In theory, a golfer should be able to swing a lighter shaft faster than he or she can swing a heavier shaft. But some golfers will not increase their swing speed with a lighter shaft. While it seems to go against the laws of physics, giving a golfer a lighter shaft can actually cause his or her speed to decrease. This is no rare occurrence. Club fitters see it happen nearly every day.
So what’s going on here? This is just one of the paradoxes of club fitting, where the answer to seemingly straightforward questions is more often than not “it depends.” Two golfers of the same size, strength, and speed can find themselves needing shafts of different weights to play their best.
An in-person club fitting is the only way to know for sure that a golfer has the best shaft for them. For that reason, the purpose of this article is not to help golfers “fit themselves.” After all, even the best golfers in the world rely on fitters to help them optimize their performance.
Our goal is to offer golfers a deeper understanding of the framework leading fitters use to identify the best shafts for their players. With so many points of confusion related to shaft weight in particular, we urge you to share this article with golfers who are interested in taking their games to new heights.
When To Go Heavier
As strange as it sounds, heavier shafts can help golfers “activate” more swing speed. To explain how this works, we’ll use a relatable non-golf example.
Imagine being asked to carry two packages across a room: one that weighs 2 pounds, and another that weighs 20 pounds. Both packages are the same size and shape; the only difference is the weight inside.
To carry the lighter package, you may only require the strength of your hands. With the heavier package, you will likely need the strength of your arms, shoulders, and core muscles… potentially even your legs. The more strenuous job “activates” these additional muscle groups to carry out the task.
A key factor in maximizing swing speed is maximizing muscle activation, which is why certain golfers can swing heavier shafts faster than lighter shafts. Slightly heavier shafts can activate additional muscle groups, effectively “turning on” more speed in a golfer’s swing.