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Do graphite iron shafts increase your distance? Getting older (59) and have some back issues, so i have recently lost about one to two club lengths on my iron distance. Would graphite shafts help me gain some of my distance back? Looking to purchase new iron set this summer, any suggestions on shafts and or best irons?

 

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17 minutes ago, CWEHKRAE said:

Do graphite iron shafts increase your distance? Getting older (59) and have some back issues, so i have recently lost about one to two club lengths on my iron distance. Would graphite shafts help me gain some of my distance back? Looking to purchase new iron set this summer, any suggestions on shafts and or best irons?

 

Basically no.   There is more too it than graphite shafts.   Shafts come in a variety of weights and a graphite shaft can be the exact same weight as a steel shaft.  You can also find very lightweight steel shafts.  Distance is about club head speed and having a club that meets you swing needs.  Unfortunately lost distances is a potential consequence of getting older.  
 

as for clubs and shafts the best answer is to try them and see what works.  Whether though a fitting or trial and error

Driver:  :ping-small: G400 Max 9* w/ KBS Tour Driven
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Hybrids:  :titelist-small: 816H1 19* set at 18* w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype
                :titelist-small: 915H  21*  w/KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid Prototype        
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What @cnosilsaid.. ^^

It's about what works for you.

I have just turned 60, and have a relatively slow swing speed.  I got fitted for my clubs about 3 years ago.  Not a 'tour level' type fitting, but just to get what's best for me from stock options from many brands.

I went to an independant specialist fitter.  He measured my swing using the Mizuno gadget, all my most suitable options were graphite, but you may not be the same. 

I would reccomend a 'proper' fitter (club pro or independant specialist) rather than a retail chain shop assistant/salesman if at all possible.  I tried that first and had to walk away without buying, it obviously varies depending on where you go and who you see, but all I felt I got was a commission hunting sales session, not an evaluation of what was most suitable for me.

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Graphite can help distance from a weight perspective but it's unlikely to make up all that has been lost. What graphite is good for is reducing joint pain as it is a little better at absorbing vibration. If you really need distance, I would recommend going for a lower lofted set of irons with graphite shafts. The lightest weight shaft may not be the best option as not everyone reacts well to ultra lightweight shafts. The typical issue for people transitioning to graphite is accuracy as you don't have the extra weight to help guide you. Additionally, some people actually can swing slower with a lighter shaft, especially if it's too stiff as they can't feel the head or shaft loading. I would generally avoid the ultra lightweight steel shafts as seem a bit on the fragile side based on the people who I know have used them. The only time I would recommend an ultra lightweight steel shaft is if you are adamant about using steel. 

Long story short, graphite can help but loft is still going to be the primary contributor to distance. Go to a local golf shop at a minimum and see if you can swing a few irons with graphite shafts to get a feel for a shaft that may work for you.

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On 6/17/2021 at 8:54 AM, Kansas King said:

Graphite can help distance from a weight perspective but it's unlikely to make up all that has been lost. What graphite is good for is reducing joint pain as it is a little better at absorbing vibration. If you really need distance, I would recommend going for a lower lofted set of irons with graphite shafts. The lightest weight shaft may not be the best option as not everyone reacts well to ultra lightweight shafts. The typical issue for people transitioning to graphite is accuracy as you don't have the extra weight to help guide you. Additionally, some people actually can swing slower with a lighter shaft, especially if it's too stiff as they can't feel the head or shaft loading. I would generally avoid the ultra lightweight steel shafts as seem a bit on the fragile side based on the people who I know have used them. The only time I would recommend an ultra lightweight steel shaft is if you are adamant about using steel. 

Long story short, graphite can help but loft is still going to be the primary contributor to distance. Go to a local golf shop at a minimum and see if you can swing a few irons with graphite shafts to get a feel for a shaft that may work for you.

Agree completely in your statement regarding reducing joint pain.   I like to practice and made the switch to graphite in my irons, huge difference in any discomfort.   However the mistake I made was going to an ultra light shaft (60 grams) from steel (115 grams) at the recommendation of a club fitter at a demo day.   I did not lose distance nor did I gain distance but my control was all over the place.  I would have 120 yards and knew I had no chance of hitting the green.   I thought it was my swing going bad but after a year I switched out the shafts to 96 gram graphite shafts and my dispersion control was back.

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On 6/18/2021 at 1:03 PM, Dodgerfan said:

Agree completely in your statement regarding reducing joint pain.   I like to practice and made the switch to graphite in my irons, huge difference in any discomfort.   However the mistake I made was going to an ultra light shaft (60 grams) from steel (115 grams) at the recommendation of a club fitter at a demo day.   I did not lose distance nor did I gain distance but my control was all over the place.  I would have 120 yards and knew I had no chance of hitting the green.   I thought it was my swing going bad but after a year I switched out the shafts to 96 gram graphite shafts and my dispersion control was back.

Dispersion is the hardest thing to control with graphite as weight is really the primary contributing factor in keeping your muscles under control. Ultra lightweight graphite shafts almost only really work on really slow swing speeds where the athletic ability to load the shaft just doesn't really exist. I'm a big fan of the steelfiber and some of the other heavier graphite shafts that offer the best of both worlds in terms of vibration reduction and lighter weights that their steel counter parts. This shaft dilemma is one reason why the distance sales pitch with irons is so dumb. If how far you hit a 7-iron really mattered, we would all be using much lighter weight and longer shafts. Distance doesn't really matter when you're getting fit into a 130+ gram steel shaft.

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@the original poster - it's correct of course that with a blank slate graphite offers no particular distance advantage over steal - gram for gram you are able to find shafts in graphite and steel that weigh about the same and perform the same.  With all due respect I would disagree with Kansas King in regards to light weight shafts.  It really does depend upon the player and there are good players who game lighter weight shafts - they're fairly athletic too.  Always be careful of absolutes.

 

The one benefit that graphite generally will offer is relief for those aching joints - I think that I made the switch in my mid 50's and it was very helpful.  Actually I followed a pattern that lots of better players do, I went from 120 gm metal to 105 with sensicore to help relieve the shock.  From there I went to graphite that was around the same weight, to graphite in the 80's, to graphite in the 70's which is where I'm at now.  Ideally you would do all of this with a fitter - there are also steal fiber shafts that give you the best of both worlds - like Kansas King I game one of those types.  My pro tries to get all of his players, even the high schoolers who are looking at college scholarships into them as he believes they will help preserve their joints as they get older and continue to pound balls - obviously they are in stronger versions than I. 🙂

 

Good luck

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7 minutes ago, revkev said:

I would disagree with Kansas King in regards to light weight shafts.  It really does depend upon the player and there are good players who game lighter weight shafts - they're fairly athletic too.  Always be careful of absolutes.

I agree. My fitter uses 105g shafts in his irons and he has swing speed above 110 with driver and his irons are in the high range as well. 
 

The marketing director at UST is also a high swing speed golfer and he plays 95f5 in his irons.

I also disagree with Kansas King on the dispersion aspect. Graphite has been shown to improve dispersion over steel. I’ve seen it with my irons and have seen it in several others from a past golf forum life

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