This article is about how to find the right iron shaft and which iron shafts are actually suitable for you. The problem is usually that players do not approach the matter objectively. They prefer shafts from their favourite players, brands they have known for a long time, think Stiff is basically too stiff and do not evaluate shafts objectively. This can be seen again and again in a fitting when an (unknown) shaft is tried that for some reason does not suit the player at first. He hits it excellently and still tries to talk it down. We can make a long story short: we are only human, we have our own merits and we are not always rational.
But in our big comparison of iron shafts, we would like to be. After all, numbers do not lie. Therefore we will sort our shafts into different CPM categories. The CPM value itself need not be of interest to you – it depends on how you measure it exactly. To be really meaningful, you have to measure shafts independently and under identical conditions and not rely on the manufacturer’s data, for example. The same applies to torque, which is measured slightly differently by each manufacturer.
Therefore only a classification like the one we have made will tell you how stiff or soft a shaft is compared to other shafts.
When you start to deal with this topic, you have to realize that the stiffness grades like Regular, Stiff, or X-Stiff have nothing to say at all. They just say that a shaft like the Nippon Modus 120 S will be softer than the Nippon Modus 120 X. However, the Modus 120 X will not automatically be stiffer than the KBS C-Taper 120 S. And the Modus 120 X is also significantly softer than the Modus 130 S. You should therefore immediately abandon the idea that the so-called flex makes the degree of stiffness comparable or objective in some way. That’s why it doesn’t make any sense to always use Regular Flex because you have always played Regular Flex. A different shaft in Stiff can still be softer and the right one.
Category 80-90mph clubhead speed with 6 iron
This category includes above average amateurs who hit their 6 iron between 155 and 170m and have a club head speed between 80 and 90mph. Please note that these are only approximate values.
The following shafts are suitable for such a player:
Here you can see, among other things, that graphite shafts or composite shafts are also included. The KBS TGI 80 is a relatively stiff graphite shaft and the Steelfiber shafts are also included in this category. The Steelfiber i95 Regular, for example, is stiffer than the Nippon Modus 120 Stiff – so much for graphite being automatically softer and Stiff stiffer than Regular…
What you should also take into account is that there are also light shafts like the Nippon NS Pro 950 S, which is the stiffest shaft in this category – well ahead of Modus 3 120 S. The NS Pro is definitely not a soft shaft, even if this is often believed.
The Shimada VWS 90 in Stiff is also one of the stiffest shafts in this category. You wouldn’t think so, because many people assume that 90 also means 90g. However, this is not the case and the VWS 90 weighs 110g. You should not make the mistake of thinking it is a soft shaft.
The Honma Vizard TR20 shafts are also in this category. The 85 S is comparable to a Modus 120 R, a Steelfiber 80 R and a Nippon NS Pro Neo 950 in R. The TR20 65 in S, on the other hand, is comparable to a NS Pro 850 R or Fujikura Pro 65 in R2. The regular version of the TR20 65 is correspondingly softer and is closer to 270 CPM.
What is also noticeable at this point is that the Nippon Neo 950 is not significantly softer than the “normal” NS Pro variant. It is only slightly softer than the 1050 with the same flex. Again, don’t make the mistake of thinking the 950 Neo is a much softer shaft. The profile is different.
The Mitsubishi OTI shafts are carbon shafts with a wide range of stiffness. While the 105 X variant even falls into the category with over 310 CPM, the 95 S is more in line with the Vizard TR20 85 S or the Modus 105 in R.
With the Modus 105, one must not make the mistake of thinking it is softer than the Modus 120. It merely plays in a different weight class, but the Modus 120 is and remains relatively soft for its weight. The Modus 105 in Regular is basically just as stiff as the Modus 120 in Stiff.
One thing that is striking about the Fujikura Pro shaft, for example, is that the stiffness is very constant across the weight classes. That is why, for example, the Pro 75 is just as stiff as the Pro 85 in Stiff.
Category 90mph+ club head speed with 6 iron
This category is for professionals and very good amateurs with high club head speed of well over 90mph – sometimes up to 100mph. The stiffest shafts in this category are actually among the stiffest available on the market. Longdrive Champions will also take these characteristics into consideration. But also players who hit their 6 iron 170m and further belong to this category and in this area there are a lot of high quality shafts:
The stiffest shafts are Nippon Modus 3 130 X and Dynamic Gold X100 X7.
You should know that Nippon Modus 120 is significantly softer than the 130 version – and by the way, it has a different shaft profile. Modus 120 X is not really stiff for an X-shaft and is, for example, softer than the KBS C-Taper Lite 110 S or Project X 6.0.
It is also softer than the Steelfiber i95 S – which should certainly surprise many. After all, the Steelfiber is a light shaft made of graphite and steel. It is extremely stiff for its category and you should never make the mistake of classifying it as soft because of its material and weight.
It is also interesting that the Project X LZ is much stiff than its big brother, Project X. The Project X LZ 6.5 is lighter but much stiffer than the Project X 7.0.
