By Jack Moorehouse

All low handicappers and golfers who are serious about shooting the
lowest scores possible consider flex in their clubs.  It makes the science
of hitting the ball so much easier, which translates to more enjoyment on
the course.

Now, when I say "flex", I am referring to the ability of a golf shaft to bend as
forces are applied to it during the golf swing.  Just go ahead and “waggle”
your club a little and see how much the shaft bends and you will get an
idea of what “flex” is.

There are five basic categories or types of shaft flex:

1. Extra Stiff
2. Stiff
3. Regular
4. Senior
5. Ladies

Why is the flex in your shaft important?  Well, when you have a flex that
doesn't match the needs of your swing, the result is the clubface being
misaligned at impact, causing your shots to go off-target.  Not good.  To
be more specific, your flex will impact how straight you hit the ball, how
high or low it goes and how long or short it travels.

Keep in mind one very important thing about the shaft of your club and its
flex.  As the shaft flexes throughout the swing, the position of the clubhead
will change.  This means you need a shaft that will properly match your
swing type and speed so that it can deliver the clubface back to a square
position at impact.

For example, if the flex of your clubs is too stiff, the clubface will tend to be
open, sending the ball in a slicing direction.  Or, if you have clubs with a
shaft flex that is not very stiff, the clubhead will be tend to be closed at
impact, resulting in a hook.

Choose Your Flex Type

I always am experimenting with different shafts and flex types, because I
know that if my swing is on plane and accurate, my shaft flex type can be
adversely affecting my results.

Here’s what I do:

• Your driver will be your best gauge on which flex you need.  Not 100%
accurate but the best club to use for this purpose.  If you can carry you
driver 250 yards or more, go with Stiff; 230-250 yards, Regular; 200-230
yards, Senior; less than 200 yards, Ladies.  What about Extra Stiff?  I can
count the number of people on one hand that actually need or use an
Extra Stiff shaft.  Only guys like John Daily and Long Drive Champions
need that type.

• If shots with your driver tend to go left, you might benefit from a stiffer flex;
if your drives go right, you might benefit from a softer flex.

• If you know (or have been told) you have a very smooth swing, you might
benefit from a softer flex even if you swing very fast.  Further, if you have a
swing that gets jerky at the top, especially starting the downswing, you’ll
probably need a stiffer shaft.

The Best (and most accurate way) to Choose Flex Type

If you are not comfortable determining which flex you should choose on
your own, go see your local pro at the course you play at or your driving
range. This will take a lot of the guesswork out of the equation.

A good pro will take a lot of measurements, watch your swing, measure
your swing speed, watch your ball flight and be able to tell you with
certainty which flex is right for you.

What you want to do is to experiment by hitting lots of different clubs and
watching the effects on your shots of changing shaft flex.

If you find a flex that feels good and produces a good ball flight, there's a
good chance that's the right flex for you.

And lastly, here’s the best advice I can give on choosing flex.  Most high-
handicappers (especially men) tend to over-swing.  If this describes you
(and you know who you are), you should consider a softer flex to help you
slow your swing down.  Slowing down the swing will certainly produce
more accurate shots and better distance control.
Tom's Golf Tips
Useful Links
Featured Lesson