GET INTO GOLF: Find the right amount of flex
Tennis with a ping-pong paddle. Your fishing reel attached to a plank. We might be at a disadvantage. Yet, most amateur golfers are playing with a set of clubs that make these examples only slightly extreme.
During your swing, the shaft of the golf club will flex, or it should. How much the shaft flexes is critical to consistent successful shots.
If the shaft does not flex enough, the ball will tend to lose distance, fly lower and, for a right-handed player, right of the target (a push). Conversely, if the shaft has too much flex, the ball will tend to move left of the target.
We need the correct amount of flex for a good swing to send the ball online. A player that generates a lot of club head speed, needs a more firm shaft where a player with slower swing speeds requires a more flexible shaft to help create energy.
Skill can overcome the wrong equipment, to a point. For example, if we were to take a set of clubs designed for a relatively slow swing speed and put them in Phil Mickelson’s bag, he could make the adjustments necessary to shoot a good score. It would likely, not be his best, but a good score.
However, if we put a set of clubs in Phil’s bag that were too firm, even he would have a tough time.
Candidly, this is the scenario for most amateurs. The golf club is simply not flexible enough for their swing. We do not create enough energy to flex the club and have it respond as it should.
One more component to our shaft flex determination — flex point. This is the point at which the shaft will flex the most. Shafts have high, mid, or low flex points.
A high flex point will produce a lower ball flight and in turn, the low flex point will send the ball relatively higher.
So, at two ends of the spectrum, the player who generates a tremendous amount of club head speed would be apt to go with a firm/stiff shaft flex with a higher flex point. The very slow speeds need a lot of flex with a low flex point.
There are variables, of course. Think about two cars. One accelerates to 125 mph then slows to 100 mph. The other starts slow and increases it’s speed 100 mph. Granted, we would want to work on technique with a golfer in the first scenario. But, this player would benefit from a lower flex point versus the second player who would likely use a higher flex point.
Thank you for bearing with me. This information is dry, but crucial. The shaft is the only connection that your hands and body have with the head of the club. We are not perfect and our swings are not perfect.
Equipment that does not suit us makes the game challenging for the wrong reasons. We don’t even know how good we can be. We’re not even aware of our need to fabricate swings hoping for a good result.
When we have the correct equipment, not only will it encourage a better outcome. It will virtually guarantee a good shot with a good swing.
Today’s technology provides great resources for your local PGA/LPGA Professionals to dial you in to the best choice for your game. Go have a talk with the staff in your local pro shop, we wouldn’t want you to get shafted in that next big match.
John Renslow is a PGA professional, VP of Yugi Golf Management, and provides golf instruction at local courses.
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