How important is the shaft in a driver? Questions Answered

How important is the shaft in a driver? Questions answered

What is the best driver shaft for distance?

So, golf driver shafts, what are the best available in 2020, and which are getting the best reviews?

In this article I am going to answer questions related to golf driver shafts, and inform you how important the driver shaft is to the golf club.

The days are gone when you just had a stock metal or graphite shaft with your driver. The technology with golf clubs has moved on so far that it is like using the very first mobile phone to today’s smart phones. 

The materials and compounds used in driver shafts is unbelievable, the technology in them is insane, which has created huge gains for the golfer.

If you watch all the videos on YouTube, and read all the articles on the Internet, you will think that there will be the “best driver shaft” available on the market.  We should know which is the fastest driver shaft, and ultimately which is the best shaft in the world.

What I am hopefully going to make clear, below is a list of the PGA top 10 best players in the world and other top of their game PGA Tour professional, and the shafts they use in their drivers.

You will see from the list below that it is very varied and very personal to each individual player.

If after reading this article there is one thing I can help you think about is for you to go to your local professional or golf retailer, and actually try these different clubs and shafts, there are so many variables, swing speed, feel of the shaft, and other considerations.

Below is a list of the shafts which PGA professional golfer have chosen, it is like an alphabet soup of driver shafts. 

So really, we cannot say what is the best driver shaft for distance? 

We could say who hits the ball the furthest,  but that is not what the question is about. Over the past few weeks I have tried a number of different driver shafts, and really it is just finding one that suits your game, suits your swing speed, and that feels good and performs for you. 

From the testing that I have done, the shaft which performed the best and produced the best shot shape was the Hzrdus smoke green shaft. 

If however I did not carry out any testing and looked at the below list then I would not have gone for it as only one of the 20 professional golfer are using it.

The reason why the driver shaft is so individual is because everyone’s characteristics are different, a lot of the top professionals get paid significant amounts of money to use a certain driver from one of the top equipment manufacterer. 

They are not payed to use a specific driver shaft. The driver shaft is so important it is the heart of the Golf Club. 

When you try different driver shafts, you will see a lot difference in ball flight and the distance of the golf ball, so go and get fitted for your driver but also your driver shaft.

The below list is the current world top ten, at the time of writing.

PGA Top Ten Golfers - Driver Shafts

Golfer Brand Model
Rory Mcilroy Mitsubishi Tensei CK White 70TX
Jon Rham Aldila Tour Green 70TX
Justin Thomas Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX
Brooks Koepka Mitsubishi Diamana White D+ 70 TX
Dustin Johnson Fujikura's Speeder Evolution II Tour Spec
Patrick Reed Aldila Rogue Silver 70 TX
Patrick Cantlay Mitsubishi Diamana BF 60TX
Adam Scott Mitsubishi Kuro Kage
Webb Simpson Mitsubishi Tensei AV 65TX
Xander Schauffele Graphite Design Tour AD BB 7X

Does a Driver Shaft make a difference?

A golf driver shaft is very important for each of us golfers, your ability, the swing speed and a number of other factors are critical to the outcome of the golf shot.

A driver shaft is so underrated, all the marketing on television, and in the magazines and online media is all about the latest driver head. 

Unless you really dig into driver shafts, and the capabilities of them, then it really is a puzzle.

What does a shaft do?

An example of this would be for a young junior golfer, there is no in them using a stiff shaft or an extra stiff shaft, it will not help them get the golf ball in the air. 

 The golf ball with not go as far with a stiff shaft, they require a more flexible shaft, the flexibility in the driver shaft will ‘whip’ and will help the ball into the air and help it gain distance. 

If you are a competent golfer with a faster swing speed, using a regular flex driver will really be a disadvantage, the flexibility in the shaft will not be able to catch up with you, and your consistency of strike on the driver club face could possibly be more inconsistent.

What happens if my driver shaft is too stiff?

So, what does a stiff flexible shaft mean in your driver?

