There will be signs in your game that will indicate that your golf shaft is too stiff. One indicator of a too stiff golf shaft would be that you struggle to hit the ball high. Should your swing speed be on the low side combined with a too stiff shaft, any well-struck ball will be limited on the shot trajectory and the overall carrying distance.
The easiest way to know if your golf shaft is too stiff is to confirm your swing speed. Professional golfer’s swing speed ranges from 110 + mph, and they will require an extra-stiff shaft. Amateur golfer’s swing speeds range from 80-95 mph, which generally involves a regular shaft.
This article will look at how your swing speed will often indicate what type of golf shaft you should be using and how a lack of distance and the overall trajectory of your ball could also possibly tell that you are using a golf shaft that is too stiff.
How Do I Know That My Golf Shaft Is Too Stiff?
A few indicators will help you decipher if, indeed, your golf shaft is too stiff for you. A too stiff golf shaft will rear its ugly head in various areas of your game, and changing to the right shaft will automatically improve your game from the get-go.
You must sort out this problem before you start doubting your game. Replacing an incorrect golf shaft setup is one of the more straightforward methods to sort out the niggles that may be present in your game at present. Let us explore the steps that you can use to find out if your golf shaft is too stiff for you.
Step 1: Confirm Your Swing Speed
Your swing speed is probably the essential factor to confirm when it comes to using the right golf shaft. The speed of your normal swing will often indicate what type of golf shaft you should be using. Many golfers struggling with fades, slices, and lack of distance are using the incorrect golf shaft.
Measuring your swing speed can be done by using any of the following methods:
Swing speed analyzers are typically sensors that you attach to your golf clubs. The sensors will relay data to your cellphone via an app. Some of these analyzers work without you physically hitting a ball on the course.
Launch monitors are electronic devices that measure the various aspects of what actually happens when a golf club strikes a golf ball. There are two types of launch monitors used currently:
- Doppler Radar Launch Monitor Guide
- Photometric Camera Launch Monitor Guide
Radar-based systems will track the flight of the ball and project details of the clubhead’s movement through specific software. This radar-based system is the same software and technology used in the defense industry to track missiles.
Photometric launch monitor systems use a series of advanced high-definition cameras to capture the ball and club data at the point of impact and then project the flight and distance performance using an advanced software program.
Launch monitors will give you tons of information regarding the following:
- Club Speed
- Swing Speed
- Dynamic Loft
- Spin Loft
- Face Angle
- Swing Angle
- Swing Plane
- Swing Direction
- Smash Factor
- Spin Rate
- Hang Time
Get Fitted For Clubs
When you need to buy a new set of golf clubs, make it your mission to visit a local PGA professional and get yourself fitted. The professional will measure your body, offer a wide variety of clubs to hit with, and most importantly, put you on a launch monitor to collect data of which swing speed will be one of them.
Do not just rock up at the pro shop and buy your favorite player’s exact golf club set. Having an expert analysis done by a fellow PGA pro will not only save you money in the long run but will also ensure that you leave with the right clubs and, most notably, the correct golf shafts to compliment your game.
Calculate Your Swing Speed
Should none of the above be an option, you can work out your swing speed yourself. Although it is advised that you use one of the above methods, following the following steps should give you an idea of your swing speed.
1) Take a friend and ten balls to the driving range.
- Proceed to drive all ten balls.
- Have your friend mark the spots where these ten balls hit the ground.
2) Record the data.
- Remove the longest and the shortest drive from your data set.
- This removal is done to reduce the effect of unusually short or long drives that result from other factors, such as wind.
3) Calculate the average drive distance.
- Add the eight balls distances together and divide the total by eight.
- The final figure becomes your average driving distance.
4) Divide the average distance.
- Divide the average distance by 2.3, and this will give you your average swing speed in mph.
- For example, if your average drive distance is 220 yards, your average swing speed is 220 over 2.3, which indicates a swing speed of approximately 95.6 mph.
When you have your actual swing speed, you are well on your way to deducing what type of golf shaft is appropriate for you.
The following information is provided by TaylorMade Golf and is an example of the golfing shafts that pairs with different swing speeds.
|Swing Speed||Estimated Carry Distance||Recommended Shaft Flex|
|Under 75 MPH||Under 180 Yards||Ladies|
|75-85 MPH||180-200 Yards||Senior|
|85-95 MPH||200-240 Yards||Regular|
|90-110 MPH||240-275 Yards||Stiff|
|110+ MPH||Over 275 Yards||X-Stiff|
Professional golfers typically have a swing speed of 110 mph or higher. Normally, they will use an extra-stiff or stiff golfing shaft. As far as amateur golfer’s go, they usually have a swing speed of 80-95 mph, indicating that they will be best suited using a regular golfing shaft and not a stiff shaft as their favorite pro golfer uses.
Step 2: Determine Your Driving Distance
Determine what your average driving distance is by using any of the methods mentioned above. Assuming you possess a relatively decent swing, you can hit the ball solidly with a sure consistency, but your average distance is on the low side, which could indicate that your golf shafts could be too stiff.
For example, if your swing speed is somewhere between 80-95 mph, and yet you struggle to hit the 200–240-yard mark, your shafts could be too stiff.
