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Can graphite shafts really help with joint issues?

 anth ·  
anthanth From the Land Down UnderMembers  2810WRX Points: 215Handicap: 4Posts: 2,810 Titanium Tees
Joined:  in WRX Club Techs #1

Please move this post if it's in the wrong section. Apologies for the length.

Recently I've been having issues with my neck. Looks like I could have osteoarthritis. It's causing me discomfort and right now I'm experiencing numbness and weakness down my arm. The appointment is booked with the Specialist next week but the GP already took me through the MRI results (that's how I know it's osteoarthritis and not a bulging disc etc). Hopefully I can get some treatment and return to some sense of normality.

I've been struggling a lot with my game since we came out of Covid lockdown. My HCP is 5 but I haven;t gone close to breaking 80. Initially it was rust but now I'm thinking my neck has been causing issues, perhaps subconsciously. Actually, last time out it became more conscious - we are in the middle of winter here so distance is always affected, but I was struggling to get my normal distances to the tune of at least 2 clubs - so 5 irons were barely covering what I would normally use a 7 iron for.

I read up on my condition and it can cause weakness to the affected areas - in my case my left arm. Hopefully this can be treated/managed/resolved but it lead me to start thinking about my equipment. I'm 44 now and inevitably I will start to slow down, especially if I can't get on top of this issue. I have used lightweight steel shafts for a long time, currently that's the Nippon NS Pro 950. I like to see a mid to high ballflight with my irons. I'm currently using a mixed set of Srixon 765/965. I wasn't really in the market for new irons and if I was I'd stick with Srixon - most likely a mixed set again, but possibly just a straight set of 785.

Either way it seems like graphite shafts are a real option to reduce joint pain. How real is that? I've read a few posts where people swear by it but I'm unsure of the why's around that. I've also read that generally graphite will go higher (which I want to see) but is that just a result of lighter weight? Given I'm already in a lightweight steel would I see those height and potentially distance gains that others experience?

My only real experience of graphite in irons is with my 23 degree Srixon utility, which is effectively my 4 iron. It felt light to me initially but I got used to it quickly. I love it now - it feels great when flushed and is easy to hit and it gives me the ballflight I want to see. Would the right graphite iron shafts give me that same feeling or is it more the hollow club head design do you think?

Lots of questions. Thanks for reading. Share your thoughts and experiences.

Posted:
Callaway Rogue 10.5
Callaway BB Alpha 816 16
Srixon Z H45 19 Hybrid
Srixon Z U45 23 Utility
Srixon Z 765/965 5 - PW
TaylorMade Milled Grind 50 & 54
TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe 58
TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
TaylorMade TP5
1

Comments

  • Go Horns!Go Horns! Members  216WRX Points: 87Handicap: 7Posts: 216 Fairways
    Joined:  #2

    Generally, Graphite will help with joint issues. But it helps more with tendinitis/tendinosis.

    As far as trajectory from graphite, you can get a low launching graphite in the 95 to 105 gram range. But trajectory comes more from the club head than the shaft.

    Posted:
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  • Tax77Tax77 Members  60WRX Points: 60Posts: 60 Bunkers
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 2:03am #3

    I have a double jointed left shoulder that really gets worn down by golf, I still play steel in my irons but practice solely with my graphite hybrid and it has helped tremendously with the wear and tear on my shoulder, all my clubs are gripped with lamkin sonar wraps to lessen the vibration as well. I play OL so its easy to practice and groove a swing with the hybrid. I exercise a few times a week which helps. If you don't have a regular fitness routine, start one. Strengthen those muscles.

    Posted:
  • anthanth From the Land Down Under Members  2810WRX Points: 215Handicap: 4Posts: 2,810 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #4

    I've lost 20 KGs from my heaviest weight through diet and running. I try to run about 30 KMs a week. Which is not huge, but something. I think you're right about the strengthening exercises - never really done that. Will see what the Specialist recommends.

