Interested in golf shafts, this site 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 in 2015 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

Mitsubishi OT Iron Shaft Review

Mitsubishi OT Iron Shaft

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

MRCOTi Shaft

It is not often that we get to see truly new technology in the golf shaft business. The Mistubishi OTi series is something in my experience is truly new.

SheetWrappingLets start with the prepreg. Prepreg is typically the sheets of material, made of carbon fiber threads and resin, that are wrapped around a mandrel. The ‘sandwich’ is then wrapped with a retaining material, hung on a rack and baked. The cooked shaft is then unwrapped, the mandrel is pulled out and the process continues through sanding, trimming and finishing. The only exception I know of is AeroTech’s filament winding process.

MRCOTi_BradingMitsubishi Rayon has given us a new technology, braiding. it starts with a new form of prepreg they call Tow. The carbon fibers are arranged in bundles, the way a steel cable is made. The bundles are impregnated with resin and then woven into a braid. That braid bundle is then woven onto the mandrel. Yes, woven, I check on that. No spine. And the highest hoop strength I have seen on a graphite shaft. And given that heavy graphite hoop strength is lower than steel, the absolute lowest hoop strength in the business. The torque of all the models is about the same, 2.5 at the butt, 2.0 at the tip. Not as low as the same weight steel, but in the same range as other premium graphite iron shafts.

MRCOTi_EiHpTb

Radial consistency is off the charts, average 99.9% with a 0.1% standard deviation. I never thought I would see those kind of numbers. Shaft manufacturing technology is improving and new standards are being written. You can absolutely disregard shaft alignment with the Mitsubishi OT iron shaft. They are as round as I can measure round. If you are familiar with past Mitsubishi iron profiles, you will know these shafts. The Fubuki AXi family, one of my long time favorites no longer available is very close to this design. A Blue board like profile, a bit soft in the middle by design.

MRCOTi_FlightingThese are parallel design. I virtually trimmed the review profiles and found the design creates sets with very little flighting. This seems to be a trend in some of the recent parallel graphite shaft designs.

A benefit of carbon fiber parallel shafts is consistency within the set. Constant weigh shafts require multiple mandrels and multiple designs within the set to create consistency from shaft to shaft. They are essentially 8 different shafts and require both design and manufacturing integrity to deliver consistency within a set. This is not so with parallels. One mandrel, one manufacturing procedure. With reasonable attention to manufacturing processing it is easier to deliver consistent sets. Yes, there will be some weight loss and balance change as the shafts get shorter. But, one has to balance that against set consistency. And on that issue, from my recent observations, the jury is still out.

For those fitters and players that were familiar with the Fubuki AXi, the replacement has arrived. Go to the Mitsubishi OT expecting the same flighting. The review samples are getting tipped and heading to the range for feel testing.

Mitsubishi KuroKage XT Shaft Review

Mitsubishi KuroKage XT

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

KKXT_Image

The first version of this review was of a single shaft, others have arrived, prompting this update. There has been some buzz about the KuroKage XT. It quickly became popular on the PGA tour. Mitsubishi’s dealers have been snapping them up as soon as the shipments arrive.

TiNiThe KuroKage XT is another of the Mitsubishi shafts to incorporate highly elastic Titanium Nickel wire into the tip section of the shaft. The wire, shown here, is embedded into the prepreg and rolled into the tips section much like any other flag of prepreg would be.

In looking for a profile match, only Mitsubishi shafts were close. An interesting phenomena I never see. It hovers around the Diamana ‘ahina and the first generation Diamana white. The third generation Diamana White has moved on to a different design, which departs from the original profile. I see a variation on the ‘ahina. The flavor is there, the rough edges softened a bit, but if you were a fan of the original Diamana White Board or the second generation ‘ahina, you are going to like the KuroKage XT. The brittle hardness of the Diamana White and the ‘ahina have been softened by increasing the torque of the shafts. Yes, you heard that right, the overall GJ torque profile has been progressively increasing from the White to the ‘ahina and now to the KuroKage XT.

This video was shot at the 2015 PGA merchandise show. Meet Tsutomu Ibuki, the genius behind the Mitsubishi golf shafts. As we talk about this shaft late in the interview the feel of KuroKage XT design is discussed.

With the addition of the 60 gram shafts the consistency of the profiles in the model is confirmed.

KKXT_EiFsTb

The radial consistency averaged 99.5% with a 0.2% standard deviation. The most noticeable difference between the X and TX version was a change in butt stiffness and torque. There was not a lot of difference in weight, so one must assume the layup of the shaft was oriented toward torque. There is a lot of similiarity between the KuroKage XT TiNi and the KuroKage Silver TiNi. The difference being a tightening of tip stiffness. That tip stiffness can be seen in the above graphic.

