Best Driver Shafts
Picture the scene. You go into a golf store. You see a brand-new shiny driver on the shelf. You pick it up and admire it. You grip the club. Give it a few waggles. And you’re ready to buy.
You’ve looked at the club head and the grip but failed to pay any attention to the shaft! This is a big mistake and an often-overlooked part in the buying process.
Golf is a game of fine margins. Every little adjustment will impact how the ball is struck and, by extension, where and how far it goes. The right driver shaft gives golfers the best opportunity for success. If you find the right shaft and head combination you can optimize your launch and spin to hit longer and probably straighter drives.
You may not need to fork out for that brand new driver just a shaft upgrade could do the trick.
What To Look For In A Driver Shaft
All golfers want to have clubs they can play with comfortably. If you’re tall with short clubs, you will be stooped over the ball too much, straining to get the club behind it. Conversely, if your clubs are too long, they will feel awkward and difficult to hit.
In both scenarios, the golfer will be off balance and the ill-fitting clubs will also affect the lie angle, swing plane and attack angle. One reason why you might want a longer shaft is the prospect of generating some extra ball speed. However, the gains might well be offset by reduced consistency of strike. Some golfers will be better after using a shorter shaft which will allow them to catch the ball on the sweet spot more often even if they have sacrificed some ball speed.
Just like length, the weight of a club can have a huge impact on a golfer’s swing. Whether too light or too heavy, the effects of a poorly weighted club can be disastrous. Shafts that are too heavy can result in lower ball flights and reduced swing speeds while shafts that are too light can make the golf swing feel like it is out of control and cause high ball flights and duck hooks.
Getting the flex right on any shaft is key. The flex of a club is related directly to swing speed and while the right flex can work wonders for your game, the incorrect flex can be detrimental. If a shaft is too flexible it will result in a high ball flight and a hook. If a shaft is too firm, it will result in a low-ball flight and a slice.
Every golfer should be using a graphite shaft or some sort of multi-material (graphite and steel) shaft in their driver. They are easier to hit and provide greater distance, accuracy and performance.
The kick point of a shaft is the point where the shaft will bend the most. A driver shaft with a high kick point will tend to have a low launch while a low kick point will promote a high launch. A high kick point is toward the grip end of the club and a low kick point is toward the head.
In the early days of graphite shafts, torque was often a problem certainly when compared with steel shafts. While you can still find a range of options the twisting of the shaft in modern golf clubs is much less of an issue.
How to Pick the Right Driver Shaft for Your Swing Speed
Just as there are multiple types of golfer, there are also multiple flexes of golf shaft. Choosing the one best suited to your game will result in more length, greater accuracy and better golf! There are commonly five shaft flexes. Ladies (L), Senior (A or M), Regular (R), Stiff (S) and Extra Stiff (X).
You also need to take a little care when comparing shafts by different manufacturers because there is actually no standard in the golf industry. One company’s regular flex could behave like another company’s stiff flex. You really do need to get on a launch monitor to be sure you’re finding the right sort of shaft.
The ladies’ shaft is the softest type of shaft on the market. It is suited to players who swing the club below 75 mph, or roughly drive the golf ball less than 180 yards.
While predominantly used by ladies, the shaft will also suit seniors who have lost some swing speed.
The senior shaft is ideal for golfers who are getting on in years and have started losing distance. By switching to a senior shaft, golfers may recover some of this distance while also finding the ball easier to hit.
The shaft is ideal for players who swing between 75-85 mph or have a carry distance of 180-200 yards.
The regular shaft is the most common shaft available and the one you are likely to see the majority of golfers at your club using. It is suited to players who swing between 85-95 mph and carry the ball between 200-240 yards.
Moving on to the faster swingers, a stiff shaft is suitable for anyone swinging the club between 95-110 mph and carry the ball between 240-275 yards.
Extra Stiff (X)
The stiffest shaft on the list (it is possible to get stiffer but also very rare) is the extra stiff. Designed for the fastest of swingers, expect this to only be found amongst professional golfers and elite amateurs.
It is suited to anyone swinging over 110 mph and carrying the ball over 275 yards.
How Does Swing Speed Affect Your Driver Shaft Weight Choice?
Golfers want a shaft that allows them to maintain swing speed without losing control. While this may sound like the faster a swing is, the heavier the shaft needs to be, it isn’t always the case. The best thing for golfers to do is go to a custom fitting and try out different shaft weights to see what works best for them.
A heavier shaft might be the best shaft choice for you even if you don’t have that much swing speed. In his test teaching pro, Liam Mucklow found on 12% of golfers produced their faster swings with the lightest shafts. They may also help your swing mechanics, he found that heavier shafts tended to encourage a better path along with better retention of the wrist angle in the downswing.
He also found players had more sequencing issues with lighter shafts.
Can I Buy Low Spin
Most manufacturers produce a low-spin shaft but don’t assume that there is a huge difference between that and their standard shaft. You may only be looking at a few hundred rpm so if your spin rate is significantly too high then you’re probably going to need some swing changes rather than a new driver shaft to get lower spin off the tee.
How Often Should I Upgrade My Driver?
I’m sure the manufacturers would love you to splash out on a premium driver every time they came out. However if you’re getting fit your clubs then I doubt you’d see much difference unless your current club was 3-5 years old. Even then we might only be talking a couple off yards. You may find that simple setup changes like teeing the ball higher have more effect on your driving performance.
Top 5 Driver Golf Shafts In 2022
If you’re thinking about upgrading then here are some of the best driver shafts on the market right now for you to test out.
Project X HZRDUS Smoke
The Project X HZRDUS Smoke has received rave reviews. The shaft offers a superb feel and performance and comes as light as 50g, making it one of the lightest shafts on the market. It’s a low-spinning shaft and is a great option for players searching for an extra bit of distance.
Prices range between $179.95 and $347 which makes it a pretty expensive shaft.
Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Series
The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Series has proven to be very popular with professional golfers, finding its way into bags on the PGA Tour. The club comes with a mid-kickpoint, giving it a mid-angle ball flight. The club is best suited to medium to high swing speeds and has a lightweight design.
Each Pro Series shaft is priced between $146-$172.
Fujikura Vista Pro 60
Fujikura has received many plaudits for their Ventus shafts which have been used by many of the world’s top professionals. In 2021 they redesigned their Vista Pro 60 line-up and the shafts have become a superb option for golfers looking to upgrade their equipment. The shaft is stable, promotes high clubhead speed and gives great performance.
The Pro 60 comes in at only $105, considerably less than the previous two options.
UST Proforce V2 HL
The UST Proforce V2 HL is perfect for beginners and high handicappers. It offers solid performance for slower swing speeds and is very affordable at just $66.
Aldila Rogue Silver
Aldila has been another manufacturer at the top of the shaft game for many years. The Aldila Rogue Silver offers low-mid launch and low-mid spin rates and is suited to lower handicaps.
It is again a premium option priced at $250.
Best Driver Shafts: Conclusion
Given the price of some of the shafts, it would be somewhat foolish if you purchased one straight off the shelf. You really need to get with an experienced fitter on a launch monitor to work out whether one of the shafts could give you better launch conditions. Don’t forget that many amateurs tend to use shaft that are too stiff for them so bear that in mind if you go out shopping.