wedded to the naming of these shafts. An elite female golfer such as TaylorMade Staff Player Charley Hull, may swing the club quicker than the average male player. As such, she is more likely to use a Stiff or even X-Stiff shaft in her clubs. Similarly, young junior golfers, or even adult golfers who have difficulty moving the club quickly, may benefit more from a Senior or even Ladies flex club. So what shaft should you play?

What golf shaft flex is right for me?

It may go against the bravado of many golfers, but a general rule is to play the softest flexed shaft that you feel like you’re able to control. In essence this will provide you with a touch more help than a stiffer option, whilst also being of more assistance on those days when your swing isn’t exactly where you’d like it to be. Furthermore, despite results often differing between golfers, a general pattern of a golf shaft that it too stiff will be shots that fade and slice to the right (for a right-handed golfer), as the clubhead struggles to square itself at impact – something which is obviously detrimental to good scoring! 

golf shaft flex

There is though, just one last wrinkle with regards shaft flex; namely that in addition to there being no standard shaft flex, there are also discrepancies in the flexes of shafts between manufacturers. 

With almost as many shaft makers as there are club manufacturers, one company’s ‘Stiff’ could be another’s ‘Regular’. Or, in the case of a product line such as True Temper’s Project X, the stiffness is measured on a different scale altogether – numerically, ranging between 4.0-7.0.   Furthermore, certain companies have also begun to introduce even stiffer shafts for elite golfers such as Rory McIlroy or Dustin Johnson which would likely be an ‘XX-Stiff’ on a traditional scale! 

As ever, your best bet to be properly fit for your equipment, preferably by a PGA Professional who will be able to asses the needs of your own swing, and get you fit into the correct shafts for your game.

You’ve probably spent a small fortune to get the set up that’s right for your game, so don’t forget to get specialist insurance from Golf Care to protect your clubs from theft, loss, and accidental damage. Plus, they even cover GPS watches, trolleys, and other golf equipment. With 30% off annual insurance starting from just £26.59, and a free golf gift bundle worth up to £365 including 12 free Srixon balls, it’s a no brainer. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.

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You’ve probably spent a small fortune to get the set up that’s right for your game, so don’t forget to get specialist insurance from Golf Care to protect your clubs from theft, loss, and accidental damage. Plus, they even cover GPS watches, trolleys, and other golf equipment. With 30% off annual insurance starting from just £26.59, and a free golf gift bundle worth up to £365 including 12 free Srixon balls, it’s a no brainer. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP.