Are Golf Shafts Important?
Every golfer knows that golf shafts have a very important function and can significantly impact a golfer’s performance. In truth, shafts are designed with varying degrees of flexibility. The stiff flex shaft, meaning less-flexible is for more powerful swings. On the other hand, the regular flex shaft is for swings that generate less speed in the club head, needing more help from the “wobble effect” of the shaft to compensate the speed. The last type of shaft is the shaft for the superheroes; the extra stiff, which is for incredibly powerful and rhythmic swings, as is the case with many players on the PGA Tour.
The Difference in Shaft Standards
What many golfers don’t know is that these standards are not universal. In other words, each brand chooses, somewhat randomly, what they will call stiff or regular. For example, an Adams stiff shaft and a Titleist stiff shaft will have different degrees of flexibility, despite the same ‘stiff’ name. On top of this, and to confuse golfers even more, the weight will also be different. Therefore, a golfer who plays with stiff or regular flex will have to be aware when he or she decides to change their clubs. So, in another example, if you play with a stiff flex made from Ping and switch to a stiff flex made by Callaway, which usually puts their clubs with softer shafts, you can shake on the downswing like you are using a jelly-based shaft. Hence, in many cases, what a brand calls stiff may be very close to what another brand calls regular.
Lack of Patience is Expensive!
Lack of patience can be a very expensive commodity in the game of golf, both on and off the course. The desire to be amazing at golf not only affects the professionals, it can affect beginners as well. What happens to some beginners in the sport is that they buy inappropriate and expensive clubs after only a few classes, thinking they are on their journey to the PGA. However, as many veterans golfers can attest, such a choice should be done after a meticulous process of research and analysis. Lack of attention or awareness can cause an individual to purchase a less-than-desirable club set with poorly-designed golf shafts that can impair a golfer’s performance.
Any golfer should take their time and proceed with any purchase of any golf gear with patience and calmness. As far as golf clubs and shafts are concerned, you should know fairly well how one operates before considering the purchase. One of the most common beginner golf mistakes is to buy expensive clubs after a few swings with the product when your player characteristics have not yet been defined. In other words, you still do not know the speed of your swing, among other factors that define a good performance on the course.
In the United States alone, it is estimated that 70% of players use clubs inappropriately or at least in a less than optimal manner. In other countries, this percentage is even higher! Listening, reading, and discussing should be a part of the buying process of every golf club buyer. Various opinions and advice from highly-trained professionals or experienced players should be followed and understood.
It goes without saying that, in order to purchase a club that matches your style, you need to understand what golf shafts are best for you.
A very long or short shaft causes a golfer’s swing to change, affecting the contact of the club with the ball. The rigidity or flexibility of the shaft depends on the type of swing. A very stiff shaft will cause the ball to take a bad effect if hit by a slow-swing player because the impact of the club head with the ball will not be perfectly perpendicular. Additionally, each of the clubs has a degree of slope or loft. Some manufacturers increase the loft especially in long-distance clubs to make it easier for the ball to lift more easily.
Choosing between steel or graphite is another common question among golfers. What is the difference between the two? Is one better than another? These are the questions that many beginners or even veteran players must have in mind when they go shopping for a new club set. The other day I was reading something that said that, back in the day, players who had high handicaps should use graphite while low handicap players should use steel clubs.
Now, this theory did not last long because some PGA Tour players were using a graphite shaft. So where does this leave us? Is there no solid answer for what equipment I should be using? As with all types of golf equipment, the most important thing is, you choose the shaft that best suits your swing. There are differences between the steel shaft and graphite that you should take into consideration to determine the ideal shaft for you. The following below are some key points to be considered when shopping that shiny new club.
Steel vs. Graphite Key Points
- Steel shafts are cheaper than graphite shafts, so a club set with steel shafts will cost less than a set of graphite shafts.
- Companies design steel shafts to be more durable than graphite shafts.
- Graphite shafts transmit fewer vibrations to the hands. Some people think that this is a good feature because it hurts less, in case you hit the ball in the wrong manner. On the other hand, this is bad because it has less sensitivity.
- Graphite shafts are lighter compared to steel shafts. According to some experts in golf, the difference in weight can increase an individuals swing speed between 2-4 mph. In comparison, an individual can reach up to 6-12 more yards with a graphite shaft.
If you’re looking to increase your distance, that’s one reason why some players prefer graphite shafts.
What does this all mean?
Well, if you want to gain more yards driving on the course, you probably should choose graphite shaft, right? Probably, but not necessarily. Some golfers do not need extra thrust in their swing. In fact for some golfers, with just their strength and the weight of a steel shaft, which provides more sensitivity and more control over the club head, an individual could make a ball fly the necessary yards on any hole. Typically graphite shafts or graphite clubs are preferred and used by individuals who may not have the physical strength necessary.
My golfing advice is to ignore the stamps and try all different levels of flexibility. At the end of the day, choose that shaft that gives you more confidence and a more constant ball flight. If you have not heard it yet – when it comes to golf, you will need to practice incessantly to maximum your golf game. What some golfers tend to disregard is that just because you own a good golf set does not mean they clubs can work miracles. It’s necessary to have a lot of patience and practice often.
While we can all agree that the mind of the player is the most important part of the game of golf, the game will be more pleasant with clubs or shafts that are more compatible with your characteristics.
Certainly one day you will reach the great challenge of translating the images into results.
- Golf Week: Difference in Golf Shafts
- Titleist: Golf Club Shaft Fitting Guide
- Forbes: Choosing the Right Shafts for Your Golf Clubs