    Thanks

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue 10.5
    Callaway BB Alpha 816 16
    Srixon Z H45 19 Hybrid
    Srixon Z U45 23 Utility
    Srixon Z 765/965 5 - PW
    TaylorMade Milled Grind 50 & 54
    TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe 58
    TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
    TaylorMade TP5
  • V-BladeV-Blade Members  74WRX Points: 85Posts: 74 Bunkers
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 2:48am #5

    I’ve had surgeries on both rotators and missed two full seasons. Before that, I was already beginning to struggle with DG S300s. I bought a set of Daiwa Hi-Trac Tours with graphite shafts for cheap during the two procedures just to tap (nice 70 yard 7 iron) around in the practice field. I really liked them and it caused me to rethink irons. Since then, I bought a set of Titleist 735 CMs with heavier R-flex graphite. Graphite has been good for my joints on ground contact and the semi-reduced weight for my swing mechanics, which also probably helps my joints. My beloved steel sets haven’t been used for years. 

    Given the cost and constant changes in models, it’s harder to experiment vs. just finding a set with the usual steel DG or whatever.  What I found helpful with my cheap Daiwas (actually playing them now) is getting some extra weight added to the head. Used those little tungsten squares and they must have some fairy dust in the mix because they are quite solid.

    Posted:
    TaylorMade r5 Dual TP 10.5* w/ Mitsubishi Diamana 83 R
    TaylorMade R7 TP 15* w/ Fujikura Vista Pro 80 S
    TaylorMade Rescue Dual TP 19* w/ Fujikura Motore F3 80 HB S
    TaylorMade Rescue Dual TP 22* w/ Mitsubishi Diamana H S
    Titleist 735 CM 4 - PW with UST ProForce 115 RV2 Gold Tour R 
    MacGregor MT Pro Gunmetal DW design 54* and 58* w/ DG S300
    MacGregor Bobby Grace Fat Lady Swings w/ BeCu insert
  • dmeeksDCdmeeksDC ClubWRX  3059WRX Points: 513Handicap: 7.6Posts: 3,059 ClubWRX
    Joined:  #6

    Graphite iron shafts are so much better than they used to be it is remarkable. Can get whatever feel and trajectory you want. Definitely worth a fitting. Two things: Don’t fear a lower weight in graphite because some models by design play like steel shafts that weigh 20 grams more. Give yourself time to adjust as it seems different at first. I play 110-115g steel iron shafts and I am definitely a 90-95g player in graphite.

    Second, if you have played steel forever watch that you don’t pick a graphite shaft with too much torque. Not due to performance necessarily, but torque is feel and steel has low torque. If I tried graphite with a lot of torque, I could feel a big difference. I tested various graphites coming from steel, and the ones that felt like they’d be the easiest transition were KBS TGI, Fuji Pro Tour Spec, Acca iSeries Tour and Steelfiber, either standard or FC. I didn’t try the standard Fuji but I would because the TS feels super so I could see the standard reducing vibrations well. Good luck with your health and fit!

    Posted:
    Ping G30 SFT driver, 10 degree, Oban Kiyoshi HB 75 stiff
    Cobra F9 Speedback, 14.5 degree, Fujikura Atmos Blue 7S
    Callaway Epic Flash, 17 degree, HzRDUS Smoke 70 stiff
    Callaway Rogue, 21 degree, Diamana BF 80 stiff
    TaylorMade GAPR Hi 24, KBS TGI 80 stiff

    Srixon z765 (5-7(, z965 (8-P) Fujikura 95i TS stiff
    Callaway MD4 50 S grind, 54 W grind
    Ben Hogan Ft. Worth TK 58
    Odyssey Stroke Lab V-Line putter w/Pure grip
  • Stuart_GStuart_G New HampshireMembers  25360WRX Points: 1,804Posts: 25,360 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 11:44am #7

    First of all be careful, there are a lot of common misconceptions being persisted here in this thread.

