Does a Softer Driver Shaft produce more distance?
Many players have the idea that a softer shaft simultaneously produces more "whip effect" and thus also more length. This idea is actually logical and thus the myth that softer shafts promise more length persists. We wanted to find out with this test and see if this is really the case.
To do this, we equip a player with two different shafts from the same manufacturer. The shaft profile is similar, the weight slightly different. The difference is 30 CPM, which is roughly comparable to a soft Regular and a stiff X-Stiff shaft. The soft shaft would be one that would not be considered in a fitting for this player. But we just want to know if we can gain length with it.
The first "disappointment" we see is in the club head speed. This did not increase with the soft shaft. It was even significantly lower at 3mph. Of course, this is very individual and with another player the result would possibly look different. But we can already reject the idea that the soft shaft automatically generates more club head speed. Our player simply had a better feeling with the stiffer/fitting shaft, knew where the club head was and could move it accordingly better. The hoped-for "whip effect" did not materialise.
Why soft shafts do not provide more length
Apart from the fact that the club head speed was not higher, soft shafts often have a very decisive problem: they produce too much dynamic loft. A shaft bends towards the target during the moment of impact and thus generates loft. This is called "shaft deflection" and makes it easier to get the ball into the air. With the driver, however, too much shaft deflection can result in too much dynamic loft. And that means less ball speed and more spin - neither of which is ideal for distance.
The difference in dynamic loft is "only" 1.3° but this is clearly noticeable, especially in spin and ball speed. 1° more loft usually means about 250 rpm more spin and this is noticeable with the driver.
Even though this test was only done with one player, it clearly shows that a softer shaft does not mean a higher club head speed at the same time. And that a soft shaft basically produces more loft. More loft is no longer optimal above a certain club head speed and reduces carry length significantly. Instead of gaining more length with the soft shaft, we not only lose precision, but also 11m carry or 13m total length. We therefore advise against buying a soft shaft too quickly in the hope of gaining more length.