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How stiff is too stiff? How do you know?


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How can you tell an iron shaft is too stiff? Are there any specific signs? I have a swing speed with my 6 iron around 100 mph, but can't really feel flex in a shaft over a stiff flex. I'm not a hard loader of the shaft and maintain a pretty smooth tempo. With X flex shafts I can feel where there are in my swing if they are heavy enough, but don't really have a loading sensation. Should you get a load sensation? With S400 and even Project X LZ 6.5 (I know this shaft plays soft for its rating) it feels like I can't square the face as well when I can feel them load very much and can't hit full swing speeds. I tend to start leaving shots out to the right. (I have S400 in my 56/60 and love them. Just enough flex to have feel on partial shots.) When I played Project X 7.0 and hit them extremely straight. Best dispersion of any shaft I have tried. (Recently I've tried X100, S400, X7, Project X LZ 6.5, Project X 7.0, KBS Tour Stiff. Have a set of Project X 6.5 on the way) Certainly didn't feel any load, but never had to guess where the club was. I assume they are too stiff as the only person I know of that plays them is Rory, and I'm not that fast. I even had better dispersion with the X7 over the X100. The X100 I would get a big hook from time to time. I know I could go get fit, but I want to to have a better understanding of what is going on and why it is happening.

Edited by farris207
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There are always exception but yes, generally weight (both shaft weight and swing weight) is more important than stiffness profile of the shaft.   There are two useful/practicable ways to de

The "load" or feel of the shaft bending during the initial downswing is something that comes down to personal preference in how it feels and how that impacts your swing sequencing/timing. Some people

14 minutes ago, farris207 said:

How can you tell an iron shaft is too stiff? Are there any specific signs? I have a swing speed with my 6 iron around 100 mph, but can't really feel flex in a shaft over a stiff flex. I'm not a hard loader of the shaft and maintain a pretty smooth tempo. With X flex shafts I can feel where there are in my swing if they are heavy enough, but don't really have a loading sensation. Should you get a load sensation? With S400 and even Project X LZ 6.5 (I know this shaft plays soft for its rating) it feels like I can't square the face as well when I can feel them load very much and can't hit full swing speeds. I tend to start leaving shots out to the right. (I have S400 in my 56/60 and love them. Just enough flex to have feel on partial shots.) When I played Project X 7.0 and hit them extremely straight. Best dispersion of any shaft I have tried. (Recently I've tried X100, S400, X7, Project X LZ 6.5, Project X 7.0, KBS Tour Stiff. Have a set of Project X 6.5 on the way) Certainly didn't feel any load, but never had to guess where the club was. I assume they are too stiff as the only person I know of that plays them is Rory, and I'm not that fast. I even had better dispersion with the X7 over the X100. The X100 I would get a big hook from time to time. Can weight be more important than flex? I know I could go get fit, but I want to to have a better understanding of what is going on and why it is happening.

 

There are always exception but yes, generally weight (both shaft weight and swing weight) is more important than stiffness profile of the shaft.

 

There are two useful/practicable ways to determine if a shaft is too stiff.

 

1) If it feels too stiff, it most likely is too stiff.

2) If a softer shaft gives better performance (more consistent results and control).

 

As far as what might happen to the ball flight, then no there are no useful signs/symptoms.  What happens can be different for everyone and the signs and symptoms of too stiff can be identical to the signs/symptoms for a shaft that's too soft.    Each individual really needs to figure out their own unique responses.   Just make sure that when comparing different stiffness profiles, everything else about the club is the same.  Same grip, same shaft weight, same swing weight, same length, same lie.   Otherwise you really can't be sure what's contributing to the difference in the ball flight results.

 

There is no right/wrong amount of loading.  It's 100% personal preference.   Some people like to feel a certain amount, some people don't want to feel any appreciable loading.  Some people don't have any preference and can play a wide range of shaft stiffness w/o any issues.

 

 

Edited by Stuart_G
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The "load" or feel of the shaft bending during the initial downswing is something that comes down to personal preference in how it feels and how that impacts your swing sequencing/timing. Some people will want that bend feel, others will not. It is not something that anyone else can recommend. 

