Iron shafts are the forgotten younger sibling of the golf shaft family. Where’s the love?
Most of the avid golfers we see in our shop will spend hours combing WRX forums, reading various reviews, asking questions and trying out countless different options for their new driver shaft. For some reason, these same golfers simply don’t pay attention to the shafts that go into their irons, even though there are typically at least eight of them in their bag versus just one driver. Too many golfers use the same iron shafts they’ve been gaming since the last time they were fit (usually at a demo day, a couple of sets ago) or use whatever might come as stock.
Although you surely don’t fall into this category, you might have a friend or two that does. So to help, we did data-driven, head-to-head comparison of several of the top iron shafts for better players. Our findings indicate that everyone should take a fresh look at what shafts should go into their next set of irons. Putting the wrong shaft in one club can show up on the scorecard. Now imagine having 7 to 10 shafts that don’t match your swing. It’s not a pretty picture.
As we began the test, I didn’t think any single shaft or shafts would surpass the others in total performance. Instead, my hypothesis was that certain shafts would distinguish themselves in one or two areas and potentially fall behind in others. For example, the longest shaft would likely be the least consistent.
For each shaft in our test, I asked four low-handicap golfers (-2 to a +2) to take five shots with a 4 iron and PW with a stiff-flex shaft using Mizuno JPX-825 Pro iron heads for each shot. We threw out obvious mishits, but included slight misses as they’re part of the game. A shaft’s performance must be measured by how misses are managed. The number of excluded shots was low and very consistent across the shafts, however, indicating that these were caused primarily by a swing issue and not a result of the shaft.
We used a Foresight GC2 launch monitor to track all the results. The order we hit the shafts was random and the shots were broken into three different hitting sessions to ensure that fatigue didn’t skew any numbers.
Here are the shafts we used in our testing:
- Aerotech SteelFiber 125S
- KBS C-Taper 120S
- KBS Tour 120S
- KBS Tour-V 110S
- Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 120S
- True Temper Project X 6.0
- True Temper Dynamic Gold S300
- UST Mamiya Recoil 125S
We tracked the average ball speed, launch angle, backspin, carry distance, carry deviation, decent angle and distance offline.
Shafts perform differently for different golfers. All the shafts performed well, however, and if you spend any time looking through the data you’ll see that the single biggest finding is that my original hypothesis was wrong. On average, there are very limited performance differences between shafts when data from the four golfers is averaged. Yes, there are some minor variances, but given the sample sizes we cannot conclude anything definitive.
The real variations come when we look at how each shaft performs for individual golfers*. Take the Aerotech SteelFiber performance for Golfers A & B from the table below.
For Golfer A, the SteelFiber was his longest 4 iron and flew nearly 7 yards more than his average carry distance. It was the shortest shaft for Golfer B, however, and 6 yards below his average. The only way to ensure you’re playing with the best shafts is to go through a thorough fitting where you’re able to hit several options, ideally with the same head.
How a shaft feels should not be the first criteria used when selecting a shaft. Other than in extreme cases, it’s best not to assume how a shaft is performing, but instead rely on a launch monitor to provide unbiased data. You might be surprised how your perception of feel might be changed by performance. For example, our testers expressed concern about the dispersion with the Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 120S and UST Recoil 125S shafts. The numbers show that the dispersion for both shafts were right in the middle of the pack. Feel is best used as a final decision when two shafts are performing very similarly. Here is the summary feedback on feel:
- Project X 6.0: An incredibly stiff, solid feel. Not much in terms of the shaft loading/unloading and what the ball is doing at impact.
- KBS Tour: Lots of feel throughout the swing as the shaft flexes. It feels like it “pops” at impact. Also, it feels more flexible than it actually is.
- Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 120: Incredibly smooth-feeling throughout the swing, a definite favorite. Only concern is if the shaft too soft and distance and offline consistency are sacrificed.
- UST Recoil 125: Feels very good with a lot of pop, like a KBS Tour on steroids. Despite being graphite, it feels very stable and many would play them. Testers knew when and where misses were, but the feedback wasn’t harsh.
