The shaft flex is a very, very important matter when choosing golf clubs, whether you’re a senior, beginner, average, or Tour-level player. Even though 80-percent of the golfing population seems to fit into either the Regular flex or Stiff flex category, you don’t really have to conform because of indispensable options like the Senior flex golf shaft.
Some golfers, mostly beginners, women, and older players, cannot handle the too stiff and too heavy structure of certain shafts. As a result, swing speed drops even more and you end up almost never squaring the clubface during impact, thus leading to mis-hits.
So if you’re an older golfer whose clubhead speed has started to decline or you’re simply getting back into golf after a looong break or are just beginning to play golf for the first time in your life, then it’s time to know all about how this particular shaft flex performs and how it differs from all the others.
Senior Shaft Flex – What Is It?
These golf clubs are outfitted with a lightweight graphite material shaft (in most cases) with Senior flex. Basically, all boxes are ticked when it comes to being slower-swing-speed-friendly. Lightweight feel and softest shaft flex – these combine to promote a faster swing speed for greater distance, launch angle, and accuracy.
Senior flex in golf shafts is not limited to just any one particular golf club. Meaning they’re available in drivers, irons, hybrids, and wedges.
Senior Flex Golf Clubs – Who Should Be Using Them?
If your swing speed is at its lowest (under 80-85 mph), then you seem to be the perfect candidate for Senior flex. Because it’s specifically designed for all of those who have a slower swing speed. And now this could be senior golfers, beginner golfers, or women golfers.
These kinds of players, more often than not, cannot consistently make their tee shots travel beyond 200 yards. So, at such times, the most appropriate shaft flex is Senior with its lightweight graphite feel and softest flex that allows you to swing faster to cover more yardages.
How to Decide If You Should Get Regular or Senior Flex?
I can’t just say that Senior flex shafts are made for senior players. There’s a lot more to understand here in terms of factors that provide well-justified answers to the following question, should I get Senior flex shafts?
Your Swing Speed
What swing speed needs a Senior flex shaft? That would be a swing speed between 75 mph and 85 mph (the lowest indeed). So how about measuring your swing speed with a portable launch monitor in case you don’t happen to know what it is…
When your swing speed is between 75 mph and 85 mph, you can still gain a higher speed if you choose a shaft with Senior flex. So it’s completely alright and even natural for your swing speed to decline as you grow older but what matters more is that you compensate for that lack of speed and strength with senior-friendly equipment.
Your Driving Distance
Regular flex or Senior flex? Let your driving distance be the judge of that. Are you hitting your shots about 180 yards with a Regular shaft flex? If yes, time to make that switch to Senior flex. This one’s lighter, softer, and higher-launching too, which quite effortlessly adds an extra 15 to 20 yards just like that!
You certainly understand the importance of driving distance, don’t you? It’s what counts the most when it comes to achieving a low score. Just imagine covering enough distance on that first hole itself. You’re most likely then to reach that green in only 2 shots, which makes your whole round of golf so much easier for you.
Now you get why shafts with Senior flex are so highly recommended for increasing distance. Moreover, make sure that other specifications are also a part of your senior-friendly driver, such as an extremely forgiving clubhead, adjustable loft, etc.
Your Ball Flight
Here’s all you need to know about launch angle – the longer that golf ball stays in the air, the farther it’s bound to travel. So don’t expect a low-launching drive to cover more ground, even if that leads to the ball rolling for quite a few yards after landing. That is NOT going to increase the overall distance.
Instead, a higher loft in the driver helps, but then added loft tends to reduce overall distance. So simply just choose a more flexible Senior shaft that literally elevates launch angle while also maximizing distance.
But then won’t the trajectory end up being excessively high? Well, that only happens if your swing speed is very fast. In that case, seniors, with their slower swing speeds, have nothing to worry about here when using Senior shaft flex to achieve a higher-launching ball flight.
Your Age / Experience
I do not want to be guilty of over-generalizing or even generalizing as a matter of fact. My point here is that just because the shaft flex is “Senior” doesn’t mean all senior golfers (above the age of 50) have to use them.
Not every senior player, after all, shows a decline in his/her swing speed, strength, etc. It’s just that golfers who are older or even those just learning the game benefit more from a Senior shaft since its specifications (most lightweight feel and softest flex) are more slow-swing-speed-friendly.
On the other hand, if you’re still hitting your shots longer than 200 yards with an average (90 mph) or even higher swing speed, you really should be opting for Regular shaft flex.
Another very effective way to decide if you should get Regular flex or Senior flex is custom fitting. But then these fittings cost a certain bit of money. However, they’re super helpful if you ask me, especially if you really can’t make up your mind about choosing between Regular and Senior flex shafts.
The process involves using a launch monitor that offers specific, valuable data based on your ball speed, spin, launch angle, and distance. And then this computer system or software tells you exactly which shaft you should be choosing to get the most out of your swing speed and mechanics. Now, this could be a costly upgrade or just the stock shaft your golf club already came with.
