Types of Golf Shafts Explained: Which is Best?

Our published content may contain links that can result in a small commission, details in our privacy policy.

If you’re in the market for new shafts for your golf clubs, there are lots of things to think about before settling on the right option for you.

But fortunately, you’ve come to the right place! Here, we introduce the various key aspects related to golf shafts and help you understand why it’s so important to understand how this important component can influence your swing and ball striking.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at the different types of golf shafts, their pros and cons, and how you can select the perfect shafts for your game.

What are the Different Types of Golf Shafts?

Primarily, there are two types of golf shafts – graphite and steel. However, within each type are so many different options, as each manufacturer offers shafts with different degrees of torque, flex, spin, launch, and various other aspects that affect the composition of the shaft.

Some manufacturers also supplement their shafts with materials like carbon, adding another dimension to your choice. As such, it’s really important to understand the basics before researching the ideal shafts for your game, as things can become overwhelming pretty quickly!

In this article, we look at the main differences between steel and graphite golf shafts before answering some FAQs relating to the use of both types of shafts.

By the end of this piece, you will have all the information that you need to choose the right type of shaft for your golf game and have a decent understanding of some of the key terms used by shaft manufacturers.

1. Steel Golf Shafts

Steel golf shafts have been around the longest and are typically available at a lower price point than graphite shafts. Due to their steel composition, they’re also heavier and more durable than graphite alternatives.

Project X LZ Steel - Golf Shafts - Choose Your Flex - Tour Shop Fresno (3 Iron (Steel), (Flex 6.0)(Length 40'))

One of the reasons why some elite players play steel shafts – Tiger Woods being a good example – is that they impart vibrations up the shaft to the player’s hands. This is important feedback as it provides insight into a player’s ball striking, allowing them to make the necessary amends.*

Golfers may also like:  UST Recoil Golf Shafts: Super High-Performance?

Ultimately, steel shafts are cheaper and heavier than graphite shafts, and they are a durable option that won’t need to be replaced anytime soon.

Pros

  • Extremely durable due to heavy weight.
  • More affordable than graphite shafts.
  • Better feedback for skilled players.

Cons

  • Less forgiving than graphite shafts.
  • More rigid and less flexible than graphite.
  • Vibrations in the shaft can lead to injury.

2. Graphite Golf Shafts

In recent years, advancements in technology have seen graphite shafts soar to the pinnacle of the game, and they are exceedingly popular with golfers all around the world. They are lighter than steel shafts, which results in an increase in swing speed and distance for most players.

Pro Taylor Fit Nano Made PGA Tour 65 Gram Graphite Golf Iron Shafts - A, R or S Flex (Senior)

Another benefit of graphite shafts is that vibrations are muffled on mishits and are less likely to cause pain or injury, which is a benefit for senior players and beginners alike.

The lighter weight of graphite shafts also means they’re more flexible and more forgiving than steel shafts, making them ideal for recreational players.

Pros

  • Lightweight and more flexible than steel.
  • More forgiving and easier to play for beginners.
  • Improved ball speed results in more distance.

Cons

  • More expensive than steel shafts.
  • Increased torque isn’t suitable for all players.
  • Huge range of graphite shafts with lots of metrics to choose from – while this can be a plus, it’s also a tad confusing for beginner golfers!

Are Steel or Graphite Shafts Better for a Beginner?

Graphite shafts can help beginners more because they help to increase ball speed for people with slow and moderate swing speeds. This can result in an extra 10-15 yards, which can make a big difference to your score.

Both graphite and steel shafts can work well for beginners, and it depends on what you’re looking for. For instance, if you just want a cheap shaft that is extremely durable, a steel shaft is the better option for you.

However, if you’re happy to pay a little more and are keen on a more flexible shaft that is slightly more forgiving, then it makes sense to check out some of the graphite options available on the market.

So, generally speaking, it’s fair to say that graphite shafts are probably better for beginners, but it’s not always the case, and some people prefer the reliability and rigidity of steel shafts, no matter their level of play.

