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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

Dynamic Gold AMT – Tour Issue – Golf Shaft Review

Dynamic Gold AMT Iron Shafts

By Russ Ryden and Mark Maness

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

DGAMT_Image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Mitsubishi KuroKage XM Driver Shaft Review

Mitsubishi KuroKage XM Driver

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

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

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

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

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

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

Project X HZDRUS Yellow Golf Shaft Review

Project X HZRDUS Yellow Driver Shaft

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HZRDUS FlightScope

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

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

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.