Should I Use Regular Or Stiff Shafts In My Golf Clubs?

One of the most important choices you have to make when buying golf clubs is which shaft flex to use, regular of stiff. Here we make sure you don't get it wrong...

Should I Use Regular Or Stiff Shafts In My Golf Clubs?
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

One of the most important choices you have to make when buying golf clubs is which shaft flex to use. Get it wrong and you'll lose out on both distance and accuracy...

Should I Use Regular Or Stiff Shafts In My Golf Clubs?

One of the most important choices you have to make when buying golf clubs is which shaft flex to use, with 80% of golfers being suited to either regular or stiff shafts.

Choose a shaft too light and flexible and you'll overpower the club, causing it to whip round too soon, making misses high and left more common, and the club generally hard to control.

Choose a shaft too heavy and too stiff and you will inevitably swing a touch slower and consequently struggle to square the face at impact, causing you to miss more shots low and right.

That's why making the right decision requires you to be honest with yourself - what shots do you regularly hit and could the spec of the shaft be to blame?

Related: Best Driver Shafts

Swing speed regular or stiff shafts

Ultimately, finding the right shaft is about uncovering the perfect combination of speed and control for your game!
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

What's the difference between regular and stiff shafts?

A stiff shaft is firmer and harder to bend than a regular shaft, and so more often than not, they're also heavier in weight.

As a rough rule of thumb, the more speed you generate, the stiffer your shafts should be. This doesn't just relate to players who swing quickly though, often a slow accelerating arc can generate more lag and power than someone who swings with a quicker tempo.

Of course, the distance you hit the ball is one of the tell-tale signs about the shafts you need to be playing. Longer hitters will tend to suit stiffer shafts while mid to short hitters will benefit from the extra speed through impact provided by regular shafts. If you are unsure about where you sit on the scale, a fitting session with a professional will really help.

Ultimately, the aim of the game is to match your swing with the correct shaft flex to maximise your distance and control.

Remember, just like your score, it's a case of how many and not how, so don't be afraid of opting for a regular or lightweight shaft if it offers you improved performance. After all, how often do you look at the shaft specs of other peoples' clubs?!

Related: Best Golf Drivers

What about kick point?

Kick point is where the shaft flexes the most. A club with a high kick point should produce a lower trajectory and help players who lose distance from a high, spinning flight, while a low kick point will launch the ball higher. Because stiffer shafts need more power or a more efficient action to work at their best, they usually feature higher kick points to help players control their ball flights.

Related: Best Golf Irons

stiff or regular shafts

The right weight and kick point also play a part in finding the right shaft
(Image credit: Kevin Murray)

Should I Use Graphite Or Steel Shafts?

This is a question that relates specifically to your irons (your woods will almost certainly have graphite shafts). On the whole graphite shafts are a little lighter than steel alternatives and will help slower swingers find better, longer ball flights. For some golfers, lighter graphite shafts feel easier to use - helping to generate good ball flights with less effort. This is certainly something to consider, and ask about, during a fitting.

Related: Best Golf Wedges

How do I find out which flex is best for me?

If you are asking the question; should I use regular or stiff shafts in my golf clubs, there are a few ways you can work this out. The easiest is of course the old fashioned way of testing both types side-by-side on a driving range or out on the course. Take a look at the typical ball flights and you should notice a difference and be able to identify which one is working best in terms of both distance and accuracy.

You can also get your swing speed measured on a launch monitor during a session with a professional, where they'll be able to give you some great advice on what you should be using to get the most from your swing.

The final, and arguably best, way to find your ideal flex is to go for a custom fitting session. Here you'll get to try various shafts and, equally importantly, various weight shafts to see which works best for you, with launch monitor data providing the proof in the pudding.

Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons: PING Blueprint S (4&5), PING Blueprint T (6-PW) Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X