Graphite vs. Steel vs. Steelfiber Shaft

In this test we compare three fundamentally different shafts, but all of them are suitable for this player. These are an extremely light and soft steel shaft, a mixture of steel and carbon and a classic carbon shaft. The three shafts are Nippon Zelos 7 as steel, Steelfiber i70 as hybrid version and Fujikura Pro 75 as graphite shaft. All three shafts are very similar or almost identical in terms of stiffness.

We build clubs with all three shafts for players in this category and it depends on the individual preferences. Steelfiber, for example, is a shaft that is naturally very innovative and has caused quite a sensation. It combines the advantages of graphite and does not look like a typical graphite shaft. However, it is not that Steelfiber solves all problems and also with this shaft you have to make compromises as we will see in a moment.

What do the numbers say?

The numbers can be seen in the following graphs. There are significant differences, especially in launch and spin. The Steelfiber shaft started much flatter with 19° than the Zelos and Pro shafts with 19.8°. The spin was lowest with the Steelfiber shaft with 5939rpm and highest with the Zelos 7.

What is also clear from these numbers: The player managed to accelerate the graphite shaft best, therefore the club head speed is 0.5mph higher and the ball speed is highest.

It is also very important to look at the carry and total length. The Steelfiber shaft showed the longest roll with 8m. Zelos only 5m and the Pro shaft 6m. This is a combination of trajectory and spin and shows one thing: The Steelfiber shaft flies too flat in this case and generates too little spin to be well controllable on the green.

What do we conclude from this comparison?

If you look at the dispersion above you will notice that it was lowest with the Zelos steel shaft. With the other two shafts there are hardly any differences to be seen. The steelfiber fluctuated even more in the length control which is due to the reasons mentioned above.

The advantages of a (well fitted) steel shaft are therefore

  • maximum precision
  • high spin
  • maximum control on the green
  • stronger feedback of the strike

The advantages of a graphite shaft, on the other hand:

  • better acceleration of the club
  • Vibration damping

Our conclusion

For this player we would clearly recommend Zelos 7. The advantages outweigh the disadvantages in this case. The steelfiber shaft does not perform very well in this test, but that does not speak against this shaft. It is just that it could not convince this player with his values. But what we can say at this point: The Steelfiber technology is unfortunately not a miracle cure. It is not as if the advantages of both components are simply combined and the disadvantages are eliminated. Steelfiber is however always an option in a fitting. What is somewhat overlooked with all the technological progress is how well high quality and lightweight steel shafts like the Zelos 7 actually perform. Steel shafts have the wrong reputation of being hard and heavy. This is because most players have only had inferior and heavy steel shafts in their hands. And this is no wonder when you look at the range of shafts available from the major manufacturers. There are more and more 110g steel shafts where even the R-Flex is very stiff.

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