In this test we look at a very classic and high quality graphite shaft, the Fujikura Vista Pro and a very modern hybrid Steelfiber shaft. This is a mixture of steel and graphite and combines the advantages of both materials. We have to admit that we still prefer to use the Fujikura Vista Pro. This is hard to beat from a price-performance point of view. For us it is one of the best graphite shafts for irons and therefore it is time to challenge it. The Steelfiber is suitable for a comparison because the weight and the flex are very similar.
The test setup
Our player had the task to hit a target at a distance of 135m with a 6 iron. The club head speed was 75.4mph with the Steelfiber and 74.4mph with the Fujikura. So we have to take into account a difference of 1mph. In addition, the hits with the Steelfiber were slightly better, which is expressed in the Smash factor of 1.34 vs. 1.33. So we would expect a difference in length here. The player swung both clubs relatively neutral with a constant, quite steep Angle of Attack of about 5.5°.
We have to admit that we would not have expected such big differences, but the data is clear:
Ball speed 100.7 vs. 98.8mph – this is to be expected since the Steelfiber was hit a little better and swung 1mph faster on average. So the Steelfiber has a higher ball speed of 2mph which has nothing to do with the shaft but with the club head speed and the hit pattern.
Launch Angle: 16.5 vs. 18.1° – here we would have expected a small difference, but with more than 1.5° it is higher than expected. It is also important to note that the Fujikura has 2mph less ball speed. The dynamic loft was identical for both. All the more amazing is the much higher launch angle with the Fujikura.
Backspin: 5378 vs. 5655rpm – the difference in spin is also obvious. The Fujikura already delivers 300rpm more spin with 2mph less ball speed.
Carry and total length: 127 vs. 124 and 135 vs. 133 – the Steelfiber goes 2m further in total. Because of the 2mph difference in ball speed we would expect a bigger difference here. More efficient is the Fujikura which is guaranteed not to be inferior in total length.
This test shows quite clearly that the steelfiber shaft also contains a lot of steel shaft. At least this is what you can see from the values. The take-off angle of the steelfiber is much flatter and the spin lower. When fitting you have to take care that the launch angle is not getting too flat – 16.5° is not too much for a 6 iron.
An argument that normally speaks for the Steelfiber shaft could only be confirmed to a limited extent in the test: precision. Our player was able to achieve slightly better hits but the scattering was very similar with both shafts. Only the hitting pattern is slightly different.
In our opinion, the steelfiber shaft is definitely justified and also offers important advantages. However, one must not overlook that there are many characteristics of a steel shaft integrated in it. It would be wrong to go to this shaft just because it promises certain advantages or is just “trendy”.