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puttingpirate

Why iron shafts are not getting as much love as driver ones?

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24 minutes ago, revkev said:

Wait a minute - before I offer my response I need to ask PuttingPirate if that ratio of 5/6 drivers to 30 irons is true?  Clearly if that's the case he's the anomaly or else perhaps he's counting wedges as irons?  If I rate the clubs by category as follows driver, fairways/hybrids, irons, wedges, putter their importance to my score (and I would argue the score of many people) based on relevant usage plus potential strokes gained would be

Driver, putter, wedges, irons, fairway/hybrids

 

My last round was on a par 71 with 5 par 3's.  Here are my full swing counts.

Driver - 13

3 Wood - 2

Utility iron (2+4) - 1

Irons (5-PW) - 9

Wedges (50°, 54° 58°) - 4

I had 11 shots with wedges that were 70% or less and 34 putts. 

So for me, the most important clubs in the bag are...

  1. Putter
  2. Driver
  3. Wedges
  4. Irons

YMMV

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I think iron shafts will become the next area of innovation that will evolve over the next few years. Realistically most people know flex and they are steel. I personally played X100s for as long as I can remember and at a fitting last year I was shocked at the number of shafts I had to choose from in terms of brands and weight. Surprisingly I went with XP 105s which would not even had been in my thought process without the fitting. For wedges we went with $Taper 120s which also were not on my radar. Imagine if Graphite iron shafts take off the amount of differentiation there will be?


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2 minutes ago, Jmikecpa said:

I think iron shafts will become the next area of innovation that will evolve over the next few years. Realistically most people know flex and they are steel. I personally played X100s for as long as I can remember and at a fitting last year I was shocked at the number of shafts I had to choose from in terms of brands and weight. Surprisingly I went with XP 105s which would not even had been in my thought process without the fitting. For wedges we went with $Taper 120s which also were not on my radar. Imagine if Graphite iron shafts take off the amount of differentiation there will be?


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I agree with this. I think with the technology changes in materials and how they are used will change iron shafts completely. IMO in 10-20 years almost if not all shafts will be graphite or composite. 

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38 minutes ago, revkev said:

If I rate the clubs by category as follows driver, fairways/hybrids, irons, wedges, putter their importance to my score (and I would argue the score of many people) based on relevant usage plus potential strokes gained would be

Driver, putter, wedges, irons, fairway/hybrids

Not to argue that it isn't the case for you, but I'm currently reading Every Shot Counts and just covered this. While Mark Broadie admits that there are always exceptions,  the long game (driving and approaches >100 yards) makes up two-thirds of the average golfer's score. I wish I had the book with me so I could reference and make sure I'm getting this right, but I'm pretty sure iron shots >100 yards make up the bulk of the scores with driving/tee shots coming in behind that; next is wedges and then the putter.

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12 minutes ago, THEZIPR23 said:

I agree with this. I think with the technology changes in materials and how they are used will change iron shafts completely. IMO in 10-20 years almost if not all shafts will be graphite or composite. 

I agree too, although this is a little depressing having just done my first fitting a few months ago and then buying a new set of irons that I justified by telling myself I would keep them as-is for at least 5 years...🙄 

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5 hours ago, revkev said:

Wait a minute - before I offer my response I need to ask PuttingPirate if that ratio of 5/6 drivers to 30 irons is true?  Clearly if that's the case he's the anomaly or else perhaps he's counting wedges as irons?  If I rate the clubs by category as follows driver, fairways/hybrids, irons, wedges, putter their importance to my score (and I would argue the score of many people) based on relevant usage plus potential strokes gained would be

Driver, putter, wedges, irons, fairway/hybrids

(I could see wedges and irons flip flopping based upon the course and set of tees that I'm playing - I suppose if I played a set of tees that was too short for me Driver might drop below putter but then fairway/hybrids would move above irons and wedges also)

At any rate I read a lot about iron shafts on MGS at least.  I know that the shaft/head combo of irons is hugely important for me - more important than my driver even though my driver is more important to my overall score - I got fit last spring, changed the head (to a wider platform) and shaft (to a lighter graphite) and improved significantly in all areas of my irons - dispersion, distance, consistency.  I'm guessing that if it was this important for me it would be for most others also. 

Perhaps the OP has been checking in at times when we haven't been making a big deal out of iron shafts.  I do agree that there is more interest about driver shafts in general but I don't think that's necessarily true here -

Kev, 

For when I’m trying to score, and not just screwing around with friends, I tee off with a 1iron or 4 iron (any par 4 under 450), driver mostly comes out when I can reach the green, would have to hit anything longer than a 5i into the green, or if reaching a par 5 in 2. On most courses that I play it’s 5/6 times a round. 

