Golf shafts feature several characteristics you should consider when purchasing a club or a set of clubs. In addition to obvious factors such as the shaft’s composition, weight and length, you should consider its flexibility, as well. If you have a roughly average swing speed, you’re a new player or you’re not sure how flexible your clubs’ shafts should be, you might consider a uniflex shaft.
The Middle-of-the-Road Shaft
A golf shaft’s flexibility rating tells you how much the shaft will bend during your downswing. Golf manufacturers typically classify their shafts with a letter scale in which “L” indicates the most flexible shafts -- the ones that bend the most when you swing. The other categories, which become progressively stiffer, are usually “A,” “R,” “S” and “X.” The uniflex shaft is a newer category that fits between R and S, putting it roughly at the midpoint of the stiffness spectrum. As such, it’s a universal choice -- hence the prefix “uni” -- that is compatible with most players’ swings.
Uniflex Shaft Composition
The uniflex designation doesn’t refer to a shaft’s composition, nor to the type of club in which it’s used. You’ll find uniflex steel and graphite shafts. Uniflex shafts are also used in drivers, hybrids, irons and wedges.
Who Should Use a Uniflex Shaft
In an ideal world, you’ll purchase clubs from a professional club fitter who’ll match your equipment to your size and swing. If that’s not possible, then choose your shaft flex according to your swing speed. Conventional golf wisdom states that a faster swing requires a stiffer shaft. Former U.S. Golf Assocation technical director Frank Thomas recommends an “R” flex for players with swing speeds of 80 to 95 mph, so a uniflex shaft is best for players with swing speeds of approximately 90 to 100 mph -- in other words, for players at the faster end of the “R” spectrum and the lower end of the “S” spectrum.
Shaft Flex Variability
There is no industry standard with respect to shaft flexibility. As a result, a uniflex shaft offered by one company may be more or less flexible than a uniflex shaft made by a different manufacturer. If you’re interested in a uniflex club, your best bet is to try one out. Many golf retail shops have “demo days” in which you can test a variety of clubs to see which fits best with your swing. Alternatively, if you use a manufacturer’s “R” shafts and your swing speed improves, switching to the same company’s uniflex shafts ensures that you’re using a stiffer-shafted club. The same principle is true if you use a company’s “S” shafts and wish to move down to a more flexible club.