Golf Shaft Flex – It’s Complicated

Many people think that their shaft flex selection comes down to swing speed... but there is a lot more to consider. As always, Gene has the insight and recommendation you need to transition to the right flex. Many amateurs have it wrong.


Many people think that their golf shaft flex selection comes down to swing speed… but there is a lot more to consider.

Soft butt vs. firm butt.

Low-kick vs. high-kick.

Do you know what’s right for you and why?

Golf Shaft Flex

Gene Parente from Golf Labs walks us through valuable information to help us move down the path to a proper fitting.

You could be losing valuable yardage off the tee with the wrong golf shaft flex. You could be missing fairways unnecessarily. NO MORE! Get the right information for a better game.


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  1. Ralph Schimmel

    July 8, 2018 at 11:49 am

    I am 79 yrs old and currently play with a driver that has a senior flex. I do not know what my swing speed but it is not slow. My drives are about 230 to 240, in your opinion should I be using a regular or stiff shaft

    • Gene Parente

      July 8, 2018 at 3:51 pm

      If you are hitting your drives 230 to 240 and the fairways you play on are not too hard then yes you can play a regular flex. The question is do you have a problem with your current driver? If you are hitting the ball consistently and the ball is not flaring at the peak of its trajectory then you may be maximizing your current shaft.

      • John Albano

        December 3, 2020 at 8:50 am

        OK Gene, here is one for you. I am 72 have a swing speed 85-90mph, and was fitted by a pro with Trackman.
        The driver shaft picked for me was a Fubuki V-Series 60 mid kick point stiff, it’s worked out well for me, the irons I was fitted with have senior flex (strange?). Is this a common thing or do you think I am short changing myself and should play an R?

        • Gene Parente

          December 7, 2020 at 2:22 pm


          Here is a simple question: What is your tempo? Are you quick, medium, or slow? I am guessing based upon the mid kick point stiff that you are on the quicker side. Bottom line is that the golf ball and club head do not care about your age but more about how you accelerate.
          It is interesting that you were fitted for senior flex shafts in your irons. Without knowing the specs I can’t say why but iron shafts tend to have less bend overall then driver shafts.
          In regard tot he driver shaft I would keep playing with it if it works. I would keep an eye on it as time goes by as we will all slow down and a regular flex followed by a senior flex (and the corresponding lighter weight) will allow you to keep your distance up as you age.

  2. Ioane Fetu

    July 8, 2018 at 12:14 pm

    I’m always interested in flex in my clubs. But when you mentioned the distance to shaft flex, I don’t feel comfortable with that because there are some ladies they can kick that ball out there over three hundred yards. With that said, it put a shadow on your theory.

    • Gene Parente

      July 8, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Your comment raises an interesting issue that I have with shaft designation. A ladies flex shaft refers to a player who swings 75 mph and below. The golf shaft does not perform based upon the gender of the player swinging it, only on the force and velocity that player is applying to it.
      In a perfect world golf shafts would not be designated based upon antiquated monikers but would instead be related to club head velocity.
      The women you refer to who hit the ball over 300 yards play either an S or an X flex shaft.

  3. J.Tang

    July 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Gene mentioned that the “Ladies Flex” is the most flexible drivers” made by the golf industry. my son has been playing with the US Kids Tour series TS-63 460 cc driver with the junior flex, “J-Flex”, graphite shaft and have had difficulty in controlling his ball flight. This driver is recommended for player’s swing speed of 74 mph and up. When I contacted the US Kids factory, they could not tell me what the J-Flex is in relations to the golf industry’s flex terminology. Based on US Kid’s player’s swing speed at 74 mph plus the club flex should be between the Senior and Regular Flex, but in reality the club seems to be closure to the Ladies Flex or even lower. Can you please tell me where does the J-Flex stiffness really rank as compared to golf industry? Please note that US Kids also offer a “K-Flex” that is recommended for player’s swing speed up-to 73 mph. Thanks,

  4. Gene Parente

    July 8, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    I was referring in my video to adult players. You are correct that there are more flexible shafts for junior players. While it is important to provide a junior with a shaft flex for their velocity even more important is that the length of the clubs be correct for their height.
    I recently tested a junior player who was 12 years old and had a driver club head speed of 102 mph.
    We fitted him into a stiff regular shaft but the greatest challenge was the length of his driver. While he could swing a 45 inch driver his height caused him to setup very flat in order to swing it.
    We shortened his driver length which also stiffened up the shaft to ensure that he had the correct lie angle and swing arc for not only his velocity but also his height.