    @anth asked Either way it seems like graphite shafts are a real option to reduce joint pain. How real is that? I've read a few posts where people swear by it but I'm unsure of the why's around that. I've also read that generally graphite will go higher (which I want to see) but is that just a result of lighter weight? Given I'm already in a lightweight steel would I see those height and potentially distance gains that others experience?

    First of all, when it comes to steel vs graphite, the ONLY reason graphite helps with pain is because it's a much better shock absorber of the high frequency vibrations that happen at impact. That's really it. How much it helps depends on the condition but in general, the closer the pain is to the hands, the more it helps. The arm itself is a bit of a shock absorber as well, so the farther from the hands, the shock gets reduced even with steel. And it's just as effective with arthritis as it is with tendon issues. Any type of inflammatory condition can benefit from less stress and aggravation.

    Second don't make any assumptions about either stiffness or weight when you talk about graphite vs steel. Both come in a wide range of both specs. In fact some of the stiffest iron shafts I've ever tried have been graphite. Now if you only compare off-the-shelf stock graphite options to the stock off-the-shelf steel options, then yes, they do tend to be both lighter and softer - but even that's not a guaranteed any more. But once you consider getting fit and looking at custom options, then forget all the preconceived notions about performance or characterists of graphite shafts vs steel. Light, heavy, stiff, soft - lots of options available.

    Which leads to another comment about pain management in the golf swing. Graphite vs steel only really helps with pain issues that are aggravated by the club impacting the ball (or the ground), not by aggravations that come from stress during the swing itself (common for several types of tendonitis). In that case, it's not the material but rather for some people, changing the shaft weight or stiffness can sometimes get them to swing differently in a way that causes less stress and pain.


    @anth asked My only real experience of graphite in irons is with my 23 degree Srixon utility, which is effectively my 4 iron. It felt light to me initially but I got used to it quickly. I love it now - it feels great when flushed and is easy to hit and it gives me the ballflight I want to see. Would the right graphite iron shafts give me that same feeling or is it more the hollow club head design do you think?

    Graphite vs steel really only effects the feel of impact. Both the head and shaft provide a big influence to that. Some like the softer feel, some don't like the fact that with graphite they loose some feedback when the club isn't hit flush. How good the club (or shaft) feels during the swing - take away, transition, and release - is all about getting the other shafts specs to be a good fit for your swing. Specifically the shaft weight and the stiffness feel. Getting a good fit for those is important regardless of whether you go graphite or steel. it's a large part of what makes the club feel good in general - and even can make a difference at how good the impact will be.

    Posted:
    Post edited by Stuart_G on
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  • Sean2Sean2 Members  32816WRX Points: 3,263Posts: 32,816 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #8

    Maybe not joint pain, but I had tennis elbow so bad I couldn't pick up a glass of water. I tried inserts, softer grips, etc., and nothing worked. The doctor recommended switching to graphite shafts and I have been pain free ever since. I was out for a total of three months before I could swing a club again.

    Posted:

    Treat yourself as if you were someone you are responsible for helping. Jordan Peterson

    Too much sanity may be madness and the maddest thing of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

    In golf, the human mind has much higher capabilities to screw things up than the physics has to make things better. Unknown

     

  • anthanth From the Land Down Under Members  2810WRX Points: 215Handicap: 4Posts: 2,810 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #9

    Thanks Sean and Stuart. Great info

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue 10.5
    Callaway BB Alpha 816 16
    Srixon Z H45 19 Hybrid
    Srixon Z U45 23 Utility
    Srixon Z 765/965 5 - PW
    TaylorMade Milled Grind 50 & 54
    TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe 58
    TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
    TaylorMade TP5
  • xkilgorextroutxxkilgorextroutx Members  370WRX Points: 89Handicap: 19.5Posts: 370 Greens
    Joined:  #10

    Same here. I'm 45 and moved to graphite after developing tennis elbow in my right arm (in all fairness, I'm a desk jockey who moves a mouse 8 hours a day which probably had far more of an impact on the tennis elbow than golf did). My entire body feels better after a round of golf now, and I've noticed better trajectory on my iron shots.

