We have a good understanding of what the benefits are of using graphite shafts.
Lighter than steel, graphite shafts can help us generate more club head speed.
The technology used in constructing today’s shafts can also help provide more stability and tighter shot dispersions for any standard of player.
These virtues apply whether we are considering the shaft in our driver or in an increasing number of options for irons.
But what about putters?
Would you ever consider using a putter with a graphite shaft?
Surely we don’t need to be concerned about club head speed and stability in a putter shaft?
Club head speed certainly isn’t a concern but we’ll come back to the point about whether or not a graphite shafted putter could add more stability to your putting.
If we look at the professional game there have been some high-profile converts in recent years.
Bryson DeChambeau arguably set the trend and players such as Dustin Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Rickie Fowler, and Shane Lowry have all tinkered with graphite shafted putters.
For the ladies, Anna Nordqvist used a graphite-shafted putter to win the 2021 Women’s British Open.
So, do we copy the trend in the professional game?
To answer that we need to address a couple of questions:
- Would there be any benefits for amateurs to switch to a graphite shafted putter?
- What are the differences between a graphite shaft and a steel shaft in the putter?
Would there be any benefits for amateurs to switch to a graphite shafted putter?
We don’t always assess our putting game in the same way do our driving or iron play but the problems we can face are near identical.
Golfers can struggle with a lack of consistency in ball striking and pace control which can make their putting erratic.
The putter head can twist at impact if the ball is struck out the heel or the toe which can break down the putter’s Moment of Inertia (MOI).
This can also cause the ball to roll poorly off the putter face and stray offline quicker narrowing your chances of holing the putt.
The putter is arguably the most important club in our bag and if it is costing shots on a regular basis it may be time to try something new and a graphite shaft might just might be worth a shout.
There are some drawbacks which need to be considered which are:
- Where to find a demo to try
Where to find a demo to try
Many outlets might not have a demo graphite shafted putter to try which makes it difficult to assess how it might feel.
Trying a graphite shafted putter would certainly be useful before you make the financial commitment to purchase which leads to the second point.
A graphite shafted putter is not cheap with available models costing anywhere up to £500 ($630).
If you are not wanting to part with that much money you could have a graphite shaft fitted to your existing putter.
Check to see how the existing shaft attaches to the putter head to ensure a switch could be made in the first instance.
But if a switch can be made you have the advantage of keeping a putter head that fits well for your game and has a level of familiarity.
The same can be said for the putter grip, if you are using a model you are really happy with there is a good chance that can be saved and re-attached.
Looking at shaft options, there is a spread of prices to cater for every budget.
For starters, you may wish to consider Mitsubishi Chemical’s MMT Putter Concept shaft retails for £110 ($135).
KBS also has entered into the graphite shaft for putter market with shafts available for around £130 ($164).
Breakthrough Golf Technology offers a range of graphite shafts for putters that cover a broad spectrum of budgets ranging from £150 ($186) to £315 ($394).
Fujikura has also introduced a graphite shaft option which retails around the £200 ($250) mark.
With both Mitsubishi and Fujikura you have the expertise of two of the best in the business when it comes to the production of graphite shafts.
If you are looking for the shaft that Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson use you would be looking for the LA Golf P Series shafts which come in at £315 ($400).
What are the differences between a graphite shaft and a steel shaft in the putter?
The process for making graphite shafts for putters is no different from the process used for making graphite shafts for something like the driver.
The graphite shaft is made from different layers of sheets made from resin and carbon. These sheets are known as plies or flags.
In the putter shaft, making the tip end very stiff offers a key advantage that could help you improve your putting.
Let us explain.
We talked earlier about the idea that the putter head is still prone to twisting at impact if the strike is out of the heel or the toe of the putter.
The resultant loss of Moment of Inertia (MOI) the ball is unlikely to stay on the correct line increasing the chances of a missed putt.
By making the tip end of the graphite putter shaft stiffer than any other part of the shaft this can help reduce the twisting of the putter head.
The major benefit here is more consistent contact and the ball remaining on the target line longer.
Steel shafts still offer an advantage in their flexibility and their availability.
Steel shafts can be bent to fit into any type of putter head which means that most manufacturers will opt for steel by default.
Will graphite shafts be able to be bent in the same way as steel?
Given how graphite shafts are constructed it would be difficult but there are some interesting compromises out there.
Odyssey’s White Hot Versa range of putters can be offered with a shaft that contains both graphite and steel elements offering the best of both worlds.
Steel shafts in the main are simply what we are used to and we develop our feel around using steel-shafted putters.
Being comfortable with your putter can breed confidence and confidence can be a big factor in putting well.
To conclude, the reason why a graphite shaft could be a beneficial choice is that it can help create a more consistent, centred strike off the putter face.
The reduced twisting effect can also help you gain more consistency with pace control and keep the ball on your intended line longer which hopefully results in more putts holed.
The downside is the high costs and rarity of finding a graphite shafted putter you can trial before making a decision on whether to make a purchase or not.
If you are not keen on that option, you can opt to purchase a graphite shaft for your existing putter to be fitted.
Here at Golf Tech UK we stock a variety of graphite putter shafts from manufacturers such as Fujikura, KBS, Mitsubishi, and Breakthrough Golf Technology.
We also give you the option that if you order off our website you can send your putter to us and we’ll fit the shaft for you.
We can also save your existing grip if it is a favourite or put a new grip on for you.
There is a small charge for this option so please contact us beforehand and we’ll be happy to go through the process with you.