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

Project X HZRDUS Black Driver Shaft Review

Project X HZRDUS Black Driver Shaft

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

HZDRUS Black Image

The Project X brand is a flagship in the golf shaft business. The brand started as an unstepped steel shaft and has morphed into carbon fiber driver and hybrid shafts. This shaft, like the Project X loading zone that came before it is hand made in the US under tight quality control processes.

The product information from True Temper tells us the shaft has a firmer midsection than the Loading Zone model. And indeed it does,

HZDRUS Black Charts

This is a popular shaft stiffness profile with a firmer tip than other shafts with a similar design. The stiffness of the 60 gram butt section is slightly different than the 70 gram version as shown above. The overall stiffness of the two shafts is about the same in the flex designation of either weight. That is not typical, but it is not a bad thing, simply a design choice.

This is a unique version of the Project X driver shafts. It is not simply an updated graphic on an older design. It does truly have a stiffer midsection than the Project X Blue or Project X Black. I have been told it is doing well on tour and would expect so from this design.

You will not get any surprises from the HZRDUS black. The torque is typical for premium shafts in this weight and design. The firm mid will deliver the launch and spin you deliver with your angle of attack. The tip is rock solid, it will carry a heavier driver head and deliver it consistently.

Mitsubishi Tensi CK Pro Blue Golf Shaft Review

Mitsubishi Tensi 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 glue. 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 Tensi 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.

TanskCKBlueProImage

The 2016 Tensi 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 th 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 a little tip stiffness to the Diamana B profile.

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 does not change from the classic blue design, the hoop strength in this area is significantly increased. That should result in a little tighter dispersion for an aggressive swing.
MRCTensiProTXEiGjTbAs you can see in the chart, these are high balance point shafts, but not as high as the third generation Diamana B. We are seeing driver head weights come do a few grams and the shaft designers have moved the balance points accordingly. Radial consistency of the Tensi Pro averaged 99.3% with a 0.4% standard deviation. Great numbers for a shaft not made in Japan as are the other premium Mitsubishi shafts.

The Mistubishi Tensi is a Diamana B with new materials. We will have to take it to the range to get sense of what these new materials do for feel and dispersion.

Aldila 2KVX NV Golf Shaft Review

Aldila 2KVX NV Driver Shaft

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

2016NV2KXVImage

A new generation of carbon fibers, that boost the strength of the material used in the construction of golf shafts are boosting strength while reducing the weight. Applying these new material to classic designs is changing the game. Advances in head design are helping us hit the ball further, advances in shaft design are keeping those longer balls in the fairway. The Aldila 2KVX NV is the third iteration of a classic design. Who can forget the original lime green Aldila NV. Of course, it was introduce such a long time ago many younger golfers have never seen it. I looked in the 2016 GolfWorks catalog and it is still there. The official second generation design, the RIP NV was reviewed here, a few years ago. When you have a design that works, and new materials, the old designs get updated.

Aldila was one of the first shaft companies to use thinner layers of material in shaft design. It was called MLT, Micro Laminate Technology, and I believe the original NV was the first shaft to use it. We are now in an time when a lot of new high density, high strength materials are being used in golf shafts. The new fibers are thinner with the same strength. The prepreg, the sheets a shaft is made from, have more fiber and less resin. This denser material is redefining how a golf shaft can be made. A new dimension of what started as MLT is evolving. What we are seeing is torque numbers going slightly higher to restore a conventional feel to high density shafts. As you compare the torque numbers of the 2KVX NV to older designs and see larger torque numbers, do not be alarmed. It is happening everywhere high density materials are used.

