How to Choose the Right Shaft Flex for YOUR Game?

The right golf shaft flex FOR YOU is sure to help you play better. So don’t just focus on the brand of the golf clubs you buy or how much they cost (although these are very important factors, no doubt) but also take into consideration things like shaft length, shaft material, and shaft flex as well.

If your golf club’s shaft flex does not work with your swing speed, playing a successful round of golf consistently becomes impossible. After all, when the shaft is right, it has the power to affect how that golf ball is hit. Meaning how low or high, right or left, and long or short it travels.

So you can control ball flight, shot direction, and distance with the help of the most suitable shaft flex for YOUR golfing skills and game.

The Basic Question – What Is Golf Shaft Flex?

The flexing of the golf club shaft means how much it bends during both your swing motion and during impact. A higher i.e. extra flex in the shaft has proven to help those with slower swing speeds (for example, senior, women, beginner, and high-handicap golfers). That’s why those top-rated starter sets of golf clubs have a more flexible shaft.

As for low handicappers and Tour pros, they often choose stiffer shafts i.e. less flexibility in their golf club shafts. Because with more shaft stiffness, it becomes possible and easier for stronger, faster-swing players to keep the clubhead in the most favorable position at the moment of impact.

The Impact of Golf Club Shaft Flex On Your Game

The correct shaft flex will and does produce the best distance, accuracy, and trajectory. And this applies to your driver, irons, hybrids, and wedges. Although how much flex in each golf club differs. For example, the driver ought to be equipped with more flex in its shaft but the same cannot be said about wedge flex.

In actuality, it’s all about the overall consistency and feel of your golf clubs. Drivers, in general, are hit to make those off-the-shots reach the bleachers while a wedge requires you to keep your swing speed more relaxed.

So if the shaft flex is not right (for instance, let’s assume that it’s too flexible and your swing speed is faster), then the clubhead will lag. Hence, it’s not where it should be at that crucial point of impact. So it comes around quite late, thus leading to a huge hook.

And then, at such times, the clubface ends up with excessive loft as well at impact. And too much of that implies a too high trajectory, which tapers off distance, along with cutting down the amount of roll of the shot.

Now let’s reverse the situation – so now you’re a golfer using a too stiff shaft flex with your slower swing speed. The outcome of this is a too abrupt clubface angle at impact, thus causing the golf ball to be hit a tad bit early. Lower trajectory, poor spin rate, and less carry distance become a part of that experience then.

Plus, this also affects the ball’s green-stopping power. So a lot can happen if that clubhead is not where it’s supposed to be at the pivotal point of impact. Even a tiny bit of difference and the golf ball takes on an undesirable flight path.

Golf Shaft Flex Chart

Swing SpeedClubClubhead SpeedShaft Flex
Very FastDriver>105 mphExtra Stiff (X)
3-Wood>101 mphExtra Stiff (X)
3-Iron>97 mphExtra Stiff (X)
6-Iron>92 mphExtra Stiff (X)
FastDriver97-104 mphStiff (S)
3-Wood93-97 mphStiff (S)
3-Iron90-96 mphStiff (S)
6-Iron84-91 mphStiff (S)
AverageDriver84-96 mphRegular (R)
3-Wood84-93 mphRegular (R)
3-Iron89-90 mphRegular (R)
6-Iron75-83 mphRegular (R)
SlowDriver72-83 mphSenior (A)
3-Wood70-80 mphSenior (A)
3-Iron68-78 mphSenior (A)
6-Iron65-75 mphSenior (A)
LadiesDriver<72 mphLadies (L)
3-Wood<70 mphLadies (L)
3-Iron<68 mphLadies (L)
6-Iron<65 mphLadies (L)

Different Types of Shaft Flex Options for Golf Clubs

How to Choose the Right Shaft Flex?

You decide which shaft flex option is right FOR YOU to play based on your swing speed. The flexing of the shaft takes place during your golf swing, right? So, at this point, the flex has to be proper to square the clubface at impact. But if the shaft flex is off, getting to this much-needed ‘square’ position is something that doesn’t happen at the right time.

Keeping this in mind, how about you and I go through the 5 different types of shaft flex options? Also, if you seem to be confused about which flex to choose or if you’re somewhere in between any two flex options, then always choose a softer instead of stiffer shaft flex.

Additionally, if you have slicing-the-ball tendencies, then also a softer flex will come to your rescue.

1. Extra Stiff (X)

This one’s for long hitters (around 300 yards off the tee), high-level golfers, and the like. So if you’re driving the ball over 105 mph, your game demands and deserves extra stiffness in the shaft flex to be able to tolerate your faster swing speed.

