One of the questions I get asked most often is “should I buy clubs with a stiff flex or clubs with a regular flex?” The answer is simple, it depends entirely on your swing speed. As you can imagine, the faster your swing the more the shaft of the club is going to flex, so to help control the swing, if you have a fast swing speed you should always opt for clubs with a stiff flex.
The most common faux pas I see beginner golfers make, is choosing a shaft flex that’s too stiff for their game. This either comes down to knowledge or lack thereof, or the golfer’s ego. More often than not it’s the latter. Some golfer’s just won’t accept that their swing has slowed down, if that’s you don’t let it be, we both know you’re not as young as you were once, so accept the fact and get a flex that helps your play, instead of one that hinders it.
If indeed, you’re swing is a little slower you’ll need to look into clubs with regular flex. Having a shaft with regular flex you’ll help create more flex in the shaft of the club which will in turn generate more club head speed on your downswing and increased kick on impact. This will help you if you struggle to achieve any real distance on your shots. The regular flex shafts are designed to help you hit the ball on a higher trajectory at a faster pace.
Downside of Softer Flex Shafts
Yes you get increased distance on your shots, but what you make up for in distance you lose in accuracy and control. It is simply much more difficult to control the clubface at impact with a softer shafted club. Regardless, for the most part distance is what most young golfers strive for, it’s going back to the ego scenario again. Accuracy should be your primary concern, distance will come with practice.
Swing Speed Conversion Chart
The following chart is an approx measure of shaft flex and swing speed correlation. If you don’t have your swing speed handy then there are estimates based on the distance your shots carry.
Shaft Flex Driver Swing Speed (mph) Driver Carry Distance (yards) Club from 150 yards
Extra-Stiff 105+ 260+ 8 or 9iron
Stiff 90-105 240-260 6 or 7-iron
Regular 80-95 210-240 5 or 6-iron
Flexible (A Flex) 70-85 180-210 4-iron
Ladies Less than 70 Less than 180 3-iron/lofted wood
Distance is a nice thing to get out of a club however, if your game is hindered by it then you really should consider getting a stiffer flex shaft. Choosing the right flex shaft for your own unique swing is very important. Today the advancement in technology and game improvement is excellent, and many aspects of your swing can affect your swing speed. Stiff vs regular flex shafts is important to get right.
To get the very best setup for your own swing, I would recommend visiting your local golf shop and having a proper fitting, finding the best flex for you is usually very straightforward and free to do. Remember, don’t let your ego get in the way of a better score.