While clubhead weight and grip weight can and do vary depending on the golfer's need for a higher swingweight (headweight) or a larger grip size (grip weight), neither the head nor the grip exist in nearly as wide a range of weights as does the shaft.
At the time of this writing, shafts can be bought that weigh as much as 130 grams (4.6 ounces) or as light as 40 grams (1.4 ounces). Thus, when a golfer switches from an average steel shaft to an average graphite shaft today, the drop in total weight will be in the area of at least 50 grams or more (1.75 ounces).
Swing speed is the most direct factor affecting shot distance. The lighter the total weight of the golf club, the higher the swing speed the golfer should be able to generate with the club. However, the swingweight of the club must be fit properly to the strength and tempo of the golfer or else any significant decrease in the total weight of the clubs will simply result in a higher percentage of off-center hits, which in turn will reduce distance.
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