Selecting Golf Clubs – Steel vs Graphite Shaft Irons
When buying a new set of clubs, the old steel vs graphite shaft irons debate will inevitably cross your mind. This can be a very important consideration because each option will offer different benefits depending on your swing and skill level. Some people feel that the graphite shafts are meant for seniors (less distance), juniors, and high handicappers, while the lower handicap golfers and better ball strikers typically play with steel shafts, but this is not always the case.
In our opinion, the benefits of steel vs graphite shafts vary greatly depending on the user and since no two swings are exactly alike, we highly recommend you always invest the time in getting fitted for your particular equipment. Nowadays, all sporting good stores that sell golf equipment have a virtual range or swing room that will analyze your swing. Keep these points in mind when buying your irons:
- Steel is typically less expensive in comparison to graphite. A set of graphite irons, even with the same manufacturer, may result in a heftier price-tag and you may “over-buy” for something that you will play worse with.
- A good quality graphite shaft does in fact last as long as a durable steel shaft, but graphite is more susceptible to breaking. steel shafts will typically last forever as long as they are kept in good condition and permitted to rust.
- Essentially graphite shafts give off less of a vibration during ball strike which may decrease the sting felt in your hands on a miss-hit. Some say steel shafts give you more distance and give you more ball control. On the contrary, the graphite material weighs less then steel, allowing your swing speed to increase by 2-3 mph. This speed could result in 5-10 more yards in distance, but again, this faster swing could alter your control.
Our advice is to visit your local golf equipment store, try both and record the results. View the flight pattern of the ball and determine which shafts gave you more distance and control and then determine what you are looking for. Personally, we don’t mind giving up an extra 5-10 yards in favor of more consistent accuracy. I think we can all agree that a nice fairway lie always beats trying to rescue your hole from the rough.
We also suggest taking the practice sticks out on the range – most ranges have used clubs available for use so call them and find out if they are available there before you purchase. Take your time with this decision as you use your irons far more frequently than you your woods.
Most importantly, try to stay away from the “steel vs graphite” stereotypes like the ones mentioned earlier. We all have subtle nuances to our swings that may give one material a slight edge over the other. Buying new clubs can be a serious investment so put the time in swinging both and see which affords you a more confident stroke on the ball. After all, you wouldn’t buy a new car without test driving a few, so why would you do so with your clubs?
In summary, selecting the right clubs has the potential to shave strokes off your game – so don’t purchase new clubs without doing your homework.