And irons for me are the clubs I take full shots with, so 1, 4i-50 degree. Even tho it’s 2 ‘wedges’ I do hit mostly full shots with them. 
But yeah, I may be checking in when iron shafts are not being talked about, but as I’m moving to graphite now I’ve done A LOT of research into it, and to be honest I can find VERY few reviews. And when I find some - they’re usually not as comprehensive as I’d want them to be OR massively over technical (maybe aimed at fitters?).

 

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There’s far more money and technology that’s already invested into driver shafts. There’s also a far greater margin for profit.

Besides the profit margins, the market for golfers who would benefit from a specific type of iron shaft is much smaller than that buying a driver.


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7 hours ago, bens197 said:

There’s far more money and technology that’s already invested into driver shafts. There’s also a far greater margin for profit.

Besides the profit margins, the market for golfers who would benefit from a specific type of iron shaft is much smaller than that buying a driver.


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That’s not true. The biggest cost is materials rnd, and most of them are cross use. Tooling and machinery is another one, but as there is a lot more seamless irons shafts than driver ones I think the former would be more expensive.
And with graphite iron shafts reaching the $200 mark, and you buying 10 of them at a time and not just one (not to mention seven dreamers at $1200/shaft for entry level) again I think from the manufacturers point of view its not an area they neglect.

 

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1 hour ago, puttingpirate said:

That’s not true. The biggest cost is materials rnd, and most of them are cross use. Tooling and machinery is another one, but as there is a lot more seamless irons shafts than driver ones I think the former would be more expensive.
And with graphite iron shafts reaching the $200 mark, and you buying 10 of them at a time and not just one (not to mention seven dreamers at $1200/shaft for entry level) again I think from the manufacturers point of view its not an area they neglect.

 

Don't just look at the forest for the trees.  The shafts shelf-life / staying power is far greater than a cycle release from a major OEM.  Shafts like the Diamana White and Blueboard, Fuji Speeder series and GD Tour AD Series have proven their longevity.  

While more recently, these same companies are releasing additions to the series, you are well aware that the aforementioned blue chips shafts of these vendors have maintained their relevancy for years.  Once that R&D has developed a premium product, the leap to tweaking that and developing into a complementary product is far less because the initial research has already been done.  

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11 hours ago, bens197 said:

There’s far more money and technology that’s already invested into driver shafts. There’s also a far greater margin for profit.

Besides the profit margins, the market for golfers who would benefit from a specific type of iron shaft is much smaller than that buying a driver.


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I was just coming in here to comment on technology aspect as I didn’t see it touched onin other posts really.  

Driver/woods/hybrid shaft have moved to bring graphite and with this shift there are a lot more manipulations that can be made to the shaft make up to affect feel, stability, weight, etc where as with steel there’s only so much that can be done in comparison.

since the vast majority of iron shafts are steel they get overlooked because most of the time imo it comes down to feel for the golfer.  

Not to discredit the iron shafts because there’s a lot of great shafts out there from all the companies and it’s not just give me either r300,s300 or x100 from dynamic golf like it used to be. Nowadays the companies have found ways to make great steel iron shafts in all sorts of weights but the ability still lags behind what the companies can do with graphite.

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:44 AM, TR1PTIK said:

If any of you guys follow Golfholics on YouTube, you'll know that Mike recently went to Fujikura for an iron shaft fitting. In that video they talk about some of the stigma and misinformation that surrounds graphite iron shafts and I'd have to say that stigma and misinformation pretty much sums up the discrepancies between all iron shafts and driver shaft fittings. Look at Tiger as an example. How long has he played X100's? There's so much more out there to try and he's only just even adapted to adjustable drivers since switching to Taylormade.

I watched the iron shaft fitting, definitely peaked my interest in those Fujikura shafts. Based on the weight, they could be a contender against the Tour 90s I have in my clubs at the moment. Love the lighter shaft feel.

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1 hour ago, edingc said:

I watched the iron shaft fitting, definitely peaked my interest in those Fujikura shafts. Based on the weight, they could be a contender against the Tour 90s I have in my clubs at the moment. Love the lighter shaft feel.

It definitely got me thinking as well. Aside from some of the weighting issues (that really only seem to apply to the hardest/fastest swingers), the only thing I see slowing graphite shafts down is cost. No way they will ever be able to match the combination of cost and performance available with steel shafts - not for a good while at least.

It was a relatively easy switch to make when graphite replaced steel in drivers and fairway woods because you're only talking about 3-4 clubs on average. Yeah, it's more expensive but the performance is THAT much better to make it an non-issue. I'm not sure they can say that with graphite iron shafts - as good as they are.

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1 hour ago, TR1PTIK said:

It definitely got me thinking as well. Aside from some of the weighting issues (that really only seem to apply to the hardest/fastest swingers), the only thing I see slowing graphite shafts down is cost. No way they will ever be able to match the combination of cost and performance available with steel shafts - not for a good while at least.

