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Graphite shaft - Wedge Experiment


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Let me start by saying that this is simply an experiment (for now). Due to the very reasonable cost of the materials used, it seems like something that could be both fun, educational, and at the least entertaining (for me anyway)

So I know that there's been some buzz more recently (thanks TXG) about the possible performance benefits of throwing a graphite shaft in a wedge. I believe that the outcome was giving more spin control on shorter shots while at the same time allowing for higher spin on full flighted shots as well as maintaining pretty hefty spin on full shots without having to manipulate the club face as the shaft appears to help with putting the face in the right spot for optimal spin. (I expect to be corrected on this as I'm just too lazy to go back and re-watch the video) 😜

Additionally, I know that the world of shafts is probably more complex and confusing than the world of golf balls or even tennis shoes for that matter. There's just a lot of stuff out there to muddy the waters of trying to find the "perfect" shaft for any give club. Also, a lot of what's being discussed is the use of "wedge-specific" graphite shafts and their performance #'s. 

Another experiment that I have yet to delve into is the use of a stiffer flex 8 iron shaft cut to wedge length. This has received the coined name of "Tiger Stepping" as this is reportedly what Tiger did a few years back as it allowed him to use his set preferred shaft while adding more "wedge-like" properties and softening the shaft up a hair. Not sure if he still employs this technique but it was a thing at one time. 

My experiment is somewhat of a hybrid. I'm sure that those more well-versed in club building theory could probably school me from the get go but this is a learning experience for me and if anybody cares to join in.. at least for some good-natured ribbing, I'm inviting you to come along for the ride. 

So I've decided to pair my Maltby TSW 56* with a S flex tip trimmed to 8 iron length but then butt trimmed to my standard wedge length. In theory, I believe this should end up playing at about R or close to "wedge" flex that my DG Spinners play at but possibly with a little more lively tip end. The shaft I've chosen for this is a very budget-friendly, but also very stable and well-performing Kuro Kage Black 2nd gen iron shaft. This is a stock offering from Maltby but I believe it's cut to more of a "wedge" spec as to keep the flex more as advertised. Stock weight is 75g so noticeably lighter than my original TT DG Spinner that weighed in at a hefty 131g uncut. The absolute worst thing that can happen here is that the Graphite shaft doesn't work for me and I just put the DG Spinner back in and I'm out $35 ($25 for the shaft and $10 for the grip)

Also, if anybody has done anything similar, please feel free to jump in and comment on your experience. I'm hopeful that if things work well, that I can add the same shaft to my 50*. Or maybe I'll find that I really only need it for my 56*.. or possibly not at all. Also, any of you club building experts, please feel free to throw in some education as I'm obviously very green to all of this club building theory stuff. 

 

Cheers!

0503210837.jpg.876cf64c9fd8b5fe849291ca420fda0d.jpg0503210838b.jpg.d17bac5719798e287a374677190cd7d1.jpg0503210839.jpg.25f6775fa498f910fc32c986bf1e7661.jpg

 

 

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Eager to hear how this works out 

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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
               :titelist-small: 915H 24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
Irons:      :honma:TR20V 6-11 w/Vizard TR20-85 Graphite
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  • 2 weeks later...

I had a chance to get some GC Quad (dry ball) #'s as well as collect some non-data, performance info on the course. 

Starting with the non-data course info (personal opinion on feeling performance, etc): So far, the feeling and ability to control the club are excellent. The flight is noticeably lower than my DG Spinners. The shaft is rated as a "Mid" flight shaft so that's probably a factor. So that right there is one of my goals accomplished!

Initially, I was afraid that by going from a 125g+ shaft to a 75g, it would feel like I'm swinging  a piece of yarn. While noticeably lighter, the swing weight doesn't feel out of place. Next time I go to PGATSS I'll have the SW checked, but I'd be surprised to see it lower than D4. That said, after taking a good 10-15 swings with the Kuro Kage wedge and then switching back to my 50* DG Spinner, the overall weight difference was enormous. The 50* all of a sudden felt like swinging a sledgehammer! This has intrigued me further to add the same shaft to my 50* as I really like the overall lighter weight and feel. 

