If you thought buying a driver was all about the club head, then think again. Instead, the shaft will also play a significant role in how the club performs.
But we want to take things even further than most by looking at one other aspect, and that’s your swing speed.
Your swing speed has its own impact on how the club performs, but we won’t look at the club head. Instead, our focus is on the best driver shafts for people with an average to fast swing speed, so let’s say around the 100mph mark.
So, what’s out there on the market, and which ones do we recommend?
1. Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 6.0
The Project X HZRDUS 6.0 is a stiff flex driver shaft that is not over the top. That does mean it’s perfect for people with this type of swing speed as it offers that added stiffness without changing too much with your swing or impact.
This shaft is highly popular with a number of golfers, and it’s all connected to the way in which it performs.
At 70g, it’s a relatively heavy shaft to bring into your driver setup, but that’s capable of having an impact on the ball. With this added weight, it will bring the ball down, offering more control in the process.
This added control is important when you tend to send the ball too high as it then means you lose some distance as energy is then lost thanks to the height. This heavier shaft will correct that leading to a more accurate drive that gains additional yardage.
This shaft copes exceptionally well with the additional power that comes with a faster swing speed.
The Pros and Cons
This Project X shaft works well for those with a more aggressive swing where it’s all about the speed they generate. However, the way it can counteract that power and add in some extra control is the reason so many brands include this shaft in their drivers.
The lower launch is also helpful for some players. By providing you with a sense of more control over your drive, it allows you to relax and settle into the swing. Tension can ultimately make you pull the ball in either direction leading to missed fairways.
This shaft will help iron out those problems, but only to a certain extent.
The only negative is that some people may feel this shaft is slightly too heavy for them. That is a personal preference, but the improved control it delivers should negate that slightly extra weight added to the shaft.
After using this shaft, you will understand why it remains so popular after a number of years. It works well. It helps combine power with control in your drives. It also lowers the launch angle if getting too much height is an issue.
However, it loses half a point due to its weight which won’t work for everyone.
2. Aldila NVS 65 Graphite Driver Stiff Flex
This new Aldila NVS 65 shaft comes with a stiff flex that is specifically designed for those individuals with a faster swing speed than the average. At 65g in weight, it sits comfortably in the middle of the weight range, so it should be suitable for most players.
This shaft is really intended for players that love to get some sort of feel from their driver, but they still want a sense of it being forgiving to their shot.
Aldila shafts appear in brands including Titleist and Cobra, but this NVS version is different from the norm. This one offers a higher launch compared to others they produce, and that’s important if you struggle to get the ball up into the air.
This is all thanks to the way the shaft has a more responsive tip that offers greater control over your shot. This makes it easier to gain the height you want from your drive without it being over the top and losing yardage.
The Pros and Cons
This shaft makes it easier to hit your shot, and it does this in subtle ways that ultimately produce a big end result.
It also helps that it has an average weight for a stiffer flex. This helps anyone transitioning to a stiffer flex without going to the absolute extreme, so they won’t see a huge difference in their game.
But for us, one of the main positives is the way in which the shaft is extra forgiving. When you have a faster swing, and perhaps lack some control, anything that may pull the ball back onto the fairway is worth adding to your driver.
Finally, the other positive is the higher launch. Depending on your swing, you may be coming in over the ball forcing it lower to the ground with your drive. This means you lose yardage, so this shaft can counteract that to some extent.
The only negative we can find with this shaft is you do not get an adapter or grip with it. This is just the shaft on its own, so keep that in mind when making your purchase.
This shaft is relatively inexpensive, and yet the difference it may make to your game is immense. The improved control, the average weight, and the higher launch will all play a part in allowing you to produce the perfect drive.
It gets full marks as it sits in the middle of everything. Getting an adapter should be simple, but its performance outweighs any negatives.
3. Alpha Platinum .335 Tip Shaft
The Alpha Platinum shaft may appear at the lower end of the price range, but don’t think it means this is an inferior shaft.
This version is a mid-launch shaft, so it’s striking the balance between those with a tendency to produce a higher launch as well as those that skim across the ground. Being available in different weights, it also increases the market it can serve as it does mean you will find something to suit your personal preference.
