What to Do when a Golf Iron Shaft is Too Light, Soft or Weak

holding a golf iron shaft that's too light


Is a Lighter Golf Shaft better? 

Golfers in general usually don’t give much thought to the weight of their shafts and that’s a huge mistake. The weight of your golf shaft is critical to your club’s performance.

However, it’s not a simple matter of lighter shafts being better than heavier shafts. The “best shaft weight” will vary from golfer to golfer.

You need to take the time to see what shaft weight is best for you. Picking the shaft weight that best suits you will have a huge impact on your performance on the course. It might be that a light shaft is the best fit for you.

When you should use a light golf iron shaft:

  1. You’re an over the top golfer. Using a lighter golf shaft will help keep your body from pulling over the top too much.
  2. You hit your shots too thin. A light golf shaft will help to keep your muscles from wanting to pull out of your shots and thus help you from making thin shots.
  3. You hit your shots towards the hosel. This is usually a sign that your golf shaft is too heavy for you and causes a swing across your golf ball from pulling too much from the top.
  4. You have slower transitions. This means you need a lighter golf shaft.


What are the benefits of a light iron shaft?  

There are many benefits to using a golf club with a lighter shaft if that’s the best fit for you. It’s important so it bears repeating that choosing the weight of your iron shaft is not a simple matter of lighter being better than heavier or vice versa. You must choose what’s best fitted for you. 

If your best fit is a light iron shaft, switching over to a lighter shaft will help improve the amount of distance you get from your golf ball on the course. It’s been shown that changing to a shaft that suits you can increase your distance anywhere from 4 to 26 yards.

4 to 26 yards is a huge amount and can be the difference between a good day on the course and a golf ball stuck in a sand trap.

Using a light iron shaft also improves your accuracy on the course. Using a golf shaft that’s best fitted for you will improve your control over your club immensely.

This greater amount of control means you’ll hit closer to your target more often and hit your golf ball with the correct amount of distance more consistently.

That brings us to the next point. Another benefit of using a light iron shaft is that it improves your consistency.

If you’re using a golf club with a shaft that’s ill-fitted for you, you will have very high distance dispersions. Using a lighter golf shaft will help keep the distance between your shortest and longest shots in check.

Using a lighter golf shaft can also help certain golfers with their control. A lighter golf shaft helps golfers from pulling over the top with their bodies too much. It also keeps their muscles from pulling out of their shots.


Light Iron Shaft VS Heavy Iron Shaft

The light Vs heavy shaft debate ultimately boils down to personal preference. Get yourself fitted by a professional or try as many shafts as you possibly can to get a feel for what suits you. While it varies from golfer to golfer, it’s generally believed that light and heavy iron shafts have the following differences.

  • Light iron shafts are better for getting your golf ball high in the air compared to heavy iron shafts.
  • Light iron shafts increase your swing speed compared to heavy iron shafts and will help increase your distance on the course.
  • Light iron shafts have worse control when compared to heavy iron shafts which will make your accuracy on the course take a hit.

Interestingly, more golfers tend to feel comfortable using a lighter shaft than a heavier shaft however that’s hardly a universal truth for golfers.

Taller and more built golfers tend to do better using heavier iron shafts because they have more aggressive swings and would have much less control using a lighter iron shaft. If it suits you then use it; this is a valuable maxim to use when picking a golf shaft for yourself.

Iron shafts are usually made of graphite, steel or a metal alloy. Lighter iron shafts are usually made of graphite while heavier iron shafts are made out of steel or a kind of metal alloy.

Are your Iron Shafts Too Weak? 

When we talk about your iron shafts being too weak, in this context we’re talking about the strength of the material your shaft is made of. In this case weakness means how much your iron shaft bends.

Having an iron shaft that’s too weak for you can mess up your performance on the course. You’ll definitely lose strokes by not getting a fit that’s appropriate for you.

Ideally, you should go and get fitted for your irons by a professional but if that’s not an option then try as many shafts as possible to help find what’s best for you.

A golf shaft that’s too weak for you will flex a lot throughout your golf swing which will create an inconsistent release point. This will hurt your score even more on days that are extra windy or wet.

If your iron shaft is too weak for you, it usually manifests itself as you making some nasty and unintentional hooks on the course. You’ll mostly unintentionally curve your shots to the right of your intended target.

Having a weak iron shaft can also cause you to slice your shots more than you should otherwise. Your weak shaft will make your golf ball unintentionally curve in flight.

If you have a fast swing and are more aggressive on the course then you’ll need a strong shaft. Having a shaft that’s too weak for you will make you hit your golf ball too high. It’ll make you put more spin in your golf balls then you intended and make you miss towards your left side.


Are your Iron Shafts Too Soft? 

When we’re talking about your iron shaft being too soft, we’re talking about the ductility of the material of your shaft. Too soft means that your shaft bends, bows and shakes a lot.

A simple way to tell if your iron shaft is too soft is to check if there’s a noticeable “kick” sensation throughout the impact when you hit your golf ball. This is because the shaft isn’t steady enough because it’s weak and shakes throughout your shot as well as when your club hits your golf ball.

If you use an iron shaft that’s just right for you, there should be no “kick” sensation at all.

Your iron shaft is probably too soft if it causes you to hook your shots regularly.

The reason for this is that there’s more bow on your soft shaft as well as more droop on your shaft on impact. That’s a detailed way of saying your weak iron shaft will shake too much and make you hook a lot.

Having your iron shaft too soft will also make you hit too far right compared to what you were aiming for. This is because your soft shaft will make the clubhead reach your golf ball sooner than you think which it’ll have closed down less.

The high amount of shaft droop also returns the clubhead more toe down into impact. This is all basically saying your weak iron shaft will cause you to miscalculate the amount of force you need to hit your golf ball with.

Something interesting to note is that while most golfers say too soft a shaft makes your swing lean right, some say it makes your swing lean left. Depending on the golfer, using an iron shaft that’s too soft will lead to spraying shots all over in both directions.  

Using an iron shaft that’s too soft for you will also affect the flight of your golf ball. Your golf ball will consistently fly much higher than you intended if you use an iron shaft that’s too soft for you. This is because of the extra amount of flex caused by using an iron shaft that’s too weak.


Symptoms of Using an Iron Shaft that’s Too Flexible

It can be summarized from the above sections that the amount of flex your golf club has can be badly affected by the weakness and the softness of your golf shaft. However, there’s another, more important thing to take into consideration; swing speed.

The amount of flex your club has depends on your swing speed. If you swing your club fast, most normal shafts will probably be a bit too flexible for you. Having a shaft with too much flex means your club face will be open which will make most of your shots lean to the right (assuming you’re right handed).

Here are some symptoms of having an iron shaft that’s too flexible:

  • Your shots are inconsistent. If your iron shaft is too flexible, you’ll hit your golf ball more left, right or down the middle then you intended to. This has the side effect of making you lose confidence on the tee because you’re not confident in the outcome of your shots.
  • You spray your golf balls everywhere. If your iron shaft is way too flexible, then your shots will likely spray to places on the course you never intended to get to. For example, you’ll constantly end up in sand traps.
  • You hook a lot of your shots. If you find yourself getting some nasty hooks on the course, it might be because your iron shaft has too much flex which causes you to overpower your club.
  • You hit moon balls. Having an iron shaft with too much flex will cause you to launch your golf balls much higher than you intended with a lot of spin. This will lead to a loss of distance.
  • You slice your shots. If your iron shaft has too much flex, your clubface will be open at the impact and you golf ball is going to either be sliced or pushed to the right.


Ernie loves documenting interesting facts about golf.

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