Hey everyone. Hope you're enjoying the weekend. SirPutts and I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of different golf industry professionals. We hear a lot of different opinions on things and it's fun to listen to different viewpoints on the state of the industry.
One issue that seems to keep coming up is the future of steel shafts. We've all seen graphite shafts take over the driver market and many feel it's just a matter of time before steel goes the way of the dinosaur. I thought it would be fun to lay out some of the information and let our readers chime in on the situation. Feel free to leave your comments at the end of this post!
Why Graphite Will Soon Rule The Golfing World
Graphite supporters have a pretty strong case here. Companies have made huge strides in graphite technology but there's still a lot that can be done. Many people we've talked to say we've only scratched the surface when it comes to graphite technology. The idea of using composite materials offers limitless possibilities. We're seeing club head technology being maxed out and soon companies will look at shafts as one of the only ways to make their club better than the next. Golfers are paying more attention to stock shafts and the upgrades that are available. We've seen interchangeable shafts hit the market this year and I think it's really opening a lot of eyes. People are realizing that the stock shaft is not always the best option. Many feel steel shafts have kind of hit a wall. There's only so much you can do with steel.
It's a tough pill to swallow but it's true… the golfing population isn't getting any younger. Graphite is the shaft of choice for a lot of aging golfers and companies know this. Graphite is lighter and dampens a lot of unwanted vibration. This group of golfers has some serious pull… they've got all of the money. Companies will really start to cater to these players and that's sure to bring graphite shafts to the forefront.
It used to be that the "better" players only used steel. The perception back then was that hard swingers needed steel. Graphite was flimsy and weak… only old people used graphite. Graphite just wasn't cool. Walk in to your local shop now and it's a totally different scene. Everyone is looking for an advantage and graphite is one of the best ways to achieve it. The market is full of exotic shaft upgrades that promise to turn your off the rack driver into a rocket launcher. Many agree that iron shaft technology is next…
Why Steel Shafts Just Won't Go Away
If it ain't broke, don't fix it… right? The majority of us have grown up using steel and we've turned out ok. Sure we might splurge and get a graphite shaft in our driver but is it always feasible to get a full set in graphite?
The biggest knock against graphite and composite shafts is cost. 99.9% of us actually have to pay for golf clubs and sometimes the "optimal" set up doesn't fit into the budget. Steel will have a place in the market until companies find a way to make quality graphite shafts at an affordable price.
Tradition is another factor in the debate. We'll always have the players that go against the grain. There are still many players that refuse to upgrade to a titanium driver. The advantages are fairly obvious and the technology is proven… but that's still not enough to get everyone to convert. Would companies keep steel around just to keep these people happy or would they do what they did with titanium drivers and just totally phase out steel? Will traditionalists allow graphite shafts near their favorite set of blades?
There are other minor issues. Durability is sure to be questioned… will graphite shafts hold up as well as steel shafts? The idea of feel will be a big issue too. We've been trained to believe that steel offers more "feel" than graphite. The gap between steel and graphite is closing here though.
So… what do you think? Will graphite push out steel shafts or will steel always have a place in golf? Leave your comments below!