Golf Shafts - 5 Specs You Need to Know
Many consider the golf shaft the "engine of the club". Golf shafts are either made from graphite or steel. Both types have its benefits and disadvantages. Either way, the golf shaft is where power is stored and released at impact. Sitting in between the golf grip and club head, a solid connection is what allows the golf shaft to do its job. So when choosing a shaft, it's important to know what specifications to look for. The golf club head and golf grip will each have their own specifications/measurements as well, and having all this information on hand can guide you to choose the right shaft, as well as ensure the club assembly process goes smoothly. Here are 5 golf shaft specifications you'll want to know:
// Tip Size
The shaft tip size is the the diameter of the tip portion of the shaft. For irons, this will usually be 0.370" (parallel) or 0.355" (tapered). For woods, it will be either 0.335" or 0.350". To choose the tip size needed, you'll want to match it with the ID (inside diameter) of the hosel of the golf club head. If you're not sure what the hosel ID is, you can measure it with a fine tip gauge or contact the club manufacturer for this information.
// Butt Diameter
On the opposite side of the shaft is the butt end. This is the side where the golf grip will be installed. The butt diameter is measured about 2" down from the top of the shaft. For standard size shafts for adult players, this will usually be around 0.600", (or larger if it's a bubble shaft). The butt diameter is important to note because you'll want to match that measurement as closely as possible with the core size of the golf grip. Trying to install a grip with a core size smaller than the butt diameter can lead to some frustration, so we wouldn't recommend that.
The weight of the shaft is important to know for a couple reasons. When combined with the grip and head, you'll want a club that is within a playable range for your level. If the overall club is too heavy, you can lose swing speed which can result in a loss of yardage. Too light of a club will be hard to guide and control which can lead to mishits. Players with faster swing speeds or more accelerated tempos can benefit from heavier shafts. Lighter shafts may work better for slower swing tempos. Graphite shafts are usually lighter than steel shafts.
Shaft flex is a description of how much a shaft will bend under the force of a golf swing with a head attached at the tip end. The speed and frequency of your swing will determine what flex you need. There are generally 5 different flex notations (from most bendable to least bendable): A-flex (Senior), L-flex (Ladies), R-flex (Regular), S-flex (Stiff), and X-flex (X-Stiff). Some manufacturers provide in-between flexes (R+, S+, R/S combo) for players to get a closer match. As a shaft bends during the loading and downswing, so does the head rotate through the swing. Choosing the proper flex allows head to come back to square position, thereby transferring the maximum amount of energy to the ball at impact.
Shaft length will differ depending on the material and sometimes tip size. Many shaft manufacturers pre-trim the tips of their 0.355" tapered iron shafts to discrete lengths (ex. decreasing in length from #3-PW). 0.370" parallel iron shafts arrive in uncut lengths, usually 41" or 42" for irons or 46" or more for woods. After determining the desired final club length, a club-builder may first need to tip trim the shaft (for parallel tip shafts only to achieve the right flex), and then butt trim based on the desired final club length. For each shaft, the manufacturer will provide specific trimming instructions to follow.
As with almost everything in golf, the devils in the details. We recommend working with a professional club-fitter who can help determine the right flex, weight, and length of shaft you need, in additional to narrowing down brand and shaft models that work well with your swing and club head.
Interested in learning about golf grips? Check out: Golf Grips - 6 Important things you need to know
Want to learn about golf shafts? Check out: Golf Shafts - 5 Specifications you need to know