Picking out new golf clubs isn’t always an easy decision. A lot of times it feels like you’re trying to decipher hieroglyphics more than picking out the right equipment for the golf course.
Terms like tipping, shaft tip, torque, kickpoint, and other technical golf terms can make the buying process a lot more difficult. This is why it’s important to understand them because the wrong golf shafts can make the sport 10X harder.
Whether you realize it or not, shafts are the engine of the golf club.
While most of us worry about the clubhead and grip, the shaft is equally, if not more important. I’ve seen golfers switch shafts without making swing changes and improve their game overnight. It’s about finding shafts that match your swing based on flex, weight, kickpoint, and more.
Today, we’ll simplify this process so you can better understand shafts and find the right equipment for your golf swing.
Kick Point in Golf Shaft
Before getting into all thing kick point, let’s break down the five aspects of any golf shaft. The five major components arelength, weight, flex, kickpoint, and torque. Here is a brief overview of the first four before a deep dive on the kick point.
The first part of the club that’s easy to spot is the shaft’s length.
Lob wedges and other high lofted wedges are the shortest clubs in the bag while driver shaft lengths are the longest. According to the USGA, “The overall length of the club must be at least 18 inches (0.457m) and, except for putters, must not exceed 48 inches (1.219m).”
But thanks to a new local rule, competition sites can choose to allow the club to not exceed 46 inches. Most new drivers come standard with 45 inch shafts so you shouldn’t have to worry about your driver being too long. But some professional golfers don’t like this new rule as it can make golfers swing too hard with shorter shafts and cause potential injury.
With shaft length, the longer it is, the harder it is to control. That’s why you driver misses a lot more right or left than your lob wedge (plus the lower loft).
Shaft length isn’t something you need to worry about a ton unless you’re above average height. The majority of male golfers can play standard length golf clubs without needing to add length to golf iron shafts. But golfers who are taller than six feet might need to add ½ inch or more to the shaft to get optimal results.
The second factor that you can easily feel when picking up a golf club is the weight of the shaft. There are two main types of shafts; graphite and steel shafts. These are both a major upgrade from the old days when players used different types of wooden shafts.
Steel shafts were the most popular choice until the 1970s-80s when players realized that graphite shafts were much more forgiving. Now, 99.99% of golfers play graphite shafts in their woods and a lot of amateur golfers do in their irons as well.
Steel shafts are much heavier than graphite shafts (20-50 grams depending on the make and model). Better players benefit more from these heavier shafts, while less experienced golfers will likely benefit from lighter, graphite shafts. Plus, they even make a mixed shaft that is made of both steel and graphite.
The third component to a shaft is the flex of the golf club. The shaft flex you should play is based on your clubhead speed with a driver. The faster you swing, the more flex you need or else your accuracy will suffer.
There are several types of flexes based on your swing speed; here’s the order from most to the least amount of flex.
- Ladies flex
- Senior flex
- Regular flex
- Stiff flex
- Extra stiff flex
- Tour stiff flex
Newer golfers will usually play senior, regular, or stiff shafts as they have slower swing speeds. While more experienced golfers with faster swing speeds will play stiff to extra stiff. Only the best golfers in the world use Tour X-stiff as they require 115mph+ swing speed.
Shaft flex is incredibly important!
If you play a shaft that is too stiff for your swing speed, you can lose distance, reduce accuracy, and make your mishits much worse. If you had to choose, it’s better to play a shaft is too soft vs. one that is too stiff. But ultimately, you always want to play a shaft that matches your swing speed to get the most out of your golf game.
Check out the three articles below for more information on shaft flex:
The fourth component to the golf shaft is the torque, which is not a common topic of discussion among most golfers. While a lot of players know their shaft weight and flex, most don’t know or fully understand torque.
So, what is torque in a golf shaft?
Torque is the shafts resistance to twisting during the swing.
It is measured in degrees and ranges from 2-5 or more degrees. Both graphite and steel shafts have torque and if you swing two different shafts, it’s pretty easy to feel the difference.
Lower torque golf shafts don’t twist easily and should yield a straighter ball flight (if you have enough swing speed). While shafts with more torque (5+ degrees) twist a lot but are better for golfers that have slower swing speeds.
Torque can also impact trajectory as well as the lower the torque, the lower the trajectory.
