The Most Popular Golf Shafts

Published on 01/14/2024 · 11 min readStay on top of your game! Check out the most popular golf shafts, favored for their balance of flexibility, durability, and performance enhancement.
Ryan Haley, Golf Expert
By Golf Expert Ryan Haley

Photo by Regine Tholen

Tl;dr: For all the information freely available on the Internet about golf clubs and their customization, most companies don’t properly explain the ins and outs of popular shafts or even types of shafts. Here’s a one-stop shop for everything you need to know next time you customize a new club.

As someone who has played golf for close to two decades now, I’ve had to order and fit myself for over two dozen clubs over the years. The early stages of that process felt more like an art than a science. I knew what sounded cool and what the other juniors played, but it was only when I got myself fitted during a lesson that I realized I was a little off on quite a few of my estimations and specs. I didn’t become a brand-new player, but I did drop from a 12.5 handicap to a seven that summer. I hadn’t realized how hard I had been fighting my own swing and the natural motion of my golf swing.

The feeling of swinging freely and producing good results was intoxicating. I want to help each and every golfer find that same feeling, even just briefly, and a major part of that customization process is finding the right shaft for your club.

The shaft is exactly what it sounds like. It's the long strip of metal connecting your grip and your clubhead. For nearly a decade, I didn't realize it was something you could customize. I thought it was a standard piece of metal that came with each club. However, there are different brands that come with their own customization and reviews, and even the individual shafts they sell are different and tailored to different golfers. So which one is meant for you? Here's a deep dive into how to figure that out.

Questions? Reach out to any of our Curated Golf Experts.

What to Consider When Buying a Club Shaft?

Photo by rafaelnlins

What Shaft Flex Do You Need?

The other question you need to answer when customizing any club for yourself is how strong and flexible of a shaft you want, a measurement typically called the shaft's stiffness. Golfers with higher swing speeds should look for stiff or even extra stiff shafts that resist bending a little more. Golfers with more moderate swing speeds who want some extra distance should select a more flexible shaft, with women’s and senior flex shafts bending the most.

The golf swing generates something called lag, which is how much the shaft bends on your downswing. If you slow down a video of a top PGA Tour player off the tee and pause their swing halfway down, lag is the slight little U-shape their club’s shaft makes.

Golfers with more moderate swing speeds need bendable, flexible shafts that generate that curve more easily to maximize distance. If your swing speed is too high for your shaft, however, the club will bend and bounce too much to ever be accurate, and you’ll never find the sweet spot. Golfers with a high swing speed should look for a shaft with a little more stiffness.

Here’s a great article if you want a more in-depth examination of which of the five common shaft flexes are right for you, or take a look at the table below for a high-level overview. These are more guidelines than rules. If you’re on the edge of a category, you won’t ruin your swing by playing the wrong one, but this chart can point you in the right direction toward your stiffness profiles.

Infographic by Ryan Haley

Do You Need to Change the Length?

Most golf clubs come in a standard length built for golfers between 5’8” and 6’0”. Being outside of that range won’t be the end of the world, but a club that is too long or too short will make you uncomfortable over the ball and unable to swing normally. A club that is too long will have extra weight and make you stand too far from the ball, and a club that’s too short will make you feel cramped because you’re standing too close to the ball. Consult with a Curated Golf Expert before you make the decision for your newest club, but the typical rule of thumb is that for every two inches you are above or below the range mentioned above, add a quarter of an inch (or a half an inch for every three or four inches, if the company rounds less specifically).

Where is the Kick Point?

This one is a little more advanced, so it does not need to be vetted by every golfer. The kick point is the place on the shaft that bends the most during the swing. A shaft with a low kick point bends the most near the clubhead, which gets the ball higher up in the air, even with just a moderate swing speed. A shaft with a higher kick point bends the most near the grip, keeping the ball lower. A higher kick point is ideal for golfers who already hit the ball high and end up with too much spin that leads to mishits left and right. More flexible shafts usually have lower kick points, which are more forgiving, while stiff shafts have higher kick points and offer better performance for more skilled amateurs.

Fujikura

Maybe the most common brand found on the PGA Tour, Fujikura shafts are used by pros like Rory McIlroy, Phil Mickelson, and World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler. The most common shaft seen at the pro level is the Ventus line, which is made by inserting Spread Tow carbon fabric to reduce the shaft’s twisting during the downswing. This helps you reduce your mishits and play your best golf.

True Temper

Home of the famous Project X shafts, True Temper is another incredibly popular name at the professional level. Both the signature Project X iron shafts and the popular HZRDUS wood shafts are better for golfers who want a lower ball flight that can pierce through the wind, and they don’t generate much spin despite being built for higher clubhead speeds. They also offer the Cypher 2.0 shafts for golfers with moderate swing speeds who want higher launch angles and higher spin rates.

Aldila

Aldila might not have the same clout as Fuikura or True Temper just yet, but the company can absolutely go toe-to-toe from a quality standpoint. The Rogue series, from the Elite Orange 65 to the Elite Green 65, is built for performance. The Green is meant for golfers who want a lower launch profile with less spin, while the Orange is meant for golfers who want to get the ball higher in the air.