Importance of Shaft Flex In Golf Clubs
Let’s just assume the workings of your golf swing are close to perfect. Nevertheless, you will not perform to the best of your abilities if you’re using the wrong shaft flex. Not just seniors and beginners but professional players too have to make it a point to get their shafts properly fitted based on their swing speed.
A more flexible or softer shaft, by default, gives you more distance. So if you’re an average golfer, Regular flex is the most suitable for producing higher clubhead speed and ball speed, along with creating a slightly greater ‘smash’ factor. And the same happens when you select Senior flex in case your swing speed is below average (under 85 mph).
So does golf shaft flex really matter? Of course, it does because it’s the very thing responsible for performance-oriented factors like ball speed and “kick”. The softest shafts (Senior flex) are the easiest to hit whereas the stiffest shafts are designed for faster swing speeds.
Senior Shaft Flex – What Impact Does It Really Make?
Too heavy or too stiff shafts are not for slow-speed golfers. Period. I have been there and done the opposite, multiple times that too! But it never worked. Shots hit with a stiff, heavy shaft feel hard with zero amount of feel or feedback when your swing speed is slow.
You’re most likely to almost always fail to square that clubface at the time of impact. Consequently, pushed shots start to become more and more common.
So how about then switching to too soft or too flexible shafts? Well, to be honest, even these do not exactly help because they might end up feeling excessively ‘whippy’ and there’ll be no such thing as ‘tight dispersion’ anywhere to be seen during your round of golf.
Instead, go for Senior flex since this kind of shaft actually lets you launch your shots more easily, meaning it gets the ball airborne (with a higher launch) more easily. At the same time, you finally are able to control and feel the impact of striking the golf ball like a pro.
How It Affects Distance.
Softer, more flexible shafts carry the ball farther in the air, hence improving distance consistently.
How It Affects Accuracy.
If you’re a golfer with a slow swing speed (beginner, senior, etc.), then only the right shaft flex can get you to hit more greens and fairways. Because only with the correct flex would it become possible as well as so much easier to square the clubface through impact. And when that happens more consistently, your shots take on a straighter flight path.
How It Affects Ball Flight.
Senior flex shafts launch the golf ball higher the most effortlessly. So you don’t really have to struggle with lifting that ball off the ground, the more flexible shaft, on its own, gets the golf ball not just airborne but also takes it higher.
When’s the Right Time to Switch to Senior Shafts?
When your driving distance is around 180 yards
Regular shafts, when they can’t hit the ball beyond 180 yards, need to be swapped with Senior shafts. This sort of lighter, softer flex in the shaft increases distance by an additional 15 to 20 yards easily.
When your swing speed falls in the lower range of 75-85 mph
So what if your swing speed is below the average mark or is declining even? You can still shoot LONG with lots of speed with a Senior shaft flex.
When you’re launching the golf ball low
When Regular flex is producing a lower ball flight and you’re obviously not liking that because the longer the ball stays airborne, the farther it goes, then it’s time to bring on the Senior flex. This ‘extra’ flexibility in the shaft can increase the launch angle of your shots to boost overall distance.
When you’re new to golf or are older
Is senior flex good for beginners? Senior shaft flex is specifically made for all golfers with a slow swing speed. Now, these could be beginners and/or seniors or even women golfers.
You can be a senior or older golfer getting back into the game after a long gap or someone wholly new to the game (old or young). And that’s enough to make you want to pick the Senior shaft flex.
Senior Shaft vs. Other Shafts – How Do They Compare?
Senior Flex vs. Regular Flex
Both come very close to each other in terms of flex. But then Senior flex is much easier to swing than Regular flex. Golfers entering their “senior” years (above 50) often switch from Regular to Senior, which is considered to be a kind of “step down.”
But then many older players carry a mix of both Regular and Senior shaft flex golf clubs. And that’s mainly because most of these golfers hit drivers and woods with increased speed (between 85 mph and 95 mph), for which Regular flex is indeed suitable. While Senior flex is perfect for those with a swing speed between 75 mph and 85 mph (so these would be golf irons for seniors).
As you can see, there is that common range between Regular and Senior shafts (lower end of Regular and higher end of Senior) that overlaps. In such times, you decide Regular or Senior based on your experience. If you’re a senior golfer experiencing a dip in your swing speed, choose Senior flex. Otherwise, if you’re a new player likely to learn how to increase speed, then Regular flex is the better option for you.
Senior Flex vs. Ladies Flex
Almost everything about Ladies flex shaft and Senior flex shaft is the same – lightweight graphite construction, softer flex, and higher-launching capacity. The only difference is that ladies’ golf clubs are shorter, and Petite women’s golf clubs are even shorter.
So you can be a senior golfer, male or female, and still choose Ladies flex. Just check if the shaft length is right for you!
