Types Of Golf Shafts: How to Choose the Right One for Your Club

types of golf shafts buying guide with steel and hybrid for graphite clubs

Choosing the right shaft can make the difference between a club that’s performing optimally and one that can barely help you hit the center of the club face. Therefore, spending the time to learn about the different types available and which one might be suitable for your club is important. 

Fortunately, the team at Tell Me More Golf has compiled this helpful resource to select the most suitable shafts for your game. In this guide, you’ll learn the different types of golf shafts that are available to you, how they affect your game, and most importantly how to choose the right shaft that’ll suit your game perfectly. You’ll also learn the different technologies that go into shafts and how they all work together for a smooth playing experience. Keep reading!

types of golf shafts buying guide with steel and hybrid for graphite clubs

Golf Shafts Buying Guide: All You Need to Know


When you’re buying new iron shafts, there are a couple of factors you must consider. Not paying attention to them can negatively affect your golf performance, so they’re important. 

The first factor is the material the golf shaft is made of. Generally, shafts are manufactured from graphite and steel. New shaft designs have seen a combination of both into one, making way for hybrid shafts.

Different Types of Shafts

The first step in getting the best shaft for your club is to understand the different shafts that are available.

Steel Shafts are the traditional types of shafts that have been around longer. These shafts are heavier in weight and often come in 120+ grams. The advantage of steel shafts is that they’re more consistent and give you a better feel than graphite shafts. Graphite shafts, on the other hand, have a modern design with a thinner profile than steel shafts.

If you have a higher clubhead speed and want better resistance when playing, then the steel flex will be better suited for you.

However, if you’re a beginner with lower club head speed, you should do better with graphite shafts.

They’re usually lighter than steel shafts, often weighing in at 50-80 grams, which will make it easier for you to swing the club faster. That’ll in turn get you higher ball speed and a bit more distance. 

Composite shafts are usually a combination of steel and graphite shafts, made for golfers who want to enjoy the best of both worlds. These multi-material shafts often weigh from 85 to 115 grams, which is closer to the steel shafts, but not as heavy. The benefits of composite shafts are that they provide the resistance and consistency of steel shafts in addition to the shock absorbency and lightweight of graphite shafts.

Benefits of the right shaft:

  • Allows you to play at your natural tempo. When you find your natural tempo, you start hitting better shots.
  • You’ll be able to perform better. With the right shaft, you get the right amount of resistance, kick-point, torque, weight, helping you get more distance out of your shots and see an improvement in your performance.

Shaft Technology

Flex

Flex is absolutely important when choosing the right shaft for your club. You want a golf driver shaft that isn’t too soft because that can cause your shots to fly too high or spin too much. You also don’t want one that’s too stiff because you’ll not be able to maintain a higher launch and the spin on your shots will be too low, leading to low peak heights.

Generally, if you’re a high swing golfer, you’ll do best with stiffer shafts. Contrarily, softer flex shafts will help you get better ball flight and performance if you have low swing speed. Also, you should try a softer flex if your shots are low with little spin. Stiffer flex is best for players whose shots are ballooning into the sky.

Kick Point

The kick point is the point at which the shaft bends during a shot. The lower the bend, the higher the ball flight. And the higher the bend, the lower the ball flight. Therefore, if your ball flight is too low, you can raise it with shafts that have low kick points and vice versa.

Torque

This is the rating on how resistant the shaft is to twisting at impact. So, a low shaft with low torque is going to resist twisting while a high torque rating will lead to more twisting. Therefore, a high torque value will make the shaft feel less stiff and soft while a low torque value will make the shaft stiff and hard.

Weight

Weight is another important consideration when choosing your shaft. The weight has a direct relationship with the flex on your shaft. Choosing a light shaft will almost always result in higher spin and higher ball flight. A heavy shaft will promote lower ball flight and less spin.

Shaft Length

Another important consideration is the shaft length. If your goal is more distance, choosing a longer shaft can help you with that. Although they aren’t made for distance, short shafts are great for control and ultimately better accuracy. If you’re a beginner golfer, a shorter shaft may be suitable for you. However, if you’re experienced, your best option will be longer shafts as you likely won’t have a problem with control, so you can also enjoy the extra distance that the longer shaft will give you.

