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Steel vs. Graphite Shaft Questions


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I'm about to replace my old irons and am focused on either the Callaway Mavrik Max or Taylormade Sim2 Max.  The problem boils down to a couple of questions regarding shafts.  First of all I'm a senior lefty with swing speed in the 85-95 range.  In the past I've built three sets of clubs for myself so I'm a little familiar with shaft characteristics but since I'm looking at buying ready-made clubs I'm faced with a dilemma.  

Since I'm only buying irons I have a choice between steel or graphite shafts.  If I order steel shafts, considering the shorter shaft length compared to a driver, would I really see a difference in flex between senior and regular?  Conversely, if I go to graphite, which is torsionally softer how much am I going to lose in accuracy or distance?  I think I prefer a steel shaft but they want to push graphite in these models and steel is only available in regular flex.

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  • iacas changed the title to Steel vs. Graphite Shaft Questions
14 minutes ago, rdoty said:

If I order steel shafts, considering the shorter shaft length compared to a driver, would I really see a difference in flex between senior and regular?

Depends on the shaft manufacturer and their design philosophy. Yes, a senior flex can have a different bend profile compared to a regular flex of the same make/model. 

16 minutes ago, rdoty said:

Conversely, if I go to graphite, which is torsionally softer how much am I going to lose in accuracy or distance? 

Not sure you will see that much difference. Especially at a 26 index, you get more volatility from your golf swing than going with graphite versus steel for your irons.

I would go with what ever feels the best and gives you the best numbers. 

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Mizuno has a lot of shaft choices with no upcharge. I switched from steel to graphite due to some arthritis in my hands. I was able to find a stiff shaft that was close in weight to lightweight steel shafts. I don't know how you feel about adding another club to your consideration, it would give you more shaft options.

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13 hours ago, rdoty said:

Conversely, if I go to graphite, which is torsionally softer how much am I going to lose in accuracy or distance?  

It's possible you could gain both. 

The modern graphite shaft has come a long way. Think about it would you put a non-graphite shaft in your driver? .... That club has the biggest face with the force farthest from the center line of the shaft. If torsion was an issue, you'd definitely see it on that club. 

Having typed that, not all graphite shafts are created equal.

I really think you'd benefit from a fitting, if that's an option where you live. You can order up either of those clubs with a myriad of different shaft options. 

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Don't worry about the torque on the graphite. Shaft makers are good at matching twisting stiffness with the rest of the shaft. I would argue that if you can swing the graphite easier because of the weight and vibration dampening, your results over a round of golf will be better vs. a steel shaft that may feel heavier by the end of the round and impact your results.

Other option is go with steel, play them for a season and then install aftermarket graphite if you want a change. Do this and you could also make a test club or two, and see the results first hand.

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4 minutes ago, Adam C said:

Do this and you could also make a test club or two, and see the results first hand.

This is good advice. I wish I had said it. 

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Thanks for the comments guys.  In fact, changing shafts is exactly what I did on my current driver and 3 wood with positive effect.  I'll see what's avail via a fitting and if not satisfied I'll just follow Plan B.

Thanks again

 

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I'm a short hitter that has always used a stiff flex in driver and a little softer in irons. I compared my X14 7 iron in steel to the new B21 BB 7 iron in graphite/reg. flex on a monitor. I of course hit them a solid club longer and was totally shocked to see the dispersion. I can attest that even the stock graphite from Callaway is spectacular. 

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Your swing speed is similar to mine. I made my own iron set and will never buy major manf iron sets again. Not saying they are not good/great sets, it's just that I can make my own that are just as good, to my desired specs, and save tons of money. To each their own. I actually cut my shafts just a hair under regular stiffness towards senior, because I could and that's what I wanted.

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I am also looking at shaft options for my current Apex 19 irons right now. Not happy with the stock graphite 60g in Apex 19, they just feel too light. I have some arthritis and have been in graphite for a decade now but this last set isn't a fit. I am looking more for accuracy and height to hold greens and feel that a bit more weight helps. I was able to go to local golf galaxy and hit a few different shafts (in the new apex dcb head). I was looking at the mitsubishi mmt debating between 85 and 95 weights and between regular and stiff flex. Before I left, to add to the comparison, I also tried the new elevate ets vibration dampening steel shaft. I immediately could see a higher launch angle in where it was hitting the screen. The distance was similar and shot accuracy was good. Doing that comparison blew up my trip because I thought I was set on the MMTs but ended up really liking the elevate steel. After doing some research, I found that the elevate ets is a high launch high spin shaft which was working for me on the simulator and felt great. It looks like steel is also making advancements similar to graphite. If you want super light, graphite are the better option but from 80 grams up, there are really good options in both steel and graphite. There are some graphite shafts that I have tried that feel absolutely awesome, but hard to control. For me, combination of feeling good but still accurate. Got to balance that feel versus real. Looks like I may be going back to a new lighter steel option in Elevate ETS 85 or 95. 

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