How can you tell if a golf club is steel or graphite?

Answered by Edward Huber

To determine whether a golf club has a steel or graphite shaft, there are a few methods you can use:

1. Visual Inspection: The easiest way to identify the shaft material is by visually examining the club. Steel shafts are typically metallic in appearance, often with a chrome or satin finish. On the other hand, graphite shafts have a more matte or glossy finish and usually have a layered or woven look. Keep in mind that some graphite shafts may be painted to resemble steel, so this method is not foolproof.

2. Weight Test: As mentioned earlier, steel shafts are generally heavier than graphite shafts. You can perform a simple weight test by holding the club and comparing its weight to other clubs you know to have steel or graphite shafts. If the club feels noticeably heavier, it is likely to have a steel shaft. However, keep in mind that there can be variations in weight due to different clubhead designs, grip weights, and other factors, so this method may not always be definitive.

3. Flex Test: Another way to distinguish between steel and graphite shafts is by performing a flex test. Hold the club at the grip and gently press the clubhead against a solid surface, such as the floor, while keeping the shaft parallel to the ground. Apply a little pressure to see how much the shaft bends. Steel shafts tend to be stiffer and offer less flex, whereas graphite shafts are generally more flexible and will bend more under the same amount of pressure. However, it’s important to note that the flex characteristics can vary within both steel and graphite shafts, so this method should be used as a general guideline rather than a definitive test.

4. Manufacturer’s Specifications: If you have access to the club’s specifications or product information, it should indicate whether the shaft is made of steel or graphite. This information can often be found on the manufacturer’s website or in the club’s user manual. If you are purchasing a new club, the retailer or pro shop should also be able to provide you with this information.

It’s worth mentioning that sometimes clubs may have a combination of materials, such as a steel shaft with a graphite tip, or a graphite shaft with a steel insert. These hybrid shafts aim to provide the benefits of both materials, so it’s important to carefully examine the club or consult the manufacturer’s specifications to determine the exact composition.

You can determine whether a golf club has a steel or graphite shaft by visually inspecting the club’s appearance, performing a weight test, flexing the shaft, or referring to the manufacturer’s specifications. Each method has its limitations, so it’s best to use a combination of these approaches for a more accurate determination.