Stiff vs Regular Flex: How To Pick The Best Golf Shaft?

The goal is to achieve more distance with a smooth and easy swing movement, right? This gives rise to the most important question; should you opt for graphite or steel shaft? After you’ve decided which shaft you’re going to play with, you have to pick the right flex for the shaft.

Another equally important question; do you know the difference between stiff vs regular flex? If not, then you’re in the right place!

Flex is the extent to which the shaft bends when it is swing right before hitting the golf ball. Golfers, both beginners, and professionals put a lot of thought and time into figuring out what type of flex they should pick for the shafts.

Based on their own individual golfing skills, if they pick a shaft that’s too stiff, the swing movement becomes slower leading to the golf ball flying too low and to the right.

On the other hand, if they pick a shaft that’s too flexible, the swing movement becomes faster leading to the golf ball flying too high and to the left.

Stiff vs Regular Flex

Credit: mygolf.com.my

So it’s important to know everything there is about stiff and regular flex if you want to swing the club as smoothly and easily as possible. And as far as the improvement of distance is concerned, choosing the right flex for the shafts can literally help you in the long run.

Regular or Stiff: Which Golf Shaft Flex Should You Use?

What you should know about stiff and regular flex

Let’s start with stiff shafts. They are built comparatively firmer than regular shafts and are more difficult to bend. It means that flexing a stiff shaft is very difficult and it doesn’t get any easier even if you swing harder.

If you’re a golfer that generates a high-level of club head speed, then you should buy shafts with a stiffer flex. Reason being, your increased club head speed is the result of your professional, athletic swing and when such an exceptional golfing skill is paired with a stiffer shaft, the result is truly phenomenal.

And it doesn’t matter even if your club head speed is not so high. In fact, a slow accelerating arc, when paired with a stiffer shaft, has the ability to create more power and lag in the shot than a golfer with an increased level of club head speed. This inevitably maximizes distance. Plus, you get better control. Pretty neat, isn’t it?

Both stiff and regular shafts have their own unique benefits that are exploited based on the golfers’ set of skills. In the end, it’s always about improving performance, irrespective of how stiff or flexible the shaft is.

So it’s important to try both the shafts before you pick one that slowly but gradually improves your performance on the turf. So which golf shaft is best for me?

REGULAR OR STIFF FLEX SHAFTS

Stiff vs regular flex – The difference

The features that highlight the difference between stiff and regular shafts are all listed below. This is a subject whose explanation entirely depends on how well the golfer knows the basic golfing techniques. Because once you have your basic golfing skills in place, the use of each of these shafts will produce their own distinctive results that you can gradually learn to control.

Material and Torque

There are two types of golf shafts; graphite shafts and steel shafts. The latter is more traditionally used for golfing irons, while the former is used for drivers and all the other kinds of golf clubs.

The goal of golf clubs manufacturing companies is to create shafts that have a low torque.

In order to understand this better, you need to know the connection between flex and torque. Flex is the level of bend a shaft goes through from the grip to the club head when you’re making the swing movement. And torque is the extent to which the shaft is allowed to twist once you strike the golf ball on the toe or heel of the club.

The way this twisting works entirely depends on the shaft’s flexibility. If the shaft is flexible enough, the twisting action helps in correcting off-center strikes. This is achieved with the help of the flexible shaft twisting back to the center while you’re making the swing movement.

So, once the shaft twists back to the center, it automatically makes up for off-center strikes. But when shafts don’t have the ability or somehow fail to twist back, they can make your off-center strikes look even worse than they already are.

(Learn more about off-center hits in golf)

Stiff vs Regular Flex

Credit: comsol.com

Kick Point

Kick point is a term that is quite commonly discussed when it comes to stiff vs regular flex. The meaning of this concept is pretty simple; the maximum flexibility of the shaft is known as kick point. When a shaft has a high level of kick point, it generates a lower flight.

On the other hand, a decreased level of kick point in the shaft produces a higher trajectory. Stiff shafts have a comparatively higher kick point than regular shafts. That means you can launch the golf ball higher into the air with a regular flex.

Stiff vs Regular Flex

Swing Speed

You can use a launch monitor or simply go to your local golf shop and use various sets of clubs with different flexes in order to measure your swing speed. Once you’ve measured your swing speed, you’ll know what kind of shaft and flex you need to pick in order to achieve better results in the game of golf.

You’ll need a stiff flex if your swing speed is as high as 90 mph or above. On the other hand, a swing speed of 80 mph or lower requires you to use a regular flex. The thing is that when your swing speed is as low as 80 mph, the flexing of the shaft is not carried out properly. And this leads to not being able to fix a high slice. So a regular flex helps in correcting something that a stiff flex simply can’t.

Golf Ball Speed vs. Shaft Flex

Stiff vs regular flex – Which one’s better?

Golfers that have a lower swing speed prefer using a regular flex, which means they never experience the joy of striking the golf ball with a shaft equipped with stiff flex. But golfers that have a faster swing speed can still use a shaft with regular flex as that requires them to play golf with some dexterity, which is a quality that all golfers possess.

In the end, it all boils down to how rhythmic and smooth your swing movement is (exercises to improve golf swing). In some cases, golfers that have a swing speed as high as 90 mph prefer using a weaker shaft as it helps them to achieve a comparatively greater distance.

So even though they have to surrender some control, they are happily willing to do so in order to achieve that additional snap in the shaft.

Conclusion

The topic of discussion revolving around stiff vs regular flex is one that tends to confuse many golfers. This is mainly because many golfers don’t know whether they should choose a stiff shaft or a regular shaft. And the best way to determine this is to go for a club fitting.

In a club fitting, the golfing expert will carefully observe your swing movement and ball flight along with measuring your swing speed. Based on this information, he or she will tell you whether your current golfing skills require you to use a stiff flex or a regular flex. This is one of the best ways to choose the proper flex.

So to sum it up, I’ve briefly explained the differences between stiff and regular flex below:

  • A regular shaft is more flexible than a stiff shaft in correcting off-center strikes as it has the tendency to twist back to the center during the swing.
  • A regular flex has a lower kick point as compared to a stiff flex. This simply means that the golf ball goes higher up in the air with a regular flex.
  • If you have a higher swing speed, you should opt for a stiff shaft. And for a swing speed lower than 80 mph, a regular shaft helps in correcting a high slice.

What is your swing speed? And what type of flex are you using currently?

I hope you found the article useful and I hope it helps you in determining what type of flex is most suitable for your current golfing skills.

Is there anything that you would like to share with us here? Please don’t forget to leave a comment below.

Sources:

1. http://www.golflink.com/about_4949_between-regular-stiff-golf-shafts.html

2. http://healthyliving.azcentral.com/stiff-vs-regular-golf-shafts-2149.html

3. http://golf.about.com/cs/tipslessons/a/shaftflex.htm

4. http://www.golf-monthly.co.uk/videos/gear-video/should-i-use-regular-or-stiff-shafts-in-my-golf-clubs

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