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
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.
The 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.
Radial 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
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.
You 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.
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.