Senior Flex vs. Stiff Flex
Now, these are poles apart as far as shaft flex and weight are concerned. The whole charm of Senior shafts is that they’re lightweight, flexible, and easier to launch. As for heavy, stiff shafts, these are better suited for golfers with an above-average or faster swing speed (over 95 mph).
When your swing speed is higher, getting the golf ball to launch higher is no concern. But what seems to be the problem instead is controlling those shots. So with the help of Stiff flex, this problem gets solved because players then can very easily manipulate or control the ball flight.
Stiff golf club shafts can be made of graphite or steel. As for Senior shafts, these are mostly graphite since this material is more lightweight and forgiving. Hence, much easier to swing.
Senior Shaft – Graphite or Steel, Which is Better?
Seniors don’t really get the option of choosing steel shafts because, as already mentioned before, lightweight graphite is more suitable for slower swing speeds. Only with a lighter graphite shaft can an older or starter golfer gain the launch angle, ball flight, as well as distance he/she desires.
But then if you’re used to swinging Regular flex, you may want to choose based on your golfing skills and personal preferences.
As for the difference in performance between graphite and steel, the former travels farther. On the downside, it’s not really very accurate. Steel, on the contrary, is so much easier for golfers to control simply because it’s heavier than graphite. But then steel shafts don’t go as long. Each has its pros and cons indeed.
So it actually depends on your goals. For distance gains (seniors and beginners), pick graphite shaft. Whereas for more control over your shots (more skilled players), go with a steel shaft.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Will I Lose Distance If I Switch to Senior Flex?
It’s only natural to think you’re going to lose distance when you decide to swap shafts, any shafts. But then you don’t have to worry about this if Regular flex is not the most fitting choice for you. You can unhesitatingly switch to Senior flex at this point to increase your distance potential.
The only time you will lose distance with a Senior shaft is if you have a fast swing speed.
Is Senior Flex Good for Beginners?
It would be a horrible idea to equip someone who has never ever played golf (for example, a college kid into marathons and baseball) with Senior golf clubs. These are more geared toward someone who’s a beginner and older or a golfer whose strength is a bit lacking.
Golf clubs for beginners are a better choice instead for brand new golfers since these are designed explicitly with more forgiveness and all that a beginner demands. Now you can easily choose Senior flex since it’s suitable for beginners with a slower swing speed. These are more like senior-friendly hybrid golf clubs that feature technology that benefits slow-speed players.
What Happens When the Shaft Is Too Stiff?
Distance loss is unavoidable if you combine a too stiff shaft with a slow swing speed. Even accuracy takes a hit, not so surprisingly. Therefore, mis-hits leading to slices become common. I mean you could look up plenty of ways to fix the problem of slicing the ball, but if your equipment (in this case, shaft flex) is not right, no remedy will work.
Shafts that are too stiff also make it more difficult to launch the ball. And keep in mind that only a higher, longer flight results in carrying the ball farther. So it doesn’t really matter how much that drive rolls on the ground after landing!
Should My Driver, Irons, and Wedges Have the Same Flex?
Your driver shaft flex and iron shaft flex need not be the same. Mostly, irons are equipped with steel, Regular flex shafts. Because with irons, you have to establish better rhythm and tempo since they’re more difficult to launch, and it doesn’t matter if this is accompanied by a slight loss in clubhead speed. While drivers and woods, because they need to be hit with faster speed, feature lighter graphite, Senior flex shafts.
However, if your swing speed is very low and distance very poor as a senior golfer, make sure ALL your clubs have Senior shafts. Otherwise, if you’re able to hit long drives on your own but could still use some speed, opt for Regular flex in the driver and Senior flex in the irons.
Moving on to the wedge shaft. Generally, wedges have a standard wedge flex. And unfortunately, this is stiff steel. Now if you normally play Regular flex, then this standard wedge flex is not a problem for you. But if your golf clubs are mostly Senior flex, you might find this wedge flex a little problematic.
Can I Get New Shafts or Do I Need to Buy New Clubs Altogether?
Your current or old golf clubs can be re-shafted indeed but then ask yourself if you’re okay with spending so much money on the re-shafting process. You might as well buy a brand new set entirely at the same price!
I know that it only makes sense to swap your Regular flex shaft with a Senior flex. But then if your club has been through 5-6 years of use, it’s better to just purchase a new one with the correct shaft. And if money is tight, consider buying one of the brand’s older models because the latest ones often cost the highest.
If your swing speed is declining and slow, then that’s the way it is. You can’t possibly expect to perform better on the turf with a too stiff or heavy shaft at this point. So no sense in stroking that ego and pride!
Hitting your shots straighter and farther more consistently depends a great deal on the shaft flex. So for slow, senior swingers, that would be Senior flex.
Needless to say, you can experiment with Regular or even Ladies flex (make sure it fits your height). Test how each shaft flex performs on the golf course. Take important factors such as distance, feel, flight path, trajectory, spin, control, and stability into account. Maybe even try these at the driving range!
It’s all about what fits and suits YOUR game, no matter your age!