    Posted:
  • DallasDanDallasDan Members  16WRX Points: 12Handicap: 8Posts: 16 Bunkers
    Joined:  #11

    I'm 47 and switched to graphite about 10 years ago due to a sore left wrist and right elbow. I also use those cushy Winn Excel grips which also helps with shock absorption. I experienced a noticeable decrease in wrist and elbow pain. I still experience pain when I over practice but it has definitely helped me out quite a bit. After a few weeks your body should acclimate to the new feel and you won't even look back.

    Posted:
  • hammergolfhammergolf St. LouisMembers  572WRX Points: 277Handicap: 3Posts: 572 Golden Tee
    Joined:  edited Jul 1, 2020 3:24pm #12

    I had VERY bad wrist, elbow,shoulder issues 10 years ago. I did two things, I went lighter weight (120gms to 95 grams) and went to grahite (Steelfiber i95)After days I could tell the difference. NO DOUBT going lighter and to graphite made helped. I honestly don't know why anyone would play steel now with how good graphite iron shafts have become. I don't have any wrist or problems anymore. The shoulder is just wear and tear but I know it would be much worse playing heavier steel shafts.

    Posted:
    Ping G400 Max 9 Tour 65 Stiff
    Ping G410 3wd @ 15.5 flat Tensei Orange Stiff
    Ping G410 7wd @ 19.5 flat Tensei Orange Stiff
    Ping G410 22 hybrid @ 21 flat Alta CB Stiff
    Ping G25 5-PW Steelfiber i95
    Cleveland RTX4 Raw 50*, 56* @ 55, 60* Modus 105 Stiff
    Evnroll TR8 33"
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  • seisseis Chicago NW suburbMembers  376WRX Points: 108Posts: 376 Greens
    Joined:  #13

    Stop the running. I am 65 and ran a lot of 10 K and half marathons when I was younger and now regret it. I loved running but my ortho who has replaced both of my hips, and my chiropractor who I see every six weeks said that running is terribly hard on the neck and is a major cause of later life stenosis in the spine.

    Posted:
  • jecarnljecarnl Members  103WRX Points: 60Posts: 103 Fairways
    Joined:  #14

    After playing DG X100s for what seems like forever, about a year and a half ago I started playing DG 120 X100 to prepare myself for the weight drop to graphite because my left elbow was killing me. I finally a month ago made the swap to Steelfiber FC 115. Is it helping my elbow tendonitis, maybe a little. Hopefully long term it will help.

    Posted:
  • anthanth From the Land Down Under Members  2810WRX Points: 215Handicap: 4Posts: 2,810 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #15

    Hope you’re doing OK. I’ve only taken up running in the last couple of years as part of my weight loss goals. What do you recommend instead of running?

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue 10.5
    Callaway BB Alpha 816 16
    Srixon Z H45 19 Hybrid
    Srixon Z U45 23 Utility
    Srixon Z 765/965 5 - PW
    TaylorMade Milled Grind 50 & 54
    TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe 58
    TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
    TaylorMade TP5
  • drvrwdgedrvrwdge Members  2684WRX Points: 285Handicap: +.7Posts: 2,684 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #16

    Funny how this works. I too have had elbow pain and thought about going to a heavier weight graphite shaft, the Fujikura i115x TS to be specific, but have gone to a lighter weight steel shaft to see if that helps first. Funny thing is I play a lot of tennis as well and all though racquets aren’t made of steel they actually recommend to go heavier if you have elbow issues since the heavier racquet with more mass absorbs more shock and vibration.

    Posted:
    Taylormade SIM 10.5 Fujikura Ventus Black 6x
    Taylormade M6 Tensei Pro Orange V3 70TX
    Ping G410 19* Hybrid Tensei PO 100TX
    Revolving door
    Honma TW W4 52/56/60 Modus 125 Wedge
    Ping Sigma 2 Tyne Steath, Stealth shaft. PP58 Black Cord
    Snell MTB X
    Ping Hoofer Multicam
  • Go Horns!Go Horns! Members  216WRX Points: 87Handicap: 7Posts: 216 Fairways
    Joined:  #17

    Lift heavy weights instead of running. If you want cardio, row or assault bike.