The stiffness of the shaft is also perfect for most people swinging around the 100mph mark. Once again, it’s stiffer without going over the top while still offering enough of a difference for you to notice it in your game.
The Pros and Cons
The positives far outweigh the negatives with this shaft.
The price is amazing. This gives you the opportunity to learn what a stiffer flex can do to your game without breaking the bank.
Another positive is the fact it is a mid-launch version. It should mean you get the maximum yardage from your current swing speed and technique without the need to change anything other than the shaft.
Finally, not only is it high performing, but they have so much confidence in the reliability of the shaft that you get a lifetime guarantee that it will not break. That is cool, and it does mean the shaft will clearly put up with a lot of abuse.
The only negative is that people may not even notice the brand. That means some miss out on potentially improving their game without spending a lot of cash.
At a bargain price, this shaft is one of the best out there on the market. It doesn’t do anything too elaborate, but it performs well and does so with every drive.
It gets full marks as the shaft works perfectly well, and at a bargain price it does mean you should never miss out on it.
4. Proforce V2 HL 2018
This Proforce V2 HL will help those players seeking a higher initial flight off the tee, but it’s about more than that. You see, Proforce understands people switching to a stiffer shaft will often strike the ball lower, so this shaft counteracts that issue.
This shaft is towards the lighter end of things, and that helps get some added height. As a result, the ball will get more yardage without the ball getting too high and losing some of that energy.
It also comes with recoil technology to enhance the spring effect. However, what’s surprising is that all of this does not mean it adds in a significant amount of spin, which is then kept to a minimum.
The Proforce tip will also provide a greater sense of consistency with your shots, so you will find it easier to relax with your drive leading to a better outcome.
Overall, the main reason to include this shaft on your driver is to give you some more controlled height to your shots.
The Pros and Cons
The fact the overall design from end to end is really aimed at tackling pretty much any issue is a real positive. The tip design helps with added flight while the butt part gives you control. That does mean it should help almost any golfer to partly correct problems they face with their drives.
Also, the way in which it doesn’t produce a lot of spin is another impressive point. Spin can have a negative impact on your drive, and when you have a fast swing, you don’t want to lose control in that way.
This shaft negates that problem, and it does so very well indeed.
The only negative is the weight. Some people may feel it’s too light, but you do have the option of moving up to the 60g if that is something that troubles you.
If you find yourself searching for a lightweight shaft with stiff flex, then this model is perfect. It seeks to cover all bases, and it does so relatively well. The higher trajectory to get a longer carry will help those struggling with height as they move over to a stiffer shaft.
It loses half a point for the weight as it may be too light for most.
5. Fujikura Vista Pro 60
The Fujikura Vista Pro 60 is pretty rare in that it comes with both the grip and the adapter as that doesn’t always happen. Also, the fact it works with various TaylorMade drivers is another bonus.
However, even if you do not own one of the M Series drivers by TaylorMade, that doesn’t mean this shaft cannot work other others.
When it comes to shaft stiffness, then it’s classed as a moderately stiff shaft while it also provides you with a moderate launch height.
That does mean it sits perfectly in the middle of what people look for, so it does cover a number of bases in that sense.
Finally, it also manages to only produce low spin, and that’s going to help keep that ball on the straight and narrow through its flight.
The Pros and Cons
The pros of this shaft are pretty obvious. The fact it produces a moderate trajectory will help those struggling to get the ball off the ground while it also effectively limits the height you will get, so no skying the shot.
The shaft is also very well-balanced throughout. The weight sits in the middle of what’s expected while the moderate shaft stiffness should mean nobody feels excluded.
The only negative is what the shaft expects from you in order to perform at its optimum level.
This shaft works best when you have a consistent drive, and that’s when it will perform best. If you have the ability to produce a consistent swing, then this version will work exceptionally well.
However, if you find your drives are on the wild side, then it may not help.
This shaft is seriously aimed at higher-end drivers, and with that tends to come more experienced players taking the game seriously. Ultimately, it appears that’s who they aim at, which is why it has lost a point due to the need for consistency with your drives to get the most out of this shaft.
