What It Is, What It Affects
“Kickpoint” is a feature in golf shafts. The term refers to that region of a golf shaft at which the shaft exhibits the greatest amount of bend when the tip is pulled down. So kickpoint isn’t a singular point on a shaft, but rather an area along the shaft’s length where it exhibits the most flexing when a force (such as a golf swing is applied.
Kickpoint is also called “flex point” or “bend point.” Golfers and shaft manufacturers write it either as one word (our preference) or as two separate words (kick point). Both are acceptable.
Specifying the Kickpoint Location
Golf shaft manufacturers and OEM equipment companies often cite kickpoint location, or at least make that information available in the club “specs.” When doing so, manufacturers cite one of three locations for kickpoint:
- Low kickpoint: The kickpoint area is on the low end of the shaft, toward the clubhead. (“The stock shaft for this club is low-kick.”)
- High kickpoint: The kickpoint area is on the high end of the shaft, toward the grip end. (“This club comes with a high-kick shaft.”)
- Middle kickpoint: The kickpoint area is near the middle of the shaft’s length. (“This is a mid-kick shaft.”)
What Does the Location of Kickpoint Affect?
Citing the kickpoint location is a way of letting golfers know something about the type of trajectory a given shaft will favor. Kickpoint can help a golfer hit the ball higher or lower, depending on the location of that flex point.
In other words, kickpoint location can influence the launch angle of golf shots:
- A low kickpoint shaft tends to produce a higher launch angle;
- A high kickpoint shaft tends to produce a lower launch angle.
Another way of staying this is:
- If you are hitting the ball too high, check the kickpoint of your shaft (in many cases the kickpoint type is printed in the shaft graphics). If the kickpoint is low or mid, switching to a high kickpoint shaft may help you stop hitting it so high.
- If you are hitting the ball too low, on the other hand, switching to a low kickpoint shaft may help you get the ball up more.
Just keep in mind that shaft flex point is not something that is going to overcome a bad swing. It’s not a cure-all; even in a best-case scenario, the effect may be modest.
“Whether a shaft affects the trajectory of the shot is more determined by the clubhead’s center of gravity and by the golfer’s downswing technique than it is by the design of the shaft on its own,” says golf equipment designer Tom Wishon, founder of Tom Wishon Golf Technologies.
“Most important of these is the golfer’s downswing moves. If the golfer is able to hold the wrist-cock angle until mid- to late in the downswing, this will allow two shafts of different bend profile design to show a little difference in the height of the shot with the same clubhead. But if the golfer unhinges the wrist-cock very early in the downswing, such a swing move will negate the ability of any two shafts to demonstrate a visible difference in the trajectory of the shot.”
Still, picking a shaft that is appropriate for your swing is a good idea! You can buy aftermarket shafts and tinker if you are the DIY type. Better, visit a clubfitter and be properly fit for shafts that match your swing.
Kickpoint vs. ‘Bend Profile’
The term “bend profile” is a sort of next-generation expansion of the kickpoint idea, a more advanced way of thinking about how a golf shaft flexes. And an acknowledgment that despite kickpoint describing the area of most flex, a shaft can bend in different amounts at different points along its length.
When you see terms such as “tip stiff” or “grip stiff” used in relation to golf shafts, bend profile (rather than kickpoint) is what is being discussed.
‘Kickpoint’ connotes the thought that the shaft has a ‘hinge,’ which is definitely not true,” Wishon said. ” ‘Bend profile,’ on the other hand, offers the explanation that the shaft’s overall stiffness may vary intentionally over its entire length as a way to change the bending feel and the trajectory the shaft offers to the flight of the ball.”