    Posted:
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  • tbonetwtbonetw Members  445WRX Points: 123Posts: 445 Greens
    Joined:  #18

    I switched to graphite when I bought the irons I have now (T200). I really like them. I can't imagine I'll ever go back to steel. I do notice a difference in the way my body feels. And frankly they're just much easier for me to swing. I got fitted and ordered mine with Tensei AV blue shafts. I gotta say that while they are lighter and certainly absorb shock much better than steel, they also flat out perform. I was worried about the ball flight being too high or ballooning, but they are just awesome. Very smooth feel and a nice medium ball flight which I prefer. Just make sure you get fitted. I tried 3 different graphite shafts and 2 lightweight steel shafts in my fitting. But as soon as I tried the combo I have now I knew that's what I was buying. And yes I have picked up a little distance.

    Posted:
    Titleist TS3 8.5* PX Smoke 60S
    Titleist TS2 Hybrid 16* Tensei Blue AV S
    Titleist U510 19* PX Smoke 80S
    Titleist T200 4-GW Tensei Blue AV S
    Titleist SM7 52*,58*
    Wilson West Loop
    Pro V1
  • Stuart_GStuart_G New HampshireMembers  25360WRX Points: 1,804Posts: 25,360 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #19
    Posted:
  • anthanth From the Land Down Under Members  2810WRX Points: 215Handicap: 4Posts: 2,810 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #20

    Can’t do cycling because the neck gets sore from constantly having the arms out in front. Will have to look into swimming and just keep walking.

    Will definitely try some graphite shafts in the future. I think even if I can get back to proper health the dampening benefits will be worth it.

    Are the Recoil 95 (not proto) considered a higher launching and spinning shaft?

    Posted:
    Callaway Rogue 10.5
    Callaway BB Alpha 816 16
    Srixon Z H45 19 Hybrid
    Srixon Z U45 23 Utility
    Srixon Z 765/965 5 - PW
    TaylorMade Milled Grind 50 & 54
    TaylorMade Milled Grind Hi Toe 58
    TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
    TaylorMade TP5
  • cardoustiecardoustie haha, we don't play for 5's Tasmania to CanadaMembers  13959WRX Points: 2,766Handicap: 3.1Posts: 13,959 Titanium Tees
    Joined:  #21

    I had to go graphite for elbow and hand pain ... it works

    lots of heavy and very stable graphite shafts out there

    Posted:

    Ping G400 LST 11* Oban Revenge 65.06 
    Ping G400 3w 15.1* Oban Kiyoshi Prp 65.05
    Ping G400 5w 16.9* Matrix Masters 7Q3 x
    Callaway Apex 4h 23* Kuro Kage 80s
    Callaway Apex 5h 26* Kuro Kage 90s
    Mizuno 919t 6-PW UST Recoil 110s
    Vokey SM2 50-54tvd-59tvd-64 s400
    Titleist Scotty X7M

  • JRL2JRL2 Members  59WRX Points: 35Posts: 59 Bunkers
    Joined:  #22

    Yes, switched to Steelfiber shafts, now no more elbow pain, no wearing a hot uncomfortable elbow sleeve, just better all around. I think my ball striking is better also, now I don't worry about the pain from taking a nice divot.

    Posted:
    "The most important shot in golf is the next one" - Ben Hogan

    Taylormade M5, Aldila Copperhead 75, Tx
    Taylormade M5, 3 wood, Tensei Pro Orange 60 S
    Taylormade M2, 3/4 hybrid, Rogue S
    Titleist AP2 718 5-GW Aerotech Steelfiber 95i, S
    Titleist Vokey SM7 56 degree SW
    Titleist Vokey SM7 60 degree LW
    TaylorMade Spider X

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