The conundrum of graphite iron shafts and retail

Nippon Shafts

GoldenBuff

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
9,349
Reaction score
7,334
Location
Montana
Handicap
Snow
On my recentt rip I went through a fitting at CC and spent time at big box golf retail stores 4-5 times. I hit irons every visit and asked for graphite shaft options. Even at CC after hitting a few I was quizzed multiple times on whether or not I really wanted graphite shafts. At the retail stores they weren't even able to get me suitable graphite shafts to swing. Here are some comments I received.

You don't need to play graphite. You have plenty of swing speed.
Why would you want to play graphite?
See. Isn't that better than graphite.
I would put you in steel (blah, blah, blah) every time.

Besides cost, which can be significant, I am stunned at how graphite is viewed in golf retail. Now maybe my experiences are outliers, but I doubt it.
 

jvbart

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
1,022
Location
San Diego
Handicap
19
I had a much different experience. I recently went to a local golf shop to ask what the cost would be to install new shafts as I was looking at getting some used graphite shafts for my older irons due to golfers elbow. I have a high swing speed and wanted heavy X-stiff shafts. Just wanted something short term until I get fit for new irons.

All of the guys in the shop were playing graphite and raved about it. One of them had just switched over due to golfers elbow. The club builder got super excited because he had just pulled a set of X-stiff MMTs that were in the right weight range and I bought them on the spot and had them installed that weekend. Great experience and the guys knew a ton about graphite iron shaft options and talked my ear off it about them.
 

fairwaynut

Bettinardi Aficionado
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Aug 8, 2019
Messages
6,020
Reaction score
5,897
Location
Naperville, Il
Handicap
SingleMalt
For me switching to graphite shafts was a must. Old age demanded it. Just couldn't swing the heavy steel shafts any more. It's been a trail and error kinda thing, but I've found some solutions that really work for me. Hope you find what you need real soon, GB. (y)
 
Last edited:

NeverWiff

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
785
Reaction score
354
Location
The Land of Steady Habits
Handicap
12.9 GHIN
I haven't found a graphite shaft (for irons) that's "felt" good to swing.... everything I've tried has felt very "whippy" even the stiffer options. I'm not saying a good graphite shaft (for me) is not out there, but i also haven't spent a lot of time searching since the steel shafts in the Ping's that I'm playing (AWT 2.0) are doing just fine at the moment. I'm happy with distance, dispersion and, importantly, the feel.... If any of that changes, I'll be looking to investigate additional steel and graphite options.
 

Mikey Lawless

Active member
Joined
Jan 25, 2021
Messages
79
Reaction score
143
Location
Central California
Handicap
Ha!
I think most golf shops will want to sell you what they have.
Personally, I like to piddle. As a metal fab guy, I also have a really nice tool collection, so swapping shaft my own self is fairly easy. So, rather than buy a new set of irons when I returned to playing this last spring after a 20+ year lay-off, I decided to re-shaft my existing 1980s vintage irons.

I started with inexpensive shafts from Dick's. I really like the light weight, and I got a little distance back since my swing speed just ain't what it used to be. Next, I tried some different shafts for a couple clubs to see what would happen. I did my pitching wedge first, and I was surprised to find that it now goes just a bit farther, and a little left of where my 9 iron goes. Adjust my grip a bit to be more neutral, and the result was positive. A 40 gram difference might seem like all that much, but it does make a significant difference, even with my limited experience.

So maybe, just maybe, it might be worth further investigation and experimentation!
 

Chef23

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 2, 2018
Messages
3,900
Reaction score
2,506
Location
Massachusetts
Handicap
2.9
I would say your average big box store sales person may not be that well informed. I was at the PGASS the other day and the sales guy told me there were "secret" combo sets for the Apex line you can buy. The "secret" has been all over the Callaway website and they have offered stock combo sets for years.

Someone talking about graphite only for slow swingers is an old perspective. When I got fit my fitter asked if I had any physical issues that would be helped by graphite. Sometimes people get steered to steel because of cost but it should never be due to a lack of performance in graphite.
 

