Shaft Exchange

Which type of shaft is right for your game?

Labels: ShaftsEquipment
TOTAL PERFORMANCE
Question is, did I like the composite shafts, even though they clearly weren't fit for me and I had a few troubles? I'll go out on a limb here and say, as a matter of fact, I did like the graphite shafts. And if time and money weren't an issue, I might even consider them in my next set. The myth about graphite not being consistent and durable isn't true. The shafts I tried all felt and performed according to how they should. Also, with some of the best players in the world using composite shafts (it's even more common on the Champions and LPGA Tours), I don't see the trend of more players using graphite shafts in their irons going away.

THE TOSS UP

Project X Steel Shafts
(Tested in 4-PW irons)
Flex: 6.0
Weight: 120g
Properties: Designed to produce a penetrating ballflight with the optimal trajectory for more distance and control.

Project X Graphite Shafts
(Tested in 4-PW irons)
Flex: 6.0
Weight: 91-93g
Properties: Designed to produce a boring trajectory, the reinforced tip section helps maintain a standard swing weight.
Here are my only gripes. Composite shafts are, in fact, a lot more expensive than steel. This means that adding graphite shafts to your next order of irons can add several hundred dollars to the price of a set of irons. So, if you do decide to hunker down the extra cash for composite, don't even think of picking up a set off the rack at your local golf shop. Get fitted properly, and make sure the composite shafts you choose are suited for your game and your golf swing. And while the amount of flex is important, how it flexes and when it flexes is equally important. Don't ignore flex points, torque and the shaft's ability to load at the top of your swing and unload at impact. I know the same arguments can be made for steel shafts—but it's especially critical with composites. Don't do an apples-to-oranges comparison either. An S-flex steel shaft and an S-flex graphite shaft are likely nowhere near the same.

So, will I make the switch and play the all-composite set? No. They weren't the right shafts for me. But I have to say, I liked how the longer irons felt, and it made the transition to my hybrids, woods and driver that much easier. So, I'm considering dropping the steel in my 4-5 irons and opting for composite shafts that resemble my hybrids. (I'll get stiffer shafts in them, by the way.) The key is to have an open mind. There's no need to have either steel or composite—you can have both. There are some better players out there who prefer the flex and spin that come with composite in their wedges—it's really a matter of personal preference and deciding what type of shafts suit you best.

The moral of the story? There's no wrong or right answer—yet, at least. Steel is a great option, and so is graphite if that's what you're looking for. As for some of the myths about composite shafts being inferior to steel—I don't believe those misconceptions hold up anymore. Composite shafts in irons can, in fact, be advantageous, as long as they fit you and your style of play.

Steel vs. composite? It's up to you to decide. Just know that composite shafts are the real deal now, and steel shafts have never been better. Sure, it makes the buying process a little more complicated, but hey, have fun trying and testing new shafts. You might learn something. I sure did.




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