It is generally accepted that steel shafts give a little more distance. Indeed, one of the reasons for the use of a flexible shaft would be its ability to maximize the distance of a weaker spring. When you realize this, you might expect that the steel shafts are more popular among professional and high-level players.
Surprisingly, that assumption would be wrong. The majority of professional players seem to prefer graphite shafts. In fact, some sources say that as much as 75% of professionals choose that kind of shaft. If you are thinking about switching those steel-shafted clubs for graphite-shafted clubs, this article is for you. We will examine five different shafts and discuss the information that you will need to choose the right one.
A Great Value
|Pro Taylor Fit Nano Made PGA Tour 65 Gram Graphite Golf Iron Shafts|
|INTEGRA SUPERLITE #1 World's Lightest Longest Japan Graphite 50 Gram Distance Iron Shafts|
The Big Bull
|I Drive ULTRALITE 60 Gram PGA Tour Silver ION Graphite Golf Iron Shafts|
The Stiff Killer
|Assassin Nano LD Lite 70 Gram Distance + Accuracy Graphite Golf Iron Shafts|
|Project X 6.0 Graphite 0.355 Taper Tip Hybrid Golf Shaft|
This is definitely a good option for those on a budget, as it is the cheapest item on our list. Rather than being made entirely of graphite, this one is made of a composite material. It is still mostly graphite, but it has been mixed with a few other materials.
This gives it a unique flex profile that feels slightly different than a regular graphite shaft. It can be a little bit off-putting at first, but once you get used to it, this shaft provides a consistency that few others can match. It also helps that they look nice.
As you might have already guessed, this shaft is meant for one purpose above all, and that purpose is distance. It’s not a hybrid shaft, but it performs somewhat like a hybrid. That’s because it’s made from a slightly stiffer type of graphite.
Upon looking at some reviews, this one has a very good reputation. Because of its stiffness, it is not quite as well-suited for a player with slower swing speed, but it does deliver a lot of punch and distance in a cheap and effective package.
The only flaw we can find comes from the outer finish. A few reviewers say that it will peel away relatively quickly. While this is only a cosmetic issue, it might be a problem for some people. You could always repaint the shaft if it starts to look too junky, as the consistent performance and low cost of this club make it worth the trouble.
These shafts are very thick and are noted for their durability. That’s where the second part of the name comes into play. This graphite is made from nanotube fibers that are able to do a better job of resisting breakage. Thus, this one will probably hold up for quite a while. If we were to make a complaint with this shaft, it would only be the fact that it offers less flexion than most of the others on our list. This reduces the spring-distance effect but allows for a little more precise control on straight shots.
This one is quite a bit more expensive than the others, but it does offer a great mix of qualities. This one is a hybrid between graphite and steel. As such, it will definitely last longer than a pure graphite shaft. This alone might make it worth the extra money. At the same time, this shaft will give a little bit of the flexibility that make graphite shafts popular.
Looking at these five products will give you some idea of how to evaluate a graphite shaft. Now, let’s go over some general information that every buyer should know before selecting one.
Why Use A Graphite Shaft?
There are quite a few reasons to use a graphite shaft. First, there is the biggest factor: A spring action that brings more impact (and distance) to the ball. A stiff steel shaft will not flex very much when you swing the club, but a graphite shaft will bend quite a bit. When you swing backward to prepare your shot, the club will bend slightly in that direction. As you swing it down and smack the ball, it will flex the other way. This creates an effect that is similar to a spring.
Because of the extra power imparted by the flexion, you can get more distance with less effort. You don’t have to swing one of these things as if you are shooting for the moon. Because of that, these shafts are well-suited for players with a gentle and precise style. When you think about it like that, it’s no wonder that most of the professionals choose them.
It is true that flexible-shafted clubs do not offer quite as much range as their stiff-shafted counterparts. However, the difference lies only in their maximum range. Their average ranges are not really all that different. So, when you can get the same kind of distance (more or less) with less power and speed, why not take advantage of that?
Another great thing about graphite shafts is their low weight. In most cases, the shaft itself weighs less than a pound, making for the lightest kind of golf club that you can get. This takes away from the carry load, and it makes it easier to attain a high-speed swing. Most people find that they can increase their swing speed quite a lot by switching to a light club. This might explain why there isn’t that much difference in the range of a stiff-shaft club and the range of a flex-shaft club. When you factor the extra speed into the equation, it makes up for the lack of weight and rigidity.
Carbon fiber shafts also tend to be very cheap. In the past, these were actually more expensive than the steel ones. However, modern processes have made carbon fibers a lot easier to produce, which has brought down the cost considerably. As you can already see by looking at the products on our list, most are quite affordable.
How To Change A Graphite Shaft
If you are thinking about making the switch, it may relieve you to know that you might not have to replace your clubs entirely. If you really like your current clubs, but you also want to switch their steel shafts for graphite, it’s not really that hard to re-shaft the clubs yourself.
The first thing you need to do is put the whole thing in a clamp. A bench vise is ideal, but you will want to wrap it in cloth so that you don’t scar the finish. Use a heat gun on the hosel, being careful not to apply flame directly to the surface. The hosel is the place where the shaft and the head connect, in case you don’t know.
The heat will loosen the glue that holds the shaft in place. Now, you should be able to knock the head loose. Take a washcloth and wrap it around the base of the hosel. Tap each side gently with a hammer until the head comes loose. You will then need to remove any residue of the old glue that remains.
Once that is done, put the head back in the clamp, add some strong epoxy glue to the end of your new graphite shaft, and insert it into the hosel. It’s a good idea to twist it left and right a little bit to ensure that the glue is spread evenly. Once it seems right, take it out of the clamp and tap the butt of the club on the floor a few times. This will help to anchor the head in place.
Although graphite is a great material for golf club shafts, it does come with one significant downside. Overall, graphite shafts are not that durable. They do a good job of bending and flexing without breaking, and they will nearly always return to true straightness. However, graphite shafts are more prone to breaking and buckling.
For this reason, it might be a good idea to avoid using these shafts with clubs that have oversized heads. You may have seen some of those excessively large putters out on the course. Something like that might put a little too much torque on the shaft and cause it to break before its time.
The biggest concern here is the possibility that the head could break off the shaft and hit someone. This could definitely cause a serious injury, so it’s not a factor to be taken lightly. If you choose to go with graphite shafts, we would advise you to replace them at the first sign of cracking, warping, or splitting.
The good thing, of course, is the fact that graphite shafts tend to be pretty cheap. Most people should have no problem replacing one of these shafts, so there is no excuse to go out on the field with a poor-quality club.
Although these durability concerns are serious, there is no reason to shy away from graphite shafts. If you make it a habit to care for your clubs, this will not be a very large problem. There are many things that can damage a golf club over time, but it’s a good idea to avoid exposing your clubs to temperature extremes whenever possible. If you frequently skim the surface of the ground while swinging, that will also reduce the lifespan of your club. It’s also a good idea to use a little padding in your bag to reduce the amount of impact that they take during travel. Overall, you just have to be more careful with these flex-shafted clubs, and they should serve you well.
Once you realize how easy it is to change your shafts, you might be inclined to experiment with more than one of these options. Since the prices are low enough for anyone to afford, you definitely have some room to play around. We hope that this article has given you some ideas in this department. Further, we hope that those ideas allow you to shave some points off our game and emerge a better player than you were before.