Mitsubishi Diamana Thump Fairway Review

Mitsubishi Diamana Thump Fairway

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


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.

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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.Fairway_Diamana_MyFavorites

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.

Mitsubishi OT Iron Shaft Review

Mitsubishi OT Iron Shaft

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

MRCOTi Shaft

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.

SheetWrappingLets 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.

MRCOTi_BradingMitsubishi 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.

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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.

MRCOTi_FlightingThese 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.

Mitsubishi KuroKage XT Shaft Review

Mitsubishi KuroKage XT

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

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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.

TiNiThe 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.

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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.

KKXT_TorqueAs 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.

Diamana D+ & Diamana S+ Driver Shaft Review

Mitsubishi Diamana S+ & D+ Driver Shafts – 2015

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

Diamana Blue S+ Driver

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The stock shafts in the 2015 Titleist 915 drivers include the Diamana Red, White and Blue models. This year, unlike last year, they have the same appearance as the original Diamana shafts, a silver background with the Red, White or Blue Diamana logo. And, with the exception of a very slight increase in torque, they are identical to the legacy design.  We have received review samples of the Blue and a few of the Whites. The remainder of the Whites and the Reds will be added to this review when they arrive.

The Blue Diamana is perhaps the most copied driver shaft design I have ever seen. It is a good fit for golfers with a quick swing and a hard transition. The profile has a soft mid in relation to the tip and butt. The Diamana + models are available as options from most companies in 2015. Many, at no upcharge.

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The average radial consistency of the review samples was 99.4 with a 0.3% standard deviation. Such numbers were not seen a few years ago, especially in stock shafts. The lighter weight models have slightly softer tips, with the tip stiffness increasing in the heavier models. The 60 gram models are in the Titleist 915 Stock drivers and the 70 gram versions in the Titleist 915 Fairways. You can find these in most retail fitting carts. The Diamana feel is unique. A good way to describe it is to clap your hands flat against each other, then again with them cupped. The Diamana feel is the thump you get from the cupped hand clap. It is addicting, and you will know by the sweetness of that feel when you struck the center face.

Diamana White D+ Driver

MRCDiamanaWhiteD+

The 2015 Diamana D+ resembles the Diamana White board is more than just looks. With the exception of 0.4 degrees of higher torque it is hard to tell them apart. If you have ever played the original Diamana White or the second Generation ‘ahina you will know this shaft.  It defines low launch, low spin design. Unless you have a positive angle of attach, stay away from this shaft. If you do, it is made for you.

MRCDiamanaWhiteD+_EiGjTbThe full set of weights and stiffness samples have yet to be arrive, this is what I have for now, The average radial consistency of the 4 review samples was 99.6 with a 0.1% standard deviation. That is beyond outstanding for a shaft made primarily for stock golf clubs. Mitsubishi sets a quality standard that others must follow. Why should you expect anything less in a $500 driver from Titleist? Why would a manufacturer compromise the play ability of their products with off spec shafts? The 915 drivers from Titleist are delivered with outstanding shafts.

Diamama Red Golf Shaft Review

Mitsubishi Diamana R – Third Generation

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

Diamana3Gen_R_Image

The last of the third Generation Mitsubshi Diamana driver shafts released in September 2014. The Diamana ilima, the second generation Diamana Red Board has long been my favorite fairway shafts. The expression, ‘if its not broken don’t fix it, applies the the third generation Diamana R. It changes very little over the second generation design. The butt stiffness is a little softer, allowing for a little more load at the start of the downswing. New material, high modulus 80 ton fiber is use in the hoop wraps in the shaft. In the butt, the hoop strength increases while the stiffness decreases. We are seeing more creative designs in carbon fiber golf shafts. Design is limited by the creativity of the shaft engineer and by the willingness of the golfing public to embrace these new products at ever increasing costs. At $400, the Diamana R, one of the greatest fairway shafts I know of, is beyond the typical $300 price of the off the rack fairway. You get what you pay for, and in this case, in the 70 and 80 gram models, you are paying for tip torque low enough to control the weight of a 3 wood head.

This is a high launch shaft. For those who hit their woods off the turf, where a downward angle of attack is all that is possible, a high launch shaft is a good thing. With a driver, and an upward angle of attack we would seek a lower launching design. But with a fairway, this is my design of choice.

MRC_DiamanaR_TbGr3gMDI

I checked 10 shafts, one of each weight and flex, the average radial consistency was 99.6% with a standard deviation of 0.2%. That is an example of the made in Japan tradition of excellence we have historically seen from Mitsubishi Rayon. This is the first shaft I know of to use 80 ton material. It is too stiff to be used in the linear and bias plies. It is used to create hoop strength. Because it is thin and has no open space like multi axis weaves it creates high hoop strength while leaving the shaft designer the space inside the multi layered wall to achieve the linear and torsional strengths he is seeking to achieve. All while creating a smooth lose of stiffness down the shaft and the unique Mitsubishi feel.

New to third generation Diamana R series are 50 gram shafts. The line between the ultra light driver shafts and light weight versions of standard shafts is getting blurry. The Diamana R series extends the profiles consistently into the 50 gram versions. Those with slower drive swing speeds that need launch and spin can get it without having to accept a high torque tip.

Now that the third generation Diamana release is complete, lets compare the three designs by looking at the 60 gram version of each shaft.

Diamana3Gen_60_RWBThese shafts are not as different as they once were. At least in the 60 gram versions. The Diamana B series was reviewed earlier as was the Diamana W. The profile of the Diamana W changes significantly in the 70 and 80 gram versions. But as you can see here, in the 60 gram version is it just a little higher launching than the Diamana W. The Diamana R is a different shaft. Softer handle, quicker loss of stiffness from mid to tip. All three shafts get stiffer as they approach the tip. If I want a stiffer shaft, I will always simply change to the next step on the stiffness progression, either getting the heavier of the stiffer model before I would consider tipping these shafts.