AldilaNVOrangeEiGjTb

What impressed me most when I measured the 16 shafts sent for review samples was the radial consistency. The average stiff to soft stiffness consistency was 99.6% with a 0.2% standard deviation. Not one of the 16 shafts had more than 1.86 CPM difference hard to soft plane. This is new for production line shafts from Aldila. I normally don’t spend much time in reviews talking about this aspect of quality. But the club builders and fitters reading this should know, these shafts are ROUND. You can trust the one you ordered to be the same as the one you are fitting with. While I am on the subject of shaft quality, the profiles of both the NV Orange and the NV Green are consistent between the 65 and 75 gram versions. There is no difference as there had been in earlier designs. The profiles you see in this review are the same through out weight and flex. They move up and down on the charts based on weight and stiffness, but they do not change. And they are as consistent as I ever see. And that is saying a lot for a shaft that has a street price of $190.

When I looked at the profile of the Aldila Tour Green and Tour Blue I see the 2KVX NV profiles. The Tour Blue is much like the 2KVX Orange. A very steady loss of stiffness, exhibiting a soft mid section. The difference is torque. If you tried the Tour Blue and found it brittle, the NV Orange will take care of that.

Looking at the 2KVX NV Green, I see the classic return of the original NV. A stiffness bump, tip reinforcement, around 20 inches from the tip. The same profile is seen in the Tour Green, the difference, torque. AldilaNVGreenEiGjTb

These are high balance shafts designed for the heavier heads that dominate the market. The designs are classic Aldila. They loose stiffness toward the tip. If you want to tip trim this shaft to make it stiffer, you can do so. The quality and consistency of these are a new highwater mark for Aldila. For the golfers and fitters that are familiar with the NV, you are in for a treat with shafts of this quality at this price point.

KBS Tour FLT Iron Shafts Review

KBS Tour FLT Iron Shafts

By Russ Ryden

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

FLTHeroLeftKim Braly has been designing and making shafts for around 40 years. That’s a long time. In my opinion fitting is an experience based art form and is likely to remain so. That said, over 40 years one accumulates an impressive amount of experience.

The KBS Tour was the first shaft produced by Femco steel as the KBS brand. We have seen a lot of designs since its introduction, most of which are reviewed here. This year, KBS is introducing its first flighted design. My experience with ‘flighted’ shafts goes back to the Project X Flighted designs. That design was promoted as having the propensity to create the same ball flight height throughout the set. The short irons height apex being lower and the long iron height apex being higher than the conventional set of Project X shafts.

It was not until I measured the KBS Tour FLT shafts and compared them to the KBS Tour that I understood exactly how that is accomplished. In a shaft product line like KBS, the shaft bend profiles are the same for all shafts in the design family. As they get heavier, they get stiffer. And, as they get stiffer for any particular golfer, the launch angle tends to come down. This is what I love about the KBS mix of shafts. They are available in 5 gram increments, with flex designations of R, R+, S, S+ and X. If I want to change a clients launch angle I move the stiffness up or down 5 grams. Now before the professional fitters reading this jump on me, that can also be accomplished by hard stepping or soft stepping the set. Leaving the weight the same but altering the tip lengths.Tour120S FLTvsSTD

The fundamental concept is that stiffness changes launch angle. When we look at the standard set of KBS Tour shafts we see a difference in stiffness between the 3 iron shaft and the wedge shaft. When we look at the FLT set we see that difference is expanded. The 3 iron shaft is softer, the wedge shaft is stiffer.

How did that standard range of stiffness get established in the first place. In many of the interviews I have done with Kim Braly you hear him say the early work he did on tour with his dad, Dr. Joe Braly was research. They wrote the standard. Using a frequency instrument they evaluated the stiffness of the clubs used by tour players and developed a sense of what the range of stiffness difference was between clubs preferred by the best players of the time. The result of that research was the concept of frequency matched iron sets.

I am certain many of the golfers and club fitter / builders reading this have heard of frequency matching. In its day it was a practical tool for matching iron shaft stiffness when no other tools existed. It is still practiced by some club builders to this day. And there is a long history of misapplication of the concept. That misapplication occurs when shaft tips are dis-proportionally trimmed to hit butt frequency targets. In today’s world of golf shaft production control, constant weight taper sets inherently provide consistent club to club stiffness gradients.

