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Golf Digest 2013 Americas 100 Best ClubFittersRuss Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

Mitsubishi Fubuki J Golf Shaft

Mitsubishi Fubuki J Driver Shaft

By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

MRC_FubukiJ_Image
The fourth generation Fubuki, the Fubuki J, released to Mitsubishi Golf Club Fitters in June of 2014. It is still in play, the unique pattern was hard to miss in the final round of the 2016 Open. The Fubuki J is an update of the second generation Fubuki, the Fubuki Alpha. I see the Fubuki family as two different profiles and discussed them in an earlier article. Here is a quick overview of the two profiles.

MRC_Fubuki_TourvsK The original Fubuki Tour and the Fubuki K,introduced a few years later, are very much like the Diamana White and the second generation White, the ‘ahina. The third generation White, the Diamana ‘W” series is a different profile. The Fubuki Tour was discontinued in 2014. The Fubuki K is still in the product line.
MRC_Fubuki_AvsJThe second generation Fubuki Alpha and the fourth generation Fubuki J are also the same profile. They similar yet subtly different than the Diamana ‘ilima and the KuroKage Proto TINI. The differences make these unique designs that must be tested to find your best fit.

 

MRC_Fubuki_J_EiGjTbOn yet another shaft, the radial quality is close to perfect, the soft plane average is 99.5% of the hard plane with a standard deviation in my sample of 0.2%. Alignment of this shaft is meaningless. And on another design, we see a section near the tip that gets stiffer to closer we get to the tip. Tipping this shaft would be cutting away some of the stiffness designed into the shaft. The bend profiles of the entire model line, from 50 gram to 80 gram are the same. Stiffness is a function of weight. Every Fubuki J shaft has the same bend profile.

FubukiJ_tsubaThe Fubuki J is counter balanced, the balance point is close to 3 inches above center. Mitsubishi tells us this is similar to the handle weight of a sword as illustrated. This is done by adding tungsten powder to the prepreg used in the handle of the shaft. While we see some additional stiffness in the handle, this is by design. It is not caused by adding wall thickness to create a counter weighted shaft. Adding wall thickness to the butt is a common design in high balance shafts resulting in handles with damped feel. The handle section is also reinforced with a metal mesh sheet, controlling deformation (ovaling) without affecting bending.

FubukiJ_tipThe really interesting technology of the Fubuki J is the tip. I am again going to share with you in illustration from the Mitsubishi dealer publication. The tip is a combination of low torque zone close to the hosel with a softer section just above it to create a hinge. I am going to repeat myself, don’t think you are going to stiffen this shaft by tipping it. You will be cutting away some of the engineered design. Get a stiffer shaft.

The first time I hit this shaft the tip stability got my attention. I felt stability during impact I have never felt before in a golf shaft. I do not hit the center of the face as consistently as our regular shaft testers. The Fubjki J gaves me head stability on my toe and heal strikes. It knocked the Diamana B out of my bag. Now after two weeks and multiple rounds of golf, unlike many other first loves, it is still in the bag. There are many shafts that claim high launch, low spin. The Fubuki J in my hands actually delivered on the promise. Here is a quick look at my FlightScope summary comparing the 50 gram X flex Fubuki J and the same weight and flex Diamana B in a 10.5 Adams XTD ti driver head set to 11.5 degrees.

FlightScopeReport_FJvsDBWhy would someone with a 93 MPH club head speed be concerned with spin. Not shown in this table is my -3.5 degree angle of attack. That negative angle of attack delofts my head at impact and adds spin. The Fubuki J added loft and reduced spin. The ball is up and the spin is down, keeping me from ballooning drives into the Texas breeze. When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. I have been struggling with that negative angle of attack and have not yet found my personal motion get to correct it. Until I do, the Fubuki J is my gamer.

Aldila Rogue I/O Golf Shaft Review

Aldila Rogue 110 MSI I/O Driver Shafts

By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

Rogue_IO_ImageIOTipLogoThe Aldila Rogue I/O is an update the the Rogue Silver. The tip section of the shaft has a notation, RIP I/O. The tip section of the Rogue I/o is made with Aldila’s RIP technology. RIP (Reverse Interlaminar Placement) means some of the bias wraps are moved from the core of the shaft to the outer wall. Outer layers of material exert a greater influence on tube performance than inner layers. The bias (angular) wraps of material create torsional and hoop strength in a tube. Moving those layers to the exterior of the shaft generally means lower torque and higher hoop strength. In the Rogue I/O the torque and hoop strength of the original Rogue Silver shafts are matched in the Rogue Silver RIP in a 5 to 9 gram lighter shaft.