I had a few chances to test out of the bunker and am very happy to report that I was 3/3 for bunker saves. I think that the lighter weight feel of the club helped with acceleration of the club through the sand producing a nice pop/splash with some really nice stopping ability. These were some decent size pot bunkers as well.. say eye-level or higher lips. Like many, bunker play has never been my cup-o-tea but I think I may have found a new level of confidence here when it comes to playing from the sand. 

Both courses that I played had extremely hard greens so nothing was stopping for anybody. This is pretty normal here in AZ though. That said, I was noticing much less rollout and more action on my mid to full shots. One of the rounds I played with a guy who was better than me and he was skipping everything off the green while I was at lease able to get the ball to stop on a number of shots. 

Dry Ball Data: At PGATSS, I was able to use their GC Quad. I also snagged a demo Mizuno T20 56* and a Vokey SM8 56*. Both the Mizuno and Vokey showed considerably steeper launch angles but the spin was OK right at about 8500 - 9000 RPM's. I'd say admirable for a 56*. The Maltby TSW with the Kuro Kage however was spinning at a minimum of 9500 with very little effort. If I really got down on the ball, I was seeing spin #'s in the mid to high 10's! Overall feel, trajectory, and distance #'s were much tighter with the TSW. 

I'm hoping to be able to get more data just to back up these #'s and I'll report once I do. 

 

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I e been playing graphite shafts in my wedges for a few years, it started with a fitting several years ago for a set of Bridgestone J40 DPC irons, the fitter suggested I put the Aerotech Steelfibers in my 50* wedge and I loved it! I was able to get better spin on shorter flighted shots and massive spin on full shots.

When I got fit for my Cobra F7’s I put the Recoil shafts in all of my wedges, I love having the same feel in all of my irons and wedges.

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Got bored last night .. 😜

0513211123.jpg.6ff6594e82b4e2a66eb9e14ec098a347.jpg

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post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg  TS-1 3 - P / TT DG 105 (S+) 
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this is awesome and very interesting .. I want to switch to graphite shafts soon.

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24 minutes ago, Nolan220 said:

this is awesome and very interesting .. I want to switch to graphite shafts soon.

I'd still venture to say that maybe this specific shaft isn't providing the absolute best spin results if compared to maybe a "wedge specific" graphite shaft but the #'s that I'm seeing really aren't anything to complain about IMO.. I think that my decision to cut it like an 8 iron from the tip worked exactly as I had hoped. Full swings don't feel whippy at all and I'm able to feel the tip section release but the rest of the club plays/feels like a R+ (wedge) flex which is all exactly what I was aiming for. My iron shafts are TT DG 105's  cut to S+ and the feeling of the Kuro Kage isn't too much different. Best of all is the noticeable lower flight but without loss of distance. If anything I'm noticing similar distances with less effort which in turn seems to result in a more controlled shot. 

All of this is still being taken with a grain of salt as I'm only 2 rounds in with my 56* and just glued up the 50* last night. Will be interesting to see if I can find any more easy distance with the 50* as my gapping is the greatest between it and my PW (approx. 20 yds). I don't necessarily want to hit it further than 115 - 120 yds but it will be interesting to see if I can find extra distance when needed without trying to swing out of my shoes. Whenever faced with an "in-between" yardage, I've always done better squeezing more yards out of a shorter club than gripping down or soft-swinging a longer club and it seems like I'm faced with more shots in between 50* and PW than any other clubs in the bag. 

 

 

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post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg  TS-1 3 - P / TT DG 105 (S+) 
post-76102-0-38507100-1525284411_thumb.jpg  TSW Wedges - 50/6 + 56/12
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7 hours ago, azstu324 said:

I'd still venture to say that maybe this specific shaft isn't providing the absolute best spin results if compared to maybe a "wedge specific" graphite shaft but the #'s that I'm seeing really aren't anything to complain about IMO.. I think that my decision to cut it like an 8 iron from the tip worked exactly as I had hoped. Full swings don't feel whippy at all and I'm able to feel the tip section release but the rest of the club plays/feels like a R+ (wedge) flex which is all exactly what I was aiming for. My iron shafts are TT DG 105's  cut to S+ and the feeling of the Kuro Kage isn't too much different. Best of all is the noticeable lower flight but without loss of distance. If anything I'm noticing similar distances with less effort which in turn seems to result in a more controlled shot. 

