Light Weight Steel Iron Shafts for 2018
Light weight steel shafts are offering a lot of clubfitting options. Just like the rush of graphite shaft makers to get 85 to 115 gram graphite shafts to market, steel shaft manufacturers are dropping from the 115 to 125 gram range to the 95 to 110 gram range. Why? Older golfers that have played Dynamic Gold, Project X or KBS Tour shafts (125+ grams) are not enamored with the feel of graphite and are looking for a lighter weight steel shaft to maintain the same feel and potentially give them more distance. On the other side, as junior golfers start getting stronger, it is a tough transition to go from a light weight 70 to 85 gram graphite shaft to a heavy 125+ gram steel shaft. As a clubfitter, we know that weight, flex and profile (launch characteristics) of these new shafts are important to getting optimum performance.
There are several manufacturers that offer steel shafts in the 95 to 110 gram range. True Temper has just replaced its Dynamic Gold Super Light(SL) shaft with the new Dynamic Gold 105. This shaft and its heavier brother Dynamic Gold 120 is a lower launching shaft similar in ball flight the the heavier Dynamic Gold shaft. True Temper launched its XP series of shafts in the last three years with the XP 95 (high launch), and the new XP 100 (mid-high launch) for 2018.
In addition, True Temper has expanded its AMT (Ascending Mass Technology) shafts to include the AMT Red (high launch, light weight), AMT Black (mid launch, mid-light weight) and AMT Tour White (low-mid launch, tour weight). Each shaft is designed for a particular iron, i.e. 3 iron through PW and increases in weight by 3 grams as you go from longest to shortest iron.
Nippon has been in this market a long time as well with its 950GH series (95 gram) of mid to mid-high lanuch shaft. In fact the Nippon 950 GH shaft is the most popular on the LPGA Tour. Nippon recently introduced its Modus 105 shaft (mid-high launch) to complement its slightly heavier Modus 120.
KBS entered the light weight steel market with the KBS Tour 90 and now has a variety of mid to high launch shafts. These include the C-Taper Lite, KBS Tour 105 and KBS Tour V 100. These shafts are also in the mid to mid-high launch range.
Finally, OBAN, traditionally high performance graphite shaft manufacturer, entered the market in 2016 with its CT 115 steel shaft. The CT 115 is a Japanese steel shaft that offers a wide range of fitting options in the 103 to 112 gram range. New in 2017 is the CT 100 shaft that comes in the 88 to 98 gram range. These shafts are offered in 13 different lengths that cover 7 flexes in each model.
Pick a Shaft, but Which One?
So how do you decide which of these light weight steel shafts work best for your swing? We have an extensive library of shaft profiles and demo shafts in our fitting system so we can dial our golfers into the shaft that offers the best combination of feel and performance. It is a MUST to be able to test different shafts on the same head in order to do a proper fitting. Numbers on the launch monitor don’t lie but the feel of the shaft has to deliver that confidence to create repeatable shots. That can only be determined in a fitting.
Another thing to be aware of in these light weight steel shafts is that it may be difficult to get to a particular desired flex. Most of these light weight shafts, but not all, have a smaller diameter butt section which makes it difficult to get much more than a men’s senior flex out of even a S or X flex. Again, this is based upon our experience in building to a specific set of frequencies in the iron set.
So if you are a little older golfer looking to maintain the feel of steel but looking for a lighter shaft, or a up-and-coming junior or lady golfer looking for a more stable shaft but not super heavy, the new light weight steel shafts offer great options. Schedule your fitting here!