Are you getting the shaft?
Shaft stiffness is one of the most important aspects of setting yourself up to play your best. Practice on the course will do the most for your game, but to get your best score, you have to make sure all your equipment suits you. Your driver shaft shouldn't be too stiff or too soft.
Now, don't go thinking fixing shaft stiffness will magically fix all your accuracy issues, form, or make you drop your score by 3 points. If your buddies or instructor think your form is proper and you feel like you are doing everything "right," the last step could be to ensure the correct shaft.
If your shaft is too soft, it is easy to tell. Do you know that whipping feeling you get when you swing a stick in the air? Your golf swing will feel similar, and you definitely don't want that.
Distance and accuracy suffer with the wrong shaft. If your shaft is too stiff, you won't feel the weight "load" through the shaft. Your swing will also knock you off target with the ball, and you may find yourself consistently slicing. Loading is when you feel the weight of the shaft in the head of the club on the backswing.
Take a few practice swings where you focus on the feeling to check this. Don't try to drive; just figure out where you feel the weight and if you can feel the loading. If it is too stiff, there is a dead feeling, meaning you can't feel the weight load at the top of the club head.
There are a few other features to understand.
"Torque" describes how much the shaft is prone to twisting during the golf swing. All shafts, steel and graphite, exhibit torque measured in degrees. A high-torque shaft will twist more than a low-torque shaft. Put another way, some shafts resist warping better than others. Do you need a high or low torque shaft? You will benefit from a lower torque shaft if you tend to hook the ball. If you have a faster golf swing that is above 90 mph, lower torque is also a better fit. Golfers with low swing speed and a tendency to slice benefit from higher torque clubs.
“Kick point” is the area on the shaft that bends the most during a hit. If you are a golfer who has troubles with getting the ball up in the air, a low kick point is going to work in your favor. This extra bit of flex at the end of the shaft will help get the lift you need to send the ball flying. Higher kick point is going to have lower launch and are preferred for faster swingers. Higher kick point shafts are less forgiving and heavier so beginners or high handicappers shouldn't use them. Most shafts are the mid-kick point.
When buying a new driver, make sure someone matches you to the length of the driver. If you are only 5 foot 3in, using a 45in a shaft, it will be very hard to control where your ball is going. Test out a few before buying to figure out what works best for you.
Remember! Not all inconsistencies are caused by the equipment. The more you practice and perfect your form, the better things will be. Don't worry too much about these small details, and work on your form and distance before assuming the problem is the equipment.