  5. John

    July 9, 2018 at 9:44 am

    You mentioned that shaft flex affects accuracy, but did not expand on it. Can you expand please?

    • Gene Parente

      July 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

      The stiffer a shaft is generally the lower the torque is (torque is defined as the amount of twist in a shaft). If you are playing a shaft that is too flexible for your swing speed it can twist easier which can lead to inconsistencies in head delivery and also twisting on off center hits. Both of these can lead to a loss in accuracy.
      As with anything in golf there is always a trade off. The lighter and more flexible shafts will create faster and potentially better launch conditions for more distance but they also have a higher torque value that can result in a loss of accuracy. A stiffer shaft will twist less but it also may produce launch conditions that are too low and not optimized for your club head speed.

  6. Unajacket

    July 9, 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I am 90 & I would swing a club head on a noodle if it would help my swing speed. My speed has deteriorated thru the years from 102 mph when I was a single digit in my 40’s to 73 mph in my arthritic 90’s. Would a change in gender or womens clubs help me?? My 100 yard choice is now a 7 iron. Your advice??

    • Gene Parente

      July 9, 2018 at 4:19 pm

      If you are swinging at 73 mph then you would see better results with the lightest and most flexible shaft that you can find. There are some shafts that are now being sold that are in the high 40’s and low 50’s in gram weight. They also are very flexible at these weights.
      I would recommend talking to a fitter in your area and asking them about the lightest and most flexible shaft to try out and see if it improves your distance

      • Unajacket

        July 9, 2018 at 9:08 pm

        Thanks Gene, I appreciate your advice——

  7. Roger

    July 9, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    Very interesting. I just assumed Senior flex had to do with age. I will pay more attention to flex in my next club sellections.

  8. Robert Dunn

    August 9, 2018 at 3:37 pm

    I was always under the understanding that flexes are not standard between manufacturers i.e. one manufactures A flex may be comparable to manufacturer #2’s reguler flex etc. How does this inconsistency play into your swing speed vs flex analogy??

    • Gene Parente

      August 10, 2018 at 12:12 pm

      Robert you are correct. There are no universal standards in regard to measuring of flex which can create some confusion. To compound that you also have to add in shaft flex (kick) point, weight, and torque all of which can affect how a shaft reacts during a players swing.
      The overall purpose of the video was to describe how the general industry definitions of flex relate to club head speed.
      To understand how a shaft can maximize your personal golf swing I recommend going through a fitting in which you try multiple shafts and see which one provides optimal launch conditions.
      Unfortunately there are no resources for golfers to be able to get an objective comparison of different manufacturers flex ratings.

  9. Gerald Roelants

    September 4, 2018 at 8:37 am

    The golf industry has some inconsistencies. I have an Ozick Matrix 6Q3 driver shaft that is labeled S-Flex. I’m 84, played to a handicap of 4 in my 30’s and 40’s. Tried a half dozen driver shafts both R & Sr, but this shaft gave me the best overall results so I took it to a golf store with an oscillating machine and it was determined to be a senior shaft despite the designation on the shaft. So, I don’t think one can count on shaft designation, especially from one brand to the next.

    • Gene Parente

      September 4, 2018 at 7:03 pm

      You are correct that there are mislabeled shafts in the golf world. You are also correct that the best way to test what a shaft’s static measurement characteristics are is to have it measured by a club fitter.
      Unfortunately most people do not have access or time to get their shafts checked.
      We have also found that a lot of golfers do not understand what the flex categories even mean or their relevance to their game.
      The purpose of the video was an introductory explanation into what shaft designations mean and how to utilize this knowledge to make a better purchase.