To understand the stiffness gradient of any particular set of irons you must look at the stiffness of the shafts at the ends of the set. This assumes that the shafts within the set have consistent EI profiles. If they do not, no amount of frequency matching is going to fix that problem. It is likely to make it worse. Now with that bit of history behind us, lets look at the illustration above, showing the KBS Tour and the KBS Tour FLT 3 iron and wedge shafts. You will see the stiffness gradient is different. For the frequency practitioners reading this it means the slope, that 8.6 CPM per inch you work to changes.

KBSCTLSetLooking at these two designs is a lesson in finding the appropriate set of iron shafts for your swing. Do you want to bring your wedge flight down and your long iron flight up. If so, look for a set of shafts with a steeper stiffness gradient. If not, look into sets with smaller stiffness gradients. Compare this set profile shaft from the KBS CTaper Lite 110S to the charts above. You will see flatter profiles indicating a lower launch propensity design with a conventional stiffness gradient.

In this video Kim and I discuss set stiffness gradients. After a discussion of the KBS Tour 560 and 580 shafts we talk about the FLT design. He tells us this shaft is already getting tour play. When you push the flight apex of those longer irons out, not only is there likely to be some distance gain, but the ball will have a steeper angle of descent. What I refer to as drop and stop trajectory.

Lets take a look at the numbers in a way I have not presented the here before. This style of information is now incorporated into the latest version of the Fit2Score shaft knowledge base. The set charts shown above are also from that software. TourFLTEiTb

Radial consistency and shaft to shaft bend consistency within the sets I checked were excellent. Radial consistency was 99,7% with a 0.2% standard deviation hard to soft side. Perfect! Don’t bother aligning these, they are round out of the bag. The tip to butt rations indicate a mid launch as is typical on the KBS Tour. Torque is typical for steel, low. Balance is conventional, the weight range works for the average to tour level player. The low ninety driver swing speed player is going to fit into the 110 or 115 gram R or R+ models.

Matrix SpeedRulz Driver Shaft Review

Matrix SpeedRulz Driver Shaft

By Russ Ryden & Jim Achenbach

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

SpeedRulz_A

For more than 20 years, the graphite golf shaft manufacturer known as Matrix has retained something of a cult following among touring professionals and highly skilled amateurs. Many ordinary golfers, though, know more about Matrix the movie than they do Matrix the golf shaft.
But that is changing, thanks in large part to the new Matrix SpeedRulz driver shaft and PGA Tour players Rickie Fowler and Fabian Gomez. In the last 10 months, Fowler has won three tournaments (Players Championship, Scottish Open, Deutsche Bank Championship) and Gomez two (FedEx St. Jude, Sony Open in Hawaii) — all with the SpeedRulz shaft.

To be honest, some of the consumer confusion came from the name of the shaftmaker, which originally was Apache but later was changed to Matrix. K.J. Choi created a buzz in 2004-2005 when he used bright orange Apache shafts on the PGA Tour. Choi later switched back to steel iron shafts, but the Apache/Matrix name was starting to slowly building a following in the graphite shaft universe. Most Tour players, including Choi, Fowler and Gomez, are not paid to use a particular shaft brand. It is simply a matter of individual preference.

Following Choi, the next big assist for Matrix came from TaylorMade, which designated the shaftmaker as one of its primary suppliers.

Now, 23 years after Apache was founded in 1993, Matrix sometimes is cited incorrectly as a new shaftmaker that came out of nowhere. Golf equipment historians know better.

The long-range goal of SpeedRulz is to appeal to amateur golfers of various abilities. To accomplish this goal, three variations of the shaft were devised by chief designer Daniel You. The SpeedRulz A-Type, with weights of 50, 60 and 70 grams, is aimed at golfers with somewhat slower swing speeds. Generally these players would exhibit a swing profile that appears smooth and balanced. B-Type is backweighted — or counter balanced — for a golfer who prefers a longer club or a heavier head. It is slightly firmer in the butt and mid sections and a little softer in the tip. Available in weights of 60, 70 and 80 grams. The low-spinning, low-launching C-Type, used by Fowler and Gomez, is firmer in the tip and slightly softer in the handle. The two weights are 60 and 70 grams. The hallmark of these shafts, according to Matrix president Chris Elson: “All three feel stable, but not boardy. Golfers can go after it without the shaft feeling loose or soft.” Each of the three is widely available for $275 at retail.

