In order for you to get the most out of your golf clubs, you have to start by knowing your ideal golf shaft stiffness. Most golfers buy off-the-rack golf clubs with a regular or stiff shaft installed by the manufacturer. But is that golf shaft the correct stiffness for your swing and golf game?
As discussed in our previous article, How A Premium Golf Shaft Makes You A Better Golfer, selecting the correct golf shaft flex is imperative to making your clubs work the best for your game, your swing, and your tendencies. Traditionally, modern golf shafts are sorted into one of five shaft flex options: extra stiff (X), stiff (S), regular (R), senior (A), and ladies (L). The most common in off-the-rack clubs is regular flex. And in most cases, that’s actually an OK stiffness for most recreational golfers.
Why is the regular shaft good for most golfers? Well, most golfers either don’t play a lot, don’t get properly fit, or simply don’t swing the golf club fast enough to need a stiffer golf shaft. However, getting properly fit for your golf swing, swing speed, and tempo is crucial to unlocking not only personal potential but maximum golf club performance. Luckily, with today’s launch monitor technology, years of data, and research it’s easier than ever to get fit with precision.
What Is Golf Shaft Stiffness?
Simply put, golf shaft stiffness is how easy or difficult it is to bend the golf shaft. Easier to bend means the golf shaft is on the softer side. When it becomes very difficult to bend, it’s getting stiffer and stiffer.
The most confusing thing about golf shaft stiffness is that there’s no industry standard. It’s like walking into a department store and finding out every t-shirt brand has slightly different measurements for a size large. Some of them will fit great, others will be a bit too small or too large. Ultimately, this leaves you guessing a little bit.
The same is true with golf shafts. Not all regular or stiff shafts are the same stiffness. This is especially true when you factor in bend profiles.
Without digging in too deep, bend profiles are where the shaft bends or flexes. Manufacturers can alter a shaft to be stiffer in the butt (where the grip is located), mid-section, and tip (where the clubhead meets the golf shaft). They also vary the shaft weight from lighter shafts to heavier shafts.
Why the Correct Golf Shaft Stiffness Matters?
TPT Head of Performance Jon Sinclair explains that “the stiffness of a golf shaft is the ‘kick’ in the shaft. This must be right so the player can get the maximum speed from the clubhead.” In other words, without getting properly fit into the best golf shaft for your swing, you’re leaving MPH and distance on the table.
Normally, when golfers aren’t fit for proper shafts they can struggle with dispersion. In other words, if you drew a circle around all a golfer’s shots with a single club, how big would that circle or oval be? In an ideal world, you want that oval to be as small as possible. That way, even your worst golf shots aren’t that bad.
Many golfers think that the proper shaft will automatically correct accuracy. Not so fast.
“I would not say the flex itself causes a shaft to be more or less accurate,” Sinclair says. “You have to look at the whole picture. How the player feels the shaft, the flex of the shaft, the torque of the shaft, the weight of the shaft, how the forces the player applies to the shaft affect the shaft, and then how the player responds to the forces coming back from the shaft.”
One of the best ways to gain accuracy is by playing the most consistent shaft. And no golf shaft technology is more consistent than TPT’s Thin-Ply Technology.
“TPT shafts are so consistent that the shafts can be fine-tuned for all these factors,” Sinclair says.
So, does the correctly fit golf shaft immediately make it impossible to miss a shot or drive? Not really, but with a TPT golf shaft your misses will be more predictable.
Maybe the most important aspect of a well-fit driver shaft is distance. And not just in terms of maximizing distance (although that’s always a nice benefit), but also when it comes to distance gapping all of your clubs.
Sinclair explains that the “timing the kick of the shaft really matters. You can look at it as a frequency graph. The shaft will go into lag deflection in the early downswing then the head will pass the handle putting it in lead deflection around mid-downswing.”
“I like to have the player catch the ball just after the club reaches maximum lead deflection and max acceleration,” Sinclair says. “This way, I know I am catching impact close to full speed. When you catch it while the club is still accelerating you might be leaving some on speed on the table. If the shaft is too stiff you might be catching it too far past that peak because it wants to spring back too quickly.”
In other words, the golf shaft should be perfectly whipping through the hitting zone to maximize the speed of any player’s swing. Almost like bending a plastic spoon to fling food across the cafeteria. To do this also includes factoring in the launch conditions. Some players prefer a low launch while others require high launch shafts.
Regardless, matching a player’s swing speed and tempo to the proper “frequency” can unlock exceptional distance gains. In most cases, Sinclair says he sees golfers playing shafts that are too stiff for their swings. While a too-stiff golf shaft might be more accurate, the player is sacrificing distance — so why not marry the two and get an extra 10, 20, or 30 yards?
When it comes to consistency, no other shaft compares to TPT. But why is consistency so important?
Every time you swing your driver, does it feel the same? What about when you swing it as fast as you can? Does the clubhead get squared up the same way every time?
You might think the answer is “yes” but in reality, the answer is closer to “usually” or “most of the time.” Due to inconsistencies in traditional graphite golf shaft technology and manufacturing, the end product has variances, and those variances lead to good swing potentially not producing the expected outcome.
With TPT golf shafts, the variances are eliminated. Every shaft that’s produced is identical to the one you tried during a professional fitting. And because of TPT’s automated manufacturing process, Continuous Fiber, golfers have more opportunity to find the ideal shaft stiffness rather than “getting close,” which is all other manufacturers can do. To that end, in Sinclair’s robot testing against hand-rolled shafts, “TPT was far superior at bringing the club back to the same spot with each swing.”
How To Know If You’re Playing The Wrong Golf Shaft Stiffness?
Any golfer who desires to get better and enjoy the game more will eventually reach a point with their game where getting properly fit for golf shafts is imperative. While off-the-rack shafts “work” for a lot of golfers across the landscape of swing speeds and tempos, everyone could decrease their dispersion and pick up a few yards of distance with the right shaft.
So if you’re suffering from a consistent miss (as most golfers are) like a slice, getting fit for a TPT shaft will go a long way to bringing that miss back towards the fairway or make the truly foul balls less severe.
On the other hand, if you’re a decent golfer breaking 100, 90, or 80 consistently, hitting a couple more fairways might lead to more birdie putts. In many cases, getting properly fit for a TPT golf shaft also helps players pick up distance on a consistent basis.
Getting Fit For The Correct Golf Shaft Stiffness
Unconvinced? We recommend trying as many premium golf shafts as possible to find the one that is perfect for your swing and your golf game. That starts with finding a fitter who carries TPT golf shafts.
Once golfers are fit into a TPT shaft, they can be rest assured every shaft has been fine-tuned with a precision only TPT can deliver. Due to TPT’s automated manufacturing process, every aspect (weight, torque, stiffness, etc.) is as accurate as it can possibly be.
How can you get more precision and consistency in your golf shafts? Locate a TPT Authorized Fitter near you here.