Weight Vs Flex
Weight Vs Flex
Which is Most Important?
A huge focus for the golf industry in recent times has been on the flex of club shafts, but little attention has been placed on the effects of shaft weight – PG’s Jack Symons takes a look at why we think shaft weight carries a little more weight when compared to flex…
If you ask 10 of your closest golfing buddies what flex their driver shaft is, I bet nearly all of them will be able to tell you. “I’m a “stiff” shafted player”, or “I’m a regular shafted guy”.
Now ask them the weight of the driver shaft is. Don’t let them look. Less than half will know. This always makes me chuckle, as, in my opinion, shaft weight is much more important to performance than shaft flex.
Driver shafts usually range from 85 grams down to roughly 40 grams. If the shaft you are using is too heavy for you, as you make your down swing, the shaft can get stuck behind you, your body can outrace the arms, and you’ll have to race the hands through at the last second in order to square the face up; if your hands are not working well, you will likely either hit a block or a hook, depending on whether your hands try to compensate too quickly or too early.
What about if the shaft is too light? Well, if a shaft is too light, it allows you to become lazy, as the club is not giving you forward momentum, you will generally make too much of a flicking move with your hands and wrist, resulting in a block slice or pull.
As manufacturers have really hit their limits on how far they can make a driver go, they are generally making shafts longer and lighter, so when they test them on their one plane robot, it is a longer, lighter lever, and creates more speed, but in practice most golfers are unable to keep as perfectly and appropriately connected as a fixed robot. The only way to ensure you are using the optimal driver shaft weight for you is by hitting different weighted shafts under the watchful eye of an expert.
I believe this is a big reason why many players who only play once a week or twice a month hit a few bad drivers before they get going around the 8th hole or so – it takes them 5 or 6 swings with a driver to square the club up with hands which are compensating. With the correctly weighted driver, your arms and body will move together more, causing less compensatory movements, giving a far more consistent face angle at impact.
So why do manufacturers rarely talk about shaft weight? Because they are trying to fit you into a category such as “S” or “R” in order to make sure there are fewer permutations meaning fewer specs of club and shaft to produce and for retailers to stock. Choosing by flex alone can often be a wasted task as there is no industry standard to flex, so one company’s ‘S’ can play the same as another’s ‘R’, and there can even be variation in the same shaft type with one ‘R’ playing stiffer or softer than the next.
You will not gain yardage by a head change alone – heads are not allowed to be any bigger or “springier” anymore. Get your connection better and your speed will increase and your face angle will be squarer.