KKXT_TorqueAs I mentioned earlier, the KuroKage XT looks like a Diamana White. Here it is compared to the first and second generation Diamana White designs. The bend profile signatures are almost identical. The torque profiles INCREASE. This can only be the result of tour feedback. This is an evolution of design. Elastic Titanium Nickel wire in the tip and higher density graphite fiber. Player feedback is about feel, and we know that one way to get feel into a shaft is to add a little torque. Not much, but just enough to get the approval of the tour pros the Mitsubishi team works with.

Nippon Modus3 Tour 125 Golf Shaft Review

Nippon Modus3 Tour 125 Iron Shaft

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

Modus3System3ShaftA new shaft, third in the Nippon Modus3 line will release in the US in May. I got a chance to look at two pullouts that were used at the PGA merchandise show. The profile was described to me as splitting the other two versions. The Modus3 profiles are unique. Nippon has put their substantial technical knowledge into the material and fabrication of these shafts. Here is a quick look that the profile of the two shafts that arrived last week compared to the other two Nippon Modus3 designs.

Modus3CompareEiHpTbAs I was told, the Modus3 125 sits between the other two designs. The radial quality of the samples were exceptional, 100%. Do not ever consider aligning these shafts, they are perfect.

When the shaft debuts in the US, it will me marked as shown in this photo. It will carry the logo System3 Tour 125. Cut to standard length it will play around 120 grams. Not your typical amateur weight these days. It sits on the high side of where I fit most golfers. It is tour quality stiff with a profile that looks much like a dynamic gold X, with a slightly stiffer tip. I am anticipating a propensity to launch low.

Modus3DeflectionComparsions A quick look at the deflection curves shows the differences between the S flex modes of these shafts. Using the values of the sections of the shafts, we load the shaft mathematically to chart how it bends under both tip and butt loads. Butt loading occurs early in the swing, tip loading later. We are going to have to get the 125 and the 130 to the range for some testing.

 

 

Modus3Prototype ShaftWithin a day of the Modus3 125 arriving, a box of Nippons became available labled Prototype. I Though these might be an earlier tour only version of the Tour125 until I put them on the scale. The protos were 106 gram shafts, the Modus3 was missing form the graphics, replaced by the word Prototype. This design in already available in Asia in a wider ranger of weights and flex. . I have been told only the 125 will be released in the US.

Modus3Proto106 EiHpTbI proceeded to measure the set for our asian readers and to get a look at flighting on the design. The profile of the ST is very close to the Tour125. The flexural signature shows It is a little softer in the butt and tip. The set is slightly flighted. However, with the subtle change in tip and butt profile, it is premature to surmise that the Tour125 will also be slightly flighted. We will have to wait for the full sets to arrive as we approach release.

This profile fills in the Modus3 family, extending the range of fit and feel to someone that has grown up with Dynamic Golds.

Mitsubishi Diamana Thump Fairway Review

Mitsubishi Diamana Thump Fairway

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


The Diamana Thump name has been used before in a line of iron shafts and in a hybrid shaft. The irons have been discontinued. The Diamana Thump Hybrid is still available, now a special order item. It is my all time favorite Hybrid shaft and has been in my bag for a very, very long time. When I saw the name thump applied to a fairway shaft I had high expectations, and the measurements of this shaft met them. Mitsubishi discontinued the Fubuki AX Fairway shaft in 2014. It occupied a unique niche, a fairway only shaft, 43″ long uncut, at $250 MSRP, with all the unique qualities of the premium Mitsubishi $400 driver shafts. The Diamana Thump Fairway once again fills this niche. At $250 it puts delivers premium quality at a more approachable price point.

As I worked my way through the measurement of this shaft I left torque for last. Everything looked very good, would the torque be low enough to compete with the premium Diamana’s I have been using in custom fitted fairways. The answer, yes. Tip zone torques of 2.3 in the 70 and 80 gram versions put it into that special class of shafts that can comfortably control the extra weight of a fairway and maintain club head alignment during a preimpact brush with the turf.

