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.
If you have a passion for golf gear, check our youtube channel. Be sure to subscribe when you are there, we just crossed the threshold of 1000 subscribers and appreciate your show of support. Our team just returned from our annual pilgrimage to the PGA merchandise show where we get to talk to the top golf gear designers. You can see videos of those discussions there before they get embedded into product reviews here.
The Golf Shaft Technology section explains the terms used in the shaft reviews. What you see here is the tip of the iceberg of a knowledge base available now available to professional golf club fitters and builders.
Please contribute to this site, share your experience with a shaft in the comments. Ask your questions about the shafts to the community and the fitters that write here. And don’t forget to let Google know you recommend this site to others. Follow us on Facebook at DevotedGolfer.tv to be notified when new reviews are posted.
The Nippon Zelos line of light weight steel now includes an 80 gram model, the Zelos8. it has been exactly a year since I looked at the Zelos7. At that time I had not made the transition to looking at irons sets. I was looking only at 6 iron shafts. The graphic below shows the set images of the Zelos8 and the Zelos7. What we see is a moderate amount of “flighting” in the Zelos design. The longer irons have relatively softer, longer tip sections than the wedges.
The Zelos shafts were modeled after the Modus3 120. Long tip for first step. This creates a shaft with a soft mid zone in relation to the tip and butt. This design has been remarkably successful in the Modus3 120 which I am told has become the most popular shaft ever produced by Nippon.
The Zelos8 is another shaft born from the metallurgical expertise of NSK bearings. New alloys and annealing process create strengths in light weight steel shafts that have not existed in the past. Look at the hoop strength of the Zelos8 in comparison to the N.S. Pro 850.
It is designed to be a little higher launching as can be seen in the deflection graphic. Torque is exceptional in a light weigh shaft. That comes as no surprise in steel, but it takes superior prepreg and fabricaton to accomplish this in light weight carbon fiber.
The difference in the EI profiles of the 850 and the Zelos give us unique fitting options in this weight range. Most shaft companies offer a single iron profile in this weight range. Within the Nipon line the fully equipped fitter has two options, the lower launching 850 or the higher launching Zelos8.
If you find light weight iron shafts fit your strength and style be sure to test the Nippon Zelos family of iron shafts.
A new shaft, third in the Nippon Modus3 line released in the US in May 2015, it is available through Nippon Certified Dealers. I got my first look at two pullouts that were used at the PGA merchandise show two months ago. 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 look at the profiles of the three shafts in the Modus3 family.
As 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.
The shaft is marked as shown in this photo. It will carry the logo System3 Tour 125. Cut to standard length it plays 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.
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.
This profile fills in the Modus3 family, extending the range of fit and feel to someone that has grown up with Dynamic Golds. The profiles of the Modus3 125 shaft at the ends of the set, the 3 iron and the wedge, show a small amount of flighting within the set.
A set of Nippon shafts from the tour became available labeled Prototype ST. I Though these might be an earlier tour only version of the Tour125 until I put them on the scale. The Prototype ST’s are 106 gram shafts, the Modus3 was missing form the graphics, replaced by the word Prototype. This design in on tour only. There is not yet a plan to release these to the golfing public. I have been told it is in play by a number of players. Lighter weight iron shafts are gaining broader acceptance in the tour community.
I measured the set to get a look at flighting on the design. The profile of the ST is very close to the N.S.Pro 1050. The flexural signature shows It is a little softer in the butt and stiffer in the tip than the 1050’s, tilted in such a way to slightly lower launch. The set is slightly flighted. At this weigh range, these could become a very popular shaft. The N.S.Pro 1050 was one of my fitting favorites. I regard this weight range as a sweet spot for many golfers. We could be looking at an update to the Nippon line, bringing the Modus style graphic to a very successful design. It got my attention and I dusted off the 1050’s and started actively fitting with them again.
Graphite golf shafts are reported to have been first introduced to golf in 1973. In the early days of graphite golf shafts some of the expertise in the graphite business was in the fishing rod business. And a few of those companies entered the golf business. One of those was G. Loomis, still a prominent brand of fishing rods.
