“There are two primary decision making factors for choosing between graphite and steel.
First is the major effect that shaft weight has on the total weight of the clubs. While there are steel shafts that weigh as little as 75-85 grams, the vast majority of steel shafts weigh in the area of 110 to 125 grams. And while there are some graphite shaft models as heavy as 125 grams, the whole reason graphite was developed as a shaft material was to reduce the weight of the shaft. o the vast majority of graphite shafts for irons weigh in the range from 85 grams down to 50 grams, with most being in the area of 75 grams.
Shaft weight is the #1 controller for the total weight of the clubs. Total weight is what you feel when you just lift the clubs and feel the combined weight of the head + shaft + grip. When you waggle and swing the clubs, then you start to feel more of the presence of the head weight, or rather the swingweight of the clubs. Both together are important in fitting to match to the golfer’s combination of physical strength + his swing tempo.
Typically the stronger the golfer and the more aggressive the tempo, the heavier you want the total weight and the swingweight. Strong golfer + average to smoother tempo means heavier total weight but not such a high swingweight. Average to weaker golfer physically + average tempo means not so heavy of a total weight and not so high of a swingweight. Weight fitting follows a logical path as you can see.
The other reason people opt for graphite shafts is if they have joint discomfort in the hands or wrists or shoulders. If the golfer finds that he is in more pain after playing with steel shafts, then going with graphite can help this just a little because graphite is a far better material for dissipating the vibrations from hitting shots and making divots.”