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Selecting the Right Graphite Shaft

The Right Driver The Right Grip
The Right Iron The Right Graphite Shaft
The Right Wedge The Right Steel Shaft
The Perfect Putter  
Selecting the Right Graphite Shaft

Golfers may be surprised to learn that there is no standard within the golf industry for governing graphite shaft stiffness or flex. One company's stiff flex may very well be another company's regular flex. To alleviate confusion and to help golfers find the right shafts for their games, Golfsmith analyzes and tests each shaft in its catalog and assigns it a Recommended Swing Speed Range (RSSR).

A golfer's swing speed is the primary factor in determining which shaft — and especially, which shaft flex — is the right one. Determining swing speed is a relatively simple process, and a number of reliable analyzers are available in a number of price ranges.

Or, you may determine swing speed by correlating it to your shot carry distance with a driver or 5-iron (see chart below). This is a slightly less reliable method of obtaining swing speed, but will work for most golfers. Once you've determined your swing speeds (driver speed for wood shafts; 5-iron speed for iron shafts), apply them to the shaft spec charts on these pages and make sure the shaft (and flex) you select has an RSSR that matches your swing speed.


When a swing speed device is not available, this chart may be used to approximate swing speed based on driver carry distance or the club used to approach the green from 150 yards. (Based on average club lengths and lofts.)
 Shaft Flex Driver
Swing Speed (mph)
Carry Distance (yards)
Club from 150 yards
 Extra-Stiff 105 + 260 + 8 or 9-iron
 Stiff 90-105 240-260 6 or 7-iron
 Regular 80-95 210-240 5 or 6-iron
 Flexible (A-Flex) 70-85 180-210 4-iron
 Ladies Less than 70 Less than 180 3-iron/lofted wood