In the category around a CPM of 330 there are a lot of shafts that come into question like the stiffer Project X, KBS C-Taper, $-Taper and Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue.
KBS fans should know that the $-Taper and FLT versions are generally stiffer than the C-Taper.
More Categories to come in the future after more testing.
So how do you find the right shaft?
There are several factors that play a role. We already looked at one of them, the stiffness of the shaft. In addition, there is the bending profile, material and weight of the shaft:
- Shaft profile: The profile of a shaft indicates the areas of the shaft that are stiff or soft. The stiffness indicates the stiffness of the entire shaft, but not whether the shaft is stiff in the tip, middle or butt section. This question can only be answered by so-called EI profiles. This involves analysing how stiff a shaft is at each individual point. You can see, for example, that Modus 120 is stiffer in the area of the toe than a Steelfiber 95. Or where the kickpoint of the shaft is located – rather further up or down.
- Shaft material: Beside the “eternal fight” between graphite and steel, there is now another component, namely composites of steel and graphite like Steelfiber. It can be assumed that many more such shafts will be released in the future. Theoretically, they can combine the best of both worlds. A graphite shaft is basically lighter and able to dampen vibrations better.
- Shaft weight: The weight of a shaft influences both the total weight and the swing weight of the club. These aspects are especially important for special clubs, e.g. with thick grips, longer shafts, etc. Basically a professional fitter will be able to give you at least a guideline for the shaft weight.
Shaft profile: What distinguishes each shaft?
A fitting becomes really interesting when it comes to different shaft profiles. This aspect is very individual. While it can be said that xy mph club head speed requires a certain degree of stiffness, the shaft profile is mainly dependent on the swing. Especially at the transition from back and forward swing and also at the release, the profile plays a big role. But also for spin and launch.
Basically every shaft has a different profile. High-quality shafts are characterised by the fact that the profiles are also consistent. Imagine you have a shaft that has a different profile with a 5 iron than with a 9 iron. This is often the case with inferior shafts, but certainly not with the shafts that you find on ExactGolf and that appear in our overview.
With a fitting you take shafts with different profiles and see which one the player can handle best. It is all about how easy it is for him to “load” the club and whether it is “released” at the right moment.
Basically there are three tendencies here. Firstly, the shaft can be soft in the area of the tip – this makes the launch easier and feels correspondingly soft on the ball. The rest of the shaft, on the other hand, is stiff and gives stability, especially in the grip area.
Then there are shafts with a stiff tip and a soft grip area. Basically the tip is the softest point of the shaft. These shafts are nevertheless stiffer at this point than, for example, in the middle of the shaft. Players who want a low trajectory and maximum control are more likely to choose such a profile.
The compromise would then be a shaft that is relatively soft in the middle, but stiffer in the tip and grip area. Modus 120 is a typical example of this and is the reason why this shaft is so successful on the Tour and in amateur use.
It is difficult to give basic recommendations and the perfect shaft profile can only be found in a fitting and usually over longer playing periods. It can take years for a player to find the perfect profile. Therefore a player usually stays with it and remains consistent throughout the set.
Iron Shaft Weight Comparison
Iron shafts vary from about 35g to over 130g and that is of course an extremely wide range. While the really light shafts are only intended for ladies and senior players, the 130g shafts are only suitable for tour professionals. The principle of the shaft weight is one thing above all: it is about being able to accelerate the club optimally but also to control it. The shaft weight plays a big role here together with the swing weight. The wide range of weights allows clubmakers and fitters to be very flexible here. This means that it is quite possible to choose a light shaft with a stiff flex or a relatively heavy shaft with a soft flex.
Basically, carbon shafts tend to be lighter than steel, but can be built just as stiff – sometimes even stiffer. A carbon shaft therefore does not mean being flexible at the same time.
You can find the respective shaft weight in the charts above. It is important to know that a number like 80 always represents a “lower limit” and the actual weight is always slightly above this number, e.g. 83g. Furthermore, the Shimada VWS is a special case that is called 90 but has 110g.
In the following we would like to introduce a few special shafts that are interesting for certain areas of application:
– Steelfiber 95: This shaft is relatively light with 95g, but very stiff. The stiff version can keep up with a 120g steel shaft. The good thing about such a shaft is that you can also build longer clubs with it without making the total and swing weight too heavy. Longer shafts are always softer than shorter shafts. So anyone who needs longer shafts and a certain stiffness without making the club too heavy is well served with such a shaft.
– Modus 120: This shaft was originally designed for the seniors tour, but now it has found many successful players on all other tours of the world. It is relatively soft for its weight class. The Modus 120 X is hardly stiffer than the Modus 105 S and yet a good 10g heavier. This shaft is designed for players who prefer a little more weight without additional stiffness.
An important point about shaft weight is the following: The shaft weight has relatively little influence on the swing weight. 10g difference in the shaft makes – depending on the shaft profile – only little difference. Often the shaft weight is mainly about the total weight, which has to be right. E.g. with shorter clubs that must not become too light, or with longer clubs that must not become too heavy.