Jeffery Meyer began designing graphite shafts with Aldila in 1987. He went to work for Gary Loomis as Director of Engineering in 1992 and the Loomis shafts he designed quickly developed a following on the PGA Tour. The company was sold to Aldila in 1996 and Jeffery went to work for Acushnet as Director of Golf Shaft Development and was later given the responsibility of developing Titleist’s metal woods. The Loomis brand is now back in the hands of Meyer Performance Composites. Loomis shafts are back, and the brand has Jeffery and Robert Meyer at the helm. Robert, is a professional player and a former tour rep. This video is my first meeting with Jeff Meyer at the 2015 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando. The actual discussion went long beyond 30 minutes so I cut some of is out. I knew I had met a like minded individual as the discussion got very technical.
I did measurements of both the EPP 95 and the EPP Tour models. The shafts are made for Loomis by Mitsubishi. That got my attention. What really got my attention was the use of the Mitsubishi TiNi wire in the tip of the shafts. It was introduced many years ago in the light weight Bassara Griffin. It is now used in the KuroKage Silver and KuroKage Tour driver shafts. It is a highly elastic thread woven into the tip of the shaft. In designs with similar profiles, the TiNi wrapped versions have less loss of stiffness in the tip area resulting in lower launch and spin. This is the first I have seen it used in an iron shaft.
I created a process using my EI instrument that I call set certification. Every shaft in an iron set gets measured down its length in 2″ increments. The process identifies outliers, shafts that do not match the bend profiles of the rest of the set. Recent testing on graphite constant length taper sets have not been encouraging. What I have been seeing had me ready to go back to using parallel graphite shafts in iron sets. And if you knew me well you would understand just how much I abhor that idea. Knowing the Loomis shafts are made by Mitsibushi, and knowing how consistent the no longer available Fubuki AXi shaft was, I asked Jeff Meyer to send me one set of each of the EFP95’s to check. The following graphic are the set certification profiles. I LIKE what I see. If you are looking for premium graphite 95 gram iron shafts put the LOOMIS brand on your radar. These are consistent sets.
The graphics on the shaft are big and bold. If you do not like them in your face, you can simply install them label down. The back side in a pleasant solid silver completely neutral to the eye. I like it. There is no concern with orientation of these shafts, the radial consistency was 99.5% with a standard deviation of 0.1%. Summary, it does not get any better than that, these shafts are round.
My experience measuring countless sets of iron shafts has lead me to understand that you cannot compare iron shafts by simply looking at the 6 irons as many have traditionally done. Yes, the view of a single shaft in the set is a useful way to compare shafts, but irons sets are made with 8 different shafts. And they do not necessarily have the same bend properties throughout the set. “Flighted” was the descriptive term coined years ago with the Rifle brand. True Temper now coined a new word I like, “progressive launch”. And I am now revisiting the popular iron shafts in my database and adding measurements of the longest and shortest irons in the sets. As luck would have it, the Loomis 95 and the Tour models represent the two ends of this issue and illustrate why this is important.
The Loomis EPP 95 is a mildly progressive launch design. The wedge profile is ‘straighter’ than the 3 iron shaft. I discuss this at length in the article on Parallel Shafts. Not extremely so as some sets are, but you will get a higher launch in your long irons from the Loomis EPP 95. The mid 90 gram iron shaft is a weight range I find is a great fit for the average golfer. I am told the 125 version now in production will be much the same. The torque of both models is steel like. The 95’s are slightly low balance, the Tour’s slightly high balance.
That brings us to the Tour model. It is a radical design. All of the shafts in this set have identical bend profiles. They are discrete lengths, manufactured in discrete lengths. The weight descends in the set, with the weight ranging from 109 g wedge shaft to 118 g 3 iron shaft. Jeff Meyer had a set of the 90’s Loomis iron shafts sent to him and forwarded them to Golf Shaft Reviews for a comparison. The identical bend profile design is indeed the same as the the Loomis shaft of the 90’s. The bend profiles however are quite different. The 2015 Loomis Tour profiles is similar to what we currently see in composite irons shafts. The 1990’s design bears a resemblance to the KBS Tour V’s and the Nippon Modus3 130’s.