In golf there is generally five types of golf shafts available for the driver, the stiffest shaft on the market is the extra stiff shaft, then it ranks down to a stiff shaft, then regular and senior shaft, or Junior flex and finally a lady’s shaft.

A stiff flex shaft is what is says it is, it is harder to bend when you are swinging the golf club than a regular stiff shaft for instance. When buying a driver shaft, the flexibility of it will be dictated by the speed of your swing speed.

The golf swing speed normally needs to be over 95 mph, to be requiring a stiff shaft. Once your swing speed edges up to around the 110-mph area, you may require an extra stiff shaft.

What happens if the driver shaft is too flexible?

If you choose a golf driver shaft that is too flexible, and your swing speed is far faster than it can cope with, the shaft will bend too much and will ‘whip’. 

This could make the driver miss the correct part of the club face, and the result is generally for the miss to be higher on the driver face, and the resulting golf shot will be more left biased.

A lady’s shaft flex normally requires a swing speed of under 75 mph. The next flex is for a senior or a junior, and has a swing speed of around 75-85 mph. 

Then finally the regular shaft has an average swing speed of 85 – 95 mph.

Another point I will make is, you need to leave your ego at home when it comes to the flexibility in your driver shaft.  If you decide on a stiff shaft because your buddies have that flex, then your golf game will suffer. Please get the shaft for your game, it will pay off, if you are whacking the ball further down the fairway.

What are the average length driver shafts on the PGA Tour?

So, the average driver length shaft that golf manufacturers produce is around 46 inches in length. While on the PGA Tour it is around 44.75 Inches. 

Think about that? 

The top professional golfers are shortening the length of the driver shaft, so they are able to be more consistent. While us the amateur golfers, are being sold longer driver shafts so when they do hit the golf ball out of the middle of the club the golf ball goes a little further.

The reason why the top professionals have shorter driver shafts is for consistency of shot and strike of the golf ball.  You are going to hit more fairways, and have a better chance of hitting the golf ball out of the middle of the driver. 

Having a shorter shaft may reduce the ball going a little further, currently my driver shaft is 44.5 inches and I have found that I am not losing distance, because I believe I am finding the middle of the club more, so eliminating some off-centre hits.

This has also been the case with some top professional golfers who have seen increased ball speeds with a shorter driver shaft. So, the moral of this story is to go and get fitted for not just your driver, but also pay huge attention to the shaft you are buying, and the length of the shaft. Do not just accept stock shafts.

What shaft is right for my swing speed?

Below is a table for the normal swing speeds for driver shaft selection

Shaft Flex Swing Speed Carry in yards
Ladies Less 75 mph Less than 180
Senior / Junior 75 - 85 mph 180 - 200
Regular 85 - 95 mph 200 - 240
Stiff 95 -110 mph 240 - 275
Extra Stiff 110+ mph 275 +

Does a lighter shaft increase swing speed?

So, does a lighter shaft increase swing speed? 

If you wish to have a lighter Golf Club shaft then in theory it will allow you to swing the club faster, and increase your club head speed. This however does not mean you will hit the golf ball any further.

There are however a lot of variables when it comes to increasing swing speed, from the lighter shaft Im the Golf Club, it would be advisable to go and get fitted for your driver and driver shaft.

Golfers who will normally benefit from a lighter shaft are people who have a slower to moderate swing speed.

Is a heavier golf shaft better?

A Golf Club’s weight makes a huge difference to the performance of the golf ball.  

It has been a misconception for many years that the only consideration on driver shafts is the flexibility. This is simply not the case; the weight of the Golf Club, and the shaft is so important to keeping the golf club and swing on the correct plane.
For me as a golfer, I have found in my driver, that having a heavier weighted shaft has made me be more consistent, and hit more fairways on the golf course.

So again, the message is to get your golf clubs fitted for you by a competent person, who has the specialist equipment. From past experience this is usually free or if there is a fee, they will normally take it off the price of the golf clubs on purchase.

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