Fairway_Diamana_Thump_EiTb
Radial quality of the review samples was 99.6% with a 0.4% standard deviation. Translation: shafts don’t get any rounder, don’t bother with alignment and use this shaft without reservation in a rotating hosel fairway head. Look again at those torque numbers. This is a high launch design, something most of us want in our fairways. The typical shaft that delivers high launch is also high torque. If the stock shaft in your fairway has a tendency to create hooks when you lean on it, you should consider replacing it with the Diamana Thump Fairway. Replacing your stock fairway shaft with the Diamana Thump will create a club you can trust.Fairway_Diamana_MyFavorites

I have built countless numbers of custom fit fairway metals with the Diamama Red and the KuroKage Proto TiNi driver shafts. They launch high, with adequate spin to deliver drop and stop shots. The Diamama Thump Fairway, at about 60% of the price, has a very similar design. It is a bit stiffer in the butt section which for those with an abrupt transition is a good thing. The profile of these shaft from high mid to tip is hard to tell apart. And they all sit in the same torque range. The Thump Fairway and the KuroKage Tour Proto TiNi have much the same hoop strength.

Check back, the Club Conex UniFit tips are installed and the Mitsubishi Diamana Fairway Thumps will be range tested soon.

Matrix Driver Shaft Review – REIGH & TIE Fitting System

Matrix REIGH Driver Shaft &
Matrix White Tie, Red Tie, Black Tie Driver Fitting System

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

MatrixReign_Image

The Matrix REIGN shaft is distributed exclusively through Matrix authorized club fitters. It is an elegant looking shaft with a laser etched logo and serial number. It comes in four structures, MCG, MTX1, MTX2 and HDZ. The MGC is the light weight game improvement design, mid to high ball flight and spin for lower swing speeds. MTX1 is slightly counter weighted for heavier heads or longer builds, the flighting and spin are mid range. The MTX2 series is traditionally weighted, and has a stiffer mid and tip section. The HDZ is premium Matrix, employing Boron and Zylon materials for feel and launch control. It is a unique profile emerging in a number of brands. A rapid loss of stiffness high in the shaft with a long stiff tip. MatrixReign_EiGjTb

Across all the review samples measured the radial consistency averaged 99.5% with a 0.4% standard deviation. Matrix uses the term CFI, Circumferential Flexura Interity. These shafts certainly set the standard for being round and spineless. And were golf shafts are concerned, spineless is a good thing.

The review samples are a subset of the REIGN line. But they are part of a new approach to golf club shaft fitting. Matrix created a 38 shaft system for Matrix Shaft fitters. They provide the fitting shafts and a software package to guide the fitter through the process of using their products of optimize launch and spin. I discussed this system with Tom DeShill, Director of R&D at Matrix Shafts during the 2015 PGA Merchandise show.

MatrixFittingGridThis fitting system also uses the Matrix Black, Red and White Tie shafts review earlier. The fitter finds the best fit in the Matrix Ozik Red Tie, then based on the optimizations target, continues testing with the proper weight and flex selected from the different design profiles to move the launch and spin toward the target.

My kit arrived and is being fitted with Club Conex UniFit tips. It will head to the range for fitting and testing, stay tuned.

KBS HiRev 2.0 and 610 Wedge Shaft Review

KBS Wedge Shafts
HiRev 2.0  &  610

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

KBS Tour Wedges HiRev 2 Image

It is always a pleasure to spend time talking about shafts and fitting with Kim Braly. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a video is worth a thousand pictures. If you want to truly understand the two new wedge shafts from KBS watch the video embedded below. The short story is KBS has improved on the original Hi-Rev wedge shaft and introduced a new model.

The Hi-Rev 2.0 will replace the original KBS HiRev Wedge Shaft. The new design is a higher launching shaft that will create more spin. The illustration below shows the difference between the KBS HiRev and the KBS HiRev 2.0.  Butt to tip change in stiffness is higher in the new model. And additional loss of stiffness in the tip will create more launch and therefore more spin than the original HiRev design. If your club head speed does not generate enough spin, the HiRev 2.0 shaft will contribute to a higher launch wedge shot.

The 610 is modeled on last years Tour V design. A long stable butt section with a rapid loss of stiffness about 14″ from the tip. Tour testing has shown this design produces a lower, more penetrating ball flight. The softer tip will create enough spin to check the ball up without adding height to the shot with excessive spin. If you want to keep your wedge shots from getting blown around and you have the club head speed to spin the ball, you should test this design. The model name, 610, comes from the butt diameter. To create the design, butt diameter became a little larger as explained in the video.

KBS Tour Wedges HiRev2 EiDfTb

Like all KBS shafts I have measured, radial consistency is excellent. These shafts will not benefit from alignment. They are round to start with.

This interview was shot at the 2015 PGA Merchandise show. It is worth watching to listen to one of the most experienced club fitters of our time discuss club fitting.