It was a relatively easy switch to make when graphite replaced steel in drivers and fairway woods because you're only talking about 3-4 clubs on average. Yeah, it's more expensive but the performance is THAT much better to make it an non-issue. I'm not sure they can say that with graphite iron shafts - as good as they are.

The cost of graphit iron shafts as an upgrade isbt that much. Most offer the recoil for $25/club

they alreadt March or beat the performance of steel because the companies can do so much more with them than steel shafts and with all the technology and various materials that can be used. Graphite iron shafts today are completely different from the ones that originally came out.  

Graphite has replaced steel in the woods and hybrids and is starting to do it in the driving/utility irons. 

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26 minutes ago, RickyBobby_PR said:

The cost of graphit iron shafts as an upgrade isbt that much. Most offer the recoil for $25/club

they alreadt March or beat the performance of steel because the companies can do so much more with them than steel shafts and with all the technology and various materials that can be used. Graphite iron shafts today are completely different from the ones that originally came out.  

Graphite has replaced steel in the woods and hybrids and is starting to do it in the driving/utility irons. 

After I read your post, I hopped on GolfWorks and you're absolutely right. I didn't realize just how close they actually were in price. There are some brands/models that get a little more up there than others, but none I saw that would give me full blown sticker shock.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying in context. I have no doubt that graphite can match and even beat the performance of steel, but given my initial (uneducated) understanding of cost - I didn't think it would be an easy justification. Having done even just a minute amount of research, I can clearly see I was wrong on that front.

Sadly, until a more diverse offering of graphite iron shafts make their way into fitting carts, I think a lot of golfers will miss out on the opportunity to discover the benefits for themselves. Not every region is blessed with reputable independent fitters that are also well stocked. 

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4 hours ago, TR1PTIK said:

After I read your post, I hopped on GolfWorks and you're absolutely right. I didn't realize just how close they actually were in price. There are some brands/models that get a little more up there than others, but none I saw that would give me full blown sticker shock.

I think you misunderstood what I was saying in context. I have no doubt that graphite can match and even beat the performance of steel, but given my initial (uneducated) understanding of cost - I didn't think it would be an easy justification. Having done even just a minute amount of research, I can clearly see I was wrong on that front.

Sadly, until a more diverse offering of graphite iron shafts make their way into fitting carts, I think a lot of golfers will miss out on the opportunity to discover the benefits for themselves. Not every region is blessed with reputable independent fitters that are also well stocked. 

 

I would think there would be AT LEAST one fitter within 50 miles from any of us, no?

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3 hours ago, puttingpirate said:

 

I would think there would be AT LEAST one fitter within 50 miles from any of us, no?

Fitter, maybe. Reputable fitter, doubtful. Sure there's a fitting about 30 miles from me, but I would let him within 100 feet of my clubs. The closest REPUTABLE fitter is 90ish miles from me. 

 

Anyway, I play Steelfibers, and find the performance and technology to be far superior to steel. I get more consistent launch and spin from graphite than steel. Distance is maybe 3-5 yards longer because I can play a lighter graphite weight than steel. Steel I need 125+ while with Steelfibers, I only need 110-115. I think most players can benefit from graphite in some way, and also agree that the next innovation is in iron shafts, not driver shafts. 

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I’m thinking iron shafts will all be graphite within 10 years or so. The cats been let out of the bag, and pricing will come down.

in my case, my last two sets have graphite. From Steelfiber 110’s Stiff, and now to recoil 760 smacwrap’s in regular flex. Oddly, I don’t seem to feel a difference until the club hits the turf, and I swear sometimes I can feel it bend a hair. And the smacwrap just eats up all the bad vibrations, yet you still know exactly where you hit the club face. The joints are very happy about this, and I can see the less harsh feelings as a strong selling point.

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2 hours ago, Sluggo42 said:

I’m thinking iron shafts will all be graphite within 10 years or so. The cats been let out of the bag, and pricing will come down.

I wouldn't be too hasty in thinking that. Regardless of the cost of manufacture for graphite becoming cheaper, steel still beats that price by a large margin. If you factor in the durability and easier assembly/prep processfor steel shafts too, I don't think they're going anywhere soon. Sure, graphite has it's adavantages but steel is still the king of iron shafts - and will probably remain so for a very long time.

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1 hour ago, jaskanski said:

I wouldn't be too hasty in thinking that. Regardless of the cost of manufacture for graphite becoming cheaper, steel still beats that price by a large margin. If you factor in the durability and easier assembly/prep processfor steel shafts too, I don't think they're going anywhere soon. Sure, graphite has it's adavantages but steel is still the king of iron shafts - and will probably remain so for a very long time.

The pricing will be comparable within few years. And with graphite already outperforming steel but being simply too expensive I would think that the king is dead, and long live the king.

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On 2/1/2019 at 1:08 AM, puttingpirate said:

The pricing will be comparable within few years. And with graphite already outperforming steel but being simply too expensive I would think that the king is dead, and long live the king.

Long live the king!

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