***If you’re looking for the most recent reviews for 2021 gear, we will be updating this page in the summer after we’ve had a chance to review them!
If you’re in a hurry and just want to find the Best Driver Shafts in 2020, then we recommend the Fujikura Vista Pro.
Most of the attention is given to the face of the driver and the style of the club head for irons. The golf shaft, on the other hand, is one of the most important and most forgotten aspects of a club when it comes to performance. Depending on your swing speed and the position of your hands on impact, the difference between a stiff steel shaft and a high flex graphite shaft is huge. There are also great differences in the quality of the lower end shafts compared to the best driver shafts on the market. Taking into account your skill, swing speed, pocketbook, and desire to improve, the following article will help you decide the best driver shaft for you.
In this article, we’re going to be reviewing the following driver shafts:
- Fujikura Vista Pro
- Graphite Design Tour AD BB
- Mitsubish Tensei CK Pro
- Project X Hzrdus Smoke Black
- Accra Tour Z RPG
How to Choose the Best Driver Shaft
Choosing the best shaft for your driver is not difficult if you know your game well. The problem is that many golfers purchase their “dream set” of golf clubs before their game is developed and before they know what they really need. There are many golfers who notice that graphite shafts are more expensive and have heard someone say they are the best, so naturally they want the best. Others have heard that the “senior” flex is only for senior players so they naturally stay away from those shafts until they are old enough to use them.
The truth is, everyone has strengths and weaknesses in their golf game, and taking these strengths and weaknesses into account are the only way to find the best driver shaft. For many “weekend warriors,” the driver is the most important club in their bag. It is not the most important for their score, but it provides bragging rights, confidence, and the ability to put the ball in play to start a hole.
One of my most frustrating memories when I first started playing was that I could not get the ball in the fairway to save my life. I would slice one drive, then over correct that slice and hook the next one into the woods. I remember a particularly embarrassing shot with some new friends from college where I hit someone’s back door so hard that it actually cracked open. Needless to say we left that particular hole very quickly. Driving like this makes for a very frustrating day for you and for the people that are playing with you.
I was young at the time, but I decided to make some changes to my driver. I went to a club fitter and he analyzed my swing. The results were that I kept the same head, but I switched to an extra stiff steel shaft on my driver. My distance was still there, and it added control that I had never had before (whether it was psychological or real I am still not sure). Every drive was not perfect, but I definitely gained a lot of control off of the tee which made the game fun again and maybe even lowered my score by a couple of strokes.
The bottom line is that the driver is an important club for fun and for scores, and choosing the right golf club shaft could make a huge difference in your game from the tee. Going to a professional club fitter might be a little out of your comfort zone, so take the time to read the rest of this article to get some tips about which driver shaft is the best for your swing.
Choosing the Right Flex
As you can tell by the above story, the flex is the most important aspect of choosing a driver shaft. The “flex” is a rating of the shaft’s ability to bend during a golf swing. A club with more flex will bend more throughout the swing plane and a club with less flex will stay straighter throughout. There are generally five classifications of golf club shaft flex as follows:
- Extra Stiff (XS): The least amount of bend and the choice of most tour players.
- Stiff (S): Slightly more bend, but the club stays relatively straight.
- Regular (R): A little more bend than the previous two, and usually the right choice for the average golfer.
- Senior (A): More flex and “whip” at impact. This is usually reserved for beginners who do not yet swing hard and for seniors who are losing some of their swing speed.
- Ladies (L): Generally the most flex.
While these flex designations should be uniform, they are not. What that means is that from one brand of club to another and one brand of shaft to another, the flex designation may not be the same. One company’s stiff might be another’s regular. It is important to test them out rather than relying on the letter written on the shaft.
Most people use “average driving distance” as an indicator for which shaft to choose. This may be a little short-sighted because the average driving distance does not take into account the number of mishits and especially for beginning golfers. Your ideal swing speed should be the major indicator for choosing flex. If you are tall, stronger than average, or have a naturally hard swing then your choice of flex may be S or XS even if you do not consistently drive the ball over 250 yards.
Understanding your swing is the first step to choosing the correct flex. Getting your swing analyzed will help you to understand what flex fits your swing the best. Remember, if you are just starting out, do not worry about spending a lot of money on a driver or any club for that matter. Wait until you begin to understand your swing and your game and purchase your driver (along with the shaft) based on your swing.
What Sets One Driver Shaft Apart from Another
Here are the things to look for when deciding which shaft is the best for your driver and your swing:
- The flex of the shaft as mentioned above.
- The weight of the shaft. The general rule is that the harder you swing, the heavier the shaft can be and the softer you swing the lighter you want it to be.
- The amount of torque in the shaft. Torque is the amount a shaft is prone to twist during the swing. For most golfers, this is the least important thing to worry about, but you actually can have too little torque for your swing.