Fujikura Pro Driver Golf Shaft Review

Fujikura Pro Driver Shaft

Kirk James & Mark Vallier, Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter
MK Golf Technologies,San Antonio, Texas

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

FujiProD_Image
The 2014 Fujikura Pro driver shaft has an interesting look. Like the iron shaft, it ts two color. On one side the upper color fills the label, on the other side, the lower color. Going beyond cosmetics, the Fujikura Pro and the Tour Spec versions are very different shafts. The Pro is a mid soft shaft. This term only has meaning in the relationship of the mid section of the shaft to the butt and tip. The stiffness of the tip relative to the mid section provides stability and lower than average spin, while the butt section has been designed to provide a smooth feel in a player’s hands. In our testing and fitting of these shafts, we have found Fujikura’s marketing literature to be fairly accurate. These Pro shafts provide the player mid launch, mid to low spin, and a great feel in the hands. The higher carbon fiber content of these shafts enhance both the stability and smooth feel provided by the bend profile. These shafts are an outstanding value at their price point for the player looking for a mid launching shaft.

I have included a screen shot from Flightscope showing three shots hit by a good player with a Ping G30 driver fitted with a Fuji Pro 63 Stiff shaft.

FujiProFlightscopeThe launch angle is somewhat lower than optimal (which was caused by the player’s negative angle of attack), however the spin rates for these shots are acceptable relative to the launch conditions which can be partially attributed to the low spin nature of these Fuji Pro shafts. A more neutral to slightly positive angle of attack would surely improve these launch and spin numbers.

 

FujiProDr_FStatRadial consistency of the review samples was 98.3% with a 1.0% standard deviation. It is a high balance design, higher than most. The tip to butt rations indicate a mid launch. The heavier, stiffer versions have a tip stiffened section in the 12″ to 18″ range. An advantage of the sectional bend testing done on the Fit2Score instrument used for these reviews is a microscopic perspective of the bending properties of the shaft. From the sectional analysis, we calculate the deflection of either butt loading or tip loading of the shaft. Our typical view is to apply a simulated 5 pound load. As we move forward with new tools which will give a fitter an understanding of an individuals loading pattern we are ready to model that on the shaft.

Fujikura Pro Tour Spec Driver Shaft

FujiProTSD_Image

The tour spec version of the Fujikura Pro is a new design born from research done in the Fujikura ENSO fitting and R&D system. Using an array of 240 frame per second cameras, shaft performance metrics such as kick speed and contribution to club loft, lie, and face alignment due to bending and twisting can be quantified and displayed. Fujikura has seen that many highly skilled golfers are best fit into shafts with relatively soft butts compared the the mid section. The 2014 Tour Spec Fujikura Pro is such a shaft. I have been waiting to see this after a discussion about the shaft I had last year with Alex Dee of Fujikura.

We find in our fitting practice that these Tour Spec shafts maintain similar launch characteristics to the Pro but provide slightly less spin. The bend profile is somewhat unusual for a shaft with the playing characteristics of these shafts. Our measurements show a slightly soft tip section in the bend profile, but these shafts do not play like a soft tip shaft in any respect. Our feedback from customers describe a very stable yet playable feeling in both the butt and tip areas of the shaft. As typical of all the Fujikura Tour Spec shafts, these Pro Tour Specs are an extremely tight feeling shaft with excellent dispersion results.

I have included another Flightscope screen shot of several shots hit by the same player with the same Ping G30 driver head but shafted with the Pro Tour Spec 73 X flex shaft.

FujiProTourSpecFlightscopeYou will notice the average spin with the Tour Spec shaft is slightly lower, but two of the shots were extremely low spin. The average launch angles with the two shafts were identical. The carry distance with the Tour Spec was significantly lower – most likely caused by the shaft being too heavy and stiff for this player and his clubhead speed. The Pro 63 Stiff was a much better fit for this individual, and I would expect the Pro Tour Spec 63 Stiff would perform even better, as the Pro 63 was about at the limits of its swing speed range.  Based upon our experience and looking at these results, a player would need clubhead speed consistently in the 112-116 mph range to make the Tour Spec 73 X perform optimally.

FujiProDrTS_SStatsThe average radial integrity was 98% with a 1.2% standard deviation. This is a shaft design we do not find a really close match to in our knowledge base with over 1000 driver shafts.

Again, we are extremely impressed with these Pro Tour Spec shafts, and feel that they are an outstanding value for someone looking for a low to mid launching shaft with low spin characteristics.

