Regular vs Stiff Flex Shafts For Fairway Woods – Which One Should You Be Using?


I often feel sorry for fairway woods, they are like the little brother of the driver and they get all the hand-me-downs. Technology starts in drivers and ends up in fairway woods, people often just buy one as an afterthought rather than the care they put into buying a driver. It’s not fair.

This afterthought approach often means that people don’t really get the right shaft in their fairway woods. These clubs are hard to hit at the best of times so it is really important that you take the time to optimize it. That is what today’s blog is all about, helping you to decide what shaft should be in your fairways?


Regular Or Stiff Flex – What Is It All About?

Depending on how fast you swing the club you will need a regular or a stiffer shaft. Regular suits most golfers, hence the name, and is for those who swing a driver at around 85-90mph.

A golfer with a driver swing speed of around 90-95mph will suit a stiff shaft better.


How Important Is Flex In A Fairway Wood?

Flex is a really important factor in the performance of a club but it is probably less important than weight and torque.

Getting the correct flex will certainly help you with ball speed and control. If you get this wrong you can make it really difficult to hit the ball straight and with control.


How Does It Affect Performance?

There are many myths out there about how shafts can affect performance.

One thing is clear, getting fitted properly means more distance and more accuracy. This makes the converse true, getting this wrong means you lose yards and make it harder to control the ball.


How To Know If You Need Regular Or Stiff Flex?

The internet is full of advice on how to pick the correct shaft for your game.

Much of the advice centers on swing speed and so this is an important thing to know. Shaft weight is important too, you may like a heavy regular shaft rather than a light stiff shaft. Get fitted by a pro to help here.


What Swing Speed Should Use Regular Flex?

Something around 85-90mph is a good speed for using a regular flex.

If you are on the upper side of this speed then you may want to get a heavier firm flex shaft and if you are on the slower side of this bracket then you may do well with a lighter regular shaft.


What Swing Speed Should Use Stiff Flex?

If your swing speed is around the 90-95mph mark, you should suit a stiff flex.

Again, depending on where you are on this speed bracket you may want something heavier or lighter. Sometimes a heavier regular shaft can work just as well so choose your shaft with the help of an expert.


Is It Just About Speed?

Shaft flex isn’t just about speed, we need to think of other things like the load on the shaft.

This is how hard you attack the ball on the downswing. Another thing to think about would be your attack angle, a stiffer tipped shaft may help you keep the ball down if you hit it really high.


Graphite Or Steel Shafts For Fairway Woods?

Fairway woods

Do you want mainly distance from your fairway woods or are you looking for accuracy?

Steel shafts tend to give you more accuracy but this comes at the expense of distance, in general graphite shafts are the opposite. You need to think which set-up your game needs most.


What Other Flex Types Are Available?

There is now a spectrum of shaft flexes.

Starting with the softest flex to the stiffest you have ladies flex, senior flex, regular flex, firm flex, stiff flex, extra-stiff flex and tour extra-stiff. Some brands use their own system like numbers on Project X shafts but they tie back to these choices.


How Can I Tell My Swing Speed?

The best and most accurate way is to get onto a launch monitor like a TrackMan or a GC Quad.

These specialist pieces of equipment measure this speed accurately. If you don’t have access to a launch monitor you can very roughly work it out based on your average driver carry distance.


Do I Need The Same Flex On All Clubs?

No, you don’t, a good custom fitting technician will help you select a shaft for each club to optimize your set.

You need to consider what weight and torque you want too, flex is just one part of the jigsaw. For example, I play an extra-stiff driver shaft but my three wood has a stiff shaft.


What Will Happen If My Shaft Is Too Stiff?

One of the first tell-tale signs of a shaft that is too stiff is a loss of distance and height even when you’re swinging well.

You may also struggle to hit it straight, you will often struggle with a slice as you struggle to deliver a square clubface. These issues are due to not swinging fast enough.


Will I Lose Distance Switching To Regular Flex?

In this instance, you will almost certainly gain distance by switching to a regular shaft.

Using a regular shaft will allow your swing speed to properly “activate” the shaft and give you the benefit that a properly fitted shaft can. It should also help you with that slice.


What Will Happen If My Shaft Is Too Flexible?

Although less common, using a shaft that is too flexible can result in a higher flight as you put extra spin on the ball.

This can lead to a weak flight and loss of distance. You will often see a left-side bias or even hook when you are playing with something too flexible.


Will I Lose Distance Switching To Stiff Flex?

Stepping up into a stiffer shaft can give you more control and distance, if you get fit into the appropriate flex.

If you get something that is too stiff then you will struggle with the issues listed a few paragraphs ago, so go carefully and get expert input to help you select the right shaft.


Does Weight Affect Flex And Performance?

Many say that weight is a more important shaft characteristic than flex, this is a debate that continues to rage on in the world of golf tech geeks.

It will affect swing speed and, ultimately, distance. I prefer the feel of a heavier shaft which is why I use them.


Can I Get New Shafts On My Clubs Or Do I Need New Clubs?

Given the modern movement of adjustable drivers, changing shafts has never been easier, you can literally just swap them out in your woods.

With irons it is a little more difficult but a pro can definitely pull your shafts and replace them. There is no need to buy a whole new set, just switch.


How Much More Important Is Choice Of Club Over Shaft Flex?

Choice of club can be really important as performance features like low spin or reduced forgiveness can make them hard to hit regardless of the flex.

It goes without saying, but is worth mentioning, the whole club must be optimised for you to get the best performance.


Best Fairway Woods For High Handicappers?

Taylormade Sim Max D Fairway Woods

There are few fairway woods as good as the TaylorMade SIM MAX D. This club is fast, forgiving and has a draw bias to help you prevent a slice.

The SIM family from TaylorMade has been a huge success for the brand and could definitely bring huge benefits to your game.

Check Out More Reviews Here:



Best Fairway Woods For Mid Handicappers?

Titleist Ts2 Fairway Woods

The Titleist TS2 is a fairway wood masterpiece this club is the perfect balance between forgiveness and playability, this makes it perfect for mid handicappers.

More than anything, the TS2 is stunning and inspires confidence when you place it behind the ball at address.

Check Out More Reviews Here:



What Does Torque Mean For A Shaft – What Should Seniors Use?

Torque is a really important factor in how a shaft feels.

It is the amount that the club will twist resist twisting during the swing. If you have a slower swing, as many seniors do, then you will probably want a higher torque shaft. This will make it feel more lively through the swing.


What’s The Kick Point?

Hitting A Fairway Wood

This is the point in the swing that the shaft carries most speed.

The shaft can literally whip at the ball through impact and depending on your swing mechanics you will want an earlier or later kick point to maximise speed.


Who Should Be Using Ladies And Senior Flex?

These shaft flexes have, in my opinion, terrible names and this should be changed.

Anyone who swings a club at the appropriate speed should be using these shafts, not just ladies and seniors. The slowest speeds will benefit from ladies flex, speeds just below regular flex should use senior.



There is a lot of ego involved in golf and shaft selection is one of these areas where it is rife. Playing an extra-stiff shaft has a certain brag-ability about it, don’t fall for it though. Getting yourself properly fitted for a fairway wood shaft can revolutionist your game.

Do yourself a favor, book a session with your club pro or custom fitting expert and test your current set-up to see if it could be optimized. You will learn a lot about your swing mechanics and your game will thank you for it.