  10. carlos

    June 21, 2019 at 9:36 pm

    Hello, I have a stiff flex driver and clubs. I hit my irons good, but that driver is another story. Its a 10.5 tour edge 2. I drive the ball between 180-200, every now and then i get a good driver 230 is the farther I have hit the ball. Would you recommend me going to a regular shift for driver to get more distance. I hit about 14/18 fairways and it straight down the middle. I use to have a banana slice for a while. Thanks for your time.

    • Gene Parente

      June 25, 2019 at 4:16 pm

      A max 230 yard drive puts you into the Regular flex category. You can also possibly look at lighter shafts in the 50 gram range which will provide more club head speed.

  11. Steve

    December 1, 2019 at 9:44 am

    I’m all over the place with my driver distances. When I get full turn (rarely), body not feeling too bad, I can easily surpass the 250 yard mark you gave for an XS shaft. Other days I can struggle to get to 235 yards.

    I’m using a R shaft now. It sounds like I should at least have a S shaft judging by the distances you gave. Do you think I should switch to an XS shaft?

    • Steve

      December 1, 2019 at 9:54 am

      One more thing I forgot to ask. Does the height of the player matter? I have clubs extended 1.5 (fitted a while ago) because of my height of being 6’6″ tall. As result, I now start my swing in a semi-crouch seemingly getting better results than no crouch. Is requiring a crouch in a swing causing me to lose distance?

      • Gene Parente

        December 4, 2019 at 10:00 am


        I would recommend getting on a launch monitor. You have two things going on: 1. is that you are having consistency issues that can relate to impact position or face angle at impact, or both. 2. With your height you need to have a competent fitter determine your arm length and what your lie angle is (the angle of the club relative to the ground) in order to fit you with the proper length clubs.
        These are issues that need to be analyzed in person to get you the best fit.
        Good luck.


  12. geoff webster

    December 1, 2019 at 11:29 pm

    Hello Gene I follow all your videos often just as a refresher but they are great reminder of the essentials of a good shot

    one thing I would like you to look at is …. comparison of different ball compressions with club head speed

    swing paths , centre hits , attack angles etc are great ; but I would love to see some comparison of results different balls with various compressions with say a 90 mph clubhead speed . I suspect too hard [ or soft ] a compression can have an impact on distance and accuracy
    thanks, Geoff

    • Gene Parente

      December 4, 2019 at 10:04 am


      Good question. What we generally see is a slightly lower ball velocity with softer compression golf balls off of a driver until you get to lower speeds. We don’t see much of an impact in regard to accuracy but do see a slight decrease in distance.


  13. Robert Claywell

    December 3, 2020 at 9:30 am

    I was curious if the adjustability of the new driers can make up for having the wrong type of shaft in the club?

    • Gene Parente

      December 7, 2020 at 2:03 pm


      To a certain degree yes. Adjustable drivers can now change loft up to 2 degrees in either direction which can substantially change launch and spin. What they cannot do though is change the spin characteristics inherent in the club based upon the design specs and the center of gravity.
      What I mean by this is we test certain clubs that have low spin and launch numbers and other clubs that have the opposite. While you can change the loft angle and therefore the launch angle it is difficult to independently change the spin characteristics of the driver.

  14. Regan A McNabb

    December 4, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    This is really good information and thank you for it. My question is if the taller athlete needs an extension of, say, one inch, should the flex be moved up a notch from say, stiff flex, to extra stiff to help maintain the stiffness of the shaft?

    • Gene Parente

      December 7, 2020 at 2:01 pm


      Good question: The overall shaft stiffness generally relates to your tempo and how quickly you accelerate during the downswing so that theoretically you can stay with the same shaft flex. Where it becomes a bit more complicated when lengthening the shaft due to height is that to your point longer objects can start to become more flexible. The increased flexibility can lead to the club head staying open through impact causing the ball to curve to the right.
      This is a bit more complicated then I can offer in a reply. My recommendation would be to find a fitter in your area and to test different length shafts on a launch monitor to determine which flex (and tip stiffness, along with overall torque) is right for you at your height.


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