7 Undeniable Signs You Need Stiffer Shafts for Your Clubs
Written by Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1

Updated on December 12, 2023

Did you know that the golf shaft in your clubs is probably more important than the clubhead? The shaft has tremendous impacts on distance, accuracy, and ball flight. Many golfers are playing a shaft that is not the correct match for them.

I’ve put together 7 undeniable signs you need stiffer shafts for your clubs. Some of these are based on experiences that I have had with playing the wrong golf shaft.

 

1. You Have Recently Gained Strength

Strength is an undeniable benefit in golf. If you’re strong, you can hit the ball a long way. However, this strength needs to be matched up with the proper equipment. If you have recently started clocking more hours in the gym and are ready to take that to the course, you need a club with a stiffer shaft.

You’ll probably notice that your golf clubs have a lighter and more whippy feel to them. In addition, you may have a harder time controlling them.

Be honest with yourself about how much strength you have gained and whether or not it should impact the shaft. If you are swinging even just 10 mph faster, you may need a stiffer shaft.

 

2. Less Distance

Believe it or not, playing with a golf shaft that is not stiff enough can cause you to lose distance. The problem is that the shaft doesn’t create enough resistance at impact for all the power you are creating.

When you have a high swing speed, don’t leave distance on the table.

One of the best ways to diagnose whether or not you are losing distance is to test a club using a launch monitor. Take your normal swing with your standard golf shaft and then with something slightly stiffer.

If you notice you gain more distance with the stiffer shaft, then it may be time to change. The only thing I will say to be aware of here is dispersion. Sometimes hitting it further but all over the place is not worth it.

 

3. Ball Flight That Is Too High

High ball flight should lead to more distance. However, you can get to the point where the ball flight is too high. When the ball flight is too high, you lose some distance as the ball sort of balloons instead of penetrating through the air.

Higher ball flight is good on wedge shots when you want to stop the ball on the green, but it’s a problem on a driver when you are looking for long-distance and extra roll.

One of the best ways to ensure that your ball flight is not too high is to use a launch monitor and check peak height.

The loft of your golf club plays into this as well. Some golfers have a lower loft on their irons, as this encourages a bit of extra distance. These golfers may see lower peak heights. The key relationship you want to look at is the peak height in relation to distance.

If you’re hitting a shot that has a peak height of 90 feet but it still travels far, that’s great.

However, at some point, you may start to see the peak height go down a little and the distance increases a bit, and that would be a sign that the stiffer shaft that keeps the ball flight a little further down is the better choice.

If your peak height is still quite low, you could have a swing error causing it, or you may not need a stiffer shaft.

 

4. Uncontrollable Ball Flight

I know distance seems incredibly appealing. I know if you took 20 yards off of my game right now, I would be less than thrilled about it. However, hitting the ball straight is incredibly important.

When you find that your ball flight lacks control, chances are you could need a stiffer shaft. The problem with a shaft that is too flexible for your game is that you have less control over the clubface.

As you’re swinging, the twisting of the club is getting you off track.

I have an average swing speed that allows me to use a men’s regular shaft in my irons and a men’s stiff shaft in my driver.

However, if I switch to a lightweight and more flexible ladies’ shafted club, I have difficulty hitting consistent straight shots. My swing speed is too high for it, and even though I may get an occasional shot that flies a long way and lands where I want it, the chance of hitting it consistently is just too low.

I’ll take controlled ball flight and give up a few yards.

 

5. Hooking The Ball

A sign that you need stiffer shafts could be a hook. If you find that your golf shots are slinging to the left, you may want to try a slightly stiffer shaft. The stiffer shaft will slow things down a bit for you and ensure that your shot stays straight.

A hook, however, is not always caused by a club that is too whippy for you. There are several different factors that cause shots to go left.

Before you replace your golf shafts, take a look at this video showing you fixes for hitting a hook and make sure it’s what you should be working on.

In addition, pay close attention to switching to a shaft that is too stiff; if you do this, you will notice a fade or even a slice start to come into play. For some golfers, there is a fine line between hooking and slicing.

 

6. Shaft Feels Too Whippy

Feel is so important in golf. When you have the correct shafts in place, you will notice that the feedback, feel, and even vibrations at impact are better. If your shaft feels like it’s just flying around and you are losing control, chances are you don’t have the correct shaft flex.

Too much flexibility feels like a whippy shaft without enough torque or resistance. You will know what this feeling is if you have lots of speed.

Many graphite shafts can feel a little more whippy than a steel shaft. This won’t cause issues in your golf game; even graphite shafts can come in a stiff flex that will help to control how whippy it is.

 

7. Spin Is Too High

Spin on a wedge may be great, but spin on a driver is not as great. High spin rates can make it harder to hit a ball straight, and it can cause shots to go too high.

Check your spin rates using a golf launch monitor. Ideal spin rates for a driver will be around 3000 or less. The amount of speed your swing has will impact the spin rates for the driver. A faster swing speed creates higher speed, but if your shafts are not stiff enough, these spin rates could get too high.

 

Figuring Out Which Flex You Should be Using on Your Clubs

Now that you have a general idea of what to look for to determine if the stiffness of your golf shaft is correct for your game. How will you choose which shaft flex is best for you?

Here are a few ways to tell if the seniors, ladies flex, regular, stiff, or extra stiff shaft is the best fit for your game.

Go for a Custom Fitting

Golf club fittings help recommend which golf shaft is best for your game. If you head to a fitting like a True Spec Fitting or a GolfTec fitting, you can get a ton of information about which flex is best and which shaft model is a specific fit for your game.

Custom fitting sessions cost money and go beyond what a launch monitor alone can tell you.

When you leave a custom golf fitting, you should have a lot of details about a specific shaft, not just a flex.

Test Clubs Using a Launch Monitor

Launch monitor technology in the past was so expensive that amateur golfers really couldn’t access it until they went to a custom fitting facility or a simulator. However, things have changed, and now there are launch monitors for less than $500.

Of course, the accuracy of these launch monitors may be slightly reduced from the accuracy of a premium Trackman, but you can still get adequate information about whether or not a shaft is optimized for you as a player.

Use the launch monitor to determine spin rates, peak height, total distance, and more. The great thing about having our own portable launch monitor is that you can check your swing on different days to see how things are progressing and if you are still fitted in the right shaft.

Golf Shaft Flex Calculator

If you know your swing speed and a few other details about your game, then using a golf shaft flex calculator is a great option to consider. Our golf shaft flex calculator can give accurate results that will be a perfect starting point to fine-tune which golf shaft is best for your game.

 

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Brittany Olizarowicz

Britt O has been playing golf since the age of 7. Almost 30 years later, she still loves the game, has played competitively on every level, and spent a good portion of her life as a Class A PGA Professional. Britt currently resides in Savannah, GA, with her husband and two young children. Current Handicap: 1