Graphite or Steel
While there are other materials used for shafts, graphite and steel are still the standards. Graphite shafts will generally be lighter and have greater amount of flex even with the same designation. Graphite is also generally more expensive and is almost always the standard shaft for most drivers. In the past, pros and scratch golfers almost always used steel, but that has changed along with shaft technology. In general, however, if you need more flex you go with graphite and if you need more control and less flex you go with steel.
Best Driver Shafts Reviewed
The following are reviews of some of the best driver shafts out there. You will see names like Fujikura and Accra and we will list some of the pros and cons of each shaft. At the end we will choose an overall winner based on features and price.
With a higher launch and the ability to increase swing speeds, the Fujikura Vista Pro is a great shaft.
The Fujikura brand continues to impress year-after-year in their graphite shafts and particularly their driver shafts. The CAGE technology and maximum fiber content are just two ways Fujikura continues to impress.
- CAGE technology is an innovative design process that surrounds the graphite fibers in the shaft with a rigid cage structure on the outside. This creates a thinner and lighter shaft with all of the feel and control of a much heavier one.
- Maximum fiber content allows for greater stiffness, strength, and durability.
- The stiff flex is one of the best for a graphite shaft and provides similar control to a steel shaft but with added feel.
- Promotes higher carry and better stop power on the fairway.
- It is customizable in terms of weight, length, and various launch and spin angles.
- One of the more expensive shafts and can account for up to 20% of the total cost of even a high end driver.
- Works great for scratch golfers and better but is not as much of an improvement for others.
Contrary to what the name would suggest, this driver shaft is actually made from carbon fiber materials that are referred to as “nanoalloys.”
You can choose from four different weights starting at 50g and then moving up 10g each time to 80g. You can also choose from any flex depending on the weight of the shaft as well. With a clean and different look and similar performance to graphite, the Tour AD BB is a strong shaft choice.
- Many different mix and match options between the weight and flex offerings.
- While it is an alloy, it performs and weighs similar to graphite shafts. In fact, the ease with which you can change the carbon fiber makeup of the club make it easier to fluctuate on the weight.
- It focuses the kick from the midpoint of the club to the tip which produces higher swing speed and additional distance.
- While it may perform “similar to graphite,” it is not graphite.
- The same price as many of the good graphite choices out there.
- You cannot choose a regular flex with the heavier clubs.
The Mitsubishi Tensei continues to make quite a splash on the driver shaft market.
The term “alloy” refers to a combination of different metals, and this shaft takes that to an extreme combining 11 different materials as opposed to the normal three to six. While expensive, it has become a go to shaft for many skilled players and professionals. It is a high speed, low spin, high torque option that can increase distance but is made primarily for top notch players.
- Different color options are available. While color does not produce results, it can boost confidence and increase the likability of a shaft.
- The Kevlar weave in the butt section of the shaft promotes increased feel, stability, and will last for a long time.
- It produces a “low launch” profile which benefits stronger players and hard swingers.
- Produces very low torque.
- Has found its way into many tour professionals’ bags.
- It can be difficult to find a flex outside of stiff, regular, and extra stiff.
- One of the most expensive options on this list.
The Project X Hzrdus Smoke shaft is a low launching, low spin shaft with a very stiff profile.
The more aggressive your swing is the more likely this shaft is for you. While it does provide a surprising amount of torque, the whip at the end of the swing is virtually nonexistent which means you maintain control with your shots. This shaft will help strong golfers with hard swings maintain control and accuracy without sacrificing distance.
- A low spin stiff profile and a low launch is an advantage for the strong, seasoned golfer.
- A great looking shaft.
- A slightly higher torque than other clubs on the list, this higher torque gives a little bit better feel with the stiffer shafts.
- Great control without losing distance for hard swingers.
- A good swing will produce consistent results while a bad swing will not. The results of a consistent swing are consistent quality shots.
- The same low spin, low launch qualities that are an advantage to good golfers are very much disadvantages for the majority of golfers out there.
- If you are looking for kick, you should also be looking for a different shaft.
The Accra Tour Z RPGis a highly customizable shaft with a lot of options that make it a great fit for almost any golfer.
It produces the feel, stability, and stiffness of a heavier shaft and consistent results even with the higher flex options.
- It is customizable and any flex can be chosen on any customization.
- You can choose between a low, medium, or high launch point.
- Multiple weight options available
- The extra stiff options are not as consistent as some of the other clubs on the list.
- Focuses more on lower handicap golfers even if there are offerings for high handicap golfers.
- Very expensive
The winner is: the Fujikura Vista Pro. While some of the other clubs have specific advantages over the Fujikura, you get the most bang for your buck here.
The Fujikura name is synonymous with quality and you get that with this shaft. While it does not have the “wow” factor for certain features like the others, it has the most versatility for the most golfers.