Step 3: The Feel Of Your Shot
Another good indicator of a stiff shaft is how your clubhead “feels” when you hit a ball. When your clubhead feels a bit dead, like you are wielding a steel rod, the chances are that your shaft is too stiff. Ideally, you want to feel the weight of your clubhead loading the shaft.
When the shaft has the correct amount of flex, you will notice a slight “springy” feel just before and through the ball’s contact.
What Happens If My Shaft Is Too Stiff?
If any of the following is observable in your own game, it may be indicative that you are using too stiff shafts. Getting your game analyzed on a launch monitor by a professional would be the ideal way to rectify any gremlins concerning your golfing form. Unfortunately, not all of us have that luxury and have to make do with self-analysis most of the time.
Spotting some of the following in your game could be an indicator of too stiff shafts:
Struggle To Hit The Ball Far And High
One of the most significant indicators of a too stiff golf shaft is that you struggle to hit the ball high. If your swing speed is on the low side, combined with a shaft that is too stiff, any well-struck ball will be limited with regards to shot trajectory and the overall carry distance.
When golf shafts are too stiff, it could result in the clubhead not being square at the point of impact resulting in loss of loft and ball control. A very low flight trajectory, resulting in a lack of carrying distance, is also a sign of the wrong shaft being used.
Not being able to hit a standard ball; instead, a low trajectory ball will result in less spin on your golf ball. The lack of spin will directly affect your game negatively, as you will have less control of the ball when it comes to greens and fairway play.
Hitting Slices And Fades
Not being able to flex the golf shaft enough when you swing won’t allow you to create a square impact position on your ball, leading to a leaking ball flight or fade. Should you tend to either slice the ball or fade towards the rough on the right of the fairway may indicate that your shaft is too stiff.
Many amateurs struggle with a slice. For some, it is directly linked to using too stiff shafts. When your shafts are too rigid, you will have problems loading them properly during your downswing. When the clubhead arrives at the point of impact, the shaft won’t unload properly, and the face of the club will remain slightly open, causing a slice.
Other swing problems can also cause you to slice. However, a clubhead that presents itself slightly open at the point of impact due to being too stiff to unload properly will alleviate the slicing of the ball.
Decreased Swing And Ball Speed
Playing with two stiff golf clubs will result in less wrist-snap when you swing, a decreased swing speed, the speed of the golf ball is also reduced, and your shot dispersion will be to the left or right of your intended target.
A stiff shaft can lead to inconsistent contact, which will make your swing feel less solid, even when you are centering hits.
Steel Or Graphite Golf Shafts?
Graphite golf shafts are much lighter than steel. Choosing this material in golf shafts makes it easier to swing faster, and you will see an increase in driving distance from the tee. Graphite is considered to be the correct shafts for beginners and intermediate golfers.
Compared to steel, graphite affects the “feel” of the club, it is softer, and the vibrations when hitting a ball are dampened. Professional golfers prefer more solid feedback from their golf shafts. Using steel shafts gives them a greater sense of control.
Using granite shafts, especially with regards to distance clubs, assists golfers with a slower swing speed. Sacrificing a bit of accuracy for distance is what you will get when using granite shafts. On the shorter irons, control and precision are more important, and you might want to mix and match with some steel shafts here.
When it comes to graphite shafts, please remember that the actual flex will vary from one manufacturer to the next. They are also graded:
- Extra Stiff
Graphite shafts are a bit more expensive than steel shafts.
What Happens When My Shaft Is Too Flexible?
After discussing the indicators of playing with golf shafts that are too stiff, let us look at some indicators that suggest that your golf shafts are too flexible.
- A sign that your shaft is too flexible is that the trajectory of your ball will be very high, costing you concerning distance.
- You will notice that you draw the ball (Right to left for right-handed golfers with too much spin).
- A too flexible golf shaft will flex excessively throughout your golf swing-creating an inconsistent release point.
- When your shaft is too flexible, it may result in a draw and hook shots, as the clubface may be unloading too quickly, causing the clubhead to close slightly at the point of impact.
- Playing with a too flexible shaft will hurt your game when playing in wet and windy conditions. Due to excessive spin created by a too flexible shaft, the wind will magnify the spin, decreasing your distance and the overall accuracy of the shot.
- The same spin issue will also negatively affect your round of golf when playing on a wet course. When your ball flies too high, it will not travel as far or roll out significantly as the ball will plug.
Playing with too stiff or too flexible shafts will negatively affect your game. The best advice is to analyze your game thoroughly by seeing a professional, getting fitted when buying new golf clubs, analyzing your swing speed, and more by way of a launch monitor. Trying out a few different club and shaft options before committing to purchasing new gear is a good idea.
By really knowing your game will be the best indicator if your shafts are too stiff. Start with your swing and try the type of shaft that matches it. It is all about finding suitable shafts for your game. Do not just go and buy your favorite golfer exact kit and hope for the best. Put the effort in to find the right shafts for all of your clubs, mix and match steel and graphite shafts until you find your perfect mix!
The clues if your shaft is too stiff will be found in your game, and being aware of them, as discussed and highlighted in the above article, will allow you to correct, replace and play better golf!