What are the different types of shafts for Golf Clubs?
The shaft of a golf club is what attaches the grip to the club head. It is absolutely key to how the club performs, so it is very important that you get the right shaft, in particular that you find the right flex of shaft for your golf game.
Shafts are made from two basic materials - steel and carbon fibre. Steel shafts are the old standby. This is because steel is a great material for this purpose being so sturdy and torque and twist resistant. The steel shafts of today are very durable and very lightweight, and are a lot cheaper so you can get more value for them. Carbon Fibre shafts are not made from metal, they are made from fibres. This makes them lighter than steel and also a lot better at diffusing the vibrations and shock of impact with the ball, which leads to better feel. The torque and twisting have been limited by the construction techniques which helps better control to be achieved.
The big issue for shafts is flex. This determines the amount of bend in the shaft as you swing the club. This bend is not actually obvious to the naked eye. Instead it is subtle, and caused by the weight and the force of the club head as it swings back and through. The bend helps to whip the club head through the ball during impact, which helps more club head speed to be created without extra effort needed by the golfer, helping to get extra distance.
So why doesn't everyone use very flexible shafts? Well, if you already have a very fast swing before adding the influence for the flex then you need a stiffer shaft. If you don't have that - then you would arrive at the position of impact before the club head does so. This may cause the face to open during impact, and the ball would go very wide.
Therefore, female golfers, beginners and seniors, who in general will have a slower swing than average, will be getting more distance with a flexible shaft, but low-handicap golfers will tend to use stiffer shafts, as they are able to generate clubhead speed of their own through better technique.
So know you know this, you should know that there are five levels of flex: L (specifically for ladies), A (specifically for seniors), regular, stiff and then extra stiff.
How do you know if you have a fast swing? Well, computer programs can measure the speed of your swing. If it is between 75 mph and 90mph then you will want a regular shaft. Should your swing speed be in between 90 and 110 mph, then it is stiff shafts you need.