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by Jamie Pipes, Manager of Field Research and Product Testing
Golfers may already be fit on a launch monitor for maximizing their driver, but golfers should also remember to make sure they are playing the correct iron shafts! Here are a few tips for choosing the correct iron shafts:
As always, the starting point for determining the correct flex is your swing speed. You can go into just about any golf shop in the country and have your swing speed checked. You can use your driver swing speed to determine which flex you need in an iron shaft. Typically, the 5-iron swing speed is 80 to 85 percent of the driver swing speed. It is most beneficial to check swing speed for both driver and 5-iron, if that is an option. Keep in mind that most golfers can use a more flexible iron shaft because the irons are shorter. For example, if a golfer swings a driver right at 95 mph (that would put his 5 swing speed around 76 to 80 mph), they may fit into a stiff shafted driver easily enough, but then not be able to optimize their iron play. So a softer flex iron shaft might provide a better feel and more distance, perhaps a ˝ club or so.
The second important step to address is the golfer's control versus distance issues. Any golfer can be fit for weight in their irons as they are in their driver. Still, the same choices apply, heavier for more control or lighter for more distance and higher ball flight. A good fitter should dig into this topic and help the golfer determine whether distance or control is the top priority with the irons. Typically, stock graphite iron shafts weigh about 70 grams. Steel shafts have been getting lighter but still range from 110 to 125 grams. Fifteen grams can still make a difference with stronger golfers in choosing steel shafts. Finding an iron shaft in between the 85 grams to 115 grams range could make a world of difference in maximizing distance and control in iron play.
Finally, some iron shafts can be fit for launch type. The launch type in an iron shaft can help fine-tune the ball flight, especially when looking at the mid-to-long irons. Spin can also play a part in fitting here. One place for golfers and fitters to look for high launch, low spin iron shafts is the Hybrid shaft category. Many companies offer such products, like our V2 Hybrid and ACCRA Hybrid shafts which are high launch, low spin and can be used in irons.
While these points are valuable to focus on, don't forget the other parameters in iron fitting- factors such as length, loft and lie. For example, graphite iron shafts can affect length and, therefore, an adjustment in the lie is needed. A strategically evaluated analysis makes a precise club.