Factors to Consider with Driver Shafts
The products above all meet high standards for driver shafts, but what key factors should you consider when looking at buying a new shaft for your own club?
Well, you have several points to think about, and understanding the difference it makes to the end shot is clearly important.
First, there’s the flex and when you have swing speeds around this mark, then it’s generally best to have a stiffer flex. Alternatively, you can purchase extra stiff shafts, but for most people, the stiff version will suffice.
But you must look at another key point when deciding the flex of the shaft.
With your current drives, do you tend to hit a high ball with lots of spin, or a lower shot where getting height always seems problematic? Well, that has an impact on the flex.
If you hit those high balls, a stiffer flex is perfect. If you struggle with height, then something with a bit more flex than you currently have will help get that ball up in the air.
Let’s also look at the weight of the shaft as that can make a difference, but not as much as most expect. Once again, it all depends on what your average drive looks like to determine the weight aspect.
If your drive goes high and has a tendency to incorporate hooks or draws, then a heavier shaft should help correct those issues. If your drives go low and with a tendency to include fades or slices, then a lighter shaft is the best solution in that instance.
This is all connected to the way in which you can control your shot.
Think about it from this aspect.
If you have a fast swing speed of around 100mph blended in with little control over your shot, then including a lighter shaft will mean more speed and even less control. At that point, you must sacrifice some speed to get that ball on the fairway.
Next, there’s the length of the shaft as this too will determine the best driver shaft for your needs.
If consistency is a problem, then a slightly shorter shaft will help. The only problem here is taking off some length has a knock-on effect with other aspects of the swing. This includes the weight distribution, the torque in the shaft, the feel of the swing, and how stiff the swing is.
But here’s an interesting point.
A slightly shorter shaft that leads to a more consistent stroke will often mean the ball gets more yardage than before. That’s because you tend to hit the ball squarely in the sweet spot, so a cleaner connection is only ever going to have positive results.
The kick point refers to the actual part of the shaft that bends most at the contact moment. A shaft that has this point close to the bottom, which means next to the join with the club head, will often produce higher shots than a kick point higher up the shaft.
Once again, if current drives are high and floating, then a higher kick point will reduce the height leading to better yardage. But if getting it up off the ground is tough, go for the lower kick point to help you out.
Finally, we have the torque which is also referred to as the level of resistance the shaft has to twisting through your swing and shot.
The torque has a major impact on the overall feel of the shot. With this, don’t generally allow yourself to fall into the trap of believing a low torque is better for faster swing speeds. This only all applies if your swing is sound and consistent.
Instead, look at how you hit the ball. If you tend to hook or pull your drive, then a high torque shaft should eliminate it, leading to a straighter drive. If you push or slice the ball, then a low torque can counteract that for some people.
The Positives and Negatives of the Correct Driver Shaft
The positives and negatives of having the correct driver shaft for your swing speed is actually easy to see in the shot itself.
Having the correct driver shaft for your swing speed and style of shot leads to better control and a more accurate drive. It allows you to relax with your drive knowing you have some help with the shot.
The fact that the driver shaft can counteract some issues you have with your drive is something you should never overlook. That is why we have stressed the need to understand your drive and where you may go wrong. If in doubt, get your local pro to point it out, and then find the right shaft.
It does all come with a couple of negatives. First, not doing your research into the correct shaft for your game will mean it becomes rather costly to get the correct shaft for your game.
Also, the wrong shaft will lead to those issues becoming more apparent. Think about something as simple as the torque. If you do hook your drive, and then add in a new shaft that is low torque, and then promotes additional twisting, then those hooks will become more consistent. Do you really want that?
So, that is why we included shafts with variability. Each type of player should have some shaft listed above that is suitable for their game. Just check the details in accordance with your own specific needs or requirements to get the right one.
A stiff shaft is capable of changing your game, but for us the best one is the Alpha Platinum because of its price as well as the fact it does everything you would expect from a stiffer shaft. It also manages to outperform so many other shafts that cost significantly more.
Another one to mention is the Aldila NVS. It too performs to a high standard, but the Alpha Platinum pips it as it allows those with a lower budget to dabble in the world of having a stiffer shaft on your driver without stressing about the cost.