2. Stiff (S)

It’s made for those whose swing speed is between 97 mph and 104 mph. This means you’re driving the golf ball 250 yards or higher consistently off that tee.

In most cases, mid-handicap to low-handicap players choose the Stiff shaft flex option.

3. Regular (R)

Surely the best for the normal range of golfers where the swing speed is between 84 mph and 96 mph. So if your drives cover a distance between 230 yards and 250 yards, this kind of ‘forgiving’ flex is the most suitable for you.

4. Senior (A)

Go for Senior-flex when your swing speed starts to decline or is just slower – between 72 mph and 83 mph.

5. Ladies (L)

First of all, let me make it clear that this Ladies-flex shaft option is not every woman golfer’s choice. It’s only when your swing speed is below 72 mph that you should be opting for such a highly flexible, hence extremely forgiving shaft.

But if you’re a female golfer hitting farther than 200 yards consistently off the tee, there’s no reason to select this softest flex rating. Instead, you’d be better off with either a Regular or Senior flex.

However, if you do seem to be hitting shorter drives more habitually, then golf drivers that carry the ball further (with only minimal effort on your part and despite off-center contact) because of their greater shaft flex is a more appropriate option for you.

How to Choose the Right Shaft Flex

1. Skills

Let’s start with your swing speed first – is it slow, fast, or mid-level? The norm is to choose a softer flex for a slower swing speed and stiffer flex for a faster swing speed (just refer to the Golf Shaft Flex Chart above). Choosing the right shaft based on your swing speed means you’re doing all you can for optimizing your distance potential.

Just visit the nearest golf shop and get your swing speed measured.

The next golfing skill involves how high or low you shoot the ball naturally? This is the trajectory part of the golf ball flight. An excessively low trajectory automatically implies the need for a softer shaft flex while a too high trajectory can be optimized using the stiffer option.

And then there’s shot direction or pattern – drawing or hooking and fading or slicing the ball. When your golf club shaft flex is more flexible than it’s supposed to be, it gives rise to inconsistency where your mis-hits can travel in all directions.

On the contrary, if the shaft you’re currently using is too stiff, you end up slicing or fading your shots, along with generating a lower trajectory. So to improve not just accuracy but also consistency, pick the right shaft flex.

2. Shaft Material (Weight)

Your two options here are graphite and steel. You should be choosing graphite shafts if your swing speed is below average. These are more lightweight, hence easier and more forgiving to swing/hit.

For example, since the majority of women golfers have a comparatively slower swing speed, golf clubs for ladies are outfitted with a graphite shaft. And the same holds true for senior golfers since their swing speed too is lower in comparison. This means lightweight graphite shafts used for the best drivers for seniors or best hybrids for seniors.

Meanwhile, more experienced or advanced players, male or female, pick steel shafts. Although there are Tour players, like Tiger Woods, who have transitioned to graphite from steel simply because the former is so much lighter for increasing the swing speed.

3. Shaft Length

Do not underestimate the importance of the correct shaft length. Because the distance loss due to an off-center strike caused by the wrong length of shaft can be significant (as much as 7-percent less carry distance at the slightest 0.5-inch off-center contact, which means 1-inch off and you cut down your distance potential by 14-percent).

So first of all, how to measure golf club shaft length (wrist-to-floor measurement)? And then secondly, how to choose a shaft based on that measurement? Here’s a complete golf club shaft length guide I created to ensure that you’re always playing the right shaft.

4. Shaft Torque and Kick Point

What’s the torque rating of the shaft? It indicates (using degrees) how much that shaft twists during the swing movement.

A higher torque rating equals more prone to twisting equals a softer flex. For instance then, a torque rating of 5 degrees feels much stiffer in comparison to 3 degrees.

Moving on to kick point, which is actually the flex point in the shaft. And it tells you how much bending the shaft does to affect the trajectory.

Higher kick point results in lowering trajectory and vice versa. So you ought to be making sure that the kick point is low if you want your shots to have a high trajectory (where the tip of the shaft just whips the clubhead through).

5. Find A Flex That Feels Right

Keep your ego aside and just pick a shaft flex option based on how it feels. There’s no sense in selecting a Stiff or Extra Stiff flex as well as longer golf clubs just to appear to be more skilled, advanced, or “manly.” It’s only going to mess with both your handicap and scores!

At the same time, try hitting some shots on that practice range with golf clubs manufactured by different brands but with the same shaft flex. After all, there’s no standard or USGA-approved rule when it comes to shaft flex ratings, so they can differ from one manufacturer to another.

