My primary focus is premium after market shafts, yet I am always asked about the stock shafts installed drivers. The Callaway HZRDUS looks very much like the $400+ shaft used on tour, it is not. The notations are ever more subtle The stock Callaway HZRDUS is labeled T800, the tour and aftermarket shaft is the HZRDUS T1100. I recently measured a pull out, let’s look at how they differ.
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 resin. 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 Tensei 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.
The 2016 Tensei 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 the 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 tip stiffness to the Diamana B profile. And it is the Boron tip that makes these special. If you try a Diamana B and find the tip feels a little loose, this is the cure.
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 is just slightly stiffer than the classic blue design, the hoop strength in this area is significantly increased. The result is a superior sense of what the shaft is doing during transition.
The Mitsubishi Tensei was designed as Diamana B with new materials. What came to be from the new materials is a tighter tip and butt on a classic profile. Feedback from our testers is very positive. So positive in fact that one ordered a spare should something ever happen to his gamer.
The Tour AD TP is new for the 2017 season. It is designed and manufactured at the Graphite Design Japan factory. As I measured the bend profile of the shaft I knew immediately this shaft is a winner, it is a refinement of the Graphite Design Tour AD DI.
Designed around new tooling, The Tour AD TP introduces a new technology called ‘Fast Taper Technology or FTT. The mandrel, the steel core the shaft is built on, has a faster taper rate from the mid to the tip of the shaft than other Graphite Design shafts.
The Tour AD TP uses a new pre-preg from TORAYCA ®, T1100G. This new material is comprised of both High Modulus and High Tensile strength fibers. The resin system is contains NANOALLOY® Technology for added strength and vibration dampening. Premium golf shaft have come a long way from the early days of graphite shafts.
This video is an excellent discussion of some of the technologies used in Graphite Design golf shafts.
Lets compare the bend profile of the new Tour AD TP with the Graphite Design Tour AD DI. What I see is the knee point of the bend profile has moved up the shaft and the bend profile is smoother going into the tip. This is going to create a propensity to launch and spin a bit less than the Tour AD DI. The difference in feel will be the solid thump that is typical of a high density shafts compared to the sharper crack of lower density pre-preg.
You will notices as you look at the bend profiles progressions below that they change very little as the shaft weights and stiffness change. That makes club fitting with these simply a matter of finding the correct weight and flex. The bend profile does not change through the 50 to 80 gram ranges. It changes only slightly on the 40 gram designs.
The radial consistency of the review samples was 99.2% with a 0.3% standard deviation. The shafts are round and suitable of insertion into rotating hosels. Alignment does not matter on a shaft that is round, the Graphite Design Tour AD TPs are round.
Lets here what Mark Maness, our shaft tester has to say about the Tour AD TP:
Here is a summary of the FlightScope data from our test:
The only difference of significance was the vertical launch. Looking at the bend profiles of these two shafts we see how the designers created launch. The TP loses more stiffness, getting significantly softer about 18 inches from the tip. Then it stabilizes, and loses very little stiffness toward the tip. The M9003 is stiffer through his region, but ends into a softer tip. I have always known Mark to work the head through impact. The softer tip of the M9003 gives him more responsiveness in this area. That is reflected in his sense that the AD TP is stiffer, or heavier as he called it.
And once again as we have mentioned many times, be careful of shaft recommendations made through others experience. There is no substitute for testing shafts with a knowledgeable fitter until you find your perfect fit.
How do you take the shaft making technology that involves wrapping spin woven steel wire around a graphite core and make a light weight shaft. The Aerotech SteelFiber is the most popular composite iron shaft on the PGA tour. But it is built by wrapping a layer of steel wire around the outside of the carbon fiber core. And we all know steel is not light.
Aerotech’s customers, club fitters needed something light. They were impressed with the SteelFiber, but needed something lighter. Especially those fitting in Florida. The designers at Aerotech knew how to spin weaver micro thin wire, why not do the same with carbon fiber. They took the SteelFiber manufacturing process and wrapped a layer of spin woven carbon fiber over a lighter weight core and created a line of shafts called Volant. The Aerotech Volant is available in 52 grams to 64 grams in 41″ parallel blanks. And much like the steel wrapped SteelFiber is has one of the highest hoop strengths in its weight class.
Lets take at look at the measurements.
Lets here what a Volant fitter has to say about this unique shaft:
“The Aerotech SteelFiber’s little brother, Volant, gives me tons of options to fit golfers with slower, smoother swing speeds. Although the Volant shafts also come in stiff flex (f4) they are better suited for slower and smoother swings. Volant’s two weights (55gr & 65gr) give plenty of options for those who benefit from ultra light weight shafts and super smooth feel.
The Volant is surprisingly sturdy for an ultralight. For juniors, women and seniors, the Volant lets me create light yet controllable clubs. I can give the slower swing speed golfer great feel and comfort throughout the round. In fact, I once built a set of clubs for a senior player which were just about 100 grams lighter than steel shafted clubs he was playing. Volant’s smooth feel and slick look pairs well with any clubs head.”
Jari Hakonen BirdieFinish Golf
Aerotech has a long history of providing shafts to club makers. The SteelFiber is a unique construction, a filament wound carbon fiber core is is wrapped with a braided steel wire surface layer. This process is explained in greater detail on the Aerotech website. This review is about the parallel SteelFiber iron shafts. The Aerotech SteelFiber constant weight taper shafts were previously reviewed.
Aerotech SteelFiber shafts have more PGA Tour wind than any other graphite iron shaft in history. Steel iron shafts continue to dominate tour play, but Aerotech has proven that carbon fiber composite shafts are competitive. As you look at the tip torque numbers of these shafts compared to steel in the same weight range you will not see any differences. Aerotech has proved that carbon fiber iron shafts are solid alternatives to steel. If you like the feel, profile and weight, you should have no doubt about the performance. Lets look at the profiles.
The Aerotech SteelFiber shafts have the lowest hoop deformation measurements as I have seen. The article about hoop strength in the technical section compares hoop strength of different shafts. The graphics there compare AeroTech SteelFibers to other shafts. If you believe as many do, that hoop deformation is a source of dispersion, you should test a SteelFiber iron shaft.
Aerotech has been making sports products since the early 90’s. They were the first company to produce an NHL approved graphite hockey stick. In 2005 the golf division split from the parent company and created Aerotech Golf. The AeroTech SteelFiber iron shaft found its way to the PGA tour over 10 years ago and a company known mostly to custom club builders was suddenly a major brand in the shaft business. To their everlasting credit, the designs have not changed much. A few more weights got added, but like other icon brands in the shaft business, Aerotech has left what works alone.
The AeroTech SteelFiber irons shafts are the most widely used carbon fiber shafts on the PGA tour. What many do not know is that the same design is available for drivers, fairways and hybrids. The driver shafts are available in three weights, 65, 75 and 85 grams. The profiles of all weights are much the same, increasing in stiffness with weight.
If you are playing Aerotech irons shafts and love the feel you should test its sole mate in your driver.