The fourth generation Fubuki, the Fubuki J, released to Mitsubishi Golf Club Fitters in June of 2014. It is still in play, the unique pattern was hard to miss in the final round of the 2016 Open. The Fubuki J is an update of the second generation Fubuki, the Fubuki Alpha. I see the Fubuki family as two different profiles and discussed them in an earlier article. Here is a quick overview of the two profiles.
The original Fubuki Tour and the Fubuki K,introduced a few years later, are very much like the Diamana White and the second generation White, the ‘ahina. The third generation White, the Diamana ‘W” series is a different profile. The Fubuki Tour was discontinued in 2014. The Fubuki K is still in the product line. The second generation Fubuki Alpha and the fourth generation Fubuki J are also the same profile. They similar yet subtly different than the Diamana ‘ilima and the KuroKage Proto TINI. The differences make these unique designs that must be tested to find your best fit.
The Project X LZ, or loading zone shaft features a linear soft zone in the middle of the shaft which is visibly reinforced with bias wraps to maintain torsional stability. This 2014 composite driver shaft from True Temper, released under the Project X brand, is made in limited numbers in the USA facility in San Diego California. I am told only 60 or 70 can be made in any given day with current staffing.
This is an interesting option now being offered by a few companies. The general golfing public has access to the shafts that are made in the tour department for the tour players. Most graphite shafts are hand rolled. As such, the care taken by the person putting the shaft together is reflected in the quality and consistency of the finished shaft. Almost every company has some highly skilled wrappers that make their prototypes. And very often, when these people are not making protos, they are making the shafts that go to the professional tour vans. These shafts are not necessarily better than the shafts made in the volume production shops, but they are free of the shaft to shaft inconsistencies found in the factory produced product. And I have seen some inconsistencies that are hard to believe from the high volume, low cost foundries, but that is another story.
The concept of the Load Zone was to create a soft midsection in the shaft. Mid soft shafts are among the most popular shaft in my fitting experience. No shaft company likes to hear a section of their shafts being discussed as soft. If you make the tip stiff and the butt stiff, the mid is soft in relation to those other two zones. In the Project X Loading Zone shaft, the soft mid section is reinforced by a material called flex lock. That is graphite fiber oriented on an angle from the length of the shaft, commonly refereed to as bias or hoop plies. This stabilizes the torque in this zone. A full discussion of the design is shown in the videoed discussion I had with Don Brown, the True Temper graphite shaft product development manager.
This is an interview shot at the 2015 PGA merchandise show in Orlando. Don Brown is the Graphite Shaft Product Development Manger for True Temper Sports. The discussion of the Loading Zone Shafts gets technical. Many readers of this site tell me they do not understand some of the graphics and discussions in my reviews. What you see in this video is a discussion using the terms you see on this shaft review site. Enjoy!
Whenever someone asks me what is the best shaft, the answer is always the same, ‘the one that fits your swing.’ This one fits the swing change I am working on. The other shaft fit the swing I had. So I will leave you with this thought. There is a synergy between your gear and your swing. If your swing is grooved on a particular shaft loading pattern, that shaft may not best fit a swing change you are trying to make. In fact, it may impede you from being successful with a new motion pattern.
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.
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.
The latest model from Oban Composites is the Kyoshi Tour Limited. Released in 2014, this high modulus composite shaft features a tip section that is stiffer than all of the other Kyoshi models. Looking at the EI bend profile of this shaft, the shaft maintains it’s stiffness to about the 15 inch mark, then drastically softens and maintains that softness through the shaft to the butt section where it stiffens again around the 33 inch section. We used the 60 in 04 (stiff) flex. This shaft in the 60 and 70 stiffens in the butt section to produce higher launch conditions without increasing spin rates. We took the shaft to the range to test it out, and came back with some profound results.
The OBAN Kiyoshi Gold Driver shaft was introduced in 2014. It is the latest and perhaps the last we are told, of the Kiyoshi family of shafts from Oban composites. This high modulus composite shaft features a tip section that is softer than all of the other Kyoshi models. Looking at the EI bend profile of this shaft, the shaft maintains it’s softness throughout the shaft into the butt section when compared to the other Kyoshi models. We used the 65 in 04 (stiff) flex when testing. Although this shaft didn’t seem to be a perfect match for our tester, it did give us some interesting data to look at.