NeverWiff

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
785
Reaction score
354
Location
The Land of Steady Habits
Handicap
12.9 GHIN
I am a bit surprised at your experience. Graphite shafts in irons have come a long way, and there are a lot of good, alternative options to steel shafts.
I'm sure there are some good options out there.... as noted, i just haven't really spent much time searching. No real "need" to do so at the moment.... most of my issues are related to operator error.
 

GoldenBuff

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Feb 2, 2015
Messages
9,349
Reaction score
7,334
Location
Montana
Handicap
Snow
I had a much different experience. I recently went to a local golf shop to ask what the cost would be to install new shafts as I was looking at getting some used graphite shafts for my older irons due to golfers elbow. I have a high swing speed and wanted heavy X-stiff shafts. Just wanted something short term until I get fit for new irons.

All of the guys in the shop were playing graphite and raved about it. One of them had just switched over due to golfers elbow. The club builder got super excited because he had just pulled a set of X-stiff MMTs that were in the right weight range and I bought them on the spot and had them installed that weekend. Great experience and the guys knew a ton about graphite iron shaft options and talked my ear off it about them.
One of these days I hope to run into a fitter who is comfortable with graphite iron shafts. Locally we have course pro shops and 2 small businesses. I understand why they have limited testing and fitting options. But I was really surprised to see the same limited inventory and dated views at a huge PGATSS. The CC feedback and questioning was a reasonable discussion.
 

Desmond

Is it the score or the adventure
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
7,372
Reaction score
2,771
Location
DFW
Handicap
Workinonit
I haven't found a graphite shaft (for irons) that's "felt" good to swing.... everything I've tried has felt very "whippy" even the stiffer options. I'm not saying a good graphite shaft (for me) is not out there, but i also haven't spent a lot of time searching since the steel shafts in the Ping's that I'm playing (AWT 2.0) are doing just fine at the moment. I'm happy with distance, dispersion and, importantly, the feel.... If any of that changes, I'll be looking to investigate additional steel and graphite options.
Tried Steelfiber?o_O Even Recoils are not whips.

I mean Kuchar and Sneds use Steelfiber 95's.

The above are as close to steel as they get for many peeps.
 

PatsFan

Jedi Knight
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
5,294
Reaction score
1,133
Location
Massachusetts
Handicap
25.7
On my recentt rip I went through a fitting at CC and spent time at big box golf retail stores 4-5 times. I hit irons every visit and asked for graphite shaft options. Even at CC after hitting a few I was quizzed multiple times on whether or not I really wanted graphite shafts. At the retail stores they weren't even able to get me suitable graphite shafts to swing. Here are some comments I received.

You don't need to play graphite. You have plenty of swing speed.
Why would you want to play graphite?
See. Isn't that better than graphite.
I would put you in steel (blah, blah, blah) every time.

Besides cost, which can be significant, I am stunned at how graphite is viewed in golf retail. Now maybe my experiences are outliers, but I doubt it.
My experience was similar to your but I find most places lack the correct graphite options to properly fit people.
when I went to PGA Superstore trying to find a heavier graphite shaft was nearly impossible but maybe they didn't have anything out. I was looking for a 80+ gram shaft for ping or Callaway and Nothing. Maybe they didn't have everything out I will update on fri.
 

Desmond

Is it the score or the adventure
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Aug 14, 2014
Messages
7,372
Reaction score
2,771
Location
DFW
Handicap
Workinonit
My experience was similar to your but I find most places lack the correct graphite options to properly fit people.
when I went to PGA Superstore trying to find a heavier graphite shaft was nearly impossible but maybe they didn't have anything out. I was looking for a 80+ gram shaft for ping or Callaway and Nothing. Maybe they didn't have everything out I will update on fri.
Even with club fitters, it's not always easy to check out a large variety of graphite shafts. They all have Recoils it seems... and sometimes an exotic like Mitsu or Accra. But I tend to research shafts beforehand and ask a lot of questions. I don't want to be shoved into what they want me to buy. I let them know what I'm interested in and sometimes they will build a club for me.
 

CorvetteGuy

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 23, 2020
Messages
186
Reaction score
251
Location
Great PNW - Seattle Area
Handicap
GHIN 5.5
On my recentt rip I went through a fitting at CC and spent time at big box golf retail stores 4-5 times. I hit irons every visit and asked for graphite shaft options. Even at CC after hitting a few I was quizzed multiple times on whether or not I really wanted graphite shafts. At the retail stores they weren't even able to get me suitable graphite shafts to swing. Here are some comments I received.

