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Golf Club Shafts Comparison

by Bill Herrfeldt

    Overview

    All too often, golfers pay little attention to the shafts of the clubs they buy. Just like the clubs, the shafts need to be matched to a golfer's abilities and physical characteristics so they will help, not hurt, the golfer reach his potential. There are certain things that you should look for before investing in a set of golf clubs. Choose the right shafts and you will make a positive contribution to your game.

    Graphite or Steel

    Steel shafts are less expensive than those made of graphite and are preferred by some accomplished golfers because they provide better “feel." But many less-experienced players prefer graphite shafts even though they are more expensive. Why? First, graphite shafts are lighter, so they are easier to swing. Most golfers agree that contributes to an increase in swing speed and ball carry. Second, if golfers mishit shots, graphite shafts create less sensation in the hands than steel. In the past, graphite shafts were less durable, but with advancements in technology that is no longer true.

    Flex

    Regardless of whether you opt for graphite or steel shafts, there are five different flexes from which to choose. Flex is simply the amount of bend in a shaft. The five types of shafts are Ladies, Seniors, Regular, Stiff and Extra-stiff. Your swing speed and distance are the main criteria for choosing the correct shaft and a professional club fitter can help. If you don't have one, the rule of thumb is that if you hit your driver less than 200 yards in the air you should choose Ladies flex; just about 200 yards, Seniors flex. If you can hit it 225 yards, Regular flex is right; 250 or more, go with Stiff flex. Only if you are a huge hitter should you consider Extra-stiff flex.

    Length

    It's true that when you add length to your clubs you tend to hit the ball farther, but you sacrifice accuracy when you do. Clubs that you buy “off-the-rack” have shafts that are appropriate for the average-size golfer and are OK for about 85 percent of them. But the only way to find out if they are good for your game is to consult with a professional club fitter who will measure you. Height doesn't correlate to a particular length of shaft. For example, if you are tall but have long arms, you may not need longer clubs.

    Torque

    There's a final criterion on which shafts can be chosen. A shaft's torque is the amount that it will twist on a shot. You can choose shafts that twist anywhere from one to five degrees. While this is an interesting consideration, it really only applies to golfers with exceptional ability.

    About the Author

    Bill Herrfeldt specializes in finance, sports and the needs of retiring people, and has been published in the national edition of "Erickson Tribune," the "Washington Post" and the "Arizona Republic." He graduated from the University of Louisville.

    Photo Credits

    • golf clubs image by CraterValley Photo from Fotolia.com