What Is A Flex Golf Shaft

What Is A Flex Golf Shaft? (2023 Update)

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Whether you slice the ball slightly or have poor distance coverage in your drives, you’ll be recommended a flex shaft. These shafts can come at different price points as additional accessories or pre-assembled features in golf clubs. Here’s what you should know before you get one.

A flex golf shaft is a golf shaft that has higher-than-average flexibility. It flexes back during the downswing and snaps back into posting upon impact, creating a springboard that drives the ball further. Flex shafts are perfect for those with slow and less forceful swings.

In this article, you will find out more about high-end golf clubs and flex golf shafts, including their impact, swing style compatibility, and drawbacks. By the end of this post, you’ll know if you need a flex shaft and what to ask yourself before getting one.

High-end golf clubs can greatly enhance your game, and the choice of a flex golf shaft can be a crucial factor in optimizing your swing and overall performance on the course. So let’s dive in and explore the world of high-end golf clubs and flex shafts.

How Does Flex Shaft Impact My Game?

How Does Flex Shaft Impact My Game

The flexibility of a shaft can be viewed as forgiveness for swing speed. Regular flex shafts are for those with average swing speed, stiffer shafts are meant for higher-speed golfers, and flexible ones are ideal for those who swing slowly.

Let’s go beyond the face value and understand the actual physics behind a golf club’s shaft flex:

High Flex Shaft

A flex shaft or a high-flex shaft is a golf club shaft that is more flexible than the average club. When the club face meets the ball, the shaft bends back a little and then returns to its position creating a sort of springboard effect. This flexing back and returning to position puts additional force behind the ball, which leads to longer drives.

Regular Flex Shaft

This is called a regular shaft and is sometimes referred to as a “regular flex” club. This shaft has average flex, which creates a slight springboard effect. It offers decent distance coverage but doesn’t contribute significant additional force to the swing. 

As a result, the golfer’s swing burden is slightly higher than it would be with a high-flex shaft. Still, most casual golfers use it because it accurately translates the swing force. The power you put behind your swing is what you see in the ball’s flight.

Stiff Shaft Club

Stiffer shafts are used by pros and scratch golfers with very precise and powerful drives. Stiff shafts flex a little but not enough to impact ball flight. These shafts have the highest swing burden because they do not provide the springboard effect that golfers usually rely on for distance-covering shots. 

Stiff shaft clubs are preferred by those who have forceful swings because they don’t exaggerate ball flight or introduce inaccuracies by compounding additional force.

Earlier, you learned how flexibility and stiffness add value to a golfer’s swing. Both flex and stiff shafts have their respective “extra” versions that further exaggerate each’s pros and cons. But chances are you will not need an extra flex or extra stiff club. 

Still, you should know about the drawbacks of picking a poor flex for your swing type. Here’s how poor shaft choices can adversely affect one’s game.

Flexibility Can Hook The Shot 

If you have a regular force swing and you use a high-flex golf club, or you have a high-force swing and use a regular flex club, you will notice the same negative effect: inaccuracy. The springboard effect that arises from the shaft flexing back and then snapping into position can be exaggerated with higher force. 

When you swing with too high a force for a particular shaft, it flexes back and then flexes forward. That forward flex happens during the impact, which can lead to a slight hook. That’s why a consistent hook is viewed as a sign to reflect on one’s club choice.

Stiffness Can Subtract Distance from A Shot

The fact that flex shafts can shape shots and lead to hooks, double-crosses, etc., might make one think that betting on stiffness is safer. But if the shaft of a golf club is too stiff for your swing force, it will lead to poor distance coverage. 

More importantly, if you’re an average golfer, your swing force is most probably not high enough to require a stiff shaft. That’s why regular flex shafts are viewed as the safer choice for most golfers.

How Do I Know What Flex Golf Shaft I Need?

How Do I Know What Flex Golf Shaft I Need

While it is true that regular flex shafts work for most people, there is a 10% to 20% chance that the average golf shaft isn’t right for you. You should be able to tell how flexible your golf club’s shaft needs to be.

You can find out the flex rating that you need for your golf shaft by considering your experience, swing force, and the result of your shots. Moving up in flexibility can add speed behind your drives, while moving down can make your shots follow your intended path more closely.

Experience

On average, the less experienced you are, the higher the flex of your distance-covering clubs. Less experienced golfers usually don’t have enough shot precision to get the intended advantage of a stiff club. And they do not put enough force behind their shots either.

Swing force 

Generally, the higher the force you put behind your swing, the stiffer your club must be. Thatā€™s because force can cause flexible shafts to flex forward on contact, which can introduce an unintended shape to the shot.

Results 

Whether you get unintentional hooks or poor distance coverage, paying attention to poor results is the easiest way to know when you’re due for a golf shaft change. If your current club isn’t getting you the desired results, something might be wrong with it. And in drivers and fairway woods, that can often be the shaft.

Signs That You’re Due For A Golf Shaft Change

Signs That You're Due For A Golf Shaft Change

As mentioned earlier, results can point toward a poor flex-swing fit. In this section, we will go over individual results that, when consistent, can be indicators of wrong shaft flex.

  • Consistent hooks – If you keep launching balls with unintentional hooks, a factor that might compound the issue is the flexing forward of a high flex or regular flex shaft.Ā 
  • Consistent slices – If the ball slices slightly whenever you drive it with enough force, your clubface might be open because of the stiffness of your club’s shaft.Ā 
  • Low ball flight – If your drivers are unusually low, you must move down in shaft stiffness and up in flexibility.Ā 
  • Low shot distance – If your shots do not go as far as they should, then you have shaft stiffness to blame. By opting for a higher flex shaft, you can add the springboard force behind the ball to launch it higher and further.

Now, you can make an educated guess regarding the best flex that might fit you.

But what if you want to know the ideal club shaft for your style without buying a club?

That’s where getting fitted for equipment comes in…

One way to know what shaft club you need is to get fitted for a club. Golf club fitting will let you know the exact specs you need for a club. You can order a custom-made club that fits the criteria or can find one that matches your ideal specs after getting fit.

Do Pros Use A Flex Shaft?

Do Pros Use A Flex Shaft

Pros don’t usually use a flex shaft because they cannot afford miscalculations in their driving shots. Flexibility adds distance to weak, average shots but can lead to hooks and slices (based on the golfer’s dominant hand).

Most pro golfers use extra stiff golf club shafts, with some using softer stiff golf clubs. Flex golf clubs can minimize swing feedback, which can be bad for a professional golfer in the long run.

You should use a high-flex shaft if:

  • If ball direction isn’t a problem in your drivesĀ 
  • You don’t want to compete in official tournamentsĀ 
  • You unintentionally slice the ball a littleĀ 
  • Shot distance is a contributor to your score on the fairway

Flex Golf Shaft: Key Takeaways

Final Thoughts

A flex golf shaft is a golf club shaft with higher-than-average flexibility. This flexibility helps launch balls further without putting as much swing behind a force.

The flex shaft is good for beginners who want to play casually. It assists in long-distance shots but can come at the cost of accuracy. Regular flex shafts are good enough for most beginners, but retirees and novice female golfers can benefit from high-flex shafts.