- KBS C-Taper: Heavy and stable, a cross between the Project X and KBS Tour. The weight and stability feel good, but the ball doesn’t jump off the face.
- Aerotech Steelfiber: The Recoils feels nice off the face, but the SteelFiber feels more stable and smooth throughout the swing. It really feels like steel.
- True Temper Dynamic Gold S300: Feels like home, very familiar.
- KBS Tour-V: Very smooth, but light and flexible. It would take a while to get used to the lighter weight.
Both the Recoils and SteelFibers limit harsh, negative vibrations on mishits, but still feel solid throughout the swing and at impact. The shafts provided enough feedback that the players could control ball flight and knew where exactly they hit it on the face. Graphite performs, even for very good golfers. Living in Hilton Head, I got a front row seat for Matt Kuchar’s win with a set of SteelFibers.
Despite being doubters before the testing, all of our testers indicated they would strongly consider both high-end graphite options for their next set of irons. The feel feedback indicated the Recoils could be felt loading and unloading during the swing more than the SteelFibers and provided a “pop” at impact. The SteelFibers felt stable like steel throughout.
Note*: In this study, we attempted to correlate shaft performance differences with differences in the golfers’ swings. We were unable to do the correlation as a result of our limited sample size.
The original purpose of this testing was to provide a data-driven guide to help better players select what shafts to put in irons. As with much in golf, my research findings didn’t turn out quite that simple.
What this testing really proves to me, and hopefully for you, is that everyone can really benefit from taking a fresh look at what they’re playing and do a thorough fitting. What you are playing may not be the optimal shaft for you.
Mark Leishman’s winning WITB: 2020 Farmers Insurance Open
Driver: Callaway Mavrik (9 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution IV TX (45 inches, tipped 1 inch, D2 swingweight)
3-wood: Callaway Epic Flash Sub Zero (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Atmos Black Tour Spec 9 X
5-wood: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC Tour Spec 9.2 X
Irons: Callaway X-Forged UT (3), Callaway Apex Pro 19 (4-6), Callaway Apex MB (7-PW)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 130 X (hard-stepped)
Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw (54.10S @54.75, 60.08T @ 59.75 degrees)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 130 X
Putter: Odyssey Versa #6 (Black/White/Black)
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X
Grips: Golf Pride MCC
- More photos of Marc Leishman’s WITB in the forums.
- Marc Leishman WITB 2018
- Marc Leishman WITB 2017
- Marc Leishman WITB 2016
- Marc Leishman WITB 2015
- Marc Leishman WITB 2014
Lucas Herbert’s winning WITB: 2020 Omega Dubai Desert Classic
Driver: TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees set at 8.75)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 70TX
3-wood: TaylorMade SIM (15 degrees set at 15.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana DF 80TX
5-wood: TaylorMade M6 (19 degrees set at 19.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 90 TX
Irons: TaylorMade P7TW (4-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100
Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (50.09, 54.11, 60.10)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Black (50), KBS Hi-Rev 135X Black (54, 60)
Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Midnite
Ball: TaylorMade TP5
Grips: Gripmaster Roo
WRX Spotlight Review: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series putter
Product: T Squared TS-713i Standard Series Putter
About T Squared: T Squared Putters is a small putter manufacturer just south of Buffalo, New York. The company was founded by Tony Tuber who created his first prototype putters, after hours, in his father’s machine shop. Since then Tony and his father have been creating high-quality putters in the same facility that creates high precision instruments for the medical field. They pride themselves on creating the highest quality, most precise putter they can offer. They offer a few different head shapes from small traditional blades to high MOI mallets and even a custom program to get exactly what you want.
The Ts-713i Standard Series is based on the Ts-713, the first prototype that Tony created. It is a blade-style putter with a slightly longer flange and a unique face insert milled from 6061 aluminum. The body of the Ts713i is milled from a solid block of 303 stainless steel that is produced in the USA and has a Teflon backing between the body and face insert.
