Does a stiffer shaft cause a slice?

Answered by Douglas Hiatt

A stiffer shaft can indeed cause a slice. When we talk about the stiffness of a golf club shaft, we are referring to its ability to flex during the swing. A stiffer shaft does not flex as much as a more flexible one.

When a golfer swings with a stiff shaft, it can result in a couple of issues that contribute to a slice. First, a stiffer shaft can make it more difficult for the golfer to square the clubface at impact. This means that the clubface is open relative to the target, causing the ball to spin to the right for a right-handed golfer. This open clubface, combined with the sidespin generated by a slice swing path, leads to the ball curving even more to the right.

Second, a stiffer shaft can also affect the golfer’s ability to properly release the club through impact. The stiffness of the shaft can inhibit the golfer’s ability to fully release the club, resulting in a weak and glancing blow on the ball. This weak impact can further exacerbate the slice by promoting a sidespin that sends the ball off to the right.

It is worth noting that the relationship between shaft stiffness and slicing can vary depending on a golfer’s swing characteristics. Some golfers with slower swing speeds may find that a stiffer shaft actually helps them straighten out their shots. However, for the majority of golfers who struggle with a slice, a more flexible shaft can be beneficial.

To determine the appropriate stiffness for your shaft, it is important to consider your swing speed. The general rule of thumb is that slower swing speeds benefit from more flexible shafts, while faster swing speeds require stiffer shafts. However, it is also important to consider other factors such as swing tempo and feel.

Finding the right shaft stiffness can be a personal and trial-and-error process. It is recommended to visit a professional club fitter who can analyze your swing and provide recommendations based on your unique characteristics. They can help you find the optimal shaft stiffness that will promote a straighter ball flight and potentially reduce your slice.

While a stiffer shaft may work for some golfers, it is generally not recommended for those who struggle with a slice. A more flexible shaft can help promote a square clubface at impact and allow for proper release, reducing the likelihood of a slice. Consulting with a professional club fitter is the best way to determine the appropriate shaft stiffness for your game.