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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 writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He is a club fitter and master club builder who has more than 16 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. 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.

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Johnny Taylor

    Jan 2, 2019 at 8:39 pm

    Ryan,

    Looking for a graphite shafts for irons in the 80-110 gram weight range. What would you recommend that for performance and feel at a reasonable price?

    Johnny

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. frank irwin

    Mar 13, 2018 at 7:19 pm

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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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2019-mitsubishi-diamana-shafts

The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Aldila shafts

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aldila-2019-shafts

With the beginning of the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing on now, we are really starting to see more 2019 gear work it way onto tour trucks, and onto the range for player testing…and into our forums (in picture format, at least).

Some of the most recently spotted pieces are the 2019 Aldila ATX shafts, including what appears to be an 85g hybrid shaft and a 120g iron shaft.

aldila-2019-shafts

We can only speculate that the hybrid is a low launch shaft — based on the PGA  Tour testing being done, but this could be a shaft more suited for the growing popularity of the driving iron category vs. wood-like hybrids in the previous couple of seasons.

The 120g iron shaft has a lot of people talking, since Aldila has leaked some information in our picture thread

“It utilizes a custom prepreg made at our facility in Poway that features a “Metal Mesh” material that is combined with Carbon Fiber to help add stability and weight in the irons.”

aldila-metal-mesh

By using this custom material, Aldila could be solving the common problem that a lot of people have with graphite, and that is the club total weight — although in this case 120g is similar to a lot of steel iron shafts already being used on Tour. As prototyping goes, this material could be put to use in lighter versions of the shaft and have a greater benefit in the sub-100g category — if they plan on going that route.

For the drivers, if previous versions and colorways are any indication, it looks like we will have some new technology packed into popular bend profiles like the NV (Green) and the VS (Blue).  As some members on the forums have already discussed, these shafts will be utilizing graphene (an extremely strong carbon material) for additional stability. 

We also have new Rogue 130 MSI models following along similar lines with both a black and silver.

Here’s some additional information from Aldila

“Building off of the success of the ROGUE® Limited Edition – which featured 125 M.S.I. Graphitic Carbon Fiber, we have taken ROGUE® to performance to another level by incorporating even stronger 130 M.S.I. Graphitic Carbon Fiber. The ROGUE® Silver 130 M.S.I. is a low-launch, low-spin shaft with a low torque tip-section fortified with 130 M.S.I. Graphitic Carbon Fiber, a higher balance point, and a premium ion plated finish.”

Join the discussion in our forums

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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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