Mitsubishi Grand Bassara Driver Shaft Review

Ultra Light Driver Shafts – Mitsubishi Grand Bassara

By Jim Achenbach

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The new ultra-light Grand Bassara metalwood shafts from Mitsubishi Rayon are aimed at amateurs looking for increased club speed along with a definitive shaft kick in the impact zone. The key word here is amateurs. Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Many prominent golf shafts are designed primarily for touring pros, then are lightened or softened or modified in one fashion or another for amateurs.

Sometimes this strategy works, sometimes it doesn’t. With the Grand Bassara, shaft giant Mitsubishi Rayon turned the tables. The project clearly began with the ordinary golfer and not the touring pro. This was to be everyman’s premium golf shaft.

As many of us have discovered, the best shafts for amateurs often are those that start life with more modest goals. If these shafts could talk, they might say things like this: “I always wanted to be recognized as a superlative R or S shaft, but I never took steroids and I never wanted to be confused with an X or XX guy.”

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There are two different Grand Bassara weight designations — 29 and 39 — but there are no X or XX flex shafts in the newest addition to the Bassara family. Shaft numbers are not always what they seem. The golfing public often associates these numbers with gram weights, but this can be misleading. True, the Lite flex version of the Grand Bassara 29 weighs 32 grams at its 46-inch raw length. Moreover, the Regular flex Grand Bassara 29 tips the scales at 35 grams. The 29 has no Stiff flex, providing a big clue as to which golfers are best-suited for the shaft. The 29 is designed for relatively slow, rhythmic swingers of the golf club. Trust me, they will feel the shaft working for them.

During informal testing at Willamette Valley Country Club, a much-admired family club in Canby, Ore., the strongest players waggled the driver and immediately said something like, “Too whippy for me.” On the other hand, players with more moderate swing speeds were highly complimentary after hitting balls. The typical comment: “I feel the shaft helping me, and I love that.”

In recent years, shafts intended for amateurs have proliferated in the lightweight shaft arena. These shafts have moved quickly from the sub-70 category (less than 70 grams) to the sub-60, sub-50 and now the sub-40 classification. Touring pros largely remain skeptical of lightweight shafts. They associate shaft stability with heavier weights. It is the senior golfers of the world, along with women, who have been most vocal in their desire for lighter weights.

A short time after watching Rocco Mediate lose a 19-hole playoff to Tiger Woods in the 2008 U.S. Open, I approached Mediate and asked if the rumor was true. Did he really switch to a sub-60 driver shaft? “No way,” he said. “I’m strong enough to handle a heavier shaft, and most of the drivers with lightweight shafts feel to me like they’re moving and twisting all over the place.” That being said, Mediate has stayed with driver shafts in the 70s. His PGA Tour Champions victory earlier this year came with a 70-gram Aldila Rogue 60 Black X flex driver shaft.

Woods, before his prolonged absence from the PGA Tour, switched from a 93-gram Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana Blue Board to a 78-gram Matrix Ozik TP7HDe. The Matrix shaft has a suggested retail price of $1,250. Why so expensive? It is a carbon fiber shaft featuring additional materials: boron, Zylon and GMAT fiber. Although the shaft is round, it has an internal 16-sided section (called HD) that extends all the way from the butt down to the top of the parallel tip. A lot has changed in the eight years since Woods outlasted Mediate, the Grand Bassara being a prime example. It is light yet stable, especially the 39. The first thing most golfers will feel is that the shaft — and its metalwood head — are easily controllable. This usually translates into no jerking or lurching during the swing.

The Grand Bassara 39 probably will appeal to more golfers than the 29. The overall weights are 43, 45 and 48 grams for the Lite, Regular and Stiff flexes. It is the Stiff 48-gram Grand Bassara 39 that should continue to generate considerable interest among skilled older players whose swing speeds have slowed down. One more observation about club speeds: The more erratic the swing, the more erratic the speeds. Thus it is advisable to determine driver swing speeds by focusing on the best swings and discarding the results from the worst swings. Swing speeds can easily vary, depending on the quality of the swing, as much as 5 or 6 miles per hour.

