What Happens when an Iron Shaft is Too (Stiff, Heavy, Firm)

stiff and firm irons on grass


How to Tell if your Iron Shafts are Too Stiff

If your irons shaft is too stiff, it will negatively impact your game. Signs that a iron shaft is too stiff is when your golf club feels too heavy, or your golf balls travel too low.


Signs that your golf iron shafts are too stiff:

  1. Your golf ball flies too low
  2. Your experience loss in distance
  3. Your golf iron feels too firm
  4. Your golf iron feels too heavy


  • Your golf ball flies low.

If your best shots can only go up to medium height then you might have a shaft that’s too stiff for you. Your stiff iron shaft lacks the club head speed needed to get the appropriate amount of spin and because of this your shots will drop out of the air more quickly than they should.

  • You suffer from massive distance loss.

If you only seem to get decent distance when your shots are perfect, you may be using an iron shaft that’s too stiff. This is because there’s very inefficient energy transfer from your club to your golf ball unless you hit your shot just right.

  • The feeling you get is too firm.

What that means is that your flush shots feel alright but anything else that’s not right out of the center of the club face feels wrong. This “too firm” feeling is caused by your shaft being too stiff for you.

  • Your club feels too heavy.

If you have to put more force than what seems to be appropriate into your shots, your club might feel too heavy for you because your shaft is too stiff. This sign is a bit hard to gauge and notice unless you really have a good grasp on your swing as well as technique.


How to Tell if your Iron Shafts are Too Heavy

Having a shaft that’s too heavy will mess up your game. If your shaft is too heavy, then you’ll probably experience these side effects:

  • You get less wrist-snap when you swing.
  • You have decreased swing speed.
  • Your golf ball speed is decreased.
  • You get less spin on your golf ball.
  • You lose distance on the course.
  • Shot dispersion to the left or right or both of your intended target.
  • Trajectory that goes too high or too low compared to what you intended.
  • Your club feels more dull and cumbersome than it should.

If you experience a few of the above symptoms, then you should try switching to a lighter shaft and see if your game improves.


What does a Heavier Iron Shaft Do? 

The weight of a golf shaft is different from the flex of the golf shaft; this is an important point that needs to be remembered and is worth repeating here. Most golfers are confused as to what using a heavier iron does to their game.

There are benefits to using a heavier golf shaft. Golfers that switch to a heavier shaft can experience improvements in their swing and their golf ball flights.

Advantages of using a heavier golf iron shaft:

  • The heavier shaft has a weighted feel which gives you better control over your golf club,
  • Heavier shafts have lower torque which keeps your club face more stable.
  • The heavier shaft has a lower launch angle which helps you from hitting your golf ball too high.
  • Heavier shafts cause less spin which is useful for navigating certain terrain such as the woods.
  • The heavier shaft allows you to hit shots more accurately and consistently.

However, using heavier shafts has some disadvantages:

  • Heavier shafts make some golfers take a hit to their swing speed and make them slower.
  • The heavier shaft gives golfers a hard time to release their club face.
  • Heavier shafts cause less spin which may cause difficulties on some terrain such as the green.

Golfers that can hit their golf ball well and have higher swing speeds should try switching to a heavier shaft. If this is you, then heavier shafts will give you a better feel of your swing and help you hit more consistent shots.


Does a Heavier Shaft Increase your Swing Speed?

Switching to a heavier shaft does not guarantee that you’ll get an increase in swing speed but the weight of your shaft does affect your swing speed. It’s not a huge difference in speed either.

A difference of 30 or 40 grams will not significantly affect your swing speed because that weight is spread throughout the length of your golf shaft. 

If you’re suited to using a heavier shaft, then you should get some extra speed when using one. However, most golfers report a decrease in their swing speed when using them.


What Weight Should your Iron Shafts be?

The weight of your iron shaft depends on you. It varies from golfer to golfer but a good rule of thumb is that if you have fast swing speeds and tempo then you should use heavier golf shafts while if you have slower swing speeds you should use lighter shafts.

The best thing you can do to the right weight for you is to go get yourself fitted by a professional.

Driver shafts are usually 0.12 to 0.13 pounds for men and 0.09 to 0.11 pounds for ladies. Iron shafts can weigh anywhere from 0.12 pounds (graphite) to 0.29 pounds (steel). Your preferred club length, speed and tempo are all important to determine your shaft weight.

Golfers should be aware of progressive weighting; longer clubs need to have lighter shafts than shorter clubs. It begins with your driver and gets heavier from there.

For example, if you have an 80 mph swing speed with a buttery smooth tempo then you’d play a 0.11 pound driver shaft, a 0.13 pound woods shaft, a 0.15 pound hybrid shaft and a 0.17 pound iron shaft.


