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Understanding golf shafts

Many golfers are confused or misled when it comes to knowing what shaft flex one may need.  Throw in the choices of steel versus graphite and that confusion grows to utter bewilderment!  We will discuss the differences and misconceptions of shaft flex and types.  Armed with this knowledge you will be better prepared in buying your next golf clubs.

Shaft flexes typically come in ladies, senior, regular flex, stiff, or extra stiff.  They usually are indicated by a ‘L’, ‘A’ or ‘M’, ‘S’ or ‘F’, and ‘XS’ lettering somewhere on the shaft.  ‘A’ indicating a senior type shaft now a days, came from the old amateur flex shaft yester year.  ‘M’ is another indicator of a senior type shaft standing for mature.  ‘S’ indicates stiff flex although some manufacturers use ‘F’ for firm.

So what do all these flex types mean?  Very little if you are comparing different shafts.  There is no industry standard, therefore one companies ‘S’ flex could be another’s ‘R’ flex or vice versa.  A launch monitor fitting with the shaft in question is the only true way of determining the proper fit.  If one has a higher swing speed and desires a lower ball flight seek the stiffer flexes.  Golfers with slower swing speeds generally require more flex.

The most common misconception regarding shaft flex is that a stiffer flex will cure a slice.  One might believe that the added flex causes the club to ‘lag behind’ with an open face.  The opposite is true!  During impact the shaft bows in a manner that if the player was playing with to much flex, the ball flight would be higher than desired and tend to draw or hook a little.  A slice is caused from an outside in swing path and I am afraid in that case it’s the Indian not the arrow.

You would be hard pressed to see any steel shafted drivers on tour these days. With driver lengths 45 inches and longer you cannot beat the light weight advantage of graphite.  The new technologies of today’s graphite shafts have answered the problems of the past shafts with too much torque.  As for irons, it really is up to you.  If you would benefit from the shock absorption and added club head speed with graphite shafts it may be worth the extra cost.

Come by and see us and try some different shaft types.  Maybe even consider a launch fitting with your current driver to see if it is a good fit.

Shane McClure, Golf Professional at Dick’s Sporting Goods – Westroads Mall

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