Short, Powerful Backswing: So What’s The Best Shaft for Me?

Posted by on Jul 31, 2013 in Clubfitting, Shaft Fitting | 18 comments

Short backswings with strong acceleration do require more overall stiffness and/or more tip stiffness to prevent a sudden, forceful swing move from over bending the shaft at the start of the downswing.

When choosing the right shaft, the weight of the shaft, the overall flex and the bend profile are the most important elements, with torque being much less important.  The reason is because you just do not see higher torque with any shafts that are designed in a stiffer overall flex with more tip stiffness. The shaft companies know that players who need to use stiffer overall flex shafts and more tip stiff shafts also need to keep the torque no higher than 3.5*. So it is very rare in the industry these days to even see a normal S, a strong S or any X flex with tip stiff bend profile to ever have a torque higher than 4*.

In addition, as long as the overall flex and bend profile and weight of the shaft are correct for a golfer’s swing, the difference between a torque of say, 2* and 3.5* is very minimal on shot dispersion. The golfer might notice that the 2* torque shaft felt a little stiffer at impact than the 3.5* torque version of the same flex and bend profile shaft, but he would not experience anything in the way of off line shots from a 1.5* torque difference.

So do your best to get fit for the right shaft weight, shaft overall flex and bend profile for your swing moves and the torque is not going to be an issue.

The best way to be sure you are properly fit for the right shafts that match all your swing characteristics is to find a GOOD Clubmaker/clubfitter in your area and have them use their knowledge and experience to custom fit you.


  1. than what s in their driver. (The average, off-the-rack driver shaft today is 45? inches.) Tiger Woods at his longest used a relatively short 43?-inch driver, with a steel shaft to boot. You ll find it easier to hit the sweet spot with a shorter shaft, and you can go after tee shots without losing much control.

  2. Hi Tom,

    I came across a few of your articles in regards to type of shafts for different golfers, and I think they are great. I’m certainly still an amateur golfer, but am falling in love with the sport of golf. I live in a smaller city, and we don’t have any golf fitters available here, so am not 100% on my swing speed and what not. I hit my 5 iron 150 yards on average if that helps, and my drives around 215 yards or a little more. I’m currently hitting Taylormade R11S driver with regular flex shaft, but am currently looking at the Ping G30 SF Tec, as I do have a slight/wicked slice at times. I would describe my swing as aggressive, and I have a more high arcing shot more often than not. My questions are ultimately, should I go with the 10 degree or 12 degree, and should I go with a regular flex or stiff flex shaft? Any other tips/suggestions you may have would be greatly appreciated.

    • GREG
      Thanks very much for your interest after digging up some of my teachings. I appreciate that very much and hope your getting helpful information from your reading. It’s so hard to be as accurate as I would like or as the more experienced clubmakers would like when we cannot see your swing, see your ball flight and get some measurements and readings to give us a real basis for constructing a good recommendation. From what you say it will just be some ball park things to definitely follow. First with your aggressive move and wicked slice, do NOT have the driver made longer than 43.5″ – even think about 43. Aggressive tempo + over the top outside in move (the slice) are the two kisses of death for ever being ale to play a driver of any length more than that. Two, if you are asking or referring to my shaft designs, your distances with your aggressive move would most definitely indicate an R. If you went longer than 43.5 then you might go with the S if in fact your tempo is really fast and forceful on the downswing. Otherwise your carry distance would need to be over 225 with an aggressive tempo or 230-35 with an avg tempo to really move into an S. Shaft weight should be at least in the 70-75g level which in my shafts is the White so the total weight is not too low for your aggressive tempo. A real key is going to be to find the right swingweight so it offers enough weight resistance to your fast tempo but not too much to cause you to have to work harder to start the downswing and maintain tempo through the ball. This is usually done by “here hit this, add weight, here hit this, add weight. . . ” until you get to the point the golfer begins to say “that’s getting to be a little heavy feeling” and then you back it off a swt point or two. If I had to guess on a starting swt for this shaft and a 43-43.5 length, I would say D2 and then possibly use some lead tape to add a little and see if a heavier swt weight would be better. Also at least a 2* hook face angle on the head to help reduce that slice tendency. Loft wise is really hard to nail down without trial and sight and launch monitor info. BUt based on your distance and aggressiveness I would definitely say 12 – unless with any driver lower than that you hit it markedly high – in which you’d move it back to 11. I just feel no matter your release move’s effect on dynamic loft that for your swing speed a 12 would be better overall especially at that shorter length.

      Hope this helps, and thanks again for your interest,

  3. Tom,

    I have had an extremely hard time finding an iron shaft that my 19 year old son will find stiff enough for his golf swing. He hits the ball similar to the top Long Drivers but he is a fine amateur golfer. Presently he is hitting KBS Tour x flex hardstepped at a 1/2 inch plus length. Unfortunately he consistantly bends these shafts about one inch above the ferrule after a season of tournaments. Each club has deflected towards the target. His trackman numbers are some of the highest recorded. You can see his swing under Brent Rodgers on you tube. Can you recommend an iron shaft that would handle his swing. Thank you for any help.

    • DICK:
      In steel, the TTemper Black Gold X is extremely stiff – more than any KBS shaft by far and stiffest of any that TTemper makes. In graphite it would be the Matrix Program 130 8.0 XX iron shaft. it is even stiffer than the Black Gold X. Not 100% you can even find these shafts anymore. This information comes from actual stiffness measurements of shafts in our Bend Profile software data base. So if these shafts are still around, they are as stiff as anything made in the past 6-7 yrs.

      Hope this helps,

  4. Tom,

    I’ve been reading your blog and comments here for quite some time. I use your driver head. I’ve been playing golf since 1990, and do some instructing. I am 70 years old and quite fit for my age. I’ve had Riley irons for easily 10 years and love them. However as you can guess my distance has dropped off.

    My conundrum is should I get a new set of irons, that is to say heads and shafts (fitted), or can I effectively refit these heads with a more appropriate shaft and have them “refitted” by one of your club fitters? As you probably guessed by now one of the issues is that these heads take a tapered tip.

    I look forward to your response.


    • Robert:
      The irons you have are certain to be a conventional cast stainless steel model of old or rather, normal stainless steel technology. Over the past few years, we have learned how to make irons that have the same high COR face design as drivers have had since the late 90s. With a high COR iron, fit properly to you and your swing, it is a virtual certainty that you can gain about one full club more distance for your iron shots. So I know this means a whole new set but you really would not benefit one iota from reshafting your old irons. You’d be much better off and enjoy the game more if you were fit with an iron model such as our 771CSI design with its high COR thin face design.

      One other thing – if you did this, the other big thing you would want to do is to be sure the SET MAKEUP of your irons was well matched to your ability. The old traditional set makeup for irons over the years has always been a #3 to PW set. Most golfers, especially as we age (I am 63 so my time is approaching too) we cannot hit the low loft irons like the #3 and #4 and even the #5 as well or as consistently as we used to. So with being fit for the high COR iron model, it is also key to be sure to identify the right set makeup of irons + hybrids or higher loft fairway woods to replace the lower loft irons that you find are becoming too hard to hit well up in the air to fly consistently.

      As such many golfers now are being fit so their iron set is either a #5 to wedges or #6 to wedges and then using hybrids or high loft fwy woods in lieu of the #3, 4 and 5 irons. Hope this helps and if you need assistance in finding a good clubfitter with whom you can work to be properly fit, please do email us at and tell us the name of the town/city in which you live and we would be glad to look up who in your area is a good fitter to work with..

      Thanks much for your interest !!

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