Heavier golf shafts Vs Lighter golf shafts

You need to know if you should use heavier or lighter golf shafts to improve your game. Here are some of the differences between heavier golf shafts and lighter golf shafts: 

  • Accuracy

Heavier golf shafts are generally shorter than lighter golf shafts and because of this heavier shafts are more easily controlled which results in clean contact with your golf ball. Heavier golf shafts are less likely to slice or hook on the course because they have less torque than lighter golf shafts. Less torque helps keep your golf ball fly straight. 

However, it should be noted that the increase in accuracy tends to come at the cost of decreased distance.

  • Tempo

Heavier golf shafts make it easier for you to “feel” your golf club in your hands and can slow your tempo. This makes you more conscious of your swing and gives you time to position your wrists properly during at the top of the swing as well as when you make impact with your golf ball. This slower tempo results in a cleaner swing and will lead to improved results on the course.

  • Price/Value

Steel which is usually used to make heavier golf shafts is cheaper than graphite which is what’s used to make lighter golf shafts. Steel golf shafts also tend to have longer lifespans than graphite shafts since steel is a sturdier material.


Stiff Flex Vs Regular Flex Golf Shafts

You really need to know which flex is best for you because even if your swing is otherwise perfect, you’ll still be at a disadvantage if you don’t use a flex that suits you. You need to be aware of how you golf and avoid swinging with a stiff flex if you don’t have the correct speed in your swings.

Here are some tips to help choose the right shaft flex for you:

  • Know your swing speed.

This is the most accurate indicator to help you choose your shaft flex. You can either get your swing speed professionally evaluated or you can use DIY tools to help get a decent estimate on your swing speed.

If your swing speed is between 90 to 105 miles per hour, go with a stiff flex shaft. If it’s between 80 to 95 miles per hour then go with a regular flex shaft.

  • Know your driver distance.

This refers to how far you usually hit your golf ball from the tee to where the ball lands while using a driver or woods. You can measure this at the driving range or if you have someone to help you, you can have the measure the distance from your ball to the tee.

If you have a driving distance of between 240 to 260 yards, you should try using a stiff shaft.

If your driving distance is between 210 to 240 yards, then you should try a regular flex shaft.

  • Find out which iron you use to get to 150 yards.

Doing this helps to find the correct flex for your irons. Go out to a driving range and take a typical swing for you. Then take the measurements.

If you use a 6 or 7 iron, then you should try a stiff flex shaft.

If you use a 5 or 6 iron, then you should try a regular flex shaft.

  • Figure out if you want distance or accuracy.

Sometimes you want to hit the golf ball far but sometimes you want the golf ball to get to just the right spot.

If you’re using a driver with a regular flex shaft but don’t hit your golf balls accurately, then you should try using a stiffer golf shaft. The stiff flex shaft will give you more control and increase your accuracy.


What’s a Firm Flex Golf Shaft?  

A firm flex golf shaft is just that, a golf shaft that’s firm. They’re also called stiff shafts and are the preferred shafts of golfers that have a fast swing speed that regularly hit their golf ball out 250 yards or more. These golfers that tend to use firm flex golf shafts usually have club speed of about 90mph to 105mph.

Tip: If you tend to hook on the course, you should try a firm flex golf shaft. If you tend to slice, try a softer shaft.


How to Tell If your Shaft Flex is Too Firm

Here are some steps you can take to see if your shaft flex is too firm for you:

  • Determine your swing speed by using something like a clip-on device or a phone app. Pros usually swing fast with speeds of 110mph or higher while amateurs have swing speeds of 80 to 95mph. Golfers with slower swing speeds usually need golf shafts with flexes two or three times less firm than pros.
  • Find your average driving distance. If you have a decent and consistent swing but can’t seem to hit your golf ball very far then you might be using golf shafts that are too stiff for you. A good rule of thumb is that if your swing speed is 80 to 95mph but you aren’t able to drive your golf golf ball 200 to 220 yards, you have a shaft that’s too stiff.
  • If you slice your shots a lot, you may be using a shaft that’s too stiff. Shafts that are too stiff make you have problems loading correctly during downswing. Then at the point where your club head gets to your golf ball, your shaft won’t unload correctly with the club face remaining just a bit open which causes you to slice.
  • Check if your club feels like its “dead” when you swing it. You need to feel your club head when you swing and if your shaft is too stiff it’ll leave you unable to determine when the weight of your club head has loaded your golf shaft. It feels less like you’re swinging a golf club and more like you’re swinging a baseball bat.
  • Know what you need most for your game because maybe you need a golf shaft that’s stiffer than you’d normally like. Sometimes you need more accuracy but less distance so you switch to a shaft you wouldn’t regularly use.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

Recent Posts