Steel or Graphite Shafts: A Beginner’s Guide

Deciding whether to purchase a set of irons with steel or graphite shafts can be confusing to both beginners and more experienced players alike because it is such a minefield. As a result, you may be pondering what the benefits – or indeed hinderances – of each type of shaft are, and how they may impact your game.

Steel or Graphite Shafts: Irons on the grass.
Photo credit: VAKS-Stock Agency / Shutterstock

But before we begin, it is worth noting that choosing steel or graphite iron shafts is entirely down to finding the best option for YOU! For most golfers, feel and style are an important factor when purchasing new irons but these should not be the deciding factors when choosing a golf club. Every golfer has different swing characteristics and dynamic ability, making it impossible to determine whether to opt for steel or graphite shafts based upon a blog post; you must test a range of shafts to determine which shafts are right for you. 

One way you can find out whether to use steel or graphite shafts is to book yourself in for a club fitting using the Mizuno DNA fitting system. Using this you’ll be asked to take three separate swings at a golf ball whilst holding the “shaft optimiser”, which has a data collector attached to the top to calculate the golfer’s club head speed, toe down, kick angle, release angle and tempo to name a few. This helps to analyse different aspects of your swing and gives you three recommendations to determine which shaft options you should try.

Here is a video of the Mizuno DNA fitting system in action:

As a result, this post is intended to be purely informational, revealing the differences between graphite and steel shafts. If you would like to find out exactly which shaft you need, be sure to get in touch with our expert custom fitting team.

What is the difference between graphite and steel shafts?

At the core, there are two types of golf shaft to choose from: steel or graphite. Often, your club will have been originally assembled with either of these types of shafts, but what is the difference between steel and graphite?

  Steel shafts

Typically, steel shafts are much heavier, more durable and are generally less expensive than their graphite counterparts. They are more often than not made from stainless steel and they tend to weigh in between around 90g-120g.

Torque or lateral twisting found in all graphite shafts is lower in steel irons. Steel shafts tend to offer the golfer more feed back and feel than its graphite counterpart, which can be part of the decision-making process when selecting the golf club. Some golfers may sacrifice the potential yardage gain that a graphite shaft may offer, in order to maintain the feel factor offered by steel shafts.

–  Graphite shafts

Graphite shafts are much lighter and more expensive in comparison to steel shafts, and weigh between 50 and 85 grams. As a result, the lightweight shafts on graphite irons can help to create a greater swing speed for more power.

Graphite vs steel shafts at a glance

In summary

Of course, both shafts have their advantages and disadvantages, and a lot comes down to personal preference. On the whole, steel shafts are the most used option by amateurs and tour professionals. Beginners to golf are often given graphite shafts due to their lack of club head speed, this is not always the best option as making this selection may only be a short term option as golfers develop at different rates and may need to switch out of this option very early, meaning a costly start to their golfing journey. For this reason, it is always best to seek the advice of a good club fitter.

Graphite is an excellent option for golfers that need an additional help creating club head speed due to its lightness and can be helpful to golfers with injuries that are looking to cut down on the additional vibration that may be caused by steel. 

As always, going to a good fitter is the best solution to finding the best overall option to help push your game to the next level.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with our expert team – we are more than happy to assist you with any queries you may have.

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