Today, we’re going to discuss buying a golf shaft.
There are probably three thousand choices (or more!) out there, so it’s understandable if it can get confusing.
It’s not as hard as it seems. Take it from me. Or, if you need just a bit more convincing, this shiny piece of paper:
You only need to know 3 rules for buying a golf shaft. That’s right- only three!
Rule 1: Find the Correct Weight for Your Golf Strength
Seriously, when you’re buying a golf shaft, this is the most critical as far as performance is concerned. If you get something too light or too heavy, you’ll have a hard time using your clubs.
When a golf shaft is too light, you risk overpowering it. If you’ve read any of my other posts, you’ve probably heard this before. But what is “overpowering” a golf shaft?
In Layman’s Terms, it’s when you put too much “oomph” on it. A shaft that’s just right for your “golf strength” will flex forward only a little bit, less than 2*. When you overpower a shaft, you can create a situation where it bends too much, which leads to problems with ball flight and directional issues.
The way the golf shaft “feels” isn’t good, either. Most report impact feels “dead”, like the ball didn’t come off the face properly.
When you get a shaft too heavy for your golf strength, you risk not being able to swing the club as fast as you could. This means you’ll have issues with maximizing your distance.
The “feel” you get at impact can be harsh, even when you hit it on the screws. It can also get tiresome, especially if you’re hitting balls on the range for an hour or more.
The correct weight will be something that allows you to blend what you consider to be an acceptable trade-off between distance and accuracy. It shouldn’t leave you tired after a range session.
Don’t assume that what you’re being offered off-the-rack is what’s best for you. Most proprietary models are very light. I’m talking 60 grams or less.
Why? Lighter weights lead to longer distances. If we’re using robots or a certain segment of golfers to validate our claims, then everything would be fine. The problem is, we’re not robots; we can’t be programmed to swing a certain way, at a certain speed, with 100% accuracy on the “sweet spot”.
The tool you’re using needs to work with you, not against you.
Rule 2: Don’t Freak Out About the Flex
Flex isn’t as important to your launch conditions as people tend to make it out to be.
Sacrilegious, right? Hearsay, right?
Wrong. According to Mark Crossfield, the shaft has minimal say in what happens to the ball. The loft of the club has the biggest influence on launch angle and backspin rate.
Long before I started GLG I did my own tests. Now is a good time to start wishing I had saved those pictures and videos… but I can attest to what Mark’s saying.
Don’t get me wrong, though, because the golf shaft’s flex does affect what you feel, similar to the weight.
A shaft that’s too stiff will feel “boardy”. What’s that, you ask? Try swinging a broom. That resistance you feel compared to your normal driver is an extreme form of that boardy feeling. Much like a shaft that’s too heavy, impact will feel harsh and unpleasant.
A shaft that’s too flexible will feel loose. You may feel it’s difficult to control the club head as it comes around your body.
But that’s where shaft flex is important- a golf shaft that’s fit to your swing will promote a smooth, stable swing tempo and rhythm. You won’t feel like you have to add some “oomph” to it. You won’t feel like you’re having to fight it the entire way to the ball.
When coupled with the right swing weight (head-heft), you’ll be able to fell where the club head is at all times. That’s a good thing, because that can have a positive effect on your release timing. You’ll get maximum head speed and a more efficient energy transfer (“smash factor”) at impact!
In a sense, it does have an effect on your launch conditions. If you can’t swing to the best of your ability because the shaft’s holding you back, you won’t make efficient impacts with the “sweet spot”, right?
Rule 3: Find a Price That Works For You
I saved the best for last. Here’s a flashback:
The Shaft Bend Profile software, from Tom Wishon Golf Technologies.
All these golf shafts, all with the same playability, all with multiple price points.
Can’t get that $300 shaft off your mind? Fine- pick it up. Like that $300 shaft, but have a budget more in the $50-$100 range? That’s fine, too! Something will be there for you.
No matter what happens, if you can’t afford the golf shaft, there’s no point thinking about it. Any fitter that tries to force you into a shaft you can’t afford- or worse, uses a guilt trip- isn’t a good fitter.
Immediately leave their place and find someone else.
Just like deciding on a golf club to buy, buying a golf shaft isn’t as difficult as it seems. You need to be honest about yourself and your game. If you’re unsure, find a local club fitter, or contact me and I’ll help.