How Shaft Flex Influences Attack Angle

Scott Sackett
Director of Instruction
McCormick Ranch Golf Club
Scottsdale, AZ

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When looking at a player and how he or she drives the golf ball it’s important to consider all things to find the best driver and shaft combination possible. One thing that gets a lot of attention is the shaft.  Regular, Stiff and X-Stiff are all shaft flexes we are familiar with. Swing speed is not the only factor to think about when selecting a shaft. How that shaft flex effects angle of attack is something that is extremely important and often overlooked. I’ve taken a hard look at this through the last months and recently put some of my ideas to the test. 

Recently a professional of mine hit some shots with his X shafted Titleist 913 and his S flex Adams driver. The shots on the right are the angle of attack with the 913 driver. As you can see, the attack angle is moving from approximately 0 to as high as 5.6 degrees. This is ideal for this player. 

As soon as he gets the S flex into his hands the attack angle dramatically changes. As seen in the 2nd image on the right, the average attack angle goes up to 9 degrees! We saw as high as 12 and as low as 6 with this particular driver. It became apparent that simply changing the shaft flex had a huge impact on flight and distance! 

As a fitter, I have realized one of the main reasons you might move a player down a flex to increase distance is it might actually increase the angle of attack thus giving them a spin rate and launch angle combination much more efficient. Along with contact point, shaft flex and its result on attack angle and launch must be looked at while analyzing anyone’s driver numbers. 

The shots with the lower attack angle in this case had an average carry distance of 281 yards whereas the shots with the S flex had an average carry of 254 yards. That is an average carry distance of 27 yards lost by moving shaft flex alone! 

Scott Sackett, GOLF Magazine Top 100 Teacher since 1999, just voted as one of Golf Digest’s Best Teacher in the State for the fifth year in a row. Also, Director of Instruction at Park Meadows CC in Park City, Utah and while in Scottsdale teaches at McCormick Ranch Golf Club. If you would like to reach Scott you can contact him at