As you immerse yourself into the wonderful world of golf, you will hear players talking about the weight of their clubs. Then you will find out that some have theirs professionally configured to suit their swings. Some of it comes down to the impact of heavier vs lighter golf iron shafts.
In a game of golf, you’ll use your irons much more than the driver and fairway woods. So some advice from here is to pay more attention to getting the best irons for your exact type of swing. In choosing the best golf irons for you, one important point to consider is whatever fits you best in regards to heavy vs light shafts. Using a shaft that is optimized will lead to a consistently good ball and clubhead contact. That will result in improved accuracy and longer distance.
The use of heavier iron shafts is said to contribute to greater accuracy, while lighter shafts are known to increase total distance. However, this supposed rule is found not true for all golfers. People have different comfort levels and strength , so the only way you can figure out your personal preference is to be fitted by a professional or by trial and error.
How Important Is Shaft Weight?
When cutting trees, the weight of your axe contributes a lot to how fast and accurate you can swing that tool. The right weight will help optimize your strength and enable you to cut more trees during a workday. Use an axe that is too heavy and you will not last the day, while one that is too light will require more swings to get the job done. Therefore, you must use an axe that you are most comfortable with.
The same logic holds true in golf where the appropriate weight will help you swing consistently and produce longer and more accurate shots. A test to verify the benefits of club fitting showed that all golfers who participated gained 10 to over 40 yards in carry distance while a majority became more accurate.
So from this little study it is safe to say that shaft weight matters. It can be hard to figure out on your own, so consider a professional fitting to get you on the right track.
Are Heavier Golf Shafts Better?
In general, golfers with fast swing speeds choose heavy shafts to increase accuracy. However, in choosing between heavier vs lighter golf iron shafts, you must consider a balance between distance and accuracy. Golfers are human beings, and they have different feels for various shaft weights. Some people prefer to use light shafts while others like it heavier.
In the video (below) is Bill Lange, of True Temper Golf, talks about the benefits of finding the shaft weight that is good for you, and most importantly, he recommends getting fitted for the right set of clubs.
Does A Lighter Golf Shaft Increase My Swing Speed?
Popular belief states that lighter shafts enable golfers to swing faster. However, a number of tests showed that this is generally not true. In a test made by Golf Digest, only 12% of the golfers tested, increased their swing speeds when using the lightest club. Another test made by golfwrx showed that out of the total number of test participants, only two golfers increased their swing speeds when using the lightest club. Those two were long hitters and low handicap players.
Ironically, the faster swing speeds of the two resulted in reduced distance because of the increased ball spin produced by the light shafts. To further muddy the narrative, Bryson Dechambeau supposedly wields one of the heaviest clubs in the PGA Tour, and yet, he tops the 2020 list in average driving distance.
So lighter golf shafts will not necessarily increase your swing speed – it depends on so many physical factors around the golf swing and your body that it is highly individual.
Golf Club Swing Weight
Other than the actual weight of your shaft, you should also check the swing weight that is most suited for you. Swing weight refers to the relative balance point between the butt end and the clubhead. Simply put, it refers to how heavy the club feels and is expressed in terms of letters and numbers, from A0 (lightest) to G10 (heaviest). A club that has more weight on the grip feels light but as you add more weight to the clubhead, the club begins to feel heavier.
Bryson Dechambeau’s driver might be the heaviest at the PGA Tour but his swing weight is very low. He currently (9/2020) uses a Cobra King SpeedZone driver matched with a JumboMax grip that weighs 123 grams. The CobraGolf website says the SpeedZone driver has a 460cc clubhead. A normal 460cc head weighs about 200 grams and installing a 123-gram grip will bring the balance point very close to the handle. That will make the clubhead feel as if it weighs nothing despite the total club weighing close to 500 grams. For mere mortals like us, a half kilo club can become very difficult to swing even before we finish the first nine holes.
Just like shaft and total weight, the correct swing weight for you will be the swing weight of the club where you hit the ball with the most accuracy and distance. Get yourself fitted, take note of the swing weight that gives you the best performance, and have your clubs configured to it.
You might have thought to yourself why you get sore and tired in the arms and back after only one round of golf or some hours of practice. The swing weight might very well be the culprit – since it can throw you off and camouflage the actual weight of the club.
In the video below, Danny Le of shaft maker UST Mamiya walks us through the simple process of determining a club’s swing weight.
Danny also noted that different people have different preferences. Some are particular about total weight while others give more value to swing weight. A club fitting session with a professional should help you determine what works for you.
To add another dimension to the complex topic, your ideal swing weight and preference of total weight will probably change over time. As you become a better ball striker, you may want your clubhead to feel lighter or heavier. As you get older, you will probably want to lessen both swing weight and shaft weight to make the game more enjoyable. It will all be up to what you feel is right and cannot be imposed upon by anybody. Get fitted and in turn you’ll have fun winning against your buddies, and start collecting tournament trophies.