I see a lot of threads/post on here about golfers selecting shaft flex for their irons or driver based solely on swing speed. To quote the inimitable philosopher Peter Griffin, “that really grinds my gears”
Swing speed is only one element in choosing shaft flex. Yes, it’s an important element, but it’s not the only one. Other critical components in choosing a shaft include:
- a golfer’s tempo (from nice and smooth to almost violent)
- a golfer’s transition from the top (after the backswing is complete, what kind of transition does the golfer make?)
- a golfer’s release point (when does the golfer release the club?)
For example, golfer “A” can have a similar swing speed as golfer “B” yet require a regular shaft, while golfer “B” may require a stiff shaft. Why? Golfer A’s tempo is nice and smooth, he has an easy transition and releases the club a tad early. Golfer B’s tempo, on the other hand is faster, he has a more forceful transition and he releases the club much later.
So you see, picking a shaft based just on swing speed isn’t a great idea. Sure it will give you a starting point, but that’s it.
If you pick the wrong shaft, a lot of bad things can happen.
If the shaft if too stiff:
- the ball will flight will be too low
- the ball flight will have a tendency to go right (for a right-handed golfer, this means a fade or a slice)
- hits won’t feel as solid
If the shaft isn’t stiff enough:
- the ball flight will be too high
- the ball flight will have a tendency to go left (for a right-handed golfer, this means draws and hooks)
The next time you’re in the market for a choosing flex for your new irons or driver, please consider more then just swing speed. If you can’t see a fitter for any reason, consider your transition, rhythm, tempo and your release. Even if you narrow that down a bit you’ll come a lot closer to making the right choice in choosing the correct shaft for yourself.