multimatchingMatrix has always focused on shaft technology. At Apache golf a unique shaft measuring instrument, the MultiMatch was created and sold to club fitters. It was long regarded as one of the best instruments available to the club making community for understand golf shafts. It was never that popular because of the cost, but those club fitters that own them still use them. It was revised a few years ago, but once again the expense is outside the budget of most club fitters.

Matrix is one of a very few golf shaft companies that make their own prepreg. That gives them the ability to create unique properties. They consistently produce round shafts, a property they call “Circumferential Flexural Integrity”, CFI. For me, consistency around the shaft is one of those go / no go properties. If a shaft is not round, no amount of ‘spining’, ‘puring’ or alignment is going to make it better. If it is round, none of these things matter. The SpeedRulz are round, the average hard to soft side difference was 99.5% with a 0.4% standard deviation. That’s as good as it gets.

The three designs, A, B and C are available in two color schemes, Black and Red. There is no difference between the two paint colors other than color. Here are the numbers and profiles

SpeedRulz_All_EiGjTb
As you can see in the profile graphics. the three profiles are similar, soft mid, stiffer butt and tip. Each design has a different tip, the A, going hard in the low mid area, the B gently increasing toward the tip and the C, again going harder into the tip and holding that stiffness through to the tip. Matrix tells us that their testing shows all these designs to be mid launch mid spin shafts. However, they are going to feel different. That is of course the essence of shaft fitting. How does the shaft feel when you swing it. How does your swing react to the feel of how a shaft loads. What feels great to you and likely to feel not so great to your buddies. There is no way to know this other than to test with a fitter that understands the shafts he is putting into your hands.

The design targets of the SpeedRulz are eloquently described in the video by Chris Elson, president of Matrix Golf Shafts.

Matrix is making its own Prepreg. In southern China, Matrix has built an entire manufacturing headquarters and campus from the ground up. The new facility allows Matrix to make not only shafts, but also prepreg. What is prepreg? It is the material — containing carbon fibers impregnated with resin — used to make graphite shafts. It is manufactured in sheet form and is molded, using a variety of patterns, into graphite shafts.

The new plant is the result of a strategic alliance between Matrix and Toray, the largest manufacturer of prepreg in the world. Matrix, according to Elson, is expecting to have access to unique fiber types for future graphite shafts.

a-mangsa

One of those new fiber structures, Mangsa, is wrapped into the SpeedRulz shaft. And I do mean wrapped, you can see by looking closely how a ‘flag’, a piece of pregreg, is wrapped around a shaft. The start and end are not perfectly terminated around the shaft. Compared to Matrix designs of the past, this section does what they say, it adds hoop strength. Hoop strength gives a shaft stability. It can be created with wall thickness, adding weight, or through bias or hoop oriented fiber. Hoop oriented fiber adds nothing to the linear strength of a shaft. Bias wrapping with an interwoven material add both hoop strength and linear strenght. Matrix has used their material knowledge and prepreg fabrication facility to control radial deformation without adding excessive weight to the SpeedRulz shafts by creating a proprietary material.

sp_tipAnother improvement in the SpeedRulz over previous Matrix designs in the use of high modulus, low resin material in the tip. Torsional stiffness starts at the tip of a golf shaft. Torque is cumulative. It starts a the tip. You cannot ‘fix’ torque further up in the shaft. If the tip twists, the torque measurements are going to reflect that no matter where you take them. The SpeedRulz are 0.5 to 1.0 degrees tighter than earlier designs. And to those of us that believe torque matters, that is a HUGE improvement.

The combination of these two Mangsa near the butt and high modulus prepreg in the tip deliver low torque without the associated boardy feel. Take one for a drive and discover what tour players are feeling, distance AND control.