Changing Golf Shafts – When I Use a Shaft From a Different Company Do I Use the Same Flex I Currently Play?
Sometimes and then again, sometimes not. Sorry but that’s the truth because there are no standards in the golf industry for how stiff any of the letter flex codes are from company to company. There never have been and never likely will be any sort of flex/stiffness standards in the industry because the vast majority of the various golf equipment companies don’t want that. So the R flex from one company can have the same stiffness as the S flex from another company or even the same stiffness as the A flex from a third company. Not only that, but the same flex of different shaft models within the SAME company is not necessarily going to be the same stiffness.
Sound a little confusing? Or a little bit like that’s not the way it should be?
Actually, it’s fine if each golf club company or shaft company wants to design their shafts different than another company. In doing that, they can express their own beliefs for each of their shafts should be designed. Each company is free to design their shafts and set their stiffness specifications anyway they wish.
What’s messed up is the fact that virtually none of these companies provide golfers with specific information to tell them exactly how stiff their shafts are in comparison to any other shafts. When it comes to flex, golfers are literally kept in the dark and have to adopt a “trial and error” means of determining how stiff this or that shaft is and whether it fits the golfer or not.
Since there are numerous shafts in the industry today that cost $100, $200, $300 and even more, a trial and error approach to shaft selection can get more than a little expensive. What’s the alternative? To put your shaft fitting needs in the hands of a custom Clubmaker who works with defined, empirical stiffness measurement data that can be used to compare the stiffness design of shafts and to explain differences in shaft stiffness to golfers in an understandable manner.
In short, many years ago Wishon Golf saw the need for quantitative shaft stiffness information and created not only a measurement methodology for shaft stiffness, but a software program to allow the many shafts in our data base to be compared in a way that you can definitely compare the full length stiffness design of many different shafts. In 2021 the program was re-written and updated to continue to provide clubmakers and interested parties access to empirical, illustrative depictions of the full length stiffness design of many shafts.
Here’s an example of what the information in the TWGT Bend Profile software looks like and how it works. The following data shows the range in stiffness among a group of typical R-flex shafts.
To translate what you are seeing, if we apply a swing speed rating to each shaft based on its relative stiffness measurements, you are looking at R flex shafts which range dramatically in swing speed rating. And yet all these shafts are marked and sold as R-flex shafts. The same goes on within the entire offering of S flex shafts in the industry as well.
Bottom line? If you want to be fit as accurately as possible for the shafts in your clubs, go get fit by a good, experienced custom Clubmaker.