Aspects of a Golf Shaft
A piece of equipment often overlooked by golfers is the golf shaft, an integral part of the club that can greatly make a difference, positive or negative. It is standard these days for drivers, woods and rescue clubs to be fitted with graphite shafts directly from the factory. As compared to steel golf shafts, the lighter weight of a graphite shaft offers golfers the ability to generate greater club head speed for more distance. Graphite shafts also transmit fewer vibrations when the ball is struck, providing better feel. When looking for a new shaft, it is important to remember the main performance characterstics:
- Shaft flex
- Kick point
Reducing weight can help a player increase their swing speed, increasing distance. Conversely, skilled golfers that have higher swing speeds and better club head control may prefer the feel of a heavier golf shaft. In order to tailor to individual golfers' needs, graphite golf shafts are manufactured in various weights.
Correct golf shaft stiffness is crucial to selecting the right shaft for you. The faster your swing, the stiffer the shaft should be. Slower swings can benefit from the added flex of a less stiff shaft, helping to gain distance. Golf shafts generally come in Ladies (L), Senior (A), Regular (R), Stiff (S) and Extra Stiff (X). Remember, if the flex of your shaft is not right for your swing, it will result in a loss of distance, and cause the club head to be misaligned at impact with the golf ball, resulting in inaccurate shots. The shaft’s flex is crucial in maximizing both distance and accuracy.
Graphite shafts are also built with various kick points, described as high, medium and low. The higher the kick point, the closer to the grip or top of the shaft. The lower the kick point, the closer to the club head or bottom tip of the shaft. The kick point is the point on a shaft that flexes the greatest. A high shaft kick point will result in a lower trajectory compared to a low tip point, which would promote higher golf ball flight.
Torque is defined as the amount of rotational twisting that occurs at the tip of the shaft, measured by degrees of twist. The lower the torque, the more resistant the golf shaft will be to twisting. Thanks to the construction of graphite shafts, they can be made to have a much wider band of torque levels allowing the shaft to be better customized to various golf swings. Torque will deliver the club head to the ball on a rotational axis, so, similar to flex, it is important to choose a shaft that has an appropriate amount of torque for your swing. Higher swing speeds and faster tempo swings require lower torque in a golf shaft, while slower more fluid swings can benefit from using a shaft with slightly higher degrees of torque.
With any golf shaft, quality of manufacturing is key. A well-built shaft will offer more consistent performance in a game where every shot counts! right?
Selecting the right graphite shaft is important to perfecting the delivery of your club head to the ball, improving your game. Make sure you are not losing out on performance by overlooking the shaft you are playing with. Visiting a professional club fitter to help match the right shaft for your swing, could very well translate to immediate gains.