By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Graphite-shafted irons are still the minority on the PGA TOUR, with only a handful of players using something other than traditional steel. But over the course of the past few years, a number of players have switched to graphite-shafted irons and recorded PGA TOUR wins, including Matt Kuchar, Boo Weekley and Ken Duke.
Ernie Els became the latest to make the switch when he put UST Mamiya's Recoil Prototype 125-gram F5(X) in play last week at the Asian Tour's Venetian Macau Open and finished in a tie for third place.
The four-time major winner tested the shafts prior to the tournament and liked them so much that he put them straight in his irons. Els decided to keep the KBS Tour X shafts in his wedges.
Until Els' switch to Recoil, Jason Day was the most notable name to play the graphite shaft when he added a Recoil Prototype (125-gram) to his TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour 1-iron at the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
With 18 weight, flex and torque combinations, UST's Recoil was designed with denser graphite fibers to decrease the wall thickness. With 19 different, denser layers within the shaft, the company was able to create a design that, while lighter than most steel shafts, can be bumped all the way up to 125 grams for pros, like Els, that prefer a weightier version.
"One of the drawbacks about graphite shafts in the past have been — especially when you get into the heavier weights — has been trying to duplicate feel," Robb Schikner, UST Mamiya's vice president of sales and marketing, told PGATOUR.COM earlier in the year. "When you get into those heavy weights that are closer to what you see in steel, the shaft gets really stiff around the hoop direction and doesn't ovalize."