A steel iron shaft has a heavy construction. This makes it difficult for slow-swinging golfers to control their clubhead speed and control.
In this post, I will show you the 6 best graphite shafts in 2023. Also, I will explain how these lighter and more flexible shafts can help with your launch, accuracy and distance.
I have done my best to provide the best picks for each swing speed and gender, so you can choose the best one for you. Plus, I’ll demystify the jargon surrounding shafts to improve your understanding of kick point, torque, and flex and how it relates to your launch and shape.
Table of Contents
- What to Look for In a Good Graphite Iron Shaft
- 6 Best Graphite Iron Shafts
What to Look for In a Good Graphite Iron Shaft
Because graphite shafts have a lighter mass than steel, golfers prefer them. Some are heavier than others, even though they are lighter. My experience shows that the average golfer prefers lighter constructions.
A 70-gram regular flex graphite shaft, for example, is light enough to produce adequate swing speed, but not balloon my shots.
Pros with high swing speeds and low handicappers prefer heavier shafts because it increases control and stability.
The flex of your golf club shaft is important as it can impact mass, club head speed, shot dispersion, and club head speed. Your swing speed is a simple way to determine the flex you desire. A stiffer or more stiff flex is preferred by golfers who swing faster. The average golfer needs more flex to get the ball rolling.
I recommend that average golfers have sufficient flex in their shafts to get the extra whip assistance during impact. This increases the flexibility of your clubface and improves energy transfer. It also increases ball speed for a long and high launch.
I recommend fitting a regular shaft to your irons that is no stiffer than a standard flex shaft. If the standard flex launches too high, and you have balloon shots, then consider switching to stiffer shafts. Below is a table which will give you an indication of the best flex based upon your 6-iron swing speed.
6 Iron Swing Speed vs Shaft Flex
|Swing Speed Name||Swing Speed (MPH).||Shaft Flex|
|Super Fast||> 92||Extra Stiff|
|Fast||84 – 91||Stiff|
|Moderate||75 – 83||Regular|
|Slow||65 – 75||Senior|
|Very slow||< 65||Ladies|
Kick Points from mid-to-low
A mid-to-high-iron launch is required by the average golfer for consistent airtime, carry, and a soft landing. Slower swingers will have trouble getting the ball up and will lose length if the launch is too low.
A mid-to high launch requires a shaft with a low kick point. Your kick point should be high to provide restricted whip into the ball at impact. This will result in slower swingers experiencing reduced energy transfer and ball speed.
Low to Mid Torque
The torque of your shaft determines how resistant it is to twisting during the swing. It also has an impact on your shot dispersion. High torque golf shafts will rotate more easily during the swing, and have a greater amount of whip into the ball at contact. This improves energy transfer, ball speed, and ball speed for slower golfers.
The excess twist can cause your clubhead to open at impact, causing your ball to miss the target. A mid-torque shaft with stability and flexibility is what I recommend.
The torque of a golf club shaft is between 2 and 5 degrees. The lower the number the more twist your golf shaft produces during a swing.
Related: Check out our review of the best high-launching iron shafts to ensure consistent flight and long distance.
6 Best Graphite Iron Shafts
1. True Temper Project X Catalyst 60 – Overall Best Graphite Iron Shafts
Project X Catalyst 60 Black Graphite Iron Shafts
Set of 7 for 4-PW Shafts
- This produces a mid launch for better control
- This book is for a moderate pace.
- Generates medium spin
- Stable and incredible
- Prompted clean turf interaction
- Not suitable for slower swing speeds
The True Temper Project X Catalyst 60 graphite shafts are the best for 2023 due to their mid-launch and medium spin, greater stability, higher torque, and better stability. During testing, the lightweight, flexible design enabled an acceleration of clubhead speed for more power on the downswing.
My ball curled on mishits because of the high 4.5 degree torque setup. The mid-kick point encouraged medium ball flight for a gradual descent to the green. Although the landing was not as soft and smooth as I would like, I appreciated the extra roll and yards gained on the turf for long approach shots.
The Catalyst 60’s medium trajectory is ideal for golfers with moderate swing speeds who want to avoid ballooned shots. These shafts will give you greater control and provide more distance than flexible, higher-launching designs.
Their Iso-6 Technology was a great help in my turf interaction with the fairway and rough. I felt the sole glide through the turf smoother that steel shafts.
2. UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ESX – Best Value Graphite Iron Shafts
UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ESX Iron Shaft Set
It is designed to provide maximum control and distance for all players. Recoil Technology creates a spring effect in the shaft walls that allows for greater energy transfer to the ball, which results in increased velocity and distance.
- Excellent value for money
- High-powered launches
- Built for medium-to-high-swing speeds
- Boosts energy transfer
- Premium finish
- Some golfers may balloon shots due to the high launch
- Higher torque can make it difficult to square the clubface when impact is made
These units are more expensive than their steel counterparts because of the high-quality composite materials used in graphite shafts. There are still excellent value-for money options available, such as the UST Mamiya Recoil 460 ESX. This gave me stability and speed with my graphite irons.