The great divider between the 29 and 39 is torque. Get ready for some eye-popping high numbers for the 29. Torque ratings for the Grand Bassara 29: Lite 11.8, Regular 10.8. Torque ratings for the Grand Bassara 39: Lite 4.9, Regular 4.8, Stiff 4.7.

it always intrigues me to read what shaft manufacturers say about their own shafts. For Mitsubishi’s Grand Bassara, the theme is “Pushing the limits of lightweight (shafts) without compromising performance.” Nothing new there, but the shafts do accentuate a higher trajectory with a mid-spin profile. All the Grand Bassara shafts are made in Japan with a new proprietary carbon fiber material invented by Mitsubishi engineers. It is called MR70. According to the company, MR70 provides a 20-percent gain in strength over other fibers and a 10-percent increase in elasticity. This helps explain why the shaft is costly — the suggested retail is $450.

Grand Bassara was first earmarked for the Asian market, but is being sold worldwide. “I want to say the shaft is designed for the more classic, more traditional person,” said Mitsubishi Rayon vice-president Mark Gunther, “but many golfers can benefit from lightweight clubs. With the benefits provided by MR70, this shaft will help a lot of players.” Two fascinating developments are associated with Mitsubishi’s Grand Bassara. One, the company is working on an X flex version of the Grand Bassara 39. It is expected to be very attractive to many LPGA players. Two, the Grand Bassara is being used in Japan for fitting junior golfers and allowing them to experience what a world-class shaft feels like. I remember how excited I felt when I first played the original Bassara 43 and then went down to the Bassara 33. These were revolutionary shafts and signaled the upcoming lightweight age of golf shafts.

Many golfers have been enthralled by Mitsubishi’s multiple shaft families — the legendary Diamana, as well as Bassara, Fubuki, Kuro Kage and others. One lesson I have learned from using lightweight driver shafts: Fitting a driver with a ultra-light shaft can be tricky, and many golfers like the feel of a slightly heavier shaft. Picking a driver can be a golfer’s most difficult — yet most important — decision.

Senior golfers are leading the lightweight driver campaign. “The vast majority of our sales are lightweight, Senior flex or Regular flex driver shafts,” said Gawain Robertson, a former player on the Canadian PGA Tour and co-owner of shaft manufacturer Accra. “The average customer for many top fitters is that 65-year-old guy who wants something good and want it fitted exactly for him. That’s why we’re about to come out with a J Spec shaft with a softer tip.”  This market is important enough that Mitsubishi is making all the Grand Bassara shafts in its high-end Japanese facility, where weights and frequencies must meet plus-or-minus tolerances of 1 gram or 1 CPM.

It is easy to understand why so many Asian players have gravitated to lighter shafts. “Just look at all the Asian golfers,” observed Allen Gobeski, a master fitter at Cool Clubs in Scottsdale, Ariz. “They tend to be so smooth. Their timing stays the same.” Looking at Mitsubishi Rayon, Gobeski was enthusiastic. “They are near the top of the food chain. it helps that they make their own (graphite) material.” On modern shafts in general, Gobeski remained straightforward: “There are so many good shafts out there, particularly lightweight shafts. It’s a good time to be a golfer.”

Graphite Design Tour AD SuperLite Driver Shaft Review

Graphite Design Tour AD SLII Driver Shaft

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

GD_TourAD_SLII_ImageGraphite Design added a light weight shaft to the popular Tour AD Line in 2014. This shaft, like many others in the light weight category, ranges from 50g to 60g, with stiffness corresponding to weight. In this weight range, we see higher torques, but not so high that I would be concerned about head stability. These shafts are designed for swing speeds in the 60 to 85 mile per hour range. The 60g SR flex extends to the 90 mph range. My swing speed in in the high 90’s with the occasional 102 showing up and I am playing an ultra premium 59g shaft. Light weight driver shafts, made out of high quality carbon fiber are the future of golf for many of us. That couple of grams I lost in my latest shaft change has given me a new range of control and feeling without any increase in dispersion. In fact, I am hitting more fairways than I ever have now that I changed to a sub 60g shaft.
GD_TourAD_SLII_EiTBGjFsHpTbRadial integrity of the Graphite Design Tour AD SLII is exceptional, the review samples averaged 98.5% with a 0.4% standard deviation. The hoop strength is high for this weight range, and distinctly different in the 4 vs 5 models. This measurement is new for my knowledge base.