 

For me personally I know that when a shaft feels too stiff in the initial downswing, my reaction is to try and force it from the top. This never works out well as I have lost most of my power from that initial thrust. If I could force myself to not do that move, then it wouldn't matter how stiff the shaft felt but I don't know how to get my mind to do that.

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8 minutes ago, Stuart_G said:

Just make sure that when comparing different stiffness profiles, everything else about the club is the same.  Same grip, same shaft weight, same swing weight, same length, same lie.   Otherwise you really can't be sure what's contributing to the difference in the ball flight results.

 

There is no right/wrong amount of loading.  It's 100% personal preference.   Some people like to feel a certain amount, some people don't want to feel any appreciable loading.  Some people don't have any preference and can play a wide range of shaft stiffness w/o any issues.

 

 

 

I always make sure to match the build as close as possible to remove as many variables as possible.

 

It would seem that if I don't have a specific preference on feel I should just go with whatever shaft is the higher performer and hitting greens the most? I know I respond better to more weight. Light clubs I throw with my hands, and swing more outside in. I've seen that on GC Quad. Could the increased stiffness of the shaft have a similar effect?

 

I felt strange playing the 7.0 because most people I've ever talk to have a first response of it being too stiff. Plus next to no one actually plays that shaft, where the 6.5 is much more popular. 

Edited by farris207
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1 minute ago, farris207 said:

 

I always make sure to match the build as close as possible to remove as many variables as possible.

 

It would seem that if I don't have a specific preference on feel I should just go with whatever shaft is the higher performer and hitting greens the most?

 

I felt strange playing the 7.0 because most people I've ever talk to have a first response of it being too stiff. Plus next to no one actually plays that shaft, where the 6.5 is much more popular. 

 

I can't remember which but I think it was Byron Nelson or maybe Sam Sneed that just hated to feel any loading in the shaft.  He'd do anything to make the club play as stiff as possible.

 

Just realize that for many steel iron shaft models, changing flex can also change the weight.  In that case, you have to make sure the weight change is not a problem as well as the flex.

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Just now, Stuart_G said:

 

 

Just now, Stuart_G said:

I can't remember which but I think it was Byron Nelson or maybe Sam Sneed that just hated to feel any loading in the shaft.  He'd do anything to make the club play as stiff as possible.

 

Isn't  the what Bryson is doing as well with his graphite shafts? I didn't know if applying that thought process to my own game was a good idea lol

 

Made the edit on weight just as you posted. I do better with heavier weight. I've seen my delivery change from slightly outside in to a few degrees inside out when I was able to hit on GC Quad in the  past. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, farris207 said:

 

 

Isn't  the what Bryson is doing as well with his graphite shafts? I didn't know if applying that thought process to my own game was a good idea lol

 

Could be, I haven't seen much on his comments on that subject.  I've only seen the part about wanting a zero torque shaft for the putter - and that's based on his interpretation of the science and not really an example of a feel based decision like I was referring to.

 

Edited by Stuart_G
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22 hours ago, Stuart_G said:

 

Could be, I haven't seen much on his comments on that subject.  I've only seen the part about wanting a zero torque shaft for the putter - and that's based on his interpretation of the science and not really an example of a feel based decision like I was referring to.

 

I had read somewhere that the goal of his irons shafts was to have no deflection to create the most consistent strike possible.

 

Will give it another shot and not overthink any of the details and just focus on ball control and greens hit. Thanks for the insight.

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13 minutes ago, farris207 said:

I had read somewhere that the goal of his irons shafts was to have no deflection to create the most consistent strike possible.

 

Will give it another shot and not overthink any of the details and just focus on ball control and greens hit. Thanks for the insight.

 

I think that's a good plan.   

 

It's true that for high level players who can be extremely consistent with their swing and impact - they can get a (very) small increase in accuracy with stiffer shafts BUT only if the subjective aspect of how they respond to the change in stiffness feel doesn't interfere with the swing or cause problems.   So the vast majority of am's wont really see anything noticeable unless they have a preference for the stiffer feel.

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