Driver Shaft Buying Guide – How To Decide Which One You Should Use
Often, when hunting for a new driver, we focus more on spin levels, forgiveness, and distance capabilities. However, we tend to neglect the importance of the shaft and grips.
As a result, incompatible components make it impossible for you to realize optimal performance.
In this post, we have prepared a driver shaft buying guide. The aim is to help you determine the best option for your game. We will examine the differences in length, weight, and flex and how they can benefit you.
Intro To Driver Shafts And Why They Are Important?
Driver shafts come in varied flex, weight, and length options, all designed to assist different golfers. The correct driver shaft is vital to achieving your desired spin rate, launch angle, shot shape, carry, and total distance.
For example, faster swinging golfers may generate too much spin and height with a softer driver that has more flex. This would be detrimental to their distance off the tee.
Conversely, slower swingers tend to struggle to get the ball airborne with stiffer or heavier driver shafts.
Ultimately the incorrect shaft type will not enable the club to deliver the performance promised by the manufacturers. Every element of the shaft must compliment your swing. Otherwise, you will not enjoy the desired results.
What Are The Key Aspects Of A Driver Shaft
There are three core characteristics of a driver shaft, length, flex, and weight.
All three of these elements need to combine harmoniously to deliver optimal performance. Below I have outlined the importance of each factor and how it impacts the result of your shot.
Driver Shaft Length Overview
The standard retail driver shaft measures 45.5 inches. If you have not been fitted for clubs, then this is likely the length of your driver shaft.
Longer shafts help you to generate accelerated clubhead speed. However, it becomes more difficult to control the clubhead, increasing the risk of off-center strikes. Leading to reduced carry and total distance.
The right shaft length is imperative to maintain a consistent clubhead speed and transfer that energy at impact to generate increased ball speed.
Driver Shaft Flex Overview
Your swing speed and ability to get the ball airborne will determine which flex is best suited to your game.
Faster swinging players may prefer a stiff or extra stiff shaft driver to generate a low level of launch and spin off the tee.
Conversely, moderate swingers are better suited to regular flex shafts. While the slowest swinging golfers or players should consider a senior or ladies flex option.
A more flexible shaft helps you to generate faster clubhead speed on your downswing, amplifying the coefficient of restitution (C.O.R) between clubface and ball at impact. However, any off-center strikes will reduce your ball speed and C.O.R, resulting in a loss of distance.
Driver Shaft Weight Overview
Similar to flex, the weight will impact the launch angle and trajectory of your ball.
If a player is swinging a driver shaft that is too heavy, they will struggle to get the ball airborne. By contrast, if your driver shaft is too light for your swing, you may gather excessive spin and balloon shots off the tee.
How Does Driver Shaft Length Affect Performance?
If your driver is the incorrect length for your swing, you will struggle to make clean contact with the ball and lose distance.
What Happens If Your Driver Shaft Is Too Long Or Short?
Driver shafts that are too long will cause you to lose control of the clubhead, resulting in off-center strikes.
According to Golf Monthly’s Joel Tadman, every half an inch that we miss the sweet spot reduces our total distance by five percent.
Similarly, if your driver shaft is too short, you will strike your drives in the toe more often than not, as you will be reaching for the ball at impact.
How Does Driver Shaft Flex Effect Performance?
The flex of your driver will help you with launch and ball flight.
If you are playing with the wrong flex, it can cause your ball to fly too low or high and deliver excessive or limited spin.
What Happens If Your Shaft Is Too Flexible Or Stiff?
If your shaft is too flexible for your swing, you may be experiencing ballooned shots with a high level of spin, which is impacting your total distance.
On the flip side, shafts that are too stiff for your swing will deliver low levels of spin, low ball flight, and also reduced your carry and total distance.
Golf.com’s Andrew Tursky suggests that if you are struggling to generate a higher ball flight and are losing carry as a result. It is worth testing a shaft with softer flex to help you gain faster clubhead speed on your downswing.
Tursky also recommends that those of you who balloon your drives and are losing distance should consider a shaft with a stiffer flex.
How Does Driver Shaft Weight Affect Performance?
Shaft weight has a similar impact on your performance to flex. Especially when it comes to flight, and spin which will impact your carry distance.
What Happens If The Shaft Is Too Heavy Or Light?
If your driver shaft is too heavy, it will cause you to achieve a lower flight and less spin off the tee. This could significantly reduce your carry distance and total distance.
On the other hand, if your shaft is too light, you will likely balloon your drives and gather excessive spin. As a result, you will not achieve optimal distance off the tee.
What Are The Other Factors To Consider When Looking For A New Driver Shaft?
The final two factors to consider when testing driver shafts are their level of torque and their kickpoint.