Now that you have a better understanding of the first four components of a golf shaft, let’s get into the different kick points…
Shaft Kick Point 101
So, what is kickpoint in a golf shaft? It’s easy to think it’s the same as the shaft flex but there’s a big difference in your golf shots.
Kick point is where the shaft bends (it’s also called bend point or flex point).
The higher the kick point, the lower the flight of the ball as the shaft has the same flex throughout. While a low kick point has more “whip” to it and will create a higher launching golf ball. And a mid-kick point will create a moderate launch and is the right weight for a lot of everyday golfers.
Kick point will also affect how you perceive the feel of the club.
High Kick point shaft
Shafts with a high kick point will lead to lower launch, which is good for more advanced golfers. These type of players have very fast swing speeds and have no issue with a high ball flight.
In fact, a lot of them want to flight the golf ball lower for a more penetrating ball flight. Plus, manage spin rates and their golf shafts can help with this a lot.
High kick point shafts can do just that and are generally also heavier, which means more swing speed is needed. They’re also not as forgiving on off center hits which is why most average players should avoid them.
Overall, these higher kick points are better for skilled amateur players and professional golfers.
Mid-Kick point shaft
Most everyday golfers with an average or less than average swing speeds will benefit more from a lower kick points. The best option is usually a mid-kick point shaft.
A mid-kick shaft is the proper golf shaft for the everyday golfer. They have enough shaft tip stiffness and flex to help improve distance and accuracy.
These are the best of both worlds and offer forgiveness, optimal launch, and don’t require a ton of speed. Plus, mishits are better too.
Low Kick point shaft
Finally, low kick point shafts create high launch even if you don’t have a ton of speed in your swing. They are great for getting the ball up quickly and create an overall higher ball trajectory.
These type of shafts are in ladies, senior clubs, and more beginner sets. These clubs also have flexible shafts to also help hit irons high. Although they aren’t great for hitting into the wind as they might go too high but generally speaking are more forgiving overall.
How to Find the Kickpoint of a Shaft
The kickpoint of a shaft is easy to spot like the flex or weight of a shaft. Those are usually both prominently shown on the shaft while kickpoint isn’t. The only way to figure out the kickpoint of a shaft is to find the specifications’ sheet online.
The best way to do this is simply Google your shaft + specifications. Your search engine will find the manufacturers website and scroll down to find the loft, lie, and shaft details below.
FAQs About Shaft Flex and Kickpoint
Do you have more questions to better understand shaft flex? If so, keep reading to make sure you buy the right shafts so they match your swing.
What is low kick point in golf shaft?
A low kick point club means it help players increase their ball flight launch even with reduced swing speeds. Lower kickpoint shafts are more common in senior and ladies golf clubs who need a little extra help creating a higher ball flight.
What is a high kick point shaft?
A high kick point club means the ball will flight lower due to the shaft bend. Higher kick point shafts are suited best for strong golfers with faster swing speeds.
What does a shaft’s bend profile influence?
Bend refers to how stiff the shaft is in the golf club. For example, elite players who use stiffer shafts will not have much bend. While senior players have shafts that have much more bend in softer shafts.
Bend profile also details where the shaft is the stiffest and where it is the softest. For example, some golf shafts have stiffer tips (higher kick points), while others have stiffer shafts in the grip end.
Will a stiffer shaft lead to a lower ball flight?
Yes, stiffer shafts lead to lower ball flights. This is why some of the best players in the world need to play X or TX flex shafts. Since they create so much spin and height with fast swing speeds, they need stiffer shafts to lower trajectory.
A good rule of thumb is that the more flexible a shaft, the higher the ball flight it will produce.
Will a stiffer shaft reduce spin?
Yes, a stiffer shaft will also reduce spin too. This is another reason why faster swingers need to play stiffer shafts. It will keep the spin and ball flight lower to increase distance and overall performance.
Final Thoughts on Kick Point in Golf
Hopefully you have a better understanding of the kick point and the other four components of a golf shaft. Remember, a shaft plays a massive role in your ball striking so don’t settle without doing your homework. Playing a shaft that is too stiff can wreak havoc on your game and make this sport even more challenging.
If you’re hitting it too high and it’s negatively affecting your game, look into a shaft with a higher kick point. Or, if you’re hitting it too low, try a shaft with a lower kick point to increase launch trajectory. Don’t forget, shaft selection is essential to getting the most out of your golf swing.