All of this is still being taken with a grain of salt as I'm only 2 rounds in with my 56* and just glued up the 50* last night. Will be interesting to see if I can find any more easy distance with the 50* as my gapping is the greatest between it and my PW (approx. 20 yds). I don't necessarily want to hit it further than 115 - 120 yds but it will be interesting to see if I can find extra distance when needed without trying to swing out of my shoes. Whenever faced with an "in-between" yardage, I've always done better squeezing more yards out of a shorter club than gripping down or soft-swinging a longer club and it seems like I'm faced with more shots in between 50* and PW than any other clubs in the bag. 

 

 

Def keep me updated on the 50* .. I like the more control aspect of the graphite 

:ping-small: G400 SFT 10. KBS TD 50 Category 3 shaft 

:cobra-small: King Speedzone Black Yellow Fairway 3 wood Tensei AV Blue 65 

:cobra-small: F9 SpeedBack Black Grey Fairway 5 Wood   :Fuji: ATMOS Tour Spec Blue 7 shaft

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My go to shaft in a wedge has actually been completely against the flow of a heavy weighted shaft.

Most wedge shafts are heavier than the iron shafts in a given set, yet I've found the 85g Xcaliber ProX to be the perfect wedge shaft for me. Its beaten out any wedge specific shaft I've used. 

Back this up 5 years ago and I built an entire set with what was the Xcaliber Tour X shafts. A metal woven mesh embedded into graphite. Plays like steel yet dampens like graphite. The entire set including wedges were the 85g shaft because at the time its all I had at the house. I normally went to the 105g version of that shaft for the wedges.

What I found is I now had touch around the green. Delicate shots were far easier. The lighter weight had more give to it getting through the grass.. Yet I had no draw backs with full shots and even seemed to pick up spin. 

So all of my wedges since have been a version of the Tour X 85g shaft. They have evolved to the Avalon i8 and continue to be my wedge shaft, regardless of what I'm playing in my irons. As a reference my 9i and PW are a 95g shaft. 

The Avalon i8 shafts are on the far left. It doesn't hurt that they are flat out sexy either.

20200624_153524.jpg

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You guys are making me want to get a wedge head and throw a graphite shaft in it to see how it performs.   Sounds like it is providing some benefits.

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Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
Fairway: :titelist-small: TS3 15* set  to 16.5* w/Project X Hzardous Smoke
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               :titelist-small: 915H 24*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
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6 hours ago, Popeye64 said:

My go to shaft in a wedge has actually been completely against the flow of a heavy weighted shaft.

Most wedge shafts are heavier than the iron shafts in a given set, yet I've found the 85g Xcaliber ProX to be the perfect wedge shaft for me. Its beaten out any wedge specific shaft I've used. 

Back this up 5 years ago and I built an entire set with what was the Xcaliber Tour X shafts. A metal woven mesh embedded into graphite. Plays like steel yet dampens like graphite. The entire set including wedges were the 85g shaft because at the time its all I had at the house. I normally went to the 105g version of that shaft for the wedges.

What I found is I now had touch around the green. Delicate shots were far easier. The lighter weight had more give to it getting through the grass.. Yet I had no draw backs with full shots and even seemed to pick up spin. 

So all of my wedges since have been a version of the Tour X 85g shaft. They have evolved to the Avalon i8 and continue to be my wedge shaft, regardless of what I'm playing in my irons. As a reference my 9i and PW are a 95g shaft. 

The Avalon i8 shafts are on the far left. It doesn't hurt that they are flat out sexy either.

20200624_153524.jpg

As always @Popeye64 your feedback and experience is gold! 🙂 I've seen you loving on these Xcaliber shafts for some time so I'm sure they're money! The only reservation that I have about the KC 75g is that it might be a hair too light. the jury's still out on whether or not I might want to go 10-15g heavier. Looks like Xcaliber may be a good optiond if I decide to go that route down the road. For this experiment, it kind of started out as an "I'm bored right now and Golf galaxy is 10 min down the road and has everything available" kind of thing. Waiting for the perfect shaft to show up in the mail was not an option that my brain had tolerance for 😜

Question for you: did you trim the shaft specifically for a wedge? or did you do something similar to my experiment and tip trim to a 7 or 8 iron spec with a stiffer flex? 

