Heavy Vs Light Golf Iron Shafts – How To Choose Irons To Suit Your Game

Having the correct shafts in your Irons is incredibly important.

With your Irons you are trying to be more accurate than any other club, so being able to control the ball, get the right launch and height, the right spin and descent angle is imperative to shooting lower scores.

The weight of the shaft can also affect your clubhead speed, this directly affects your distance. The rule of thumb is the heavier the shaft the stiffer it becomes, and the lighter the shaft the more flexible it becomes.

We will dive into all the details below.

 

How Important Is The Weight Of Your Golf Irons

Shafts are the engines to your golf clubs, I always like to explain this in other terms, you won’t put off road tyres on a Formula 1 car and you won’t put Formula 1 tyres on an off road car.

What I mean is having the correct shaft (tyres) will directly impact the way the Irons perform. If you are a low hitter you will need a shaft that helps hit it higher, if you are a slow swinger you will need a lighter shaft to help you generate more speed.

Shaft weight affects all these aspects, and having the correct weighted shaft can help with all of this.

 

What Is Swing Weight?

Let’s get this out of the way, swing weight is how heavy the club is while you swing it. The dead weight of two clubs can be different, but they can have the same swing weight.

The swing weight is measured on the fulcrum point of the club, 14 inches from the butt end. If the toe end of the club is heavier the swing weight will go up, whereas if the butt end of the club is heavier the swing weight will go down.

This is how you will make Irons with lighter shafts feel heavier and Irons with heavier shafts feel lighter.

 

In What Ways Does It Impact Your Game?

The weight of the shaft can impact many aspects of your game, firstly it can impact your swing speed, a shaft that is too heavy will cause you to swing it slower, making you lose distance.

So, why wouldn’t everyone play lighter shafts? If the shafts are too light for your swing speed, you will start to lose control of the clubhead.

The weight of the shaft also impacts your launch angle, and spin. Generally speaking the heavier the shaft the lower launching and spinning it is, and the lighter the shaft the higher launching and spinning it is.

If you are someone that struggles getting the ball up, going with a lighter shaft could be your answer, whereas if you struggle to keep the ball down, a heavier shaft can help with that.

It can also impact your accuracy, you will lose control if a club is too light for you, this is because the shaft won’t be able to handle your clubhead speed, causing it to bend incorrectly.

A shaft that is too heavy for you will also cause you to lose accuracy, you won’t be able to generate enough speed, spin and height on the ball, this will cause your shots to be very inconsistent.

 

How To Know Whether You Will Need Heavier Or Lighter Clubs?

This first way is simple but effective, does the shaft simply feel too heavy or light in your hands, personal feel is very impactful, and could be a helpful way to tell if the shafts are not correct.

The other way would be to check your ball flight, if one of these things are happening to your ball the shaft is too heavy; ball falls out of the air, shot shape is a slice, ball flight is too low, distance is too short, you feel tired after your round, shot dispersion is poor, feels like a plank in your hands.

If the shaft is too light for you these are some of the tell tales; ball flight is too high, the ball is spinning too much, shot shape is a hook, feeling whippy in your hands, lack of clubhead control, cannot feel the clubhead during the swing.

Go through all of these things, and if any of them are familiar in your game then you might have the wrong shaft weight in your irons.

 

Swing Speed Vs Iron Shaft Weight Table

The chart below represents the recommended shaft weight you should use for your swing speed.

6 Iron Swing Speed

Shaft Weight

< 60 mph

45 – 50 grams

60 – 70 mph

55 – 85 grams

70 – 80 mph

75 – 105 grams

80 – 90 mph

90 – 120 grams

90 mph +

115 grams plus

You can see the weight of the shaft overlaps quite a bit within the swing speed range.

This is because there are a variety of different Iron shafts that can do different things.

We suggest getting fitted for your Iron Shafts as the fitter will be able to recommend the shaft weight specific for you.

 

What Weight Irons Do The Pros Use?

Most professionals have a swing speed with a 6 Iron of 85 mph plus, this means they would be using shafts with 115 grams and above in them.

 

Pros And Cons Of Heavier Iron Shafts

Pros (For correct weight)

  • More control
  • Lower launch
  • Lower spin
  • Tighter dispersion
  • Will help prevent the left shot

 

Cons (If Too Heavy)

  • Ball will fall out the sky
  • Launch and spin will be too low
  • Will lose distance
  • Clubhead speed will drop
  • Lose of accuracy
  • The ball will tend to slice

 

Pros And Cons Of Lighter Iron Shafts

Pros (if correct)

  • Clubhead speed will increase
  • Optimum launch and spin
  • Distance will increase
  • Accuracy will increase
  • Helps prevent the slice

 

Cons (if too light)

  • Will lose control of the clubhead
  • Accuracy will decrease
  • Will sometimes get flyers
  • Shots will tend to hook
  • Ball flight will be too high with too much spin
  • Swing speed will actually decrease, because you have to try control the shaft

 

How To Measure Your Swing Speed?

Launch monitors are the new big thing, if you look at a practice round on the PGA Tour, you will see every player has one with them, some of the popular companies are Trackman, Flightscope and GC Quad

Launch monitors track loads of things including, swing speed, launch angle, spin, distance and plenty more. They are extremely expensive as you can imagine all the technology built into them.

We suggest booking a fitting with a certified club fitter or your local professional, they will generally have a launch monitor. From there they will be able to tell you all the relevant information you need, and suggest a shaft weight and flex accordingly.

 

Graphite Vs Steel Irons, How Important Is Shaft Material?

Not so long ago the only shaft you could get were steel shafts. First graphite shafts were developed in Drivers, but nowadays you can find them in Irons too.

In simple terms, graphite is lighter than steel, making them easier to hit. The problem comes in when you start to swing it fast you need something heavier to control the ball. Because graphite is so light you rarely find them in stiff or X-stiff shafts.

There are a few manufactures that have produced heavier graphite shafts but they are very expensive.

At the end of the day graphite is lighter than steel, meaning you can generate more club head speed, this in turn helps you to launch the ball higher.

All ladies and senior flex Iron shaft these days are made from graphite, this makes the club light and easy to swing.

 

Swing Speed Vs Shaft Flex Table

This is a table which shows what shaft flex you should play depending on how fast you swing it.There is usually no variation here, other than the weight of the shaft.

6 Iron Swing Speed

Flex

< 60 mph

Ladies

60 – 70 mph

Senior

70 – 80 mph

Regular

80 – 90 mph

Stiff

90 mph +

X-Stiff

As you can see the swing speed and shaft weight table are very similar with regards to swing speed.

 

Advantages Of Getting A Fitting

We can not recommend getting a fitting enough. Having the right weight shafts in your Irons is extremely important.

Having the correct weight shaft in your Iron can dramatically improve your game. They can prevent certain shots, increase distance and help the ball stop on the green.

There is a good chance you end up with the stock shaft option, but at least you know they have been fitted for you.

 

Conclusion

Having the correct shaft weight can directly impact your golf game. Having the right weight shaft in your Iron can improve distance, accuracy and make the game a lot easier for you to play.

Go get yourself a fitting and go with what the fitter suggests, it can really improve your performance, and the fitters usually throw in a swing tip or two.