I’ll start with the stability during my swing and into impact, which was outstanding. The Enhanced Stability Technology (ESX), which created a stiffer mid- and butt, with a soft tips for better control and a high start, has improved my swing and landing.
The moderately high 4.7 degree torque allowed for plenty of twist and flex, allowing for faster club speed. My irons were stabilized by the expertly designed mid and butt.
Next, I tested the Recoil Technology to boost energy transfer and spring in impact. I was able achieve high ball velocity and a long range of carry distances. Finally, the Ion plating (IP) provided a premium, attractive look that was easy to appreciate at address.
3. Fujikura Pro Series 65i – Best For Slow Swing Speed
- Designed for slow swing speeds
- Encourages maximum accuracy
- For controlled flight, it produces a medium launch
- Power increases on the downswing
- Premium finish
- Not available in a complete set
- A hook may result from mistimed shots due to the lower torque design
Seniors and women with slower swing speeds need a lighter shaft. It is easier to let go and increase power without losing control. My experience with the Fujikura Pro Series 65i seniorsflex is that it does this and provides a soft feel and increased accuracy.
Fujikura used their High-Density Compact Cores (HDCC), which have an 18-gram composite core. This allows you to achieve your desired swing weight. This allowed engineers to balance feel and control while still allowing for flex and power downswing.
High Modulus carbon fiber was a blessing. Its whip and premium construction made it easy to use. It was able to quickly release the shaft, which allowed for faster contact for increased spring and ball speed before it returned to its original form.
The Fujikura Pro Series 65i’s shaft is extremely flexible and has a very low torque. This makes it ideal for slower swing speeds. The lack of twisting during my swing made it easier to keep the clubface straight at impact for straighter flight.
4. Mitsubishi Taper MMT 125 – Best For High Swing Speed
- It generates a mid to low launch
- Enhances control
- Optimal feedback for all strikes
- Made with premium materials
- High swing speed requires stiff flex
- A lower launch does not mean slower swings
- Extremely costly
Higher swing speeds are common in golfers who have lower handicaps. They require a stiff, responsive shaft with excellent feedback. The Mitsubishi Taper MMT125 is constructed with high-quality materials that provide enhanced durability, stability and control during your swing.
Mitsubishi’s Metal Mesh Technology, (MMT), was used to braid strands made of 304 Stainless Steel. This provides greater stability and density. This shaft also has a very low torque level, making it ideal for players who are able to swing quickly.
My moderately slow swing speed made it difficult to achieve the high kick point. The doctor recommended a lower ball flight for fast swings that required enhanced control and launch.
They are MMT125 shafts and weigh an average of 124g, which is heavy for an average golfer. This improves the stability of the rod for better golfers who don’t need much assistance in squaring their clubface at impact.
5. KBS PGI Players 100 – Best For Super Fast Swing Speed
- Extra stiff flex
- Super low torque for limited twisting
- Low ball flight is generated for greater control
- Encourages exceptional abilities
- Stability throughout the swing
- The PGI Players100 shaft is not suitable for slower or mid-range swing speeds
- Premium price tag
Professional golfers and competitive amateurs prefer heavier, more rigid shafts for better stability. Extra Stiff KBS PGI players shafts weigh 100g and offer a minimal amount torque for increased stability and consistency in each shot.
KBS used a high to mid-high kick point on their PGI Players 100. This gives fast swings the precise trajectory they want. The lower launch has further bolstered the shaft’s 2.4-degree torque construction to limit face twist and spring.
Although I struggled to generate meaningful clubhead speed or launch, the PGI Players 100 was perfect for me. Our faster counterparts can produce lower shots because of the reduced flex. This is in contrast to ballooning their balls and losing control.
The shaft provides additional control, allowing golfers to position the club head in the right place for a draw or fade. This club’s playability further enhances control and allows for better players to attack flag on approach.
6. Fujikura Pro Series 75i – Best For Senior Men
- For slow swing speeds, optimal flex
- Launching at mid-high levels
- Boosts power during a downswing
- Soft feeling
- Resist twisting
- Some seniors may struggle to maintain consistency during mid-launch
- The 75i seniors flex isn’t suited for fast swing speed
A senior flex graphite shaft is best for older golfers. It accelerates clubhead speed, and encourages a high launch. The Fujikura Pro Series 75i is made of premium materials and delivers plenty whip into impact. It’s light and easy to swing.
The 74-gram shaft has a senior flex point and mid-kick point. This allows for a moderate spin and mid-to high launch. Although some seniors may prefer a higher launching structure, I feel that most veterans will be happy with modest airtime and more roll after landing.
Although some seniors might not like the lower 3.1-degree torque, it is beneficial for accuracy and stability. It was great for maintaining velocity and spin, as it helped me keep my clubface in line with the ball at impact.
Fujikura engineers added their HDCC component, which greatly improved my control over every iron. It also helped to reduce vibration and soften my palms.
The High Modulus Carbon Fibre materials encourage increased bend for optimal release, whip into impact, and enhanced flexibility. Slower swing speeds will benefit from the increased energy transfer and subsequent rapid speed of the ball.