The idea is to create a set with a narrower butt frequency range that what is typical. I checked these with typical 3i, 6i and Pw heads at standard lengths and they do in fact exhibit that property. The butt frequency range is about half of what one would typically see. If you understand that stiffness and launch are interrelated, stiffer launching lower than softer on a good ball strike, you would then predict that the short end of the set in such a set would launch higher than a traditional build. And I am told that is indeed true.
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.
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.
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.
Here is feedback from my first sale, “Went away to Atlanta for a golf weekend with the new Thump shaft in my 3 wood. I was embarrassed hitting it consistently 250 yards in the fairway and 10 yards past my partners’ driver tee shots. Didn’t bother pulling out my driver the last 36 holes. Too bad it can’t help my putting!” Robert V.
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.
Radial quality of these shafts averaged 98.9% with a 0.6% 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.”
The ISAWA is slightly high balanced, the 70 gram version more than the 60 gram version. 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 review samples I measured showed the over flex of the different weight models to be the same regardless of weight. This is atypical. Most shafts get stiffer as weight increases. For example, the 60 04 would be stiffer than the 50 04. That is not the case with the Oban Isawa driver shafts. The 70 gram model have a slightly stiffer tip and higher balance than the 50 and 60 gram shafts.
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.
I first heard about the Rogue at the PGA Merchandise show in 2014. At that time is was a tour only shaft, made exclusively at Aldila’s California facility. Aldila has always had a huge presence on the PGA Tour. That presence became more visible when Jordan Spieth won the 2015 Masters with the Aldila Rogue in his bag. Lets start with a look at the numbers:
The Aldila Rogue is available in three models. Tour Silver, Silver and Black. The shafts are labeled with the terms 125 MSI, 110 MSI and 95 MSI. The term MSI refers to the tensile strength of the carbon fiber used in the shaft. The bigger the number, the higher the longitudinal strength of the fabric. MSI is the same as PSI, pounds per square inch, expressed in millions of pounds. This high density material in used in the butt region of the shaft. It adds some counterbalance to offset the heavier heads which are not common. It also adds stability to the butt section.
The Aldila Rogue Black and Silver are two distinct profiles. Much line the Aldila Tour Green and Aldila Tour Blue. The Rouge Black and Tour Blue and similar. The Rogue is ever so slightly stiffer than the Tour Blue despite being about 4 grams lighter. The same applies to the torque, it is ever so slightly lower. Not so low as to kill feel, but just enough to give a slight performance improvement at a lower weight.
The two Rogue Silver models have very similar profiles. The MSI110 Silver, (MAP $285) is a little softer in the butt and a little higher torque than the MSI125 Tour Silver ($799 if you can get one). The profile is similar to the Aldila Tour Green, but gram for gram, stiffer with lower torque. Tour feedback on these was higher launch with lower spin. The Tour Silver more in both over the Silver. Aldila has found the stability in the butt sections is lowering dispersion with tour players. When you look at the GJ graphics above you will see a flattening of the curve toward the butt section. As the density of the material used there increases, the torque profile flattens more. When looking at measurements only, this is a major difference over previous Aldila designs.
Speaking of previous Aldila designs, the profiles of the Rogue Silver and the Tour Green resemble the historically popular Aldila NV. If you liked this shaft, you will find the Rogue Silver is much the same. Experience is the best teacher in the shaft business and the Aldila NV was a great design. What we have in the Aldila Rogue Silver is a 4th generation of the NV. It is lighter and at the same time stronger, the profile is tilted toward a stiffer butt to tip ratio and the torque is slightly higher. Yes, you heard that right, the torque is slightly higher. Torque is a huge component of feel. It has long been a design guideline that lighter shafts needed more torque to transmit feel to the golfer. Over the years since the original Aldila NV, shaft companies have been fine tuning the torque/weight/stiffness combination to achieve feel and dispersion control. The Rogue Silver and Rogue Tour Silver are Aldila’s latest refinement on a design that has always been a winner.
Stay tuned, the tips are getting installed and we will be heading out for range testing soon.
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.
Lets 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.
Mitsubishi 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.
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.
These 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.
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.
The 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.
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.
As 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.
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.
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.
This 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.