Same Golf Shafts for Irons and Woods?

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Ever wonder “why do we use the same shafts for irons, but not for woods”?

Weird, isn’t it?  It wasn’t like that in the past… but the last few decades, no one really uses the same golf shafts for irons and woods.  Why in hell would it be good enough to use the same shaft in eight different clubs (3-PW), maybe even eleven if you do it for the wedges, but not in the woods?

As I said, it used to be that way.

The irons and wedges all came with the same steel shaft.  The 1, 3 and 5 woods had shafts different from their iron buddies, but uniform between the three woods.  For example, the irons may have had a 125 gram, .370″ tip diameter, while the three woods would have  shafts weighing 115 gram with a .335″ tip diameter.

What Is It Good For?

Absolutely something.  For irons, it’s all about consistency.  With the irons, it’s beneficial to have a 10-15 yard gap between each iron.  Once you’re off the tee, selecting a club to reach the green then becomes a little easier- IF you learn how far you hit each club on average.

Using the same shaft in the irons (possibly the wedges) lends a similar feel, which helps maintain rhythm and tempo between all the different clubs, with comparable accuracy and known distances.

It almost gives you peace of mind: if you can hit your 5-iron well, by all accounts you should also be able to hit the 9-iron well.

So why don’t we do that with our woods, as well?

The Name of the Game

The reason is distance, bub.  Distance sells.  It’s why you’ll see someone with a 55-gram shaft in their driver, but a totally different shaft in their fairway woods (God forbid, different shafts for all THREE woods).  People are willing to sacrifice consistency for potential distance.

The driver has become more of a specialty club, similar to a 68* “flop wedge”.  Back in the day, a 1w would be used off the tee, but its construction allowed for easy use off the grass, as well.  Not really that way, anymore.  99.8% of the time, the only place the driver is gonna be used is off the tee.

If we treat the driver as a “specialty club”, then it makes sense to have a different shaft than those in the fairway woods.

We want to hit the ball as far as we can while having it fly as straight as we can make it.  I’m on the fence about this, but some (Martin Hall comes to mind) promote using a totally different swing for the driver as opposed to the rest of the clubs.  If that sounds appealing to you, cool, but if trying to simplify things a little by having fewer swing keys sounds more like your style, maybe think of grouping your woods closer together.  Neither way is an absolute right or wrong, it’s about what the individual is most comfortable with.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FOR YOUNGER GOLFERS

If you’re younger, you might be wondering “what about hybrids?”…  Well, pup, hybrids are a fairly new invention in the history of golf.  It all starts with what Tom Wishon calls “vanishing loft disease”.  What that means is, a club that once measured 38″ with a loft of 25* used to be called a 3-iron.  Today, that same club would have a “5” etched in the sole.  The consumer thinks they’re hitting their 5-iron longer, when in fact, they’re technically hitting a 3-iron, per the old “standards”.

Sounds all well and good on the surface… but for we mere mortals, it usually isn’t.

There’s an old clubfitting “rule of thumb”: The Longer The Length, The Lower The Loft, The Harder The Club Is To Hit.

There’s also the 25/38 Rule: the max loft and length an average golfer could hit reasonably well was 25* and 38″… the 3-iron.  Well, now that club is the 5-iron, and studies have proven that for many of us, the 3-iron is hard to hit.  Even worse, for some demographics (ie: slower clubhead speeds), the 4-iron and even the 5-iron is too hard to hit!

What does that mean for this topic?  Well, with this “vanishing loft disease” came the creation of the hybrid.  Lofts like an iron, tip diameter of an iron, but the basic body construction of a fairway wood.  They’re a different animal, one that, for some, can be truly beneficial… but what shafts should we use?

It really depends on how you want to use them.  If you’re dead-set on using them to replace some fairway woods, or a mishmash between the two, maybe think about using shafts more like what’s  in whatever FW’s you have in the bag.  I’m talking weight here; it’d be dangerous to try to fit a .335″ shaft into a .370″ hybrid hosel.

If you want them to be straight-up iron replacements, using shafts just like those in your iron set makes more sense.

While distance is fun- it’s also a big selling point- consistency should be the key to lowering scores.

If that means you use the same golf shafts for your irons and woods, that’s fine.  If you use the same shaft for the woods, but a different shaft for irons, wedges and hybrids, that’s cool, too.  Just try to maintain some consistency.

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