By Paul Myers
In general, the distance that you are going to be able to get out of your tee shots is up to you. You are the one swinging the club, and you are the one giving the power to the shot. If you are able to unload with a fast golf swing speed and make good contact with the ball, you should be able to get a nice, long drive as a result. If you don’t have much golf swing speed, or you make poor contact, you can expect less than stellar results.
However, there is a little bit more to it than that. In order to maximize the return you get from your golf swing speed, you need to have the right golf club shaft length in your driver. Think about it like the engine of a car. If you had a beautiful new sports car ready for a spin around the race track, but swapped out the engine for one from a little economy hatchback, you won’t go very fast at all around the track. Even though you are driving a sports car, all of the power has been stripped away.
The Heart of Your Driver
In much the same way, the golf club shaft in your driver could be considered the engine that drives you down the fairway. You might have a great club head that is used by some of the best golfers in the world, but if you don’t have the right golf club shaft length, it will all be wasted and your drives will fall short of their potential.
It is important to understand that the ‘right golf club shaft length’ doesn’t have to be expensive, or even customized at all. It could be the stock shaft that come with the club right off the rack. The important thing is that it works for your game, and for your swing. One shaft might be perfectly suited to hit long drives for another golfer, but could perform poorly with your swing. Only when the right combination of swing and golf club shaft is found can maximum distance be achieved.
It’s All about Flex
One difference from one golf shaft to another is the flex of the steel or graphite itself. Sure, there are other factors like weight, kick point, and more, but flex is one that has a big impact on the results of the shot. When you have the right flex in the shaft in your driver for your specific swing, impressive results quickly become possible.
With the wrong flex in your club, all sorts of bad results can creep into play. Consider the two possible problems below –
- Shaft too stiff. If you are swinging a club that is too stiff for you to bend as you come down into the ball, you are likely to lose distance. In order to maximize distance, the shaft needs to ‘load’ and ‘unload’ into the ball. When the shaft is too stiff for you to really load it up on the downswing, there won’t be much energy stored up to release, and your shots will fly shorter than they should. Also, you might find that you push the ball frequently as well, since the club isn’t releasing aggressively through the ball.
- Shaft too soft. Conversely, a shaft that is too soft may be difficult for you to control, and could lead to shots that fly all over the course. Additionally, swings made with a shaft that is too weak for your swing will frequently fly very high – higher than you want from a driver. What you are left with are drives that are hard to control and don’t go very far – not a good combination.
Getting it Just Right
To make sure you are swinging the right shaft for your personal swing and ability level, work with a professional club fitter who can analyze your swing and make recommendations as to which shafts would be right for you. While you will likely have to pay for a session with a club fitter, many will reimburse the fee if you wind up purchasing a new club from their shop. A club fitting may only take around an hour to complete, but can lead to some of the best drives of your life.
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