Simply put, torque measures the shaft’s ability to resist twisting. Shafts with low torque can withstand twisting, making this option suitable for faster swinging golfers or those of you who tend to hook the ball.
These shafts often carry a higher price tag in comparison to the higher torque options. Formed Head of Engineering at Aldila, John Oldenburg, explains that the more a shaft resists twisting, the stiffer the material needs to be. Which costs more to produce.
The cost of these materials is higher than those used on shafts with higher levels of torque.
On the flip side, higher torque shafts are better suited to slow swinging players. As well as those of you that frequently slice the ball.
The Kick Point of your shaft directly impacts your ball flight. Driver shafts with a higher kick point deliver a low ball flight.
Whereas those with a low kick point tend to produce higher flight.
If the flex and weight of your shaft are correct. But your ball flight is too high, then think about a shaft with a higher kick point. Conversely, if you struggle to get the ball airborne, it is worth looking at a shaft with a low kick point.
How To Know What Shaft Is Best For You – What To Consider?
The best way to determine what shaft is best for your game is to get fitted by a professional.
Whether it is the Pro at your home club, your coach, or a professional club fitter, they will offer detailed insight into your swing to help you find the best option for your game.
If you would prefer to save some cash, you could always test a few shafts using your personal launch monitor to deliver the insight. This method is definitely not as effective as getting fitted for clubs.
How Important Is Swing Speed?
As a rule of thumb, your swing speed determines what type of shaft flex and weight you should be testing.
Those of you with superior swing speeds tend to suit shafts with a stiff or extra stiff flex. This delivers lower ball flight and less spin off the tee, which helps them to gain more control of their driver.
Golfers with slow swings need a more flexible shaft. This increases the club head speed on the downswing. Clubhead speed does not guarantee a great golf shot, but it helps to amplify the C.O.R at impact. When the ball is struck in the center of the face, you enjoy increased carry and distance.
The slow swingers among us would likely struggle to get the ball in the air with a stiff, heavy shaft. While faster swingers will experience excessive spin and skied strikes with more flexible and light shafts.
How Much Does It Cost To Reshaft A Driver?
Depending on who is reshafting your driver, it should never cost you more than $20 for the labor.
However, as mentioned, that price can vary depending on where you are getting your driver reshafted.
Can I Reshaft A Driver Myself?
Can you reshaft a driver yourself. Well, yes, you can. Should you reshaft a driver yourself, probably not.
Although Golfweek’s Patrick Cameron shares in detail how to reshaft your driver, I would advise against it.
If you don’t have the correct tools or expertise, you can damage your new shaft in the process. As well as potentially doing irreparable damage to the head of your driver.
Best Driver Shafts For High Swing Speeds:
Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black
The HZRDUS Smoke Black provides golfers with low launch and spin. This shaft is ideal for aggressive swinging players that are looking for more control on their drives. The shafts are available in stiff flex and weigh 59 grams. The extra stiff option weighs 61 grams.
Overall Score 96/100
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Fujikura Ventus Black 6
The Fujikura Ventus Black shafts deliver mid-launch and low spin characteristics suitable for moderate to fast swinging players.
The shafts are available in stiff and extra stiff, weighing 64 and 65 grams respectively.
Overall Score 94/100
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Best Driver Shafts For Medium Swing Speeds
Aldila Quaranta Blue
The Quaranta Blue is a lightweight shaft option from Aldila that incorporates next-generation Micro Laminate technology to optimize the feel and performance of the shaft.
These are designed for the moderate to slower swinging golfers among us and are available in regular, senior and ladies flex.
Aldila Quaranta Blue shafts deliver a mid to high degree of launch, combined with moderate to high levels of spin.
Overall Score 93/100
Check Out More Reviews Here:
UST Mamiya Helium
Mamiya Helium shafts are crafted with high-quality materials to provide a lightweight yet stable structure.
Furthermore, these shafts pair well with heavier driver heads. UST says that these shafts assist you in increasing your ball speed and achieving longer distances.
Overall Score 92/100
Check Out More Reviews Here:
Most Popular Driver Shaft On Tour
The shaft is used by Rory McIlroy, Tommy Fleetwood, and Australians Adam Scott and Jason Day. Mitsubishi designed this shaft for aggressive swingers, providing low torque, launch, and spin.
Conclusion On Driver Shaft Buying Guide
I trust that after reviewing this driver shaft buying guide, you should have a better understanding of what is best suited to your swing type and game.
If you are a faster swinging player, look for a shaft with a stiff or extra stiff flex to deliver lower flight and ball spin off the tee. Conversely, those of you with slow swing speeds should consider a shaft with more flex and that is possibly lighter
If you are a slow-swinging golfer who is in the market for a new driver shaft, you can check out the Aldila Quaranta Blue here. And, for the faster swingers in our game, take a look at the Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black shaft.