To optimize your golf game, it's crucial to understand the role that golf club shaft flex plays in your performance. The term "flex" refers to a golf shaft's ability to bend when subjected to the forces generated during a golf swing. These forces are influenced by the nature of your swing, including whether it is fast or slow, smooth or jerky.
Shaft flex is typically rated on a scale of Extra Stiff, Stiff, Regular, Senior, and Ladies, represented by the letters X, S, R, A, and L. Using a flex that is incompatible with your swing can result in your clubface being misaligned at impact, causing shots to go off-target.
Shaft flex impacts various aspects of your game, including accuracy, trajectory, and distance. Throughout the swing, the position of the clubhead changes as the shaft flexes, requiring the clubface to be square at impact to achieve the optimal shot. If you have the wrong flex for your swing, the chances of making contact with the ball with a square clubface are diminished.
To choose the right flex, you need to assess your swing and distance capability. A driver distance of 250 yards or more generally indicates a Stiff flex, 230-250 yards a Regular flex, 200-230 yards a Senior flex, and less than 200 yards a Ladies flex. A smooth swing might benefit from a softer flex, while a stiffer shaft may be necessary for a jerky swing.
Choosing a shaft that is too stiff may result in the ball flying lower and shorter for any given loft, tending to go to the right for right-handed golfers. Conversely, a shaft that is not stiff enough may cause the ball to fly higher and tend to go left for right-handed golfers.
While men often prefer Stiff flex, a softer flex can improve their golf game by slowing down their swings, resulting in better shots. The best way to choose the right flex is by undergoing a club fitting with a golf professional, who can make recommendations based on your measurements, swing speed, and ball flight. Demo days also provide an opportunity to test out different clubs with various shaft types to identify the right flex for you.