Steel or Graphite Shafts for High Handicapper

Steel or Graphite Shafts for High Handicapper

When you are starting out in the game of golf, or where you still have a high handicap, then you need to start to look at where changes could be made that will influence your game in a positive manner.

One area that is worth examining is the type of shaft you have on your clubs. However, in this instance, we are not talking about flex or anything else. Instead, it’s all about the material.

So, what we are going to look at here is whether a high handicapper should use steel or graphite shafts, and the difference it could make to your game. Ultimately, we will learn as to which one is best for you if you find yourself in this particular position.

The Difference Between Steel and Graphite

In golf, the difference between steel and graphite shafts is pretty obvious. 

In general, steel shafts will be heavier, but that has the impact of being able to provide you with greater stability through your swing and shot. This stability means it’s easier to play around with shots as you know how the club is going to react.

At the same time, graphite is lighter. That means the clubhead speed will be increased as a result. If you are struggling with speed, which then equates to less distance on your shots, then graphite could very well be the thing that makes a difference.

How Your Game Influences the Shaft

The key thing to keep in mind here is that your own individual game will directly influence the type of shaft you should have on your clubs. This applies to every golfer, and not just those with a high handicap.

But there are some general rules to follow that will make a difference when it comes to which option you should have in your bag.

Your Swing Speed

First, look at your swing speed. Handicap doesn’t influence this as some people just starting out in the game have a huge amount of power in their swings, and they can be right up there at the top of the speed charts.

If that is the case for you, then it’s best you have a steel shaft as that heavier weight will give you the stability we mentioned earlier. As a result, it will reduce the chances of those shots flying all over the place, and greater control means your game will improve.

But then, if you have a slower swing speed, and this can be measured by your local pro, then a graphite shaft is best.

By switching to a graphite shaft, it means you will be able to add a few yards onto your shots just by changing this one thing. 


Distance is another key element to look at when deciding on the type of shaft, but this one is harder to deal with.

Generally, a faster swing speed will lead to more distance, but if that then equates to you losing control, then it’s not always a good thing.

Typically, a high handicapper will need more distance on their shot. That means looking at a graphite shaft to get those yards, but you also need to have the control.

That should point you to clubs that are very forgiving, and where they will effectively allow you to have those mishits without punishing you too much. That is the perfect balance in this instance for people with a high handicap.

Feel and Feedback

One of the best ways to improve your game is to get an understanding of feel and being aware of feedback on your shots. It lets you get an idea of where you are going wrong, and how to then start making corrections.

For feel, steel shafts are the most responsive, and give the best feedback. This is due to the way in which it is significantly smoother through the swing part, and then it gives a better connection when you address the ball.

Accuracy in the Shot

When your handicap is still high, you want to largely forget about a number of aspects of the game, and focus on accuracy. You just need to get your shots on the fairway, and then onto the green.

So when it comes to accuracy, then it’s going to be the steel shaft that performs best of all. 

This is due to the way in which the steel shaft is not going to twist as much through the shot when compared to a graphite shaft. This reduction in the twisting aspect makes a huge difference when it comes to what then happens with the shot.

So, Which One is Best?

There is more to it than the points we have just covered here, but there’s enough for us to draw a conclusion as to which option is best for you when you have a high handicap.

In general, a steel shaft will be best for people with a high handicap. Yes, it won’t help when it comes to distance, but it helps with the accuracy and being able to get more consistent with your shots.

When trying to master the game of golf, this consistency and accuracy will help you to improve your game faster than if you just manage to hit the ball greater distances. If you only want to improve distance, then just enter driving competitions rather than playing a round.

Ultimately though, it does come down to your own individual game and the areas where you want to get better. But if you want to get the handicap down, then steel shafts will win hands down each and every time.

Of course, you could go to your local pro and try out both options to see which one feels better in your hands. It may surprise you in either direction.

Oh, but do stick with a graphite shaft on your driver. It just makes it easier for you as drivers tend to be highly forgiving, and they will largely stop your shots screaming off into the rough on a regular basis. A steel shaft in this instance would certainly not be advisable.

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