Whether you are looking for longer distance off the tee or need to repair your driver, there may no better time than the present to replace a driver shaft. With new materials making them lighter, stronger, and more responsive, driver shafts are becoming an increasingly vital and indispensable component of drivers. With a vast array of shafts to choose from, there are options to fit every budget.
For the budget-conscious golfer, replacement shafts can start at $30 for no-frills, entry-level quality. For players who are willing to pay a bit more, there are plenty of options lying between $50 to $200, for shafts in all five flex categories. Last but not least, for those who want only the best when it comes to their golf equipment, shafts can run as much as $600.
Replacing a driver shaft can produce dramatic results ranging from increased driving distance to greater accuracy and control. The right shaft for your driver can significantly improve your golf game, elevating your performance while lowering your score. Sorting through all the different options takes patience and a willingness to consider all the facts before pulling the trigger, and this includes knowing how much you can expect to spend.
How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Driver Shaft?
Golf equipment manufacturers are becoming more cognizant of the important role that shaft plays in the performance of a driver. After all, the shaft is responsible for transferring the tremendous amount of energy generated by the golfer’s swing to the clubhead, which in turn impacts the ball and launches it into the air. The shaft, therefore, affects ball flight just as much as the head of the driver.
There is a broad range of shafts, each with attributes that are designed to enhance a particular aspect of ball flight. When it comes to material, the overwhelming majority of driver shafts on the market are graphite, which is a composite of graphite fibers and epoxy formed into what is essentially a hollow tube that is comparatively stronger than steel, but only half the weight.
It is the lightweight strength of graphite shafts that enables golfers to generate greater swing speeds, which, in the eyes of many, translates to longer distance off the tee. Since there is so much uniformity in driver shafts as far as the graphite material, the most important attribute as far as the recreational player is concerned is the amount of flexibility in the shaft or the flex.
The amount of flex in a driver shaft has a significant effect on not only driving distance but also the golfer’s ability to keep the ball in the fairway (or in bounds, for that matter).
There are five degrees of flex:
- Ladies – This flex category comprises the most flexible shafts available and is usually designated with the letter “L.” Although older female golfers most commonly use ladies’ shafts, senior male golfers also benefit from the flex in these shafts, as they generally compensate for lack of swing speed. Ladies flex shafts can range from $50 to over $400 (without installation).
- Senior – In terms of flexibility, senior flex shafts are the second most flexible after ladies flex. Senior flex shafts are designated with a letter “A” and are specially designed for golfers who have lost distance off the tee with age. Senior flex shafts can range from $30 to over $350 (without installation).
- Regular – This is the most common type of shaft flex and suits the typical recreational golfer who can routinely drive the ball 225 to 250 yards. This is an all-around shaft for players who are satisfied with their distance and want to maintain ball control. Regular flex shafts are designated with the letter “R.”
Because this is the most popular and common class of driver shafts, regular flex shafts have the greatest variance in price, with models available for player skill levels ranging from entry-level beginners to professional-grade equipment. Regular flex shafts can range from $30 to well over $550 (without installation).
- Stiff – At this level of flex, driving distance is more a function of the golfer’s physical ability. This shaft flex is suitable for players with low handicaps, who consistently drive the ball 250 yards or more, and have decent accuracy as far as hitting fairways. Stiff flex shafts are designated with the letter “S.” Stiff flex shafts range in price from $30 to $600 (without installation).
- Extra stiff – This class of driver shafts is reserved for low handicappers and golfers who play at a competitive level. Long hitters play with extra stiff shafts on their drivers to not only take advantage of their length off the tee but also to control their ball flight and shape shots according to the course layout. Extra stiff driver shafts are designated with the letter “X.” Extra stiff flex shafts range in price from $30 to $600 (without installation).
Re-Shafting a Driver
Golf shops can re-shaft a driver for as little as $20, but usually require that the shaft be purchased from the shop with the re-shafting provided as an additional service. Expect to pay more if you bring your shaft into a golf shop for re-shafting service.
With a little bit of research and a willingness to invest in the necessary tools and apparatus, replacing your driver shaft (or re-shafting your entire set for that matter) is fairly straightforward and easy to learn.
Aside from saving money in the long run, there are several distinct advantages of re-shafting your driver (and other clubs):
- You can repair or re-shaft your driver without the necessity of booking an appointment at your local golf shop (or waiting for an opening).
- You can experiment with different shafts, playing with one type of shaft for one round, then playing with a different shaft the next round.
- You can gain more personalized control over your golf game by taking a hands-on approach to customizing and fine-tuning your clubs.
As far as learning how to re-shaft your driver, there are two processes involved:
- Removing the old shaft: Removal of the old shaft requires separating it from the driver club head. Most driver heads are attached to shafts by an epoxy-type adhesive that can be softened by applying heat with a butane torch. A small plastic ring between the shaft and the hosel (base of the head where the shaft is inserted) called the ferrule might need to be loosened or cut loose first.
- Installing the new shaft: With the old shaft removed from the head, installing the new shaft is a matter of measuring (and cutting with a hacksaw, if necessary) the shaft to ensure it is of proper length, sanding or filing the tip to provide traction, then applying the special adhesive (epoxy) and inserting the shaft into the clubhead hosel.
Once the alignment is verified, the driver must be left in an upright position for a day to allow the epoxy to become fully set. (It should be noted that whenever a new shaft is installed on any club, it will need to be re-gripped as well.)
For those willing to invest in the equipment and supplies needed to re-shaft their golf clubs, start-up costs for the vise, tools, epoxy, torch, and other necessities could easily exceed what you would pay to have a pro shop re-shaft your driver, a couple of fairway woods, and maybe even your 3-iron for good measure. Just something to consider.
There was a time when a failure in the tee box or breaking a shaft meant laying out the cash for a brand new driver. In today’s golf game, advancements in shaft technology now allow golfers of all skill levels to customize their driver to their physical attributes and playing ability by installing shafts that truly suit their game. Talk about a game-changer!