You don't need to play graphite. You have plenty of swing speed.
Why would you want to play graphite?
See. Isn't that better than graphite.
I would put you in steel (blah, blah, blah) every time.

Besides cost, which can be significant, I am stunned at how graphite is viewed in golf retail. Now maybe my experiences are outliers, but I doubt it.
Cost is not an issue -- unless you think about 44 bucks a shaft is significant??? Look at the Recoil 95 shafts for irons.. one of the best of many Graphite shafts out there.. plus they look like steel shafts cuz they dont have all the fancy smancy paint jobs that make some graphite shafts friggen ugly. given them a try -- I bet you will be pleasantly surprised.:D
 

JonD

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
May 17, 2011
Messages
11,878
Reaction score
915
Location
NoVA
Handicap
I wish it wasn't the case, but I'm not too surprised with your experience. When I went to CC they were pretty open to it. I explained that I know I can play steel, but want to explore graphite for my own curiosity as well as minimizing the impact to my body. Once that was on the table, it was a graphite iron fitting. I had a bunch of stuff I wanted to try and some I knew weren't a good fit for me based on previous fittings. They got me into a couple of good options and I left pretty confident in the results.

Overcoming bias is an uphill slog, and I think the stigma around graphite iron shafts is alive and well. I definitely got some looks from a few guys I know when I told or showed them what I ended up with. While those of us who are into equipment know there's been huge advancements, a lot of people still fall back on some older notions.
 

jvbart

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 1, 2019
Messages
2,005
Reaction score
1,022
Location
San Diego
Handicap
19
One of these days I hope to run into a fitter who is comfortable with graphite iron shafts. Locally we have course pro shops and 2 small businesses. I understand why they have limited testing and fitting options. But I was really surprised to see the same limited inventory and dated views at a huge PGATSS. The CC feedback and questioning was a reasonable discussion.
I think I got lucky in that the golf shop I go to is known for doing higher end builds. It seems like everyone in there is looking for Miura with upgraded shafts so maybe they are more open to new tech and a broader range of clubs than some of the big box stores. I had been leaning towards CC for a fitting based on all the awesome reviews on the forum but these guys are definitely in the running now based on that experience. They love to talk golf and are always super helpful when I'm just wondering around browsing.
 

baylrballa

Hackers Love Puppies
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 8, 2019
Messages
9,264
Reaction score
9,506
Location
Waco
Handicap
11
I haven't found a graphite shaft (for irons) that's "felt" good to swing.... everything I've tried has felt very "whippy" even the stiffer options.
same issue with wood shafts?
 

PatsFan

Jedi Knight
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Mar 28, 2017
Messages
5,294
Reaction score
1,133
Location
Massachusetts
Handicap
25.7
Even with club fitters, it's not always easy to check out a large variety of graphite shafts. They all have Recoils it seems... and sometimes an exotic like Mitsu or Accra. But I tend to research shafts beforehand and ask a lot of questions. I don't want to be shoved into what they want me to buy. I let them know what I'm interested in and sometimes they will build a club for me.
Agree completely I would really love to try Steelfiber shafts to compare to the Recoils but they are hard to find.


I haven't found a graphite shaft (for irons) that's "felt" good to swing.... everything I've tried has felt very "whippy" even the stiffer options. I'm not saying a good graphite shaft (for me) is not out there, but i also haven't spent a lot of time searching since the steel shafts in the Ping's that I'm playing (AWT 2.0) are doing just fine at the moment. I'm happy with distance, dispersion and, importantly, the feel.... If any of that changes, I'll be looking to investigate additional steel and graphite options.
Have you tried Steelfibers??? when was the last time you tested graphite shafts they have come along way in the last 20 years.
 

NeverWiff

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Nov 27, 2016
Messages
785
Reaction score
354
Location
The Land of Steady Habits
Handicap
12.9 GHIN
same issue with wood shafts?
I have a Diamana ‘ahina 82 gram shaft in my Titleist 910F 3 wood which feels great and performs well even though it’s probably 10 years old. (A buddy wanted a box of Pro V’s in trade as he hated the club.... for me, it’s been great.... just dumb luck on that one, I guess.