Getting Custom Club Fitting

Whenever you’re choosing new golf equipment or want to experience new golf technologies, you always have the option of club fitting. Custom fitting was once reserved for PGA Tour players. Now, all golfers can enjoy the benefit of fitting their clubs to better their game. If you’re a beginner, you may find it difficult to decide the right shaft profile for your setup. Should you go for the regular shaft or the stiffer shaft? Do you need senior flex or extra stiff flex? What shaft weight is best for you?

With custom fitting, you don’t have to worry about all of these. If you can spend the time and money with a golf club fitter or professional, choosing the correct shaft or flex for your club is going to be easier. For example, a professional fitter can examine your overall playing profile and be able to recommend if you should play with a stiffer or softer flex.

Graphite Shafts


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Graphite shafts are less durable and weigh less than steel shafts. This kind of shaft has more torque than a steel shaft and is made from carbon fiber and epoxy, which is why they’re more expensive than their counterparts. And because graphite shafts are lightweight, they promote high speeds, which is why they’re recommended for golfers with slower swing speeds. 

Unlike steel shafts that can weigh anywhere from 100 to 300 grams, graphite shaft weights start from just 50 up to 80 grams. As a result, they’re longer and more suitable for gaining distance. Graphite shafts also provide excellent shock absorbency by dampening vibrations when you hit the golf ball, making your swing more balanced. 

Moreover, players who have back pain, fatigue, arthritis, tendonitis, etc., will benefit more from the fewer vibrations in the hand during the golf swing. One of the downsides of the graphite shaft is the lack of consistency and feel, which steel shafts often have plenty of. Moreover, you’ll need to pay more attention to maintenance than a steel shaft as the paint can easily peel off.


golf shafts buying guide that helps with club technology and steel

Steel shafts are typically made from carbon steel. These heavier shafts are often durable and stronger than graphite shafts. They are also less expensive than graphite shafts. Steel shafts offer more control on shots than graphite shafts but less distance overall. 

This is because of the greater emphasis on control, which makes them better suitable for golfers with faster swing speeds. If you’re a slow swing golfer, you may not be able to generate enough distance with steel shafts. However, if you have fast swing speed, you’ll be able to get the best shots with the steel shafts as they give you maximum control and feel, and ultimately more consistency than their graphite counterparts. 

You can choose from a rifle or stepped steel, depending on your preferences. Stepped steel, as the name suggests, has steps that reduce in diameter from the butt to the hosel in the clubhead. This design makes for a narrower tip and a wider butt end in the shaft design. Most manufacturers now use this design in their swings. 

Rifle steel shafts, on the other hand, have a smooth profile where the top and bottom of the shaft have a parallel diameter with no step. Rifle steel shafts may provide slightly better accuracy while stepped steel shafts may offer superior consistency.

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Hybrid Shafts


Hybrid shafts have become extremely popular and are now among the most used shafts. They combine the power of the steel shaft and graphite in one. They’re not too heavy or too soft. These excellent features make them attractive to many golfers, which is why they’re so popular. Unfortunately, most players find it hard to hit their hybrid shafts as they do their regular shaft. 

We see golfers complaining they can’t hit their hybrids straight enough while also finding it harder to control. This is why you must select your hybrid shaft carefully. When choosing a hybrid shaft, you want to make sure it’s optimal for your swing. 

This means a shaft that isn’t too soft or too hard for your game. You should also pay attention to the feel when choosing your hybrid shaft. This is because getting the right feel will help you with consistency and confidence in your club, which is what matters in the long run.

Shaft Flex


The shaft flex is extremely important because it can affect your accuracy and distance. To avoid losing consistency and distance, you need to choose the best golf shaft for your club. There are 5 types of shaft flex to choose from, regular, lady, stiff, senior, and extra stiff. 

Fortunately, it’s easy to choose your shaft since it’s your swing speed that’ll determine the type you choose. If your swing speed tends to be in the region of 90-10 mph or 100+ mph, you’ll need stiff or extra stiff shafts. However, if your swing speed is in the neighborhood of 70-80 mph or 80-90 mph, the corresponding shaft for you will be light flex or regular flex. Finally, if you play under 70 mph, you’ll choose ladies flex.

Shaft Technology


The most important here is the shaft flex because you can’t choose the right golf shaft without the right flex. It’ll play an important part in your journey to improving your game. When you swing a golf club, it bends at impact at a certain rate determined by the flex. The stiffer the flex is, the lower the amount of bending (resistance) of the shaft, and vice versa. 

