If you’re upset with your iron play, it might not be the club head’s fault. Don’t rush out and buy a new set without first investigating whether or not your shafts match your swing.
In many respects, your shafts will be more important than the club head you choose, so having the best golf shaft for irons is crucial.
What’s the best golf iron shaft for you?
This is where golf gets very technical and can turn people off from the game, but with a little knowledge, you’ll be able to find the best golf iron shaft in 2023 and can save money on having to buy a whole new set.
There are thousands of iron shafts out there, but we narrowed it down to the four best steel shafts and the top four best graphite iron shafts.
Best Golf Irons Shaft Products At A Glance
- Great for mid-low handicappers
- Offers high launch
- Improved shaft loading technology for more consistent distance
- Great for steel shaft players who want to switch to graphite
- Lighter than steel to add distance
- Firm tip section feels like a steel shaft
- Great for low-handicap players
- Creates a low and penetrating ball flight
- Used by many of the top brands in all of golf
Our Research Parameters
Golfspan is independent and not pressured by manufacturers to recommend products. We were not paid for the reviews in this article. These shafts were selected by our team, who have over 100 years of experience playing golf and thousands of hours reviewing products. We may earn an affiliate commission when you purchase something through our retail links.
Read Next: The Ultimate Guide To Golf Shafts
In-Depth Reviews of The Best Shafts For Irons
This section is broken up into two parts:
- Steel shafts
- Graphite shafts
Steel will generally benefit those with a driver swing speed of over 95 mph.
Best Steel Iron Shafts
1. Project X New LZ Steel – Best Overall Steel Shaft
|Weight||110g – 125g|
- Suited to a wide range of golfer
- Improved loading technology
- Optimize ball flight
- Used by many tour pros
- Not helpful with gaining higher launch
Project X shafts have been popular since the day they were introduced many years ago. They are best known for their versatility in being able to suit many different levels of golfers. This new release builds on their past success and is packed with more technology and research than any other version.
The ‘LZ’ stands for ‘loading zone,’ which refers to a new process that loads the shaft more efficiently on your downswing. Project X claims this adds 7% more energy to help provide lift and distance to all irons.
This statistic is hard to prove and realize with regular golfers, but this shaft definitely feels very active. It’s helpful on those days when you don’t feel quite as flexible as you usually do. They are a huge help on the first few holes while you’re just getting settled and on colder days.
2. Dynamic Gold True Temper Shaft – Best for Low-Handicappers
|Weight||127g – 130g|
- Lowers trajectory
- Reduces spin on longer clubs
- Prevents ballooning iron shots
- Allows for shot shaping in both directions
- Not great for high-handicappers
Getting a lower and controlled ball flight is what single-digit handicappers look for. This is because there’s less of a chance that wind will affect it, and they can produce enough spin to stop the ball on the green regardless of height.
The shaft plays a massive role in making this happen, and the best iron shaft for the job is the Dynamic Gold True Temper. This high kick point shaft prevents ballooning irons, so even while the ball loses speed, it still travels with purpose on the downside of your shot’s apex.
These shafts are also on the heavier side to accommodate faster swing speeds. They are variably weighted, meaning the longer irons are slightly lighter, and the shorter ones are a bit heavier. This allows skilled players to maintain the same swing tempo throughout their entire iron set.
3. Nippon NS Pro 950GH NEO Steel Iron Shaft – Best For Game-Improvement Irons
|Weight||94g – 104g|
- Versatile shaft for a wide range of handicaps
- Will benefit those with slower swing speeds
- Matches perfectly with game-improvement irons
- Mid-kick point benefits many different ball flights
- May create too high of a ball flight for some
You may recognize this name as it has been around for twenty years. This shaft has been very reliable and is made to suit mid-handicap golfers who play often but don’t take the game too seriously. It’s great for weekend warriors or those who just play with their work colleagues and who have slower swing speeds.
However, over the past twenty years, iron technology has advanced, and we’re seeing many more players switching to game-improvement irons that are known for creating higher launch angles. Having a high launching iron with a high launching shaft creates shots that are too high and out of control.
Nippon recognized this and made some changes to their signature shaft to accommodate the new iron heads of late. This mid-kick point shaft perfectly complements larger iron heads with a low center of gravity.
4. KBS Tour Iron Shafts – Best For Mid-Handicappers
|Weight||110g – 130g|
- Provides reliable shot-making abilities
- Many customizable options available
- Best known for accuracy and high MOI
- Used by pros for many years now
- Must be familiar with your swing to find the right version
Shafts don’t have to be a game-changer, and many golfers just want a reliable shaft that is made to optimize their chosen iron heads. This KBS shaft is used by hundreds of golf pros worldwide for that reason. If you’re not happy with the stock shafts that your irons came with but don’t want something that is too niche, KBS Tour is worth a look.