Golfers may also like:  Golf Shafts: 8 Beginners Questions Answered

What Golf Shaft Brands Should I Look Out For?

As is the case with all types of golf equipment, you have so many brands to choose from when selecting the ideal shafts for your golf clubs. That being said, some of the leading brands to look out for include:

  • Mitsubishi – Tensei, Diamana, Kai’li, Kuro Kage, Fubuki, Bassara, C6, OT, MMT.
  • True Temper – Aerotech, ACCRA, Project X, Dynamic Gold.
  • Miyazaki – Kori, Mizu, Kiri, Kiri CB.
  • Fujikura – Ventus (TR, HB), Speeder NX, Motore X, Vista Pro, Air Speeder, Sakura.

The above brands and models provide you with a great starting point when it comes to researching the ideal shafts for your golf clubs this season. Of course, as well as brand, you need to think about things like flex, torque, spin, and launch, before making a decision about what works best for you.  

Helpfully, you can find all of this information directly from the shaft manufacturer, so provided that you know what you’re looking for, you can easily find a shaft to match your preferences.

How Do I Know What Golf Shaft to Use?

With so many brands to choose from and various factors influencing a shaft’s suitability, it can be difficult to know what golf shaft you should use, particularly if you’re just starting out as a beginner golfer.

Generally speaking, beginner golfers benefit from shafts with greater flex, as it helps to propel the ball further, while accomplished players with faster swing speeds typically require a shaft with less flex.**

The material and flex are the two most important considerations when choosing a golf shaft, particularly when you’re a beginner. So, you could opt for a regular flex graphite shaft when you’re just starting out, and you should be able to play the clubs in question.

Should you wish to get more specific, you can look into things like torque, spin, and launch angle, as well as material and flex, as they will help you narrow down your search and center on a shaft that works well for your game.

Do Golf Shafts Really Make a Difference?

It’s fair to say that golf shafts make a big difference to the way that you strike the ball.*** For instance, as a beginner golfer, if you play a steel shaft that is too stiff and completely unforgiving, you will really struggle to get the ball down there.

Golfers may also like:  Who Makes Alta Golf Shafts? (Revealed!)

However, if you opt for a graphite shaft that is much more flexible and forgiving, it makes things much easier when striking the ball. As such, it’s really important not to get the flex and weight of your shaft wrong.

 One thing to note is that beginner golfer sets and clubs that are branded as ‘game improvement’ typically have appropriate shafts affixed. Therefore, you don’t necessarily need to worry about changing your shafts, as those currently on your clubs are probably well suited to your level.

So, you do need to think about the shaft that you’re planning to add to your golf clubs this season, as choosing the wrong option can make a big difference to your performance out on the golf course.

Does Golf Shaft Flex Really Matter?

Again, the flex of your shaft will have a big impact on how well you can hit the ball, as it’s interlinked with your swing speed. The table below illustrates this point:

Carry DistanceSwing Speed Flex
<200 yards<75 mphLadies or senior
200-240 yards75-95 mphRegular
240-275 yards95-110 mphStiff
275> yards110> mphExtra stiff

As you can see, before selecting a shaft, it’s really important to think about your swing speed, as well as how far you typically hit the ball. This should be your starting point when thinking about the right level of flex for your shafts.

If you install the wrong flex of shafts on your golf clubs, you will almost certainly struggle to hit the ball consistently, which is why it’s so crucial to get it right!

Conclusion

Choosing the right golf equipment can be challenging, as there are so many things that you need to think about. As explained throughout, you need to think carefully about the shafts that you plan to add to your clubs, as they will make a big difference to your ball striking.

So, we hope that you use the above information to settle on a shaft that is well suited to your game and you see some improvements in the way that you strike the ball as a result.

Sources:

  1. https://golftips.golfweek.usatoday.com/graphite-vs-steel-shafts-1376.html *
  2. https://golfsupport.com/blog/how-to-pick-the-right-golf-shaft/ **
  3. https://golf-info-guide.com/golf-equipment-news/shaft-selection-is-the-most-important-equipment-decision/ ***