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Graphite Iron Shaft Switch


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I turn 50 next year and I am thinking of going to graphite shafts in my irons. I have the typical aches and pains in my fingers, wrists, and arms that comes with playing A LOT of golf for the last 20+ years. Not to mention, while I still hit the ball a long way, I am certainly on the downhill side of distance. I have done quite a bit of reading about graphite iron shaft offerings and have whittled it down to a couple of options: Project X Catalyst 100 or Aerotech Steelfiber 110. I will be ordering them in the new Callaway Apex MB irons that came out last week.

Has anyone out there made the switch to graphite? Was it easier on the joints? How did you like the slightly lighter shaft? Any experiences are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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I know graphite shafts used to (and supposedly) dampen vibrations some, but is that still true? Has it been tested? That feels like one of those things that was maybe once true, and people just believe it, but as graphite shafts and steel shafts have gotten better, maybe they've converged a bit?

Be wary of going too light. It's not like you're short.

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61 yrs old here. Just got back into the game after a couple decades off. Used to be a scratch golfer playing really, really nice forged Yonex ADX Tours with a stiff Boron/graphite shaft. ( Not to be confused with the Super ADX). Shafts were too stiff for me upon my reentry into the game. Went to Golf Galaxy and a local well known pro shop. Hit a lot of clubs. Felt no love for any of them. I am currently playing a 20 yr old set of Mizuno MX 20's with DG R300s. in them. Any set of R flex graphite I tried on new clubs flew too high, and I lost most feel of where on the club face I hit it. Never was a cast club player, they always felt harsh to me. I'll sick with a soft forging and soft steel shaft, even with arthritis it's not bad at all. And the enhanced feel for what' s going on down there can only help keep you consistent. 

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49 minutes ago, iacas said:

I know graphite shafts used to (and supposedly) dampen vibrations some, but is that still true? Has it been tested? That feels like one of those things that was maybe once true, and people just believe it, but as graphite shafts and steel shafts have gotten better, maybe they've converged a bit?

From everything that I have read it appears to be true to a certain extent. I personally don't feel a big difference when I hit irons with graphite shafts, but I do like the feel of graphite.

50 minutes ago, iacas said:

Be wary of going too light. It's not like you're short.

Thats what I am worried about. Mind you a 100 gram shaft is not a light shaft, but I would still be dropping 20-30 grams. True temper says any change over 20 grams you run the risk of having issues.

Another reason I have for looking to switch is I am not nearly as aggressive through the ball as I used to be. I find myself flighting a lot of my short irons most of the time. That hard 8 is now a smooth three-quarter 7. Plus as I said I am not getting any younger. 

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10 hours ago, NM Golf said:

I turn 50 next year and I am thinking of going to graphite shafts in my irons. I have the typical aches and pains in my fingers, wrists, and arms that comes with playing A LOT of golf for the last 20+ years. Not to mention, while I still hit the ball a long way, I am certainly on the downhill side of distance. I have done quite a bit of reading about graphite iron shaft offerings and have whittled it down to a couple of options: Project X Catalyst 100 or Aerotech Steelfiber 110. I will be ordering them in the new Callaway Apex MB irons that came out last week.

Has anyone out there made the switch to graphite? Was it easier on the joints? How did you like the slightly lighter shaft? Any experiences are appreciated. Thanks in advance!

I don't know enough about it to help with shaft selection but just wondered if you'd considered a larger grip size. The larger grips helped my aging, slightly arthritic hands and seemed to absorb the contact shock better than the standard grip size.

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A few years ago I decided to try graphite. I bought a set of Titleist AP 2 irons with the Kuro Kage regular flex shafts. These were a great club, and to this day I am still playing them. But I did change the shafts in them. I found that if was more difficult for me to work the ball. I have tried numerous graphite irons, and basically with the same results. My feeling was this. When I struck the ball, and was trying to turn the ball over to creat a slight draw, it seemed like the ball was allready gone off the club head. I do feel that the time that the ball remains on the face of the graphite iron is much less than a steel shaft. I replaced the Kuro Kage shafts with just a cheap True Temper TT Lite Shaft. These shafts are around 12 bucks a piece. They hit very nice, and I find them to be very soft, and easy on the arms and elbows. Also I find steel to be much more constant than the graphite. I am 66 years old and my driver, 5 wood, and a hybrid are the only graphites I have in my bag. There is a lot of steel out there that will match, or in my book will feel better than hitting graphite.

 I also just put together a set of Maltby TE forged irons. I used the True Temper Score shafts which probably runs around 10 bucks a shaft. I tipped them to be a soft regular flex, and found them to be very easy on your arms, and wrists...

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12 hours ago, iacas said:

I know graphite shafts used to (and supposedly) dampen vibrations some, but is that still true? Has it been tested? That feels like one of those things that was maybe once true, and people just believe it, but as graphite shafts and steel shafts have gotten better, maybe they've converged a bit?

Be wary of going too light. It's not like you're short.

I think they are just using the material properties as their guide. Carbon fiber in a resin doesn’t propagate vibration as well as steel. Bike frame companies spent a lot of time on this. The stiffness and strength can be tailored, but vibration will dampen just because of the base material. The example they use often is a bell or tuning fork. 