Don’t be fooled by the word ‘Pro’; these shafts come in many different options and aren’t made specifically for pros. The pros will have much different specs than you, but the technology and consistency are the same regardless of your chosen measurements.
Depending on your swing speed and preferred shot trajectory, you can choose a version that perfectly complements your game. These shafts are known for creating neutral ball flight, which may sound boring, but boring is what gets the job done.
Having control is the most important aspect of any iron, and you want a shaft that will not give you any surprises. A “boring” ball flight is great for hitting greens in regulation and keeping the ball out of any trouble that is lurking on every golf course.
Best Graphite Iron Shafts
1. Fujikura PRO Series 95i Graphite Iron Shafts – Best Overall Graphite Shaft
- Most accurate graphite shaft
- Reduces twisting at impact on all clubs
- Offers optimal launch angle
- Weighted heavier than typical graphite shafts
- Might be too heavy for some
This graphite shaft is a steel shaft in disguise. The special high-density composite core promotes steel shaft properties without the heavy weight that steel shafts typically have. They feel solid but not stiff; you can still feel the flex but are far from the “wet noodle” feeling that other graphite shafts portray.
These can be used by any golfer who has used steel shafts their whole life but are now ready to get a little extra help with their launch angle and distance. As we age, our distance is usually the first thing to be affected; if you notice this happening with your irons, then give these iron shafts a serious look.
They perform like steel shafts but have the weight of graphite, so you can add a few more mphs to every swing without making any changes to your swing or body. This is top-tier technology from one of the world’s most advanced golf shaft manufacturers.
2. Mitsubishi MMT Taper 105 Iron Shafts – Best For Switching From Steel Shafts
|Weight||105g – 113g|
|Material||Graphite Steel Blend|
- Improves accuracy in longer irons especially
- Benefits fast swingers
- Provides less spin
- Optimal kick point allows long irons to still hold greens
- Not meant for high-handicappers
Further blurring the line between graphite shafts and steel shafts are the Mitsubishi MMTs. They have developed a patent pending technology that blends graphite and a metal mesh in the lower half of the shaft for stability to produce more consistent accuracy.
This is great for players with above average swing speeds and mid-low handicappers. While these are great for distance, they specialize in accuracy. So if your swing already has the distance and you need to hit more greens in regulation, then have a look at these.
Many shafts are built with accuracy in mind, but what makes these special is their ability to still launch the ball high, even with longer irons. The kick point is strategically positioned to counteract the stiffer tip end.
There’s nothing sweeter than a towering 5-iron that lands softly on the green and trickles towards the cup with controlled spin and optimized trajectory.
3. UST Mamiya Recoil – Best For Distance
|Weight||48g – 67g|
- More flex adds yards to every irons
- Easy to load no matter your swing speed
- Available in difference flexes
- Very appealing appearance
- Get the right fit to avoid ballooning/high spinning shots
If distance is your goal, then no matter your handicap or swing speed, this shaft comes in many different flexes to accommodate all golfers. Switching to graphite from steel should always add yards, but UST Recoil shafts are probably your best bet if you want to maximize those yards.
This unique technology finely tunes the shaft’s walls to recoil and load with minimal effort. You really need to get the right flex on these because they can become a little too whippy if you don’t. Shafts that are too flexible will cause a wider dispersion in shot accuracy.
Even though looks have nothing to do with performance, they can affect your confidence. If you’re playing with professional-looking shafts, then you’ll feel more professional and sometimes that’s all it takes to go low. This ion plating finish is stunning and makes your irons look like sleek weapons of sheer distance and accuracy.
4. Mitsubishi Tensei AV Silver 70 – Most Versatile
|Weight||61g – 82g|
- Perfect for players who are in between steel and graphite
- Offers firm feel with added flex on longer irons
- Stiff tip promotes penetrating ball flight
- Great shaft for hybrids as well
- Doesn’t add a lot of distance
If you’re having trouble deciding on a graphite shaft, then one of the most versatile among the best graphite shafts for irons is this Mitsubishi offering. It’s a lightweight option for any skill level who wants to add distance and accuracy to their iron game.
Interwoven with thin aluminum, this graphite shaft has steel shaft properties but at graphite shaft weights. Its stiff tip end helps reduce twisting by raising the MOI of your iron heads. This also allows for more flex in the upper part of the shaft to add distance.
