Graphite vs. Steel Shaft Irons

When choosing the best irons for your golf game, the graphite vs. steel shaft decision can be a tough one. Determining the right type of shaft can take a bit of studying and understanding. If you want to understand the difference between graphite shafts and steel shafts, we have all the answers you need. Let’s take a look at how the type of shaft you put in your golf irons is going to impact your ability as a golfer.

Difference Between Steel and Graphite Shafts

The major difference between steel shafts and graphite shafts is the materials that they are made of. Golf shaft materials have changed tremendously through the years. The early golf shaft was made with a hickory wood, and eventually, this got too expensive and not all that great from a performance stand point.

image of steel golf club shaft vs graphite - comparison, review - pg golf links

Today golf club shafts are primarily made of graphite or steel. The graphite shafts are going to have certain player benefits that the steel shafts won’t have. In addition, the steel shafts are going to appeal to a certain type of player. The key is finding something that is going to work for your swing speed and player ability.

Here are the four basic differences in the graphite vs. steel shafts.


Graphite shafts are much lighter than steel shafts. When you swing with a graphite shaft, you are going to be able to generate a great deal of club head speed. The lighter weight appeals to players that are older or that lack a bit of strength in their golf game.

Women golfers need to choose graphite shafts most of the time because their swing speeds are not quite as high as they need to be to handle steel shafts. Both steel and graphite shafts come in various weights, but it is easier to find lightweight graphite shafts.

Ball Flight

The ball flight you get from a golf club can be determined by the type of golf shaft you purchase. Graphite shafts promote a higher ball flight than steel shafts. With graphite shafts, it is much easier to get the launch that you are looking for, even if you have a slower swing speed.

The only problem with graphite iron shafts is that sometimes the ball flight can get a bit uncontrollable. For golfers with a higher swing speed or more playing ability, the ball flight is much easier to control when playing with steel shafts.


Although the main ingredients for distance will be swing speed and ball speed, the type of golf shafts that you have in your golf clubs will play into this decision. Most of the time, graphite shafts will be known for distance, while steel shafts are more for control.

If you are a golfer that already hits the ball a long way, the decision between steel or graphite should be rather easy. You will be more than fine going with a steel shaft iron and getting that extra control over your golf shots.


Depending on your skill level and handicap, there are different levels of accuracy that may matter to you. For mid to low handicap players, the irons need to be consistent, workable, and accurate. Most of the time, these factors require a steel golf shaft.

For players that are looking for distance and easy performance as well as decreased vibrations, the graphite shafts are the way to go. Ensuring that you choose the right flex is also going to help the accuracy in your irons.

Which Is Better Steel or Graphite Shaft In Irons?

There is no way to say that the graphite golf shafts or steel iron shafts are better. It all depending on your swing speed, the type of game you play, your budget, and how the golf ball flies. Graphite shafts are more expensive, they have a lighter material, and they are a perfect solution to match with fairway woods.

Steel shafts come at a lower cost, are easier to control, and can have the feel that better golfers want. Going for a club fitting will help you determine which is better. Most amateur golfers find that steel tends to be the right choice.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are a few questions that we are often asked about graphite and steel shafts. This is one of the more difficult decisions golfers need to make about their golf equipment, and it can be difficult to figure out.

Do Any Pro Golfers Use Graphite Shaft Irons?

On the PGA Tour, players tend to have very fast swing speeds. This is typically not the right thing for those that want to play graphite shafts. However, through the years, there have been a few players that have put a graphite shaft in their irons.

Jason Duffner had a graphite shaft in for a few years. Even though the shaft was heavy and had some of the characteristics of the steel shafts, it was a rare find for the PGA Tour.

Should Beginners Use Graphite Or Steel Shafts?

Most beginners are going to put a graphite shaft in their clubs. Since the graphite gives a higher ball flight and some easier performance, it is a better choice for beginners. There are, however, other factors that will play into this.

Some Beginner golf sets only come with steel shafts in the irons. This tends to be because of the pricing. Most beginners want to play with an iron shaft that is less expensive and gets them through the beginning stages of the game. After a few years of playing, a fitting for the best shaft for your individual abilities is a smart choice.

Is Graphite More Expensive Than Steel?

Graphite is more expensive than steel. For a set of graphite irons, you will typically pay about $100 more than you will for a set of steel golf shafts. The process of making a golf shaft with composite material is more involved and takes more time as well. Because of these complications in manufacturing, you can expect to pay more for graphite clubs.

In addition, it is important to remember that graphite tends to be a bit more fragile than steel. Handle your graphite shafts with care so that you don’t end up having to pay for an expensive replacement.

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Please be sure to visit PG Golf Links often for additional reviews and updates from the golf world. Want to take a look at even more golf shafts, check out the latest selection on Amazon.

Tim Marose

My name is Tim and I am the editor of PG Golf Links. I am an avid golfer and spend my free time playing, practicing, and buying golf gadgets. I love testing and using all types of golf gadgets, which is the reason I started this website.

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