Getting The Shaft
I probably get more questions about golf shafts than any other topic. I'm assuming that's due to the vast wasteland of shaft options, so huge that it has all golfers pretty darn confused. But all the noise is really around shafts for drivers, and you can spend as much there as you want, even to $1,000 or more. Personally, I don’t see how that can satisfy any need but the "Rolex gene", where the idea that you spent that much is really the appeal.

But since most of the game is played with your irons, those shafts should get at least as much attention as the driver shaft, don’t you think? I've written about my preference for graphite iron shafts, and ones with a softer flex profile, particularly in the short irons. And today, once again, I will try to add a little more light to the subject, prompted by a lengthy inquiry from Zach, which I've edited down to this:
My question is regarding shaft selection for getting the most out of clubs, (particularly irons, which tend to have paltry stock shaft offerings in stores.

My question for you is, what variables should I be most attentive to and what questions should I make sure to ask before settling on a brand, model, and frequency? Though, I had really only considered steel shafts as I like the feel of the weight, I recently saw that you said you prefer graphite all the way down to the putter. Are there any models with steel-like weight profiles that I should keep my eyes out for?
So, Zack, let me see if I can offer some help. With regard to makes and models, no human could profess to be aware of all the options out there . . . the pros and cons of each. But you can break them down categorically into weight classes to start. In most current-model irons with "from the factory" graphite shafts, you’ll see weights in the 65-75 gram range. This is to serve the industry’s notion that lighter is better . . . period. I disagree with that completely, preferring a 95 gram model in my irons. You stated that you like the more substantial heft of steel shafts, so you might start there and work your way up if you need to. Weight is the first variable you should zero in on. Find a weight shaft that "feels right" and narrow the options.

Of the next most importance is the flex characteristics. Most lighter shafts are engineered to deliver higher ball flights. If that's not what you are after, you might have to look a little deeper. I am a fan of UST Mamiya and their V2 iron shafts, but there are others out there that are really good as well. A premium option that you might like is the SteelFiber series from AeroTech, a very nice product that is slowly gaining a very loyal following. That shaft is available in multiple weights and is engineered for a lower ball flight if I'm not mistaken.

Once you have those two variables narrowed down, you need a quality clubfitter/builder to put them together for you. No matter what the grade of shaft you select, each one has to be custom-matched and tweaked to each iron (kind of like balancing a tire to that specific wheel). Spine alignment or PURE-ing is a process whereby the spine or "seam" in the shaft is aligned in each club to deliver optimum performance. It's imperative in all graphite shafted clubs in my opinion. That clubfitter/builder can also ensure that your frequencies are synchronized for optimum performance. To find a good fitter near you, check out the websites for ICG (International Clubmakers Guild) and/or the AGCP (Association of Golf Clubfitting Professionals).

This will be a fun adventure which will likely lead to lower scores. Let us all know how it works out. I'm sure you will get some great insight into the process from the other readers . . . . guys?

Because he took the time to ask a question, and I selected it for today’s post, Zach has won a new EIDOLON V-SOLE wedge. You can, too, but you need to click the link and "Ask The Wedge Guy".
The Wedge Guy is sponsored by SCOR Golf, where Terry Koehler is President/CEO. He encourages you to submit your questions or topics to be considered for his columns on Tuesdays and Fridays. Each submission automatically enters you to win a SCOR4161 wedge to be given away monthly. Click the button below to submit your question or topic today.


[ comments ]
birdieXris says:
Speaking of shafts, i'm liking the Blur 60 on the R11. I'm not usually one for stock shafts, but it really seems to be performing well. Sooner or later i'll probably move the Proforce V2 onto it, but right now it seems like it's working.
2/22/11
 
newrider says:
Personally I feel if two shafts have the same specs (weight, flex, bend point, torque, and relatively same materials) and one cost $500.00 and the other 2 years ago was $500.00 but now is $50.00 I'll risk my fine tuned golf game the less expensive one. I've hit all kinds of driver heads with all kinds of shaft combination's and hit them all within 10 yards of each other. Some "felt" better than others but actual yardage results were similar. I do agree with you that graphite shafts in a softer profile especially in the short irons will help a majority of golfers.
2/22/11
 
HLA says:
For club fitting, I guess the question I'd ask is, what does your ball do now, and what do you want it to do differently. About three years ago I attended a week long seminar for club fitting and building, it was very interesting to learn how the head/shaft/grip combination plays an important role on the behavior of the ball after it leaves the face of the club. Since then, I experiment with different settings in my clubs. Personally, I think that the most important features to look for on a shaft are weight, flex, bend point, and ofcourse $$$$. After getting new shafts on your irons, I recommend fitting for lie adjustments.
2/22/11
 
aaronm04 says:
I play graphite shafts in my irons. I chose them over steel due to problems in my left elbow. Some mishits would really hurt and the graphite helped. I tried out some steel shafted irons at a demo day and they actually felt lighter. The issue was not really overall weight but the steel-shafted iron felt more balanced whereas the lightness of the graphite shaft makes all the weight feel like its in the club head.
2/22/11
 
Agustin says:
@ birdieXris - For drivers look into the Project X-7C3. It was the one the fitter suggested for the 910D2 and I'm loving it...
2/22/11
 
tiger-tiger says:
there are premium graphite shafts on the market today that weight roughly the same as steel as well as their other specs being in the ballpark. kinda same price Terry mentions for "Rolex gene" driver shaft on average only for entire iron shafts set.
2/22/11
 
jmaier says:
I just bought TM Burner 2.0 5-AW standard L/L/L in graphite (65g stiff) and I'd like to upgrade my "speciality wedge". I was looking at the Eidolon Mid Wedge at 55* but I couldn't find any specification info about the Genius 7 & 9 shafts. What would be the most comparable shaft for this set of irons? I've always played heavy, stiff steel wedge shafts but my tempo is better suited to something smoother.
2/25/11
 
vdoombreed says:
I bought me a Titleist 975D 7.5 deg with a lovely 260cc head on it, it came with a rifle 6 but that still feels a bit whippy for me. My 7 deg Ping G20 came with a BiMatrix Graphite with a steel tip and that is perfect for my swing speed, feels like just the right resistance.
5/28/12
 
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Terry Koehler is "The Wedge Guy" and President of SCOR Golf- The Short Game Company.

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