This is a unique design, there is no close match in the database. The tip to butt ratio and the tip load and butt load deflection analysis shows it to be a high launch high spin design consistent with what Graphite Design is saying about the shaft. In the speed range it is designed for, that is what will optimize distance. Tip torque is tight. Butt torque is in the range that transmits adequate feel in light weight shafts. If your swing speed is below 90 mph and you are looking for a quality shaft this is one you should be testing.

Mitsubishi Bassara Phoenix UltraLite Driver Shaft

Mitsubishi Bassara P UltraLite Driver Shaft

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

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In 2013, Mitsubishi Rayon began the introduction of shafts that are available only from Authorized Mitsubishi ClubFitters. The UltraLight Bassara Phoenix released in 2014, is the third such shaft.. The color is dramatic, a burnt orange with a clear coat finish. The bend profile is a perfect match to the KuroKage Proto TINI, the first of the fitter only shafts. That profile is one of my favorites for a well trained swing. TINI stands for Titanium Nickel Wire. It was first use in the Ultralight Bassara “G” series shafts. It is now being added to many shafts. It is a high elastic material that can stretch and immediately regain its original shape. In addition to storing and releasing energy, it stabilizes the shaft tip.

TINI_illustrationTip stability results in tight dispersion. A consistent loss of stiffness makes this profile easy to load and many find it adds dramatic distance to their drives. The KuroKage Proto TINI is only available in 5 models ranging from 60S to 70XX. The Bassara Phoenix completes the range, starting with a  30 gram L flex and ascending to a 59 gram TS flex.

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The radial consistency is excellent, averaging 99.4% with a 0.3% standard deviation. If we look for similar designs in iron shafts, the KBS Tour is the closest bend profile design. Both have a consistent loss of stiffness from butt to tip, Near the tip, the stiffness increases to stablize the head during impact. With such designs, tipping will actually remove some of the tip stiffness. With the Bassara Phoenix, if you want more stiffness, get a heavier, stiffer shaft. Tipping is not recommended for this shaft. Alignment of the Phoenix is not necessary nor will it be beneficial. The radial consistency of the Phoenix makes it excellent for rotating hosels.
Bassaras_EiGjA comparison of the current Bassara UltraLight models shows the Phoenix and the Wyvern to be quite similar. The Phoenix profile indicates a little more launch. The Phoenix is modeled after the ilima profile. In fitting after fitting, I put more ilima’s into fairways metals than all other shafts combined. The 53TS Bassara Phoenix is a great shaft if you are looking to build an ultralight fairway.

True Temper Project X PXV 39 Golf Shaft Review

True Temper Project X PXV 39 Driver Shaft

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

TTPX PXv39 ImageI have seen fair number of driver shafts with labels implying light weights, but I have only seen one shaft that was labeled with a number that actually was the weight of the raw 46″ shaft. The True Temper Project X PXv 39 is correctly labeled. The raw shaft is 39 grams. It is like holding a feather in your hands. When I start measuring a shaft I usually start with the EI profiles. With the Project X PXv 39 I started with radial quality. Surely a shaft this light was likely to have a low number. The number was shocking, the review samples were close to perfect. If you are going to make a shaft with walls as thin as they are on the PXv 39, they need to be perfect. This is a 39 gram shaft that can be oriented in any direction in a rotating hosel. It is the light weight version of the Project X PXv family of shafts.

While the torque numbers at first glance look high, they are as low as I see in shafts of this weight. I would not be putting this shaft in the hands of an aggressive high speed ball striker. However, at 6.4 to 7.0 pounds of butt stiffness, these are not wimpy shafts.

TTPX EIGjTb PXv39The bend profile is not uncommon for shafts in this weight range. I have had a lot of success fitting a similar profile in this weight range. The quick decline in stiffness in the high mid area, combined with a long stable tip section results in the launch needed in this weight range with good dispersion control. I am seeing this design in a number of high performance golf shafts.

TTPX PXv39 TipI have heard shaft designers discuss the weight of paint on ultralight driver shafts. There is no elegant glossy overcoat on the Project X PXv 39, every possible aspect of weight control went into this design. It is available only through True Temper Performance Fitting Centers. One look at the wall thickness of the tip and you will quickly realize this shaft should be installed by a competent club builder. High modulus carbon fiber are making designs possible that could not be considered a few years ago. The Project X PXv 39 is one such design.