RogueIOvsRogue
This chart compares the 60 gram versions of the original Rogue Silver with the RIP version. This is a classical low launch design, with a significantly stiffer section in the Mid/Tip area. You can see the wrap applied in this area to stiffen the tip. In the RIP I/O version the upper mid area is a bit softer while the tip is a bit firmer. This design is appearing from many shaft companies. In my fitting experience, it is becoming my go to shaft when I see mid firm designs releasing early for some golfers. Release can be seen in the FlightScope acceleration graphic. When I do not see a release hump, the shaft is not releasing or is releasing above the horizon. I am finding this design drops the shaft release below horizontal where it is seen in the Radar window. The result is somewhere between 5 to 20 yards for many golfers.
RogueIOEiGjTbRadial quality is all the review samples averages 99.7% with a standard deviation of 0.3%. These shafts are round, install them as you please and rotate at will to adjust your driver. Expect a low launch with a firm tip feel. The Rogue RIP I/O was designed to be slightly lighter than the Rogue Silver. If you find the Rogue Silver to be a bit to firm and/or heavy but still want a low launch design, try the Rogue Silver RIP.

Dynamic Gold AMT – Tour Issue – Golf Shaft Review

Dynamic Gold AMT Iron Shafts

By Russ Ryden and Mark Maness

Russ is the owner of Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas
A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter 

DGAMT_Image

AMT stands for Ascending Mass Technology. It is not a new concept. Ping has had ascending weight shafts for many years. Nippon 999’s were ascending. Aerotech Players Spec were ascending. If you are not a club maker you probably have not been exposed to the concept. Briefly, there are primarily two kinds of shafts; constant weight tapers and parallel’s. Constant weight tapers are made to length in the factory and the shafts in the set are all the same weight even though they are different lengths. Parallels are made to one length in the factory. The club maker cuts them to the length needed for the club he is building. As they are cut shorter they weigh less. The shafts in a set are lighter in the short irons than in the long irons.  I wrote an article about this some years ago in the technical stuff section of this site; Constant Weight vs Parallel Iron Shafts.

Iron heads get heavier as the the numbers get higher. The 4 iron head is heavier than the 3 iron, the 5 iron is heavier than the 4 iron and so on down to the gap wedge. In sets made of parallel shafts, the shafts get lighter while the head gets heavier. In sets made from constant weight shafts, the shafts are the same weight while the heads get heavier. In ASCENDING WEIGHT sets, the shafts get heavier as the heads get heavier. This has always been an attraction the club builders that create MOI, Moment of Inertia, matched sets.

The term MOI is most often used when discussing heads. It is the force required to spin a golf head. The golf club rotates around its handle during the golf swing and it too has an MOI. It is typically measured at the butt end of the club. The club is fixed at a pivot point at the top center of the grip and swung like a pendulum while the rate of rotation is measured.

MOI matching is an alternative to Swing Weigh matching in the building of a set of irons. Ascending weigh shafts make building MOI matched sets easier. I have seen some Ping sets with ascending weight shafts come close to both a swing weight match AND an MOI match. That is the attraction of Ascending Weight shafts to the custom builder.

DGAMT_WeightsBecause this is such a unique set of iron shafts, this review is going to contain more information than I usually present. Lets start with a look at the weights of the uncut shafts in the sets. As you can see, they clearly get heavier as they get shorter. More so than any ascending weight set I have seen to date. That being the case I did full documentation on a set or irons built with the Tour Issue X100s.

DGAMT_X100Set
This is very detailed information from the Fit2Score building worksheet I use to prepare and document custom built sets. This set is 1/2 inch long built for a former PGA Tour player that has been accustomed to swing weights above 6 because of the extra length he uses. As you can see, the set has slightly ascending swing weights with nearly flat MOI values. I will go back into that P wedge and add some weight to align it with the rest of the set. On the initial build I wanted to see how the set built and played without modifying head weights.

Mark Maness, Director of Instruction, The Golf Center at the Highlands has been testing this set of irons built with the Tour Issue X100 AMT shafts. His comments: I have played KBS Tour shafts the last 3+ years and enjoy them.  Before that, flighted rifle 6.0’s and various Dynamic Gold flexes. Testing the Dynamic Gold AMT X100 was a new experience. I’ve never had a set of clubs that were MOI weighted and now I wish I had. Over the last several years, I’m now 55, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to hit long irons to my desired distances without doctoring the clubs or “cheating” to an iron hybrid like the Titleist TMB (with an AMT shaft). As I hit the  AMT’s in my 714 MB Titleist’s the short irons felt familiar, a bit like my current KBS Tours and my old Dynamic Gold X100’s. The mid irons were a little lighter, but not a major difference. When I got to the 5 and 4-irons things changed.  I felt at ease swinging them and getting easy distance.  Over the last few years I felt like I had to work my long irons for distance. That was not the case with the Dynamic Gold AMT’s.  I’m looking forward to playing with them and really coming around on the notion of MOI weighting iron sets.

Let’s take a closer look at the profiles of the Dynamic Golf Ascending Mass Technology shafts. Like all Dynamic shafts from True Temper, the profiles of the R, S and X sets are different. This is explained in detail in the article on the Dynamic Gold. The tip length effect on the profiles of the different flex’s is apparent in these charts.  The flex profiles within the sets are very consistent despite the weight changes within the sets. There is a very small weight change between the sets, but as with all True Temper Dynamic designs, the different flex’s represent different flighting patterns. The R being a high launch, S mid launch and X low launch.
DGAMT_Set_EICharts

Comparing the AMT X100 to the standard X100 I see a small amount of what we traditionally call ‘flighting’ in the set. The stiffness gradient is larger. The longer iron shafts are softer in the AMT set than the standard X100’s. Fitting experience has shown that softer flex’s tend to launch higher for a reasonably skilled golfer. I can make subtle launch changes by hard stepping or soft stepping a set of shafts. The AMT not only makes it easier to create a MOI matched set, they also add progressive launch in the long irons. This is all good stuff if you find your Dynamic Gold long irons a challenge to launch as you age.

This is a great step forward in iron shaft technology. Keep it coming, True Temper, the club building community has waited a long time for a set of iron shafts like this!

Mitsubishi KuroKage XM Driver Shaft Review

Mitsubishi KuroKage XM Driver

By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

KKXM_Image
Some shafts are simply too good to change. The Mitsubishi KuroKage Proto TiNi is one such shaft. The new KuroKage XM is the KuroKage Proto with new graphics and a wider range of weights. It is promoted as a mid launch – mid spin shaft. I view launch and spin as a propensity not an absolute. Your angle of attack, the club head loft,  where you strike and how the shaft, interacting with your loading and release, deliver the head are all part of the launch and spin equation. The XM, in the right hands, is not what I would define as mid launch / mid spin. But, shaft companies have to fill in those words for the golfing public.

The Mitsubishi website has always presented shaft EI graphics alongside their verbal descriptions. If you spend years looking at those charts and testing them on a wide range of golfers they being to have meaning. I view the difference between the KuroKage XM and the KuroKage XT as more feel related than launch. The XT has a stiffness bump low mid. That bump does contribute to a lower launch, but more important, gives a better sense of tip stability to a hard swinging late release golfer.

the KuroKage XM shaft has a Blue Diamana like profile, but it is stiffer in the midsection. It looses stiffness at a uniform rate down to about 12 inches where it then stiffens into the tip. The tip torque is consistent with the third generation Diamana’s. The shaft to shaft consistency and radial quality are typical of Japanese made Mitsubishi shafts, excellent. This shaft is made with high density material and has Titanium Nickel wire wrapped into the tip section. The TiNi wire creates tip stability that translates into tight dispersion. When you watch the number 1 player in the world hit fairway after fairway of the tee, look at the shaft he is playing.

KKXM_ChartsThis version of the KuroKage XM comes in more weights and stiffness than the original model. The 50 gram shafts are unique in the Mitsubishi model families. They have much the same stiffness as the 60 gram versions however they have softer torques. That brings an interesting fitting possibility to the table. A smooth early release often likes the feel of higher torque. We will be looking into using this variable to see if it can lessen the rotation of the head on players that are still twisting the shaft through impact.

The numbers below are from a fitting I did this morning. They are consistent with what those of us that have been fitting with the MRC dealer only KuroKage Proto TiNi have been seeing for years. There is not a lot that needs to be said for this shaft, it speaks for itself.
KKXM_FlightScope

Project X HZDRUS Yellow Golf Shaft Review

Project X HZRDUS Yellow Driver Shaft

By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas

HZDRUS Yellow Image
The Project X HZRDUS Yellow is the third driver shaft in the Hand Crafted family from True Temper. It has a notably soft midsection. This is much like the first in the series, the Project X Loading Zone reviewed earlier. The bend profile is much like the profiles of the 70 gram versions of the Project X Loading Zone model. The soft zones of those shafts moved with weight and flex. I have fit a number of players into the 50 and 60 gram versions of the Loading Zone. Therefore, another shaft with that design grabbed my attention.

I had a chance just recently to test it during a fitting with a single digit handicap player that showed up with a 6 year old driver and a 103 mph golf swing. Working with the Yellow HZRDUS and a TaylorMade M1 we added 2 mph to his swing speed, 3 mph to his ball speed, dropped his spin 800 rpm all of which added 17 yards to his drives. His playing buddies are in for a surprise.

I have seen some unusual designs over the years but none that impressed me like the Loading Zone and the Yellow HZRDUS. Upon first look I found that soft mid spooky. It found its way into my bag last year and my buddies were wondering where that length came from. Despite my initial concern with the ‘soft’ zone I had no trouble hitting fairways.

HZDRUS_Yellow Charts

 

The first thing to notice is that the stiffness is consistent between the 60 gram and the 70 gram versions of the shaft. Not all shafts are like this. Most 75 gram designs are going to be a notch stiffer than the lighter weight shafts of the same model. A 75S is typically stiffer than a 63S. This is not the case here. The difference is primarily hoop deformation. Even the torque values are much the same. Hard loaders will find the heavier shafts more stable as they will oval less. The smooth loading albeit fast swinger will benefit from less weight in the 63 gram versions of the HZRDUS Yellow without giving up stiffness or torque.

The following charts are in the Fit2Score shaft software for all shafts in the system. The EI profiles are converted mathematically to the classical deflection profiles club makers have been looking at for decades. This pair of charts compares the Yellow and Black HZRDUS Project X Hand Crafted driver shafts. I looked at it as I was trying to understand the low spin numbers coming off a shaft with a soft midsection. Understand this about this kind of shaft analysis, deflection is cumulative. The stiffer the shaft is at the area furthest from the load, the more it will exhibit overall stiffness.

As you digest that idea, look at the butt loaded charts on the right. While the Yellow HZRDUS is soft in the mid, it is by comparison stiff in the tip and butt. And that very stiff tip results in less shaft tip deformation when loading is occurring at the butt of the shaft.
HZDRUS Black vs Yellow DeflectionWhat does that mean? In limited testing to date, it means low ball spin in a design that I expected to see exactly the opposite. Take the Project X HZRDUS Yellow and its sole mate the Project X Loading Zone shafts for a test drive and see how they interact with your swing. And always remember, the best shaft is the one that fits YOU.

Lets take a look at a range test of the Black vs Yellow HZRDUS shafts. Our tester, a teacher / fitter at The Golf Center at the Highlands, Suti Siewsurut swing his driver around 118 mph. His driver angle of attack is negative. His numbers off the Black and Yellow illustrate just how important shaft fitting is:HZRDUS Report

For some browsers that report might be hard to read, so the highlight is that the Yellow mitigated his angle of attack, making it more positive, launched higher and spun slightly less. Hum, that is an interesting combination.

HZRDUS FlightScope

Suti’s comments, “My misses on the Black were more severe, it launched so low I felt I had to work my swing to help get the ball up. With the Yellow I had more control and less dispersion, my misses were not as far offline. It was easier for me to control the club face through impact.”

When I look at that big hinge in the EI profile, and then look at Suti’s dispersion I gained new respect for soft mid shaft design. If you have a problem with yellow, the Project X Loading Zone has a very similar bend profile in a color scheme that is not HZRDUS to your eyes. And always remember, the best shaft is the one that fits YOU.