Does a Heavier Shaft Increase Distance?
With golf clubs getting lighter and lighter, many people wonder if this could be costing them distance. There is a reason golf manufacturers keep trying to save weight from the grip, the shaft, and the clubhead. It is easier to swing a lightweight golf club faster. Swinging faster directly relates to more ball speed and distance.
For the majority of golfers, a heavier shaft is going to result in a decrease in the distance; however, there are a few things that should be considered as this is not always a hard fact.
What Is A Heavier Golf Shaft?
Since many people confuse the difference between shaft weight and shaft flex, we may as well start with what a heavy golf shaft is.
A heavy golf shaft is one that has a higher number of grams than another golf shaft. Most of the heavy golf shafts that you will come across are steel.
There are some lightweight steel shafts, but for the most part, steel is a heavier material than graphite.
The flex of a golf shaft is going to be how much speed it takes to swing it properly. Faster swing speed players should use a stiffer flex shaft. Stiff flex shafts, however, can come in both heavy and lightweight options.
Driver shafts typically weight between 50-70 grams for men and about 40-50 grams for women. When looking at iron shafts, you will see men’s shafts weighing anywhere from 35 to 130 grams. The graphite shafts are going to be on the lighter end of the weight scale, and the steel will be heavy.
Benefits of A Heavy Golf Shaft
A heavier golf shaft is not for all players; however, some will benefit. Generally speaking, the faster you swing, the heavier the shaft you can handle. For people will slower swing speeds, a heavy shaft is going to slow your swing down and cost you distance.
Since a heavy golf shaft weighs more, it also tends to help when it comes to accuracy. With a weighted club In your hands, you will have more control over the club and what it does. You will sometimes hear people refer to a graphite shaft as being “whippy.”
Heavier golf shafts also tend to have lower torque, and that will also help to keep the clubface stable. If you have a fast swing speed, you will likely gain control with a heavy golf shaft and lose a bit of distance.
If you have a very fast swing speed, you may maintain your distance and get more control.
Downsides of Using A Heavier Golf Shaft
Although the heavier golf shaft is going to help when it comes to control, there are, of course, downsides as well.
If you don’t have the strength or the physical ability to swing a heavy golf shaft fast, you will end up losing distance. This loss of distance can sometimes be worth it when it comes to the control you gain. However, most golfers don’t have much distance that they are willing to give up.
Another downside to using a heavy golf shaft is that it can be harder to release. People that are using shafts that are too heavy for them tend to hit the golf ball right or slice it. This is because as they get towards the impact position, they don’t have enough power or strength to turn the clubface to square.
For most people, this is a feeling that you will get the first time you swing with a heavy club. It won’t be hard to tell that the club is not a good match for your golf game.
How Do I Know What Weight Golf Shaft To Use?
When shopping for golf clubs, it can be hard to tell which golf shaft will be best for your game. As far as weight is concerned, you will know very quickly by your performance if you are swinging a club that is too heavy or too light for you.
Most of the time, golf clubs will vary in weight when it comes to flex. As the flex of a club stiffens, the weight seems to go up. This is not always the case and something you should look out for when shopping for clubs.
Here are some general parameters to keep in mind when trying to pick out shaft weights.
- If your 7 iron distance is greater than 175 yards a heavy extra stiff shaft is best
- If your 7 iron distance is greater than 160 yards a moderately heavy stiff shaft is best
- If your 7 iron distance is greater than 140 yards a standard weight regular shaft is best
- If your 7 iron distance is less than 135 yards a lightweight senior shaft is best
What Will Happen If A Golf Shaft Is Too Light?
We have discussed what will happen if your golf shaft is too heavy for you, but what if the club is too light. This will happen to some players as their skill levels increase, and they start to make their golf swing more efficient. An increase in swing speed and strength can also come when a person starts becoming more physically active.
You will notice the following things start to happen if your shaft is too light.
- Ball flight will be too high, high enough that it will start to cost you significant distance
- Inability to control ball flight even when trying to do so
- Lack of accuracy on shots
- Difficult time getting the clubface to feel square or to control what the clubface is doing
- Terrible shot dispersion
Conclusion: Is It Worth Switching To A Heavier Shaft?
If you are thinking of putting a heavier shaft in your golf clubs because you want more distance, there may be better avenues to consider. IF you are not experiencing erratic shots or ball flight that is much too high, then there may be other reasons you lack distance in your shots.