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I'm 66, and switched to graphite about 1.5 years ago. I had Ping G30 irons with the stock steel stiff shaft. I think they were about 105 grams. I switched to Mizuno 919 Hot Metals with stiff Recoil 95s. I made the move due to some arthritis in both thumbs. I play a lot, and usually hit balls on the days I don't play, so there is a fair bit of stress on my hands. I have to say that the graphite shafts have helped a lot. I have also picked up a bit of distance, too. They do take a bit of time to get used to, so be patient. Now, if I can just find a putter, I'll be set!

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10 hours ago, golfer2b2000 said:

A few years ago I decided to try graphite. I bought a set of Titleist AP 2 irons with the Kuro Kage regular flex shafts. These were a great club, and to this day I am still playing them. But I did change the shafts in them. I found that if was more difficult for me to work the ball. I have tried numerous graphite irons, and basically with the same results. My feeling was this. When I struck the ball, and was trying to turn the ball over to creat a slight draw, it seemed like the ball was allready gone off the club head. I do feel that the time that the ball remains on the face of the graphite iron is much less than a steel shaft. I replaced the Kuro Kage shafts with just a cheap True Temper TT Lite Shaft. These shafts are around 12 bucks a piece. They hit very nice, and I find them to be very soft, and easy on the arms and elbows. Also I find steel to be much more constant than the graphite. I am 66 years old and my driver, 5 wood, and a hybrid are the only graphites I have in my bag. There is a lot of steel out there that will match, or in my book will feel better than hitting graphite.

 I also just put together a set of Maltby TE forged irons. I used the True Temper Score shafts which probably runs around 10 bucks a shaft. I tipped them to be a soft regular flex, and found them to be very easy on your arms, and wrists...

I don't want soft shafts, my swing speed is too high. I question your "feel" that the ball doesn't stay on the club face as long for two reasons. One, the time the ball stays in the club face is measured in milliseconds so I don't believe you can "feel" that. And two, I read a story one time that said that shaft stiffness and material made little difference in the amount of time the ball stays in contact with the face. I would imagine it was more difficult to turn the ball over because they were poorly fitted as far as shaft flex.

2 hours ago, Sandy Divot said:

I'm 66, and switched to graphite about 1.5 years ago. I had Ping G30 irons with the stock steel stiff shaft. I think they were about 105 grams. I switched to Mizuno 919 Hot Metals with stiff Recoil 95s. I made the move due to some arthritis in both thumbs. I play a lot, and usually hit balls on the days I don't play, so there is a fair bit of stress on my hands. I have to say that the graphite shafts have helped a lot. I have also picked up a bit of distance, too. They do take a bit of time to get used to, so be patient. Now, if I can just find a putter, I'll be set!

Everything I read says the same thing, that they help with dampening vibration. I am probably going to order them. Worst comes to worst I can stick with my current irons if they don't work out.

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10 hours ago, golfer2b2000 said:

My feeling was this. When I struck the ball, and was trying to turn the ball over to creat a slight draw, it seemed like the ball was allready gone off the club head. I do feel that the time that the ball remains on the face of the graphite iron is much less than a steel shaft.

Yeah, as @NM Golf wrote, that's completely bogus.

The ball is off the face in about 400 microseconds. That's 0.4 milliseconds. An eye blink is about 200 milliseconds, so… 500 eye blinks.

You're not doing anything in that time span, particularly when only the first half of that really matters.

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11 hours ago, golfer2b2000 said:

I do feel that the time that the ball remains on the face of the graphite iron is much less than a steel shaft.

Damn...that’s getting a little too DeChambeau-ish yeah? 😃

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1 hour ago, iacas said:

Yeah, as @NM Golf wrote, that's completely bogus.

The ball is off the face in about 400 microseconds. That's 0.4 milliseconds. An eye blink is about 200 milliseconds, so… 500 eye blinks.

You're not doing anything in that time span, particularly when only the first half of that really matters.

Yeah...that’s the stuff I say is really just for entertainment. It’s fun to think that stuff matters. It doesn’t.

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I find that graphite doesn't hurt (vibrate) like steel on a 'peripheral' hit but also not as 'sweet' on center contact. You will give up a something for sure. of course it's relative. For my money I would try soft stepping the same frequency shafts before going all out on graphite.   

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19 hours ago, NM Golf said:

I don't want soft shafts, my swing speed is too high. I question your "feel" that the ball doesn't stay on the club face as long for two reasons. One, the time the ball stays in the club face is measured in milliseconds so I don't believe you can "feel" that. And two, I read a story one time that said that shaft stiffness and material made little difference in the amount of time the ball stays in contact with the face. I would imagine it was more difficult to turn the ball over because they were poorly fitted as far as shaft flex.

Everything I read says the same thing, that they help with dampening vibration. I am probably going to order them. Worst comes to worst I can stick with my current irons if they don't work out.

Be patient. I actually ordered the G30s in graphite, played with them 4-5 months, and sent them back to Ping to get steel put in. I chose the Recoil 95s because they were the heaviest stock graphite shafts I could find. That fact was also why I switched from Ping to Mizuno. It took awhile but I wanted to find graphite shafts that played as close to steel as possible. For me, the biggest adjustment was in "feel" shots. It takes a bit of time to get the feel for half shots, punches, ect.

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