It’s simply part of the load that is packed into the shaft for the right amount of spring and resistance, so a player can play at their natural tempo. Typically, when you play with a flex that’s too stiff, you’ll find yourself swinging harder to get the shaft to perform or provide the kind of feel you’re looking for. On the other hand, if the flex is too soft, you’ll be more hesitant with your swing, which will throw you out of your natural tempo, thus reducing your consistency. 

If your shaft can’t resist your swing, then you’ll not be able to get the right amount of spring into the golf ball. Whereas, a shaft that’s too stiff will be difficult to kick. In both instances, consistency and performance will be quite low. As you can see, getting the right flex is extremely important if you want to improve your golf game.

Weight, Kick Point & Torque

The weight, kick-point, and torque of the shaft are also extremely important. So, if you were to get a heavy shaft, you’re likely to have a higher kick-point and lower torque because the three all work hand in hand. The weight is the total weight of the shaft while the kick-point is the apex of bend when the shaft flexes. The kick point simply measures where the shaft changes its bending profile. A low kick point is where the bend is inclining towards the shaft tip while a high kick point is where the bend is inclining towards the handle of the shaft. 

The torque is used to measure the amount twisting in the shaft. The twisting of the clubhead around the handle is the torque of the shaft. Therefore, the overall profile of the shaft is going to affect these three characteristics. A lighter shaft translates into higher torque and lower kick point and vice versa.

You can pick your shaft based on these three characteristics within the same weight categories. So, if you pick a heavy shaft, you’ll be able to lower your ball flight. However, if you want a higher ball flight, you’ll choose a lighter shaft for your club. Also, the kick point is going to have a similar effect on the ball flight as the weight of the shaft. 

So, if the kick point is higher, you’ll be able to lower ball flight and vice versa. The torque will help you control misses left and right. Where the kick point and weight help you adjust your shots vertically, the torque helps with controlling shots horizontally. If you’re a left-handed player and you consistently miss to the left or want to promote a fade, a low torque will help you do that. On the other hand, if you’re a right-handed player who misses to the right or wants to promote a draw, you’ll need to adjust to a shaft with a high torque value.

Shaft Torque


The torque is the twisting of the shaft during a swing. The torque rating is the amount at which the shaft twists, which affects how the shaft feels. It is measured in degrees. The higher the degree, the softer the shaft will feel, so that a 5-degree shaft will be softer than one with a rating of 3-degree. When the torque rating is high, the shaft will feel soft as the shaft twists more. However, a low torque rating is going to make the shaft resist twisting, which makes it feel hard and stiff. 

So, if you’re looking for a soft feel, you’ll need more torque value in your shaft and vice versa. The torque also has a very slight effect on ball flight trajectory, so you may see a low trajectory on a low torque and vice versa. All types of shafts have some amount of torque in them. As you can see, the torque has more to do with feeling than anything else.

Rifle Shafts


Rifle shafts are a type of steel shafts that have stepless design technology which makes them very consistent. Unlike stepped steel shafts, there are no steps throughout the length of the shaft. Using electronic technology, manufacturers of rifle shafts often match the shaft to the flex, so there is no variation as it’s the case with their counterparts. 

Moreover, the stiffness on the rifle shaft is measured in decimals e.g. 3.0, 4.0, etc. to make it easy for the average player to decipher. If your goal is more accurate, then the rifle shaft is a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions: Technology


What type of golf club shaft should I use?

If you have higher swing speeds, go with a stiffer shaft. However, if you’re a beginner or a golfer with low swing speed, then go with a regular shaft.

What’s the difference in shafts for golf clubs?

There are stiffer shafts and regular shafts. The regular shafts are softer, lightweight, and easier to bend. Stiffer shafts, on the other hand, are heavier, firmer, and often harder to bend.

Conclusion: Research by Tellmemoregolf.com

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Choosing the right shaft for your clubs cannot be over-emphasized. It’ll help you with more consistency, accuracy, and more distance. You’ll also feel more confident in your club, which will improve your overall performance. 

Fortunately, the Tell Me More Golf team has made choosing the right shaft easier by providing the most comprehensive guide on golf shaft types and how to choose the best one so that you can make an informed decision when buying the next one.

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