Shaftology 101 states there are 5 basic shaft flexes (L, A, R, S and X). For those new to golf, here is what the letters stand for in the order from the most flexible to the stiffest. The L stands for ladies, A for amateur or senior flex today, R is regular, S is stiff and finally X is extra stiff. These have pretty much stood the test of time since shafts first received flex designations, but that is not the case anymore. Here is a primer to get you up to speed with all the new designations you may encounter.
Not to be confused with sub-flexes for True Temper’s Gold series (R200), the R2 designation is mostly found in high end Japanese manufacturers such as Fujikura, Graphite Design and UST Mamiya’s Attas division. The R2 is the equivalent of the modern day A-flex. Instead of calling it amateur or senior flex which is ability or age related, the R2 is simply a softer shaft than a standard regular flex for those with reduced swing speeds.
The R3 nomenclature was also derived from the Japanese manufactures and would be the modern day equivalent of L or ladies flex. The name R3 takes out the sex of the individual in the fitting equation and instead relates it the player’s swing speed much the same way that ladies grips are now referred to as undersized. The R3 flex is the gender neutral term for those with the lowest swing speeds.
This flex designation can be confusing because some may look at the SR as being short for senior flex. Or others may think it could be a combination R and S flex model depending how it is cut. It is neither. If it were a combination flex, most manufacturers would have it look like R&S or R/S. The SR actually stands for strong regular. Another way to put it, it is in-between a traditional R and S flex as a single or discrete flex.
Unless you see characters like / or & in-between the S and X, then it is not a combination flex shaft like some of the FST steel iron shafts. Rather this is a discrete flex that is in-between standard stiff and extra stiff.
The “T” as we will show in a couple of examples refers to Tour flex. So the TS are short for Tour Stiff. This is a flex that is stiffer than traditional S flex but softer than X flex within the same family of shafts. TS may be equivalent or a cross-over to the SX designation.
Ditto here, it indicates Tour extra stiff and is stiffer than a traditional X flex.
The double X – yes, there is such a category for those with very high swing speeds in which standard X is just not stiff enough. XX may be equivalent or a cross-over to the TX designation.
2X is the same as the XX, but just another way to see it. You might find these specialty shafts for long drive competitors. There are also shafts designated as 3X or essentially a XXX flex which would be the stiffest shafts of all.