Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Look Into Steel Iron Shafts

I am a believer that anybody serious about the game should have steel shafts in their irons. I personally like my irons very heavy, at the suggestion of Lag Erickson, because it slows things down for me and allows me to get into pitch elbow and use ground forces in my swing. Lighter shafts cause me to start firing the hands too early and not getting enough time to push off the ground with my feet.

One thing I'm noticing with Module 2 of the Advanced Ballstriking program is that it allows me to better control the low point, which has been an issue with me in the past.

So, not only do graphite shafts cause that problem, but I also think they are very tough to work the ball with and to control your trajectory height. And I think the don't force you to strengthen your wrists and hands enough which can lead to issues down the road.

So, I want to look at steel shafts in irons for this post. I'll try to avoid the 'lightweight' steel shafts is pretty much every shaft manufacturer these days makes a shaft that is as light as 95 grams or so. We'll concentrate on the heavier shafts instead.


What you will find with most steel shafts is that the stiffer the flex, the heavier the shaft is. That was a problem in the 90's because often times manufacturers would just weigh the shaft for QC purposes and assign a flex according to that weight. So you may wind up with a shaft that is heavy like an X100, but the actual flex would be a R300.

However, it appears that they've eliminated that method from their QC processes.

Dynamic Gold's weight differences are not too bad as the top 3 shaft flexes use are the R300 (regular), S300 (stiff), and the X100 (x-stiff).

The S300 and X100 are supposed to weigh the SAME (130 grams), but the R300 weighs in at 127 grams. Then if you go with a different flex like a R400 or a X200, the weight changes.

The standard Dynamic Gold Shafts have a LOW launch to them. However, there is also the Dynamic Gold HL shafts which launch higher. But this high launch shaft is much lighter as well.

There's also the Dynamic Gold Tour Issue shaft which I've never hit before, but it's supposed to provide a lower launch than the standard DG shafts.


Rifle makes primarily two different shafts...the Rifle Flighted and the Project X.

They have different shaft labels with a '5.5' flex being about a S300 for True Temper. The 6.0 is about a X100 and the 5.0 is about a R300.

The Project X is much lighter than the Dynamic Gold Shafts. The 5.5 shafts (S300) weigh 115 grams, 15 grams lighter than their Dynamic Gold counterpart. The 6.0 flex weighs 120 grams, 10 grams lighter than their DG counter part (X100).

The FCM Rifles are 'frequency matched.' Meaning that if we were to take the 3-iron and the 8-iron of a set and put them on a shaft frequency analyzer machine, the shaft frequency would measure the SAME. Project X shafts are not frequency matched.

The FCM Rifles add weight as the club gets shorter. So a 3-iron shaft may weight 105 grams whereas the PW shaft may weigh 125 grams.

Both the Project X and the FCM Rifles are high launch shafts.


The standard KBS shafts are a bit lighter than the Dynamic Gold. The general concept of these shafts, from what I've heard, is to make a cross between the Rifle and Dynamic Gold shafts. The stiff flex shafts weigh 120 grams whereas the X-Stiff weighs in at 130 grams.

These shafts are frequency matched and have a higher launch. But they are also a bit stiffer at the tip and have that Dynamic Gold feel as well.


I haven't hit Apollo shafts in awhile. When I did I thought they were okay, but I seemed to lose some distance with them. The Ballistik model weighs 136 grams, so it's a pretty heavy shaft.

The launch on the Ballistik shafts are mid-high.

I would stay away from the Nippon shafts since they are generally extremely light outside of some of the Super Peening shafts and they are not cheap.



Richard said...

I found this article very interesting, I've been searching along time for technical flex comparisons between DG, Rifle, and Nippon.

I currently play Nippon 1050GH R shafts in my irons, but i was thinking about switching over to the Rifles, but I couldn't figure out how the Rifles flex numbers compared to Nippon's R flex.

i also didn't know that the Project Xs were not Frequency matched, i thought all Rifles were.. great bit of information, keep up the great articles.

Rich H. said...

Usually Rifles play pretty stiff. I've hit the Nippon's a few times, but avoid them because they are so light.


Richard said...

yes, very true. the Nippons are very light. But they are very popular here in Japan. especially the 950GH series (95 grams). For off the shelf clubs, you either find DGS200 or Nippon 950GH shafts..

I special ordered my irons with Nippon 1050GH shafts, because i liked the added weight.. I was afraid to go with the 1150GH or any of the heavier shafts, because the salesman was claiming that nobody hardly orders those heavy shafts..

but, as my swing has progressed and from what I've been reading, it seems like these heavy shafts might be more of the norm, not the exception.

I wanted try the Rifles, if for nothing else, because they are stepless and i really like the look of them. If they play stiff, then i was thinking about trying them in a 5.0 flex.

And as you pointed out, the PX version is not frequency matched.. i am not really sure how much of difference that would make, but I am thinking that it would be better go with the FCM Rifles..

thanks again for the great info.. keep up the great articles.