Extra flex high in the shaft is great for creating a higher ball flight too. You can use this shaft in your hybrids to gain a better trajectory and hit more greens from further away. This gives you maximum consistency throughout your entire iron and hybrid set.
This is the number one stat to get right when you’re looking for the best iron golf shafts. Matching the flex to your swing speed is paramount to getting the right kick at the point of impact.
Your swing creates a certain amount of bend in the shaft, referred to as ‘loading’. To load the shaft properly, you need to have a minimum number of mphs in your swing based on the flex frequency of the shaft.
Slower swing speeds need more flexibility to get the most bend they can which will help give them more distance. Higher swing speeds should not use the same shaft as low swing speeds because loading a shaft too much will cause it to oval, and then the club face is susceptible to twisting.
Conversely, if a slow swing speed tries to use a stiffer shaft in the hunt for more accuracy, they may sacrifice a lot of distance because the shaft will never fully load. This will result in a loss of distance but also a lower trajectory that will cause the ball to come off dead.
The length of your iron shafts will be determined by the length of your other clubs. Having a smooth transition from club to club is crucial to creating a consistent and repeatable swing.
If you use hybrids, ensure you get those shafts matched to your irons. While you don’t have to do your whole set, hybrids are closer to irons than woods and should be synced with your irons. Chances are you will be hitting your hybrids out of the rough or taking a small divot when in the fairway, so proper length is key.
Most iron shafts come stock length so getting them cut down is relatively easy. If you require longer iron shafts, you may have to special order them. While you might think it’s too much trouble to order longer shafts, just think of all the frustration, you’ll save by doing so over the next few years of having them.
Graphite vs. Steel
These days, this decision between graphite and steel is much harder to make. The technology of graphite shafts has come a long way, and they are no longer only reserved for seniors. Twenty years ago, the same thing happened with graphite shafts in drivers and woods.
Old-school players hesitated to make the switch, and many stuck with drivers with steel shafts for years. Nowadays, we never see a driver with a steel shaft because graphite simply performs better.
Graphite shafts are the way to go if you’re looking for more distance. They also offer more forgiveness. That means that even if you don’t have your best swing on any given day, a graphite shaft will load easier and still provide distance.
Steel shafts are primarily for players with higher swing speeds. They don’t need help with distance and choose steel solely for their accuracy properties. However, this may change in the coming years as companies are starting to blend graphite and various metal compositions into their shafts.
Read more: The Best Golf Irons Available
What Kind Of Shaft Is Best For Irons?
The best shaft for irons will be either the Project X New LZ Steel or the Fujikura PRO Series 95i Graphite Iron Shafts. Once you’ve decided between steel or graphite, either one of these will work great as they offer an advantage to a wide range of skill sets.
What Is The Most Popular Iron Shaft?
The most popular iron shaft is the Dynamic Gold True Temper Shaft. This can be found in many iron sets as the stock shaft option. Many Titleist irons come with this, so if Titleist trusts them, you know it’s good. They are great for mid-high handicappers who have a slightly above-average swing speed.
What Is The Stiffest Iron Shaft?
The best still iron shaft you can get is X-stiff. To get the best iron shafts, you need to match the flex with your swing speed. Those with driver swing speeds over 100 mph are the only candidates for this level of stiffness. It takes a lot of muscle to load X-stiff shafts and if you think hitting long irons is tough now, try hitting a 4-iron with an X-still iron shaft.
Are Expensive Shafts Worth It In Golf?
Yes, expensive shafts are worth it in golf because they have so much impact on your ball flight and distance. When iron heads are made, they are manufactured with the same specs for everyone. A company decides on a design and then makes them in the hopes they sell. With shafts, they are all made differently to suit the many millions of swings there are out there. I recommend spending more money on your shafts than your club heads, but I realize that’s not a popular opinion.
Shopping for best golf iron shafts isn’t the most glamorous part of golf as it seems very scientific. It’s also hard to compare as seeing the advantages with the naked eye is not as obvious as when we are testing drivers.
For this reason, the Project X New LZ Steel shafts are the best bet for anyone who needs an upgrade but doesn’t want to spend hours testing shafts on a launch monitor.
Despite it not being fun, having optimized iron shafts will help you immensely. If you’re willing to spend money on a driver that you will only hit fourteen times during a round, logically speaking, you should be prepared to do the same for the best golf club shafts.
Read Next: The Best Driver Shafts
Clint became the Head Teaching Professional at one of Toronto’s busiest golf academies and was featured on Canada’s National Golf TV program, “Score Golf Canada,” twice. He now tests and reviews golf equipment and gets to enjoy the game he loves whenever he wants while helping people lower their scores.