Shaft weight is a critical but overlooked characteristic in irons.
Hand and glove: Getty Images; Club: Michael Chini
By Rob Sauerhaft
Friday, March 17, 2017

Odds are, you've tinkered with your driver shafts to help squeeze every last yard out of your swing, while paying little attention to your iron shafts. Big mistake. You hit more iron shots than drives in a typical round—that alone should motivate you to soup-up your sticks. And get this: In some cases, nailing your iron-shaft specs can make you a full club longer, from your wedge on up. But don't just take our word for it—to determine your ideal shaft weight, listen to 10 golfers who went to fitting expert Club Champion for a test. Is lighter mightier, or is heavier steadier? Find the answer below.

TEST SHAFT WEIGHT

HOW WE DID IT: Ten golfers, with handicaps ranging from 2 to 18, took five swings each with 6-irons built to three shaft weights (85, 95 and 105 grams) in two flexes (regular and stiff). Test subjects used the same iron-head model and the same shaft model throughout the test.

THE RESULTS: Check the chart below. All shots hit with each of the 6-irons counted in the final averages.

WHAT IT MEANS TO YOU

1. Lighter shaft weight doesn't equal faster speeds. The average swing speed, ball speed and distance numbers are pretty similar, regardless of weight (or flex).

2. The right weight can mean an extra club in distance. There's an average of 9.2 yards in total distance (not shown) between the "best" and "worst" shafts. Test subjects in the 15- to 18-handicap range saw a bigger difference (11.4 yards), compared with 7.0 yards for players with 2- to 5-handicaps.

3. Shaft weight has a big impact on consistency. No surprise—players are more accurate with shafts that suit them. The standard deviation (how far off line shots go) between the "best" and "worst" shafts is 20.2 feet. Higher-handicappers had a higher spread (20.8 feet) than single-digit guys (19.6 feet).

4. No one weight fits all. Three of our 10 testers saw their best combination of distance and dispersion with the 85-gram shaft; three guys had optimal results swinging the 95-gram shaft; and four testers benefited the most from the 105-gram shaft.

Find a Club Champion fitting center near you at clubchampiongolf.com.

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN