Golf Shaft Reviews is a comprehensive collection of golf shaft reviews. It contains both objective measurements and subjective opinions of fitters and club testers. The reviewers are full time golf club fitters, most rated by Golf Digest as the top 100 Clubfitters in the USA.

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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

Project X HZRDUS Red Driver Shaft Review

Project X HZRDUS Red Driver Shaft

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

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The Project X HZRDUS Red is the fourth driver shaft in the Hand Crafted family from True Temper.The profile is best described as a higher launch version of the Project X HZRDUS Black driver shaft. It goes ever so slightly softer in the mid and significantly softer in the tip.

I had a chance to test is against the black and yellow of exactly the same weight and flex with a low single digit handicap player and was surprised by the results. Once again reaffirming that golf club fitting is an art and that it is rarely if ever possible to find a fit with a formula. And as Kim Braly said recently, when you think you know how a shaft will play, the next person that comes along will be exactly the opposite. Before I discuss my recent testing, lets look at the numbers.

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Oban CT Golf Iron Shaft Review

Oban CT Iron Shaft Review

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

Oban in a partnership with Shimada and is introducing a set of iron shafts through their dealers called the CT-115. It is unique in that their are 12 shafts ranging from 36 inches in half inch increments to 41 1/2 inches. The club builder selects a group of shafts to build a set. Using the shorter shafts, the set is stiffer. With a group selected from the longer end of the matrix, the set will be stiffer. All of the shafts are .355 tips and all were remarkably consistent in weight as you can see in the chart below. The word remarkable meant 115.3 grams plus – minus .3 grams. To put that in perspective, a typical set of constant weight irons usually has a bit less than a 2 gram range. Adding to that attention to quality, the radial consistency was 99.9% with a 0.1% standard deviation. That’s impressive, aligning these is truly useless. 

The technical discussion and measurements are available only to registered readers

This set of iron shafts is designed for a golf fitter that wants to deliver precisely tuned stiffness to their clients. In the past, that was done by tip trimming parallel shafts. The Oban CT-115 has all the advantages of parallel shaft designs with none of the disadvantaged. Advantage one, the set will be constant weight not descending. Advantage two, the stiffness steps between clubs is precisely done by the factory and not left to the club makers frequency instrument. Advantage three, the set stiffness range is on the high side unlike parallel sets which tend to be on the low end.

The jury is out because they are so new we don’t have any testing yet, but the measurement indicate a favorable verdict.

 

Mitsubishi Grand Bassara Driver Shaft Review

Ultra Light Driver Shafts – Mitsubishi Grand Bassara

By Jim Achenbach

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The new ultra-light Grand Bassara metalwood shafts from Mitsubishi Rayon are aimed at amateurs looking for increased club speed along with a definitive shaft kick in the impact zone. The key word here is amateurs. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Many prominent golf shafts are designed primarily for touring pros, then are lightened or softened or modified in one fashion or another for amateurs.

Sometimes this strategy works, sometimes it doesn’t. With the Grand Bassara, shaft giant Mitsubishi Rayon turned the tables. The project clearly began with the ordinary golfer and not the touring pro. This was to be everyman’s premium golf shaft.

As many of us have discovered, the best shafts for amateurs often are those that start life with more modest goals. If these shafts could talk, they might say things like this: “I always wanted to be recognized as a superlative R or S shaft, but I never took steroids and I never wanted to be confused with an X or XX guy.”

The technical discussion and measurements are available only to registered readers

During informal testing at Willamette Valley Country Club, a much-admired family club in Canby, Ore., the strongest players waggled the driver and immediately said something like, “Too whippy for me.” On the other hand, players with more moderate swing speeds were highly complimentary after hitting balls. The typical comment: “I feel the shaft helping me, and I love that.”

In recent years, shafts intended for amateurs have proliferated in the lightweight shaft arena. These shafts have moved quickly from the sub-70 category (less than 70 grams) to the sub-60, sub-50 and now the sub-40 classification. Touring pros largely remain skeptical of lightweight shafts. They associate shaft stability with heavier weights. It is the senior golfers of the world, along with women, who have been most vocal in their desire for lighter weights.

A short time after watching Rocco Mediate lose a 19-hole playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open, I approached Mediate and asked if the rumor was true. Did he really switch to a sub-60 driver shaft? “No way,” he said. “I’m strong enough to handle a heavier shaft, and most of the drivers with lightweight shafts feel to me like they’re moving and twisting all over the place.” That being said, Mediate has stayed with driver shafts in the 70s. His PGA Tour Champions victory earlier this year came with a 70-gram Aldila Rogue 60 Black X flex driver shaft.

Woods, before his prolonged absence from the PGA Tour, switched from a 93-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board to a 78-gram Matrix Ozik TP7HDe. The Matrix shaft has a suggested retail price of $1,250. Why so expensive? It is a carbon fiber shaft featuring additional materials: boron, Zylon and GMAT fiber. Although the shaft is round, it has an internal 16-sided section (called HD) that extends all the way from the butt down to the top of the parallel tip. A lot has changed in the eight years since Woods outlasted Mediate, the Grand Bassara being a prime example. It is light yet stable, especially the 39. The first thing most golfers will feel is that the shaft — and its metalwood head — are easily controllable. This usually translates into no jerking or lurching during the swing.

The Grand Bassara 39 probably will appeal to more golfers than the 29. The overall weights are 43, 45 and 48 grams for the Lite, Regular and Stiff flexes. It is the Stiff 48-gram Grand Bassara 39 that should continue to generate considerable interest among skilled older players whose swing speeds have slowed down. One more observation about club speeds: The more erratic the swing, the more erratic the speeds. Thus it is advisable to determine driver swing speeds by focusing on the best swings and discarding the results from the worst swings. Swing speeds can easily vary, depending on the quality of the swing, as much as 5 or 6 miles per hour.

The great divider between the 29 and 39 is torque. Get ready for some eye-popping high numbers for the 29. Torque ratings for the Grand Bassara 29: Lite 11.8, Regular 10.8. Torque ratings for the Grand Bassara 39: Lite 4.9, Regular 4.8, Stiff 4.7.

it always intrigues me to read what shaft manufacturers say about their own shafts. For Mitsubishi’s Grand Bassara, the theme is “Pushing the limits of lightweight (shafts) without compromising performance.” Nothing new there, but the shafts do accentuate a higher trajectory with a mid-spin profile. All the Grand Bassara shafts are made in Japan with a new proprietary carbon fiber material invented by Mitsubishi engineers. It is called MR70. According to the company, MR70 provides a 20-percent gain in strength over other fibers and a 10-percent increase in elasticity. This helps explain why the shaft is costly — the suggested retail is $450.

Grand Bassara was first earmarked for the Asian market, but is being sold worldwide. “I want to say the shaft is designed for the more classic, more traditional person,” said Mitsubishi Rayon vice-president Mark Gunther, “but many golfers can benefit from lightweight clubs. With the benefits provided by MR70, this shaft will help a lot of players.” Two fascinating developments are associated with Mitsubishi’s Grand Bassara. One, the company is working on an X flex version of the Grand Bassara 39. It is expected to be very attractive to many LPGA players. Two, the Grand Bassara is being used in Japan for fitting junior golfers and allowing them to experience what a world-class shaft feels like. I remember how excited I felt when I first played the original Bassara 43 and then went down to the Bassara 33. These were revolutionary shafts and signaled the upcoming lightweight age of golf shafts.

Many golfers have been enthralled by Mitsubishi’s multiple shaft families — the legendary Diamana, as well as Bassara, Fubuki, Kuro Kage and others. One lesson I have learned from using lightweight driver shafts: Fitting a driver with a ultra-light shaft can be tricky, and many golfers like the feel of a slightly heavier shaft. Picking a driver can be a golfer’s most difficult — yet most important — decision.

Senior golfers are leading the lightweight driver campaign. “The vast majority of our sales are lightweight, Senior flex or Regular flex driver shafts,” said Gawain Robertson, a former player on the Canadian PGA Tour and co-owner of shaft manufacturer Accra. “The average customer for many top fitters is that 65-year-old guy who wants something good and want it fitted exactly for him. That’s why we’re about to come out with a J Spec shaft with a softer tip.”  This market is important enough that Mitsubishi is making all the Grand Bassara shafts in its high-end Japanese facility, where weights and frequencies must meet plus-or-minus tolerances of 1 gram or 1 CPM.

It is easy to understand why so many Asian players have gravitated to lighter shafts. “Just look at all the Asian golfers,” observed Allen Gobeski, a master fitter at Cool Clubs in Scottsdale, Ariz. “They tend to be so smooth. Their timing stays the same.” Looking at Mitsubishi Rayon, Gobeski was enthusiastic. “They are near the top of the food chain. it helps that they make their own (graphite) material.” On modern shafts in general, Gobeski remained straightforward: “There are so many good shafts out there, particularly lightweight shafts. It’s a good time to be a golfer.”

Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue Golf Shaft Review

Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro Blue Driver Shafts

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

It is no longer appropriate to use the word graphite to describe a golf shaft material. In fact, the term carbon fiber does not work either. Many of today’s golf shafts must be referred to a composites. They are blends of carbon fiber strands, carbon fiber weaves, metal wire, metal mesh, metal powder, kevlar, boron and resin. These exotic combinations are increasing strength at reduced weight. This creates a wider range of properties that can be created in the composite tapered tube we call a golf shaft. The Mitsubishi Tensei is a new blend of materials woven into a driver shaft.

Mitsubishi is vertically integrated. they make most all of the materials the go into a golf shaft including monomer, acrylic fiber, carbon fiber, resin and prepreg. Mitsubishi’s latest PR releases tell us what that means: 276 PGA Tour wins on the major tours since 2004, 80 more than the next closest competitor. $137 million in prize money in 2015, $40 million more than the closest competitor. If that does not get your attention, the feel of their shafts will. They use the name Thump on a few products. It is fitting. The high density material they use dampens vibration up the shaft. What gets to your hands is a thump, not a click. When you strike your driver center face, that thump is an exquisite feeling. You can sense the ball getting crushed.

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The 2016 Tensei CK Pro Blue is a multi-material design combining 11 different prepreg materials. The profile is very much like a Diamana B. As shown below, the difference between the 60, 70 and 80 gram versions of the TX profile is weight and torque. The stiffness and bend profiles are identical. This is different from Mitsubishi models in the past. Typically the weight and stiffness must be considered together, the heavier shafts are stiffer with the same flex designation.

The shafts covered in this review are the Boron tipped Pro version. They are not to be confused with the shafts that will be offered in OEM off the rack drivers. Those lack the boron tips and are available in a wider range of weights and flex. The Boron tip weave adds tip stiffness to the Diamana B profile. And it is the Boron tip that makes these special. If you try a Diamana B and find the tip feels a little loose, this is the cure.

A carbon fiber / Kevlar weave is used in the butt section of the shaft. It can be seen through the clear finish. While the bend profile of the shaft is just slightly stiffer than the classic blue design, the hoop strength in this area is significantly increased. The result is a superior sense of what the shaft is doing during transition.

The technical discussion, measurements and testing results are available only to registered readers

The Mistubishi Tensei was designed as Diamana B with new materials. What came to be from the new materials is a tighter tip and butt on a classic profile. Feedback from our testers is very positive. So positive in fact that one ordered a spare should something ever happen to his gamer.

Project X Iron Shaft Review

Rifle Project X Iron Shaft Review

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

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The Precision Rifle Project X has been with us for a very long time. It somehow got missed when I was in the early days of measuring the vast number of shafts in the market. I noticed its absence when I measured the Project X LZ model. It was originally made by Royal Precision Shaft Company in Connecticut. They were acquired by TrueTemper and the production was moved to Tennessee.  You will see many of the best players in the world playing this shaft. Compared to a Dynamic Gold X100, it is slightly softer in the butt and stiffer in the Mid. Unlike the TrueTemper Dynamic Gold, the  Project X profile is the same for all weight/stiffness variations. The heavier the shaft the stiffer it gets. The profile remains the same for all flex designations.

Lets look at the profile:

The measurements are available only to registered readers

My friend and mentor, Dave Tutelman posted this comment in another discussion of the shaft stiffness range metric. I cannot express my thoughts about this new metric any better than he did. “A big advantage of “measuring” shaft stiffness by plotting the EI curve is that you can do mathematical operations like this. You chose a simple one, with simple arithmetic. But it isn’t that hard to use a butt-biased weighting function that will predict frequency, or a tip-biased weighting function to predict trajectory height. The combination of a known EI profile and spreadsheet capabilities means it’s just arithmetic. As we understand shafts better, EI will not become obsolete; just the way we use and display it will.”