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White Hair Does Not an Old Man Make!!

August 11, 2011

So if you play golf, you already know, or should know, that golf club shafts come in either steel or graphite.  If you don’t play golf just let me give it a plug and say that it is a great game, a frustrating game, a hard game to master, but mostly a fun game.  I have always said you can tell the true nature of a person by playing a round of golf with them.  Let me get back to my point.

So we have two types of material that shafts are made of but then with each type we have variations in the flex.  “Flex is the amount of bend in a shaft, typically designated by one of five letters: L (ladies), A (senior), R (regular), S (stiff), and X (extra stiff), from most flexible to least.” (  The flex one chooses depends on your swing tempo and your swing speed, tempo being how long it takes you to complete a swing and speed being how fast your club head is moving when it strikes the ball.  Normally, the faster ones swing speed the stiffer the shaft.   The major difference in steel vs. graphite is the weight of the club.   A five iron made of steel is heavier than a five iron made of graphite.

So the traditional wisdom in selecting which type of clubs one should buy has been stronger players use steel, less strong use graphite.  (Side note: this has changed since players like Tiger Woods use some graphite clubs.) About ten years ago when I went to buy a set of new clubs, the salesman looked at me and seeing my distinguished white hair made the decision that since I was old  I should buy graphite shafts.  I have been playing with these clubs since, and am a decent golfer.  Decent meaning I rarely hit anyone with my errant shots.  Over the years I have credited my poor shots to the fact that I don’t play as much as I would like, and don’t spend time on a driving range honing my skill.

So last Mothers’ Day, while enjoying a BBQ at my sister-in-law’s home, which backs up to a golf course, we started hitting balls from the backyard out over a fairway into the driving range.  Using my brother-in-law’s pitching wedge I aimed at a little tree and put six balls in a tight pattern around the tree.  Then using a six iron I hit a few shots that not only went far but straight as a rifle shot.  Guess what!!  The clubs were steel shafts.

So this week I went out and bought a new set of clubs, which my wife was paying for as my birthday present, steel shaft regular flex.  Today we played a course I have played many times and at most have made four pars out of nine holes.  Today I parred 7 out of nine, my iron shots were dead straight, one of the missed pars was because my driver was off and the other because I just missed a putt by about 2 inches.  The only thing I noticed was I am about 4 yards shorter, at least so far, with each club, but that can be easily corrected.

So what is the moral of this story?  Just because a man has white hair doesn’t mean he is not in shape and can’t swing fast enough for steel!!   Anybody want to buy a good set of graphite clubs?

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