Features to Look For When Buying a Shaft

The two main features to distinguish when you’re looking for a shaft are its stiffness and its material, as I detailed above. Here’s a refresher on the pros and cons of the easily available options.

Material

The easiest and most straightforward question when searching for a good shaft is whether you want a graphite shaft or a steel shaft. Both options come with pros and cons.

Graphite Shafts

Graphite shafts, traditionally the more expensive option, are lighter than steel shafts, allowing you to generate a little more clubhead speed without doing any silly speed drills or hitting the gym super hard. They also transfer energy a little easier, so if you hate the ringing you get in your hands when you mishit an iron, graphite shafts won’t punish your palms as severely.

Benefits:

  • Lighter and easier to swing
  • Generate extra club speed for some additional distance

Be Aware:

  • More expensive
  • Mishits and inaccurate swings go farther right or left

Steel Shafts

Steel shafts are less expensive and traditionally a little heavier to swing. If you move from graphite shafts to steel shafts, you would probably lose a little yardage, especially with longer clubs, but you would gain some additional control. The extra weight gives players with steel shafts a little more control since the face will torque left or right a little less. If you want a little more distance, go graphite, but if you are willing to forsake a few yards for a little extra stability or just want to ball on a budget, steel is the way to go.

Benefits:

  • Less expensive
  • The extra weight reduces how much the club twists in either direction, reducing how bad mishits are

Be Aware:

  • Slightly heavier
  • The extra weight reduces clubhead speed, which limits distance

Stiffness

There are five typical levels of stiffness, or flex, that golf club shafts are sold in. Regular flex shafts and the lighter flex options (Senior or Ladies) produce lots of natural bend during the swing to maximize distance for moderate swing speeds. Stiff and Extra Stiff, or X-Stiff, shafts are built for higher swing speeds and help players swing as hard as they want without missing the ball. If you have the swing speed for a stiffer shaft, you’ll actually gain more accuracy as well since the club face moves and bounces less during your swing.

Flexible Shafts

Benefits:

  • Generate more lag during the swing
  • The extra bend in the shaft means golfers without fast swing speeds can generate some extra speed

Be Aware:

  • The shaft will bend too much under the pressure of a fast swing speed, meaning the clubface moves around too much for consistent contact

Stiffer Shafts

Benefits:

  • The stiffer shaft can withstand faster swing speeds
  • The reduced flexibility means the clubface moves around less, so golfers with the swing speed for a stiffer shaft will gain accuracy

Be Aware:

  • Golfers with moderate swing speeds won’t generate any lag, meaning the ball won’t get up in the air and won’t go as far

How to Choose the Right Shaft

Photo by Parnupol TK

I know this article has given you a lot of information to consider in a very short time frame, and reading about standard regulations and suggestions isn’t always the best way to figure out what shaft you should pick. Here are a few hypothetical golfers and the choices best suit them, in the hopes that one sounds like a good idea for you.

Eric

Eric played college golf about a decade ago, and while he may not have pursued the game professionally, he still loves getting out on the course every weekend with his friends. He always hits these booming drives past all of his friends, but lately, his longest club has gotten a little squirrely. His drives don’t go as high as they used to, he loses a lot of drives well to the right, and he swears he’s lost 20 yards of distance in the last year despite spending a lot of time in the gym.

Features Eric Should Look For:

  • Eric probably now needs a stiff shaft instead of an extra stiff one
  • A shaft with a more centered kick point, as his is likely too high
  • A shaft meant to lower his club’s spin and MOI

Shaft Suggestion: Fujikura Ventus Blue 8

Out of stock
  • Free shipping
  • We price match
  • Returnable

Penelope

Penelope started playing golf when she was seven years old, and she’s always prided herself on her accuracy with her long game. She’s not short, but she rarely puts herself in trouble off the tee. She spends hours working through drills on the range. Recently, however, as she gets to her junior year of high school, she’s hitting a lot of quick hooks to the left, and she’s losing a lot of distance into the wind.

Features Penelope Should Look For:

  • A stiffer shaft, likely regular flex based on her age
  • A staff with a more centered kick point, as hers is likely too low
  • A shaft meant to keep trajectory lower

Shaft Suggestion: True Temper EvenFlow Riptide

Out of stock
  • Free shipping
  • We price match
  • Returnable

Find the Right Shaft For You

Once you know whether you want the more forgiving steel shafts or the more explosive graphite and you have an idea of which flex you should look for, you know almost everything you need to know to find the ideal shaft for you.

However, there are still a lot of questions to ask if you have the time to really zero in on the perfect marriage between club and shaft. Feel free to reach out to a Curated Golf Expert today! With decades of combined experience and countless customers helped, they are available for around-the-clock advice that is both individually suited for your game and completely free!

Curated experts can help

Have a question about the article you just read or want personal recommendations? Connect with a Curated expert and get free recommendations for whatever you’re looking for!

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