Miyazaki B.Asha Golf Shaft Review

MIYAZAKI B.ASHA GOLF SHAFTS

By Tony Curro
Tru-Fit Custom Clubfitters, Latham, NY

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Miyazaki released the B Asha Series of shafts in 2013 as an upgrade to the popular C.Kua line.  This line of shafts offers a lightweight shaft with incredible stability.  The 3R and 3S models come in a .350 tip.  The rest of the line has the traditional .335 tips.  The brown logo artwork which is a trademark of Miyazaki really stands out on the white background of this shaft.  The handsome graphics are original artwork painted specifically for the B Asha line of golf shafts.

MiyazakiFlexCodeMiyazaki Golf shafts are labeled according to an international flex code.  This code give a four digit number which explains the level of flex in each of the 4 regions of the shaft.  These regions are the Butt, Mid-Butt, Mid-Tip, and Tip.  Each of these regions are rated on a scale of 0-9 with 0 being the most flexible, and 9 being the stiffest.  A shaft code of 9842 would have an extremely stiff butt and Mid-butt region, and mid stiffness through the mid-tip region and a flexible tip.   These flex-codes help fitters match the bend profile of a shaft to a specific golfer type, or desired ball flight. The B.Asha Line of Miyazaki shafts varies in range from 46-48 grams in the 3 series, to 54 grams in the 4 series, 61 in the 5 series, and 75 in the 7S.  These are the lightest shafts that Miyazaki offers, and are ideal for Ladies and Seniors.  These lighter weights are ideal for golfers looking for a higher launch without sacrificing distance. In the B.Asha model, the torques of these lighter weight shafts were reduced from the C.Kua.

DevotedGolfer.tv editor Russ Ryden got to talk to Tim Gilles, Director of Sales for Miyazaki Golf Shafts at the 2013 PGA Merchandise show in Orlando. Part of that discussion covered the changes made to the Miyazaki B.Asha Golf shaft.

Looking at the bend profile of these shafts, they promote an active tip, especially in the 3R and 3S models.  Again, these are .350 tips, and do provide a stable tip section despite their super-lite weight characteristics.  The tip action promotes higher launch conditions without ballooning.  The 3 series maintain their flexible characteristics through the mid-tip, Mid-Butt and through the butt sections.  The international flex codes for the 3R (4222), and 3S (5433) models indeed give these shafts much more action in the tip and mid-tip sections.  In our range testing sessions, these shafts indeed launch the ball higher, but not at the expense of spin rates that were off the charts.  The higher launch coupled with lower spin rates from comparable shafts give these shafts a huge advantage in maximizing distance. We have found that the 3A and 3R shafts are ideal for Women and Senior’s who are slower swinging golfers looking to max out their distance.

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The 4 series promote a stiffer mid-butt and butt section, with an active Mid-tip and tip region.  The flex codes for the 4A thru X series are as follows:  A(3411), R(5621), S(6732), X(7854).  The 4 series varies in weight from 47g to 53g and is ideal for golfers looking for a lightweight shaft that really launches the ball.  In range testing, these lighter weight shafts proved beneficial to golfers who have smoother transitions to the ball.  The Lower to mid stiffness rating in the A and R models coupled with higher torque in the Butt section and tip give the golfer plenty of feel in this lightweight model.  In Range testing, the model proved true to form.  Golfers really benefited from the softer feel of these shafts, resulting in more consistency off the tee.  Golfers with higher swing speeds who were looking for higher launch conditions seemed to really benefit from the stiffer models.

The 5 and 7 series are meant for golfers who have higher swing speeds looking to maximize ball Speeds off the tee.  The Stiffest models 5X and 7X have flexion codes of 7785.  These shafts maintain stiffness through the mid-tip region allowing for an extremely stable shaft that enables a higher launch with lower spin.  Range testing has verified this and golfers tested felt that the stability these heavier/stiffer models allowed them to” lean on it”, without feeling they were losing the shaft at the top.  On average, the golfers tested gained 15+ yards in distance without sacrificing dispersion.  That is huge when explaining the difference in a stable aftermarket shaft.

Conclusion:

Miyazaki has hit a virtual home run with their newest line of shafts.  The handsome graphics and colors really stand out, without being over the top.  From a performance standpoint, they do as advertised,