Graphite versus Steel Shafts
There is an ongoing debate in the golf world whether graphite or steel shafts are better. Many professionals use steel shafts because there is less twisting. Amateurs and beginning players typically do better with graphite shafts. There is no definite answer which to use because there are pros and cons to each.
Graphite shafts are much lighter in weight than steel shafts, which increases swing speed and distance. In fact, many players will see an increase of at least five yards with every club in the bag. Mishits are less pronounced in both sound and feel. These shafts benefit players with slower swing speeds.
While they are lighter than steel shafts, graphite shafts are more flexible, increasing whip. This can really benefit someone with a great, consistent swing, but can really exaggerate mishits. In addition, they are more expensive to the point of adding up to 20 percent to the cost of single club.
Steel shafts are heavier and provide more feedback on mishits, which is something better players look for. Players with a high swing speed often feel the heavier shaft fits their tempo better and allows for more precision shot making. Those that swing too fast can benefit from the heavier shaft, forcing them to slow the swing. In addition, steel shafts are less expensive than graphite.
For a less skilled player, the heavier shaft will more significantly reduce swing speed. This loss of speed could result in 10 yards less distance. For players with arm, hand, and shoulder issues, the steel shafts could irritate the problem, particularly on mishits that send vibrations up the shaft into the wrist and hands.
Points to Consider
The choice of steel versus graphite basically comes down to individual preference. Take an honest look at your game and see what best fits you and your skill level. It was once a fact that graphite shafts were less durable than steel, but that is no longer an issue. Graphite shafts are clearly more useful for a senior golfer whose swing speed has slowed and may have more injury issues. The main thing is to test each club to determine which is right for you. Either type of shaft will last a long time, so take time before making an investment.