My old(er) driver and I have not been on speaking terms since late last season and I’m going for a fitting and a new driver in late March.

So, I’m sure there are graphite iron shafts out there that would be fine... but they’re just not a priority at the moment.
 
Last edited:

Rebel4life

Active member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Apr 25, 2015
Messages
614
Reaction score
190
Location
Alabama
Handicap
Mid
Cost is not an issue -- unless you think about 44 bucks a shaft is significant??? Look at the Recoil 95 shafts for irons.. one of the best of many Graphite shafts out there.. plus they look like steel shafts cuz they dont have all the fancy smancy paint jobs that make some graphite shafts friggen ugly. given them a try -- I bet you will be pleasantly surprised.:D
I've been playing Recoils for the last 4 years. I absolutely love them.
 

Mws82

New member
Joined
Jul 24, 2016
Messages
26
Reaction score
6
Handicap
36
I’m not a club builder or a professional but common sense tells me If we want graphite in the club we swing the fastest (driver) why would we not want it in the irons. There are so many high quality graphite iron shafts and now in weights where they are close to steel or even the same. I can tell you my dispersion with graphite is far tighter than with steel. Golf is a hard enough game and if you test graphite and get the same results I have it would be very hard to switch back to steel. I get to be the punch line to old man golf jokes etc until they see me play and then they want to know more about why I went graphite.
 

tahoebum

Well-known member
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Mar 25, 2012
Messages
14,155
Reaction score
5,397
Location
MN and FL
Handicap
2.2
I’m not a club builder or a professional but common sense tells me If we want graphite in the club we swing the fastest (driver) why would we not want it in the irons. There are so many high quality graphite iron shafts and now in weights where they are close to steel or even the same. I can tell you my dispersion with graphite is far tighter than with steel. Golf is a hard enough game and if you test graphite and get the same results, it would be very hard to switch back to steel. I get to be the punch line to old man golf jokes etc until they see me play and then want to know more about why I went graphite.
Some people like me have better dispersion with a 130 gram shaft and graphite doesn't offer any advantages over steel if I'm not having any joint issues with my DG shafts. Graphite also would have added about 35% to the cost of my recent order for a set of Srixon irons.

Graphite is well worth it for many including possibly me someday but if it was in any way superior for those who like heavier shafts we'd see way more than a few token sets of graphite irons on the PGA Tour.
 

GolfTravelDude

Team Hackers 2021 Morgan Cup
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jun 23, 2019
Messages
3,459
Reaction score
2,109
Location
Virginia
Handicap
8.6
I severely broke my left wrist in 1993. Played golf for a year with just my right arm. When I came back I switched to graphite as the reverberation on miss hits is so much less, and also moved to lesser weight....Yea, even in 1994 you could get graphite iron shafts in 80/85 weights. Haven't ever looked back. Have had graphite in all woods/irons/hybrids since 94 except SW and LW...But my SW has been graphite also for past 10 years.
 

mpeterson

Team THP for Life
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
May 24, 2013
Messages
21,987
Reaction score
1,510
Location
MA
Handicap
9.5
When I did my fitting, the fitter didn't push me towards graphite, even though I asked about it. His take was, at the weight he wanted me in, the walls of the shaft had to be really thick, and thought steel was a better fit at that weight. If I wanted to go lighter, he said he had a lot of graphite that he'd try. But he thought from a weight/flex standpoint he had more to work with in steel. I've heard that from a couple people, and I think it makes sense from a materials perspective, having seen what the tip of a 120g graphite shaft looks like.
 

ArmyGolf

#Rise&Grind
Albatross 2021 Club
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Messages
31,273
Reaction score
4,120
Location
BC
Handicap
RCGA 9.3
This problem is pervasive throughout the golf industry. It starts with the OEMs in my opinion. They pride themselves on having graphite options, yet the graphite options are ALWAYS light weights only, and sometimes even only SR or R flex. This just further pushes the false idea that graphite is only for women and old men.

Offer up some Recoil 125s or even 110s as stock options and I bet a TON of people start to make the shift over to them.
 

Welcome to The Hackers Paradise

Don't just play golf, live it!

Register Log in
Top