The shaft you use can make or break how well you hit your driver. To maximize your distance and accuracy; the length, flex, torque, and weight of your shaft must be properly fit. Do yourself a favor, and have a qualified club fitter check your golf shaft. If you hit your drives 200 yards or more, it is very realistic, with a properly fit shaft, to add 10 to 15 yards to your drives.
Chances are high, that your driver shaft is miss-fit in one or more of these 4 areas.
#1 Your shaft is too long…
Get this – many of the latest drivers are made with shafts that are longer than what the tour pros use!
The most highly skilled men and women on the PGA, LPGA, and Champions Tour, use a driver length that gives them maximum distance and ball control. They know by making the shaft too long, they’ll miss-hit more shots. And, miss-hitting shots means a loss of distance, accuracy and MONEY.
The world’s best players, even with their precise timing, realize that a shaft that’s too long, means trouble. If they cut back on the length of their driver – why is your driver, longer than theirs?
Here’s the answer. The average golfer will do anything for a few extra yards. By adding length to drivers, golf companies can add distance to your drives.
But, what they don’t tell you is:
- You have to be able to make solid contact with the ball, and have a relatively square clubface at impact, to realize the added distance.
- You’re more likely to miss-hit the ball with a longer shaft, which costs you distance and accuracy.
- The added distance you’ll gain on a center hit, for every extra one inch of shaft length, is only 2 to 3 yards.
“I am here to tell you that a 45 inch driver will not fit 90 percent of all golfers, and will never allow them to achieve their best combination of distance and accuracy.”
Tom Wishon, author of The Search for the Perfect Golf Club.
Having a shaft that’s too long won’t allow you to hit the ball consistently solid, and this costs you distance. Also, miss-hitting shots causes your ball to lose forward momentum, increases side spin, and makes your drives go shorter and more off line.
When you’re measured for a shaft length that’s proper for you, you’ll notice more solid shots, improved accuracy, and greater distance.
So, the bottom line is this: If you want to gain distance, and keep control of the ball – you MUST have a driver length that allows you to hit the ball solidly. For the average golfer, this means a driver length of under 44 inches.
Note: The shafts on today’s drivers are 1 to 2 inches longer than they were ten to fifteen years ago, making it more difficult for you to hit the ball in the center of the club.
“I’ve been teaching golf professionally for 26 years, and my driver length at address is 44 inches. Because I am able to hit the ball solidly a large percentage of the time, this shaft length gives me maximum distance, and allows me to hit the ball in the fairway.”
Michael Riso, Teaching Golf Professional
#2 Your shaft is too stiff or too flexible…
Having a shaft that is too stiff, or too flexible, will cost you distance and accuracy. If you have a golf shaft that is improperly matched to your swing speed, you will tend to hit the ball off line—even if you swing perfectly.
Too stiff a shaft, is far worse for your game, than if it’s too flexible. Here’s why. The main purpose of a golf shaft, is to transmit power through the clubhead, to the ball. The shaft needs to flex/bend just the right amount, so maximum energy or force is transferred to the ball.
If your shaft is too stiff, it doesn’t bend enough to transfer the full level of energy to the ball at impact, and this costs you distance. Also, too stiff a shaft, makes it difficult for the clubhead to square up at impact. The face tends to stay open, and your ball will go to the right.
In addition, the shaft transmits feel through your hands, to your body. When a shaft is too stiff, your ability to feel the ball at impact is diminished.
It becomes impossible to feel that soft resonance that’s transferred from the club to your body. Even a perfectly timed shot will lack something. It simply won’t feel pure.
The flip side of a shaft that’s too stiff, is one that’s too flexible. Too flexible a shaft will cause the ball to fly too high, and lose accuracy.
The excessive bending of the shaft will tend to pull the ball left of your target. The damage done by too flexible a shaft is minor, in comparison with a shaft that’s too stiff. At least a flexible shaft, allows you to feel the clubhead!
Here’s an analogy. Too stiff a shaft is like a barbell that’s too heavy to lift. If the weight is too heavy for you to lift, no amount of effort will make that weight usable.
When your golf shaft is too stiff, and you’re unable to create enough speed to bend the shaft enough, the shaft, much like the barbell that’s too heavy, becomes unusable. Or, in the case of your golf shaft, becomes detrimental to your golf game.
My advice: Seek out a knowledgeable club fitter. He’ll make sure the shafts you’re using are right for you, in both flex and weight. By being properly measured for flex, both your distance and accuracy will improve.
#3 The torque of your shaft is too high, or too low…
Torque, simply put, refers to your golf shaft’s resistance to twisting during the golf swing. Torque is critical, because it affects the feel of your clubs, and the direction your ball flies.
If the torque is too high for your swing speed, you’ll lose accuracy. If the torque is too low, your club will feel rigid at impact, and you’ll tend to push the ball.
Golf shafts vary in torque from 1½ to 7 degrees. The higher the torque, the more the shaft twists during your swing; the lower the torque, the less the shaft twists.
Why are there different levels of torque in golf shafts? When players swing their clubs at higher speeds, they create more pulling force on the clubhead. Because of the excessive forces, players with higher swing speeds, benefit with shafts with less torque. The proper torque gives these strong swingers the accuracy they need.
Conversely, a golfer with slow clubhead speed, doesn’t create the excessive force on the clubhead, like a strong swinger does. So, the slow swinger who is fit with a high torque shaft, benefits in the same way that a strong swinger does with a low torque shaft.
The slower swinger gains the control, distance, and feel, that would be lost, if they used a low torque shaft.
Remember: When you’re properly fit, and the torque of your shaft is right for you, you’ll gain greater distance, and an improvement in the feel and accuracy of your driver.
#4 Your shaft is too heavy, or too light…
We’ve already discussed shaft length, flex, and torque. Our last topic is the weight of the shaft.
If your shaft is too heavy, you’ll have a hard time generating enough speed to maximize your distance. The idea is to use a shaft that allows you to swing your clubs freely, while generating sufficient speed.
The club’s overall weight shouldn’t be so heavy as to feel cumbersome to swing. Conversely, the club shouldn’t be so light, that you can’t feel the weight of the clubhead swinging.
Notice ‘FEEL’ plays a big role in determining the proper weight of the shaft. Shafts are manufactured as light as under 60 grams and as heavy as 130 grams or more. This means a heavy shaft, the type a tour pro would use in their irons, weighs over twice as much as a very light shaft.
Graphite shafts range in weight from just under 60 grams to approximately 100 grams. Steel shafts range in weight from around 75 grams to over 130 grams.
If you play with an improperly weighted shaft, your timing will be affected, and you’ll experience more miss-hits. Shafts that aren’t properly balanced for your swing tempo, will cost you distance, accuracy, and compromise the feel of your club.
With a properly balanced club, you should feel a smoothness as you swing the club back and forth. If the club feels like you’re laboring to swing it, or if it feels like you can’t sense the weight of the clubhead, you may want to consider re-shafting your driver with an appropriately weighted shaft.
Feel free to contact us, and we’ll be happy to make sure you have the correct shaft for your game!
Dedicated to Your Best Golf Ever,
Teaching Professional and Golf Coach
Thanks for visiting Mike Riso Golf!