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Decades after their introduction, there are still a lot of misconceptions about graphite iron shafts — especially when it comes to the question of who graphite iron shafts are for and how they can help a golfer’s game.

This video breaks down the origins of these misconceptions to help golfers understand the truth about graphite shafts. It also offers some great tips for club builders who are building with graphite iron shafts for the first time.

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Ryan Barath is a club fitter and master club builder who has more than 15 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf located in Toronto. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

20 Comments

20 Comments

  1. jimmy

    Mar 14, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Graphite shafts have been on the market for over 30 years and they still haven’t engineered out the problems inherent with them. The only reason they still exist is cause they can bring out new models with fancy eye-catching new graphics annually…. to suck in the gullible gearheads.

  2. WA

    Mar 14, 2018 at 12:46 am

    If this guy wasn’t a club builder he would be working at a quickie lube joint.

  3. frank irwin

    Mar 13, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    What type of tip weights do you recommend using for graphite shafts?

  4. Max

    Mar 13, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    Love the steelfibers and recoils. Looking forward to try the Mitsubishi Thump’s and Ot’s. Driver speed: 108-110 mph.

    Love the feel of graphite. Pure strikes feel better.

    • jimmy

      Mar 14, 2018 at 10:17 pm

      you obviously lie like a gearheaded duffer… sooo obvious

  5. steve

    Mar 13, 2018 at 4:16 pm

    The best graphite shaft on the market is the $1200 Seven Dreamer shafts that are cured in an autoclave which drains out the plastic epoxy component to a minimum. All the other graphite shafts are oven-cured which leaves in the compromising epoxy plastic that causes the floppy soggy shaft tip inconsistent action.
    Save your money for the superior Seven Dreamer graphite shafts, boys.

  6. KevinS

    Mar 13, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Just a couple comments. I’m an “older” golfer and club tinkerer and I have to take exception with your point that firm or stiff graphite shafts for irons weren’t really available “back in the day.” They were. You just had to search more for them, high and low. Back in the early ’90s, I reshafted a set of Ram Laser FX irons with models called “Superior Graphite Shafts” by Norman Sports Company — stiff or firm flex. The reshafting, which I did myself, was fairly successful for an amateur, but as you mentioned, I had to end up applying lead tape to the backplate of many. Some not at all (PW); some a little (7 or 8 iron), some a lot (6 iron). Still don’t know today why they all came out so different in swingweight. Also, because of the overall weight and swingweight, I left the reshafted clubs a half-inch longer than the steel counterparts. I still use these clubs from time to time, but ended up abandoning them eventually, not because of the graphite shafts, but because of the Ram Laser’s sharp(er) leading edge and relatively flat sole. Somebody told me I could also grind down the leading edge, but I had fooled around with them enough. I still take them out and use them and like them and would compare the flex comparable with my Hogan Apex shafts #4, albeit lighter. To this day I still have not swung or hit any graphite shafted irons with shafts that feel as firm as the ones I installed in the early 90s. I know they exist; I just haven’t experienced them, even those marked “S.” These cavity-back forged Ram irons with graphite shafts have always launched higher and flown higher, so I have much more difficulty hitting “flighted” or knock-down short-iron shots with them.

    • Ryan B

      Mar 13, 2018 at 7:57 pm

      HI Kevin,

      Thanks for watching. You are correct that shafts were available but, like I said in the video – to the general consumer something like what you mention was not a very easy to find option for those who shopped at either their local proshop or golf store. This along with misinformed sales people lead to a lot of the misconceptions I talked about.

      I really appreciate you watching the video and taking time to comment.

      Cheers

  7. steve

    Mar 13, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    The problem with graphite shaft are at the tip section where the epoxy-graphite matrix behaves like a floppy soggy piece of plastic spaghetti… unless heavily reinforced with exotic materials and even steel fibers.
    Any pro using graphite in their irons has the shaft tips heavily reinforced with space age materials or metal strands to make the shaft tips behave predictably.
    That was the problem with graphite shafts when introduced 40 years ago and the problems are still not solved. Floppy soggy plastic straws.

    • steve

      Mar 13, 2018 at 4:37 pm

      Furthermore, driver shaft tip diameters were boosted to 0.350″ from the old standard of 0.335″. This has a significant affect on tip torque. This increase was done to increase tip torque resistance on graphite shafts and to hopefully stabilize the tip as it twists and flexes.
      FYI… torque resistance for a thin-walled tube varies as the cube of the diameter. Even though it’s only about a 5% diameter increase, the torque resistance is increased by ~13%. It still doesn’t solve the problem of floppy soggy graphite shaft tips. Only the Seven Dreamers shafts fix the problems.

    • George

      Mar 13, 2018 at 7:52 pm

      FYI stiff graphite shafts can be achieved without going to exotic fibres.

      Defy you to compare Nunchuk Xi iron shafts against any of the ridiculously expensive exotics.

      Patents on Nunchuk include the method of wrapping the graphite. Defy you to find a stiffer tip, by design, on the market. Virtually zero droop, twist or kick at impact.

      Cheers

      PS video on nventix.com, Dallas Texas

      • jimmy

        Mar 14, 2018 at 10:15 pm

        A shaft with zero droop, twist or kick at impact would be totally unplayable because it would eliminate the whipsnap necessary in final release going into impact. Such a shaft would reduce the swing to shovelling and injure your hands and wrists too.

  8. Duncan Marc

    Mar 13, 2018 at 11:39 am

    If torque has nothing to do with accuracy, how can it be a factor? Contradictory statement.

    • Mat

      Mar 13, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      Torque is very important. Just make sure it is a low twist graphite. But ya, that statement was way, way off.

    • Ryan B

      Mar 13, 2018 at 8:02 pm

      Hi Duncan,

      Thanks for watching the video.
      What I mean when I talk torque is that it is not a deciding factor when it comes to accuracy. It is an aspect of design for engineers as far manufacturing goes, but the overall profile and weight will have a bigger impact.
      Torque is really a byproduct of the overall design of the shaft and not the deciding factor as far as final accuracy goes.

      Thanks for watching!

      • steve

        Mar 13, 2018 at 9:01 pm

        “torque” is imposed on the shaft tip by the eccentric clubhead attempting to dynamically align to the shaft axis in the downswing and through Release.
        There is a “centrifugal” torque imposed by the clubhead that results in shaft droop; and, there is axial torque that is created by the eccentric CofG of the clubhead closing the driver face and the iron face if the leading edge is offset significantly.
        Torque is most certainly a large factor in clubface accuracy at Impact.

        • George

          Mar 14, 2018 at 8:02 am

          FYI stiff graphite shafts can be achieved without going to exotic fibres.

          Nunchuk Xi iron shafts compare against any of the ridiculously expensive exotics.

          Patents on Nunchuk include the method of wrapping the graphite. Challenge you to find a stiffer butt and tip, by design, on the market. Virtually zero droop, twist or kick at impact.

          Cheers

          PS video on nventix.com, Dallas Texas

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Driver: Bridgestone Tour B JGR prototype (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ-6X

Fairway Woods: TaylorMade M3 (15 and 19 degrees)
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