This Teflon backing helps give the putter a softer feel at impact and reduce any unwanted vibration. Details are what T Squared is all about and the neck of the putter shows off their milling expertise. The neck is similar to a plumbers neck, built with multiple pieces and offering some cool texture on the section bonded to the head. Another great detail is that all the silver markings on the putter are not filled with paint, they are milled into the head. T Squared finished the head in a sharp matte black and then milled all the markings on the putter for a unique, shiny silver look that really stands out. Ts-713i putters are built for customizing and have a ton of options that you can select if you would like to build something totally unique
On the green, the T Squared TS-713i really performs fantastic. I found the feel at impact very solid without any unwanted vibration. The impact produces a muted click and soft feel that I wasn’t expecting from this aluminum insert and thin face. The deep milling and Teflon coated back to the insert really work together to produce a great, responsive feel that I enjoyed. Deep milling usually makes me a little worried because it can soften the putter too much and lose that feel we all demand.
The TS-713i has no issues and transmits impact feel back to your hands with ease. Mishits are a little louder and harsh, but nothing even close to unpleasant. I have used putters that don’t feel as good on perfectly struck shots as the TS-713i feels on mishit putts. Distance and accuracy on those mishit putts are not as drastic as you would expect with a blade putter. I often just missed the cup by small margins when I struck a putt on the toe or heel of the TS-713i. There aren’t too many blade putters that have shown this level of forgiveness on the green for me.
The “T” alignment aid on the flange of the putter is large and easy to use. Not only do you get a straight line from the face to the back edge for alignment, but the back of the “T” also helps you square the putter up to your target. The Pure grip is not my thing, and it would be great for T Squared to offer a few more options, but that is an easy fix and a very minor criticism.
Overall, the T Squared TS-713i is a great putter from young Tony Tuber that exceeded my expectations. His attention to detail, precision milling, and take on a classic head shape offer golfers something different without sacrificing any performance. If you are looking for a great feeling putter that is made in the USA, you should take a look at T Squared and see what they can make for you.
Best irons in golf of 2019
Best irons in golf of 2019: Top overall performers
Chris DiMarco calls Patrick Reed a cheater and a “d*ck” in social media rant
Best irons in golf of 2019: Most technology packed
“Old Man Golf Media”? Barstool Sports and some of golf’s leading journalists involved in bitter online feud
Best irons in golf of 2019: The shotmakers
Presidents Cup WITBs: U.S. Team
Best irons in golf of 2019: Pure enjoyment
Forum Thread of the Day: “Hitting blades better than game improvement irons?”
Long live the half set
Golf world pays tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant
On Sunday, multiple news sources confirmed that basketball star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, had been killed along...
How much each player won at the 2020 Farmers Insurance Open
Marc Leishman’s putting masterclass on Sunday gave him his fifth win on the PGA Tour as well as the top...
The 6 best #GolfWRX photos on Instagram today (1.24.20)
In this segment, we’ll be taking a look at some of the best #GolfWRX tagged photos on Instagram. In case...
World Golf Hall of Fame changes age criteria; Tiger Woods eligible for induction in 2021
On Tuesday, the World Golf Hall of Fame announced its amended age criteria for induction which paves the way for...
Whats in the Bag6 days ago
Tiger Woods WITB: 2020 Farmers Insurance Open
Equipment1 week ago
From a Fitter: Everything you need to know about wedge shafts
Equipment2 weeks ago
Nike Golf unveils new Nike Air Zoom Infinity Tour golf shoe in collaboration with Brooks Koepka
Whats in the Bag6 days ago
Rory McIlroy WITB: 2020 Farmers Insurance Open
Whats in the Bag2 weeks ago
Tommy Fleetwood WITB: 2020 Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship
Equipment3 days ago
GolfWRX Live at the 2020 PGA Show: Top 10 things we loved
Equipment1 week ago
2020 Scotty Cameron Special Select putters
Tour Photo Galleries4 days ago
Top photos from the Farmers Insurance Open