Diamana D+ & Diamana S+ Driver Shaft Review

Mitsubishi Diamana S+ & D+ Driver Shafts – 2015

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

Diamana Blue S+ Driver

915d2-driver
The stock shafts in the 2015 Titleist 915 drivers include the Diamana Red, White and Blue models. This year, unlike last year, they have the same appearance as the original Diamana shafts, a silver background with the Red, White or Blue Diamana logo. And, with the exception of a very slight increase in torque, they are identical to the legacy design.  We have received review samples of the Blue and a few of the Whites. The remainder of the Whites and the Reds will be added to this review when they arrive.

The Blue Diamana is perhaps the most copied driver shaft design I have ever seen. It is a good fit for golfers with a quick swing and a hard transition. The profile has a soft mid in relation to the tip and butt. The Diamana + models are available as options from most companies in 2015. Many, at no upcharge.

MRCDiamanaBlueS+_EiGjTb

The average radial consistency of the review samples was 99.4 with a 0.3% standard deviation. Such numbers were not seen a few years ago, especially in stock shafts. The lighter weight models have slightly softer tips, with the tip stiffness increasing in the heavier models. The 60 gram models are in the Titleist 915 Stock drivers and the 70 gram versions in the Titleist 915 Fairways. You can find these in most retail fitting carts. The Diamana feel is unique. A good way to describe it is to clap your hands flat against each other, then again with them cupped. The Diamana feel is the thump you get from the cupped hand clap. It is addicting, and you will know by the sweetness of that feel when you struck the center face.

Diamana White D+ Driver

MRCDiamanaWhiteD+

The 2015 Diamana D+ resembles the Diamana White board is more than just looks. With the exception of 0.4 degrees of higher torque it is hard to tell them apart. If you have ever played the original Diamana White or the second Generation ‘ahina you will know this shaft.  It defines low launch, low spin design. Unless you have a positive angle of attach, stay away from this shaft. If you do, it is made for you.

MRCDiamanaWhiteD+_EiGjTbThe full set of weights and stiffness samples have yet to be arrive, this is what I have for now, The average radial consistency of the 4 review samples was 99.6 with a 0.1% standard deviation. That is beyond outstanding for a shaft made primarily for stock golf clubs. Mitsubishi sets a quality standard that others must follow. Why should you expect anything less in a $500 driver from Titleist? Why would a manufacturer compromise the play ability of their products with off spec shafts? The 915 drivers from Titleist are delivered with outstanding shafts.

Oban ISAWA Golf Shaft Review

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

ObanISAWAImage

Oban ISAWA Driver Shaft

A box of the new Oban ISAWA shafts arrived and as I was preparing them for measurement I was wondering just where Oban would go with a new design. They already have 5 shafts in the premium Kiyoshi family covering a wide range of profiles . They have the the Devotion in the in the high mid price range and the Revenge in the lower mid price range. Just what was the ISAWA going to bring to the party. The first thing I noticed was the MSRP, $199. Putting it in the same price range as the Devotion and the Revenge. It is a different profile from all the other Oban shafts. I see the typical Oban shaft to have been soft mid in relation to butt and tip. In the Oban line of shafts there are many variations on both ends. The ISAWA is the first of the Oban family to be mid stiff as seen below.
ObanISAWA_TbGr

Radial quality of these shafts averaged 99.2% with a 0.7% standard deviation. Like most quality shafts being brought to market for use in rotating hosels, orientation of this shaft will not matter. One might say that this shaft is in conformance with the USGA rules of golf, Appendix II, Rule 2b, Bending and Twisting Properties of the shaft:
“At any point along its length, the shaft must: (i) bend in such a way that the deflection is the same regardless of how the shaft is rotated about its longitudinal axis; and (ii) twist the same amount in both directions.”

Shaft Pureing was approved by the USGA as a method of getting the non-uniform shafts of the day to play in conformance to this rule. When you see me rate a shaft at over 99% radial consistency, there is nothing to be gained in the playability of that shaft from any form of alignment. They are round to start with. The Oban ISAWA, at an MSRP of $199 is round. Consistently round on all the review samples tested.

The ISAWA is slightly high balanced, the 70 gram version more than the 60 gram version. I have not yet seen the 50 gram models. Torque is in the range of most shafts at this price point. A little higher than one would see in premium models, but certainly in the range of playable for most. Overall stiffness is inline with averages. The small number of review samples I measured showed the 04 flex of both the 60 and 70 gram models to be identical. The 70g model having a slightly stiffer tip and higher balance.

This profile is a classic low launch design. I do not do comparisons between brands here. But, I know this profile. It is new for Oban, but it is not new in the business. This is a great addition to the design matrix offered by Oban fitters.