It’s Not About Weight Anymore.
The typical decision point for steel versus graphite was weight. Steel is heavier than graphite so faster swingers preferred a heavier shaft so that they could feel the clubhead being delivered to the ball. The problem for players with a slower forward swing is that the weight of the steel shaft felt too heavy so the player would attempt to swing harder causing a loss of accuracy and consistent contact. This is especially true with longer irons (3, 4, 5), and woods. That is why almost all the wood and hybrid shafts you see today are graphite. A typical graphite wood shaft weighs 55-65 grams while a steel shaft weighs 85 – 128 grams, almost twice as much! But all this is changing. Now you can find light weight steel shafts like the True Temper XP 95 that weigh less than 100 grams and graphite shafts that weigh as much as 115 grams. For some players, especially juniors and some ladies and seniors, steel will still be too heavy and graphite will be the best option.
Isn’t Steel more Consistent?
Steel shafts in general are much more consistent than graphite shafts because of the way they are manufactured. The rolling or extruding process of making a steel shaft versus the wrapping process of graphite shafts produces more even shaft walls and weight distribution throughout the length of the shaft. At D’Lance Golf we test thousands of graphite and steel shafts to select the most consistent shafts on the market. When we manufacture finished clubs at D’Lance Golf, we make sure that each graphite or steel shaft is frequency matched and spine profiled so that each club in your set, regardless of whether it is steel or graphite has the same flex and feel. There is no reason to fear inconsistency in graphite shafts when they are custom-built and frequency matched!
So What Should You Do?
First, by testing your swing on the True Temper Shaft Lab and/or the Mizuno Shaft Optimizer and putting that information into the BGF (Better Golf…Faster) Fitting System, you will get recommendations for the optimum shaft flex, weight, swing weight and shaft tip profile for your natural swing. Each person has a natural way of swinging the club that produces an optimum shaft flex for both their woods and irons. Based upon your forward swing time, and your ball speed with either a 6 iron or driver, we will then make recommendations for either graphite or steel shafts. In general, players with faster forward swings and higher ball speeds will need to play heavier shafts. The decision as to whether to play graphite or steel is then based upon two factors: 1. Feel and, 2. Cost. Most players can quickly feel the difference in a graphite shaft versus steel, especially at the same weight and flex. Graphite will feel more comfortable, especially on miss-hits. Graphite shafts, however, are more expensive in both new clubs and in re-shafting existing clubs. Good graphite shafts will cost 25% to 200% more than steel. Some of the most expensive graphite wood shafts can cost as much as $1,000 because they are made with exotic materials like Zylon. Graphite (Project X, MATRIX Program, UST Mamiya Recoil) or Mixed-material iron shafts (Aerotech SteelFiber, Fujikura MCi) can run $80 to $200 installed. So, don’t waste your hard earned money on the trial and error method of shaft selection. Call D’Lance Golf at 303-730-2717 (Englewood) today for an appointment to get your swing analyzed and test different clubs in steel and graphite shafts.