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How to Pick a Golf Shaft: Buyer’s Guide

Several golf shafts you can pick from after learning how to pick a golf shaft.

One of the primary points of interest in a golf fitting is the shaft material of the club in question. A golf shaft greatly impacts how it feels to swing a club and the clubhead position relative to the golfer’s hands. This means that having the wrong shaft can make it incredibly hard to get consistent golf shots, and picking the right one is essential when you’re spending money on new clubs.

The best way to select the proper golf shaft is to get a professional golf fitting at a specialty golf shop. A professional golf fitting expert can analyze everything about your swing and help you find the perfect club configuration. That being said, some don’t have the ability to get into a shop for a fitting or want to know the logic behind how to pick a golf shaft.

There are four primary factors in a golf shaft:

Material The material of a shaft can differ on clubs like the irons and wedges, and different materials offer different benefits.
Flex The amount of flex in a golf shaft helps compensate for swing speed, ensuring the clubhead is in the right position relative to the hands at impact.
Kick Point The kick point is the point at which the shaft will flex.
Torque The torque rating of a shaft measures how much the shaft will twist during a golf swing.
Length The shaft length typically comes down to your height and wrist-to-floor measurement.

Let’s dive into each and discover how to pick a golf shaft.

Shaft Material

For drivers and fairway woods, shafts are always graphite. For hybrids, irons, wedges, and putters, shafts can be either steel or graphite. Both have unique features, and some golfers will differ in preference depending on the club in question.

Metal Graphite
  • Heavier
  • More feedback at impact
  • Solid feel
  • Generally shorter distance due to slower swing speed
  • Cheaper
  • Lighter
  • Less shock transfer at impact
  • “Whippy” feel
  • Generally longer distance by increasing swing speed
  • More expensive

Steel Shafts

Steel shafts are heavier and more solid in feel. There will also be more vibration at impact, meaning you’ll feel more impact feedback. Many golfers prefer this, as it gives them a better idea of the contact quality of each shot. Heavier steel shafts are designed for faster swing speeds and more accomplished players and lighter steel shafts will help the golfer launch the ball high and are a little more forgiving. In wedges, though, this isn’t too big of an issue for many golfers since wedges typically just need to be consistent.

Graphite Shafts

Graphite shafts are the more expensive option of the two, and they are can be far lighter than steel shafts. This reduces weight and can add distance, which can be helpful for golfers who struggle to hit far or those who are losing distance as they age. There is also less vibration at impact, which many golfers appreciate for the smoother shot feel.  

Choosing shaft material is an important choice, but it largely depends on feel and preference. The best way to decide which shaft material you want is to swing clubs that have both. If you don’t have access to a professional golf fitting, you can always try rental clubs or friends’ clubs to see which you like best. The difference in feel between the two is pretty stark, and it won’t take long to figure out which feels better to you.

Multi-Material Shafts
There are a growing number of multi-material shaft options meant to provide the “best of both worlds” experience for golfers who struggle to choose between the two. While these can be useful for many golfers, it can be difficult to compare them in this section due to their various configurations. The best way to determine if these are right for you is to try them out yourself.

Shaft Flex

Shaft flex is one of the most important considerations when choosing a golf shaft. Shaft flex ratings, in order from the most flex to the least, include:

  • Ladies (L)
  • Amateur (A)
  • Senior
  • Regular (R)
  • Firm (F)
  • Stiff (S)
  • Extra-Stiff (XS)

More flex means that the shaft will bend more throughout the swing, adding a “whip” effect to impact to make up for slower swing speeds. As a result, golfers with slower swing speeds will want a more flexible shaft. As your swing speed gets higher, you’ll need a stiffer shaft to ensure stability throughout the swing. 

Reference the following chart for a general idea of what flex you’ll want:

Carry Distance with a Driver Swing Speed Flex
<200 yards <75 mph Ladies or Senior
200-240 yards 75-95 mph Regular
240-275 yards 95-110 mph Stiff
> 275 yards >110 mph Stiff or Extra Stiff

Kick Point

The kick point is the point on the club at which it will flex. Higher kick points will lead to a slightly lower shot trajectory, and lower kick points will provide a bit more height to your shot path. This isn’t as significant a difference as flex or shaft material, but for golfers looking to really fine-tune their club for their game, it is an important consideration. More precise measurements like these are why a professional golf fitting is so important.

Shaft Torque

Torque ratings are measured in degrees, measuring how much a shaft will twist throughout the swing. The difference of one degree of torque is actually pretty substantial, and lower torque usually leads to a lower shot trajectory. So, golfers who are looking for distance-focused clubs will likely want a low torque rating. Those leveraging more high-launch or game-improvement technology will probably want to complement it with a slightly higher torque rating.

Shaft Length

Club length is extremely important, as it will determine the angle at which the club is held when swinging. This can have a pretty sizable impact on your shot, negatively so if you get the wrong size. Since every club type should be a slightly different size, there is no one shaft length that you’ll want to look for in all your clubs. Instead, each club has a “standard” length, and your height and wrist-to-floor measurements will determine how far off of that standard you will need to buy.

To take the wrist-to-floor measurement, rest your arms at your sides and have someone measure the distance between your wrist and the floor. Then, once you have your height and wrist-to-floor measurement, refer to our size chart below. The horizontal axis is your height (in feet/inches), and along the vertical axis is your wrist-to-floor measurement (in inches):

Golf Club Size Chart

Learn How to Pick a Golf Shaft at Worldwide Golf Shops

Worldwide Golf Shops provides next-level service to customers of all experience levels, with the best-trained staff in the industry. We pride ourselves on our ability to provide guidance to beginners and to share pro tips with even our most experienced clientele, making us one of the best places to learn how to pick a golf shaft.

Check out our online store to see our industry-standard variety of all of the following:

At Worldwide Golf Shops, we take pride in offering brands that we guarantee will provide the highest level of value to our diverse range of golfers. Our knowledgeable staff is ready to assist you in finding the perfect golf gear. Find a store near you today!

Trevor Cigich

Trevor Cigich | Director of Retail Marketing |  Worldwide Golf Shops

I’ve been at Worldwide Golf Shops for 6 years, and I’ve been playing golf for 23 years. I have played a few mini tour events but now compete occasionally at the amateur level– currently a +2.1 handicap. I am a bit of a tinkerer when it comes to golf and golf clubs. I enjoy testing all aspects of different products, utilizing various fitting systems and learning about all the different club shafts, club lengths, golf balls, and putter styles. Not just for my game, but to help customers of all calibers.

For more content from me and our team, as well as our vast online store, go to www.worldwidegolfshops.com.