I'm also pondering this setup to help someone who might struggle with wedge play. My dad is absolutely mortified when it's time to use a wedge. I've since grounded him from using anything other than a 9i or putter for shots around the green. Being that wedge play is one of the stronger and more consistent parts of my game, he might be slightly intimidated or figure that he should be able to do it as easily as I make it look. He gets pretty heated (swear words, club throwing, etc) when his wedge shots don't turn out well.. hence the "time out" from his wedges. He also doesn't practice like I do so that's part of the problem. His issue is that he grips like he's trying to strangle a dinner chicken. He's so damn tense that there's just no hope at executing a decent shot. He has no confidence when accelerating through the shot so his back swing is about half as long as it needs to be and he pushes the club through the shot rather than relying on the natural momentum of the club head and release. He's also had 2 hips replaced recently so fully rotating through shots is another issue that we're working on. I'm wondering if maybe a lighter club overall might naturally encourage a lighter grip and actually help him accelerate better through the shot? We'll have to see if this theory pans out at some point. 

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6 hours ago, Popeye64 said:

What I found is I now had touch around the green. Delicate shots were far easier. The lighter weight had more give to it getting through the grass.. Yet I had no draw backs with full shots and even seemed to pick up spin.

This is exactly how I felt the past 2 rounds since adding the graphite. Took a couple of holes to get used to the feeling but then I was noticing the ability to be even more intricate with the variety of shots that wedges are capable of. The shots seemed less mechanical and more organic if that makes sense. Overall W+X+Y = Z to execute any given wedge shot with either setup but there is just more feeling which I think adds to the confidence in pulling the shot off correctly. Open-face shots were something else too. Using the bounce and sending the ball straight up seemed more effortless and much more rewarding at the same time. Playing harder greens that don't hold well demand decent flop shot skills and these really do the trick! 

 

 

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2 hours ago, azstu324 said:

This is exactly how I felt the past 2 rounds since adding the graphite. Took a couple of holes to get used to the feeling but then I was noticing the ability to be even more intricate with the variety of shots that wedges are capable of. The shots seemed less mechanical and more organic if that makes sense. Overall W+X+Y = Z to execute any given wedge shot with either setup but there is just more feeling which I think adds to the confidence in pulling the shot off correctly. Open-face shots were something else too. Using the bounce and sending the ball straight up seemed more effortless and much more rewarding at the same time. Playing harder greens that don't hold well demand decent flop shot skills and these really do the trick! 

 

 

Since I'm already using a lightweight graphite shaft I cut it as I would for a SW. If I'm using a heavyweight shaft I will trim as an 8 iron So i have some feel. 

The heavyweight shaft in a wedge head should help you be a bit mechanical getting through the grass and prevent a chunky swing that gets stuck in the grass or is balky. What i find is totally opposite. I find the lightweight shaft gets through the grass better with a little give. Where the heavyweight would get hung up. So I have a ton of feel in my hands that allows me to be creative. It really works for me. I fear no short chip whatsoever. 

I send out a lot of the Xcaliber shafts for demos and a recent customer asked if I could send one of my wedge setups with the lighter shaft. He ordered one for himself almost immediately upon trying the club. 

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Agree with all @Popeye64 has posted regarding the Xcaliber Robin Arthur shafts. Absolute favorite for me is the Classic RT Spin wedge shaft closely followed by the TourX with metal mesh. Have both of those models in Ping and Wishon wedges I rotate. Another great decently weighted wedge shaft is the Paderson graphite wedge shafts. I have the Padersons in a few PW/GW's as I like those better for full swings (subjective I know but they feel firmer/very stout so I can swing hard). The Robin Arthurs/Xcaliber's I can swing easy/half shots and/or full but I like the softer feel at impact and game those in sw/lw. Regardless lots of quality graphite wedge shafts available and/or experimenting with hard/soft stepping the iron shafts. 

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