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Iron shafts - graphite or steel?

Phil M

I'm 48 years old, 5 handicap and in the market for new clubs.

I currently play 712 AP2s ( KBS C-tapers 110g, R+ flex, and clubs are 1° flat, 1° strong) and am interested in the new 714 AP2s - i have been suffering over the years from chronic elbow and shoulder pain and have been progressively losing distance over the years. I currently hit my 7 iron 150 yards carry, and can usually drive 235 carry, 255 with roll..... My driver swing speed is roughly 95 mph, and 6 iron  is roughly 82-84 mph, I have a slow to smooth swing tempo. Course conditions where I play are often  cold and wet.

I think I could benefit from higher launching clubs such as the APS-2s, and am interested more in gaining distance than forgiveness, as I have problems controlling my current 712s.

I want to hit the ball longer, and would like to reduce fatigue and chronic pain in arms ( elbows and shoulders).


1) With insufficient swing speed, are the C-tapers working against distance with their lower spin and launch characteristics?

2) I am considering graphite shafts - what flex is best for me? Or how about lightweight steel? 

3) Should I consider getting stronger lofts with a higher spinning shaft, or does this mess things up?

Thanks for any feedback.


9 Replies

  1. Cole W

    My recommendation would be to find your local Titleist fitter and go through the process of getting fit.  You might be very surprised of what club head shaft combo might work best for you!

  2. Phil M

    Unfortunately, I'm an overseas expat living in France, a couple hundred miles from Paris, so not easy to get there. Furthermore I'm a lefty, which often makes things yet more complicated..... Often a fitting session here rarely has more than a couple heads and a couple shafts. So any return of information you might have would be helpful. Once again, my main concern is distance, and I don't want the ball to balloon. I have been between 3 and 5 handicap for the last 10+ years, so ball striking is not the major issue. Also, are the 714 AP2 considered to be 'longer' than the 712s? Title it's isn't clearly making this statement. Phil
  3. Barry K


    you should contact Titleist France and arrange for a full Titleist fitting at their centre. Gregory Bourdy is a Titliest player and receives the full support of Titleist.

    Acushnet France
    100 rue Louis Blanc
    Bâtiment Riga
    60765 Montataire Cedex
    Tél : 0800 36 36 72
    Fax : + 33 (0)3 44 28 45 50
    E-mail :



  4. Anthony B

    I am 42 and have had 2 back surgeries and I Went to the true temper lights from the tour van and have been very happy.. they weigh about 110g...

  5. Dylan W

    If elbow pain is an issue you should look into the aerotech steelfibers. Also even in R+ the ctapers will play much closer to an S and that coupled with their low launch low spin characteristics good be adding to your loss of distance. I believe a good place to start would be steelfiber 95r 

  6. Patrick H

    Phil ... I am in the same boat as you.  I am a 9 handicap, 45 yrs old and am starting to feel the effects of age.

    Our swing speeds are very comparable. My driver is right at 100 and 6 iron was 87 last time I was in a monitor.

    I had the original AP2's with the Project X 5.5 and experienced the same things you are.

    I recently went thru a Titleist fitting session and decided on 714 AP1.  They are a lower spinning, higer launching head.  I was actually fit into soft-step C-Taper S flex.  I was interested in graphite also but found no real advantage according to the launch monitor.  It was actually working against me. I think if you find the right steel shaft with a softer tip, you will be just fine.

    Go see a fitter and take the guesswork out.




  7. Steve M

    Phil, I've been dealing with elbow issues for too long to remember.  I've switched grips to the Winn DryTac series.  They are cushioned which helps minimize or eliminate the vibrations.  The only downside is that they don't seem to last as long as "regular" grips, but if it helps to keep the elbows happy, it's worth it.

    Over the past year, I've replaced my woods and added a new wedge.  First thing I did was to change the grip to the DryTac.


    I'm finally looking to replace my irons from the DCI981's from 12 years ago. These grips would be a requirement for me.




  8. Bradley O

    Phil, this game can be very painful if you an elbow injury. I was diagnosed with "Golfer's Elbow" about 4 years ago and I can't recommend graphite shafts enough. I bought  the Titleist 775.CB irons with graphite shafts and I will never go back to steel! Even the shock resistant steel shafts can't compare to the soft feel of graphite shafts on the joints. My iron distances are similar to yours and I play a regular flex. I find that stiff graphite shafts lower my ball flight substantially.

    Also, I recommend buying the new Lamkin 3GEN Crossline grips, as they are made from a rubber compound that further eliminates shock. The 3GEN grips have really helped my wrists and elbows feel better during a round. This game is hard enough on the body and buying equipment that reduces strain and fatigue on the joints is a must! Hope my 2 cents helps...


  9. Phil M

    I recently went out to the range and demo'ed the new 714 AP2 - i tried them along with my current 712 AP2( C-Taper 110, R+ flex), and was able to test the new PX95 in regular, the NS Pro 950, R flex, as well as ( why not) the Titleist Kuro Kage  65g R flex.

    I hit all of them easily, and interestingly enough, found virtually no benefit in changing (as far as distance was concerned). In general, I felt the 714 head felt the same as the 712, and was slightly more forgiving - mishits strayed less left or right but consequently, working the ball provided less produced less fade or draw, but easier to control.

    The XP95 was comfortable, felt good, and performed well. Ultimately, I was able to hit it a couple yards further than my current AP2 set up at best. Trajectories were identical, and the fact that it was lighter possibly made it more comfortable, but there was no substantial gain in performance.

    The NS Pros felt very nice, and once again, no longer than my current setup, possibly a wee-bit shorter - feel was great, but trajectory control was a little bit off. When struck smooth, all is fine, but a little bit off, and the NS Pros tend to fly higher.

    The graphite Kuro Kage were surprising. They were indeed light, and probably too soft for me, but were easy to control. Distance was a wee bit shorter than the other two, possibly due to a higher trajectory.....

    Bottom line is if I were to change now, I would go for the XP95, no real benefit other than more improved comfort (as it is slightly lighter). Not a huge difference between the 712 and 714 AP2s - they are both great clubs, but expect no revolution!

    I have yet to try the Aerotech steelfibres - which I am counting on to produce something more evolutionary to justify the change....  Once again, I would like to consider more comfort on my elbows and shoulders, but also need distance to evolve in positive manner.....


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