Choosing the right shaft flex
You need to understand the effect that shaft flex has on your game. “Flex” refers to the ability of a golf shaft to bend as forces are applied to it during the golf swing.
Those forces are generated by the type of swing that you have – fast or slow, smooth or jerky. There are five generally used ratings for shaft flex: Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior and Ladies.
Having a flex that doesn't match the needs of your swing will result in the clubface becoming misaligned during impact, causing your shots to go off-target.
What Flex Impacts
Shaft flex impacts either directly or indirectly, the accuracy, trajectory and distance of your shot.
The position of the club-head changes as the shaft flexes throughout the swing.
Keep in mind that the face of the club must be square (perfectly straight) at impact to get the most out of the shot. If you have the wrong flex for your swing, there is less chance that you’ll make contact with the ball with a square clubface.
The degree of flex in your club shafts is something you control. You can choose to buy stiffer shafts, or softer shafts, depending on your needs. But how can you tell what you need?
Here are some general guidelines:
• If you have a very smooth swing, you might benefit from a softer flex even if you swing fast. A swing that gets jerky at the top – when transitioning into the downswing – will probably need a stiffer shaft.
• If your drive goes left, you might benefit from a stiffer flex; if your drives go right, you might benefit from a softer flex.
If Your Flex is Too Stiff
What effect does a too-stiff shaft have on your golf game?
1. The ball will probably fly lower and shorter for any give loft, compared to a properly fit shaft.
2. For right-handed golfers, the ball may tend to go to the right, or to the fade side because with a too-stiff shaft the clubface is harder to square (the clubface is more likely to be open at impact).
3. The shot may feel less solid, more like a mis-hit even if you make contact on the center of the clubface.
If Your Flex Isn’t Stiff Enough
And what will happen if your flex isn’t stiff enough?
1. The ball might fly higher for any given loft, compared to a properly fit shaft.
2. The ball may tend to go left, or to the draw side, for a right-handed golfer (because with a too-flexible shaft, the clubface may tend to come into the ball closed).
3. Shots may tend to feel more solid, even when they aren't.
The Foolproof Way to Choose Flex
A club fitting using a golf professional’s expertise is the recommended way to choose the proper flex. The pro will take a lot of measurements, watch your swing, measure your swing speed, watch your ball flight and be able to recommend the flex that is right for you. Custom Club Fittings are available at both Riverway and Burnaby Mountain Driving Ranges.
If a club fitting isn’t in your future, the next best thing is a demo day. Golf Burnaby kicks off the Golf Season each spring with a Golf Festival at each location which has scheduled fittings and demos from multiple manufacturers.
If you find a flex that feels good and produces a good ball flight, there’s a good chance that’s the right flex for you!