And if you can’t seem to decide by the end of it all, why not get a professional custom fitting done? You can get properly fitted for all your golf clubs by a professional fitter at your local golf shops or stores.

Thanks to advanced technology now, custom fittings bring to the fore the correct face angle, lie angle, loft setting, swing speed and weight, and length FOR YOU. And as a consequence of that, your performance certainly improves, which makes these professional golf club fitting sessions worth all that extra money (since it’s comparatively cheaper than changing your clubs often).

Are You Playing the Wrong Shaft Flex?


  • When you’re not hitting the golf ball as high or long in comparison to your other clubs.
  • When the ball veers more toward the right, also known as fade (if you’re a right-handed golfer).
  • When your shots don’t feel solid at impact, even when centered contact is made with the clubface.


  • When the trajectory of the golf ball is too high in comparison to that produced by your other clubs.
  • When the ball leans more toward the draw side i.e. left (for right-handed golfers).
  • When your shots, especially when solidly hit, do not travel a great deal of distance.

Shaft Flex and Swing Speed

Once more, reiterating how important swing speed is when it comes to determining shaft flex. So here’s the super-important relationship between your swing speed and shaft flex…

  • Senior or Ladies flex for a swing speed of 75 mph or lower.
  • Regular flex for a swing speed between 75 mph and 95 mph.
  • Stiff flex for a swing speed between 95 mph and 110 mph.
  • Extra Stiff flex for a swing speed of 110 mph or higher.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Shaft Flex Should I Be Using?

The flex rating of your golf club shaft depends on your swing speed. Slower swing speeds (mostly, these are beginners, seniors, and most female golfers) benefit more through greater flexibility of the shaft in that a softer flex promotes faster speed.

But if your swing speed is already quite powerful and high, then you should choose a stiffer i.e. less flexible shaft.

What Do Shaft Flex Numbers Mean?

The flex of the shaft is not always displayed in the form of letters (‘X’ for Extra Stiff, ‘S’ for Stiff. ‘R’ for Regular, ‘A’ for Seniors, and ‘L’ for Ladies). Sometimes numbers are printed to state the flex rating. And the lower this number is, the softer the shaft flex will be (and vice versa).

  • Regular flex 5.0
  • Regular Plus 5.5
  • Stiff 6.0
  • Extra Stiff 6.5
  • Extra Stiff Plus 7.0

What Shaft Flex Is Best for Driver?

When the driver shaft flex is more on the stiffer side, it can push your shot onto that next fairway. While too much flex leads to a horrible hooked shot or a pop-up.

So with a golf driver, since you have to swing this particular club with a faster swing speed because of its weight and length, the most accurate flex rating is a must. Only then can you attain the highest swing speed to produce the longest distance.

So to answer your question – what shaft flex should I use for my driver – get your swing speed analyzed. Through that (refer to Golf Shaft Flex Chart mentioned earlier), you’ll know just what is the perfect driver shaft flex rating for you.

When to Switch from Stiff to Regular Shaft Flex?

If your swing speed goes from 97-104 mph (high) to 84-96 mph (average), it’s time to make the transition to Regular flex from the Stiff version.

As for the causes of the decline in your swing speed, several factors could be playing a part in that. Whatever the case, if your swing speed falls, then your shaft flex should also become softer i.e. less stiff.

What Swing Speed Is Perfect for Stiff Shafts?

The Stiff shaft flex option is highly recommended for those with a swing speed between 95 mph and 110 mph. This means you ought to be driving the golf ball around anywhere between 240 and 275 yards.

So Pick Your Shaft Flex In This Foolproof Way!

If you want to choose the foolproof method, I’d advise you to get a professional club fitting session done at any golf pro shop. There are dedicated club-fitters at golf courses as well and even driving ranges. Or at least get your swing speed checked. When you know what your swing speed is, you can then select the correct shaft flex for your game.

And you know you’re using the right flex rating when the shaft feels good plus it generates a decent ball flight. These are clear indicators indeed.

Photo of author

Jim Furyk

One of the PGA TOUR’s most recognizable and talented golfers, Jim Furyk was born on May 12, 1970 in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It seems like Furyk was born to play golf; his father Mike as an assistant pro at Edgmont Country club, and young Jim was raised into the game. Jim Furyk’s only golf instruction came from his father; and many note that might account for his unusual—yet effective—swing. In addition to Edgmont Country Club, Mike Furyk also served as head pro at Uniontown Country Club.

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