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Do you need a $1000 shaft?

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For $1000, a golfer can buy a lot of clubs — a driver, a few fairway woods and possibly even a few wedges. But unless that golfer went through a custom fitting, the $1000 worth of clubs he or she bought are likely going to fall short in distance, accuracy or both.

For golfers who want to leave absolutely nothing on the table, adjusting a driver’s loft or swapping stock shafts isn’t going to cut it. They need a club head and shaft to work together to give them the perfect launch and spin numbers, and they want it to feel perfect, too.

All that feel and performance comes at a price, however. For example, the aftermarket Matrix M3 “Black Tie” shaft that U.S. Open winner Justin Rose used in his TaylorMade R1 driver at Merion costs around $320. And get this — two other shafts used by golfers in the U.S. Open field made Rose’s shaft look cheap.

Aldila Rogue

Aldila Rogue

Aldila’s Rogue shaft is still in the testing phase, but John Oldenburg, vice president of engineering for Aldila, said that if it does come to retail it will cost around $1000.

The reason for its high price? Like most graphite shafts, it’s the materials. The Rogue uses what are called “pitch” fibers in its design, which are much stiffer than the graphite fibers used to make Aldila’s other shafts.

According to Oldenburg, the stiffest graphite fibers currently in play on the PGA Tour have a modulus of 65 million pounds per square inch, or 65 msi. The Rogue’s pitch fibers have almost double the modulus — 125 msi.

The stiffer materials allow Aldila to create a shaft that’s lighter and stronger than previous shafts, with very low torque. For Lee Westwood, who used the shaft in a Ping G25 driver at the U.S. Open, the Rogue created a lower-launching, lower-spinning ball flight that propelled him into a tie for 15th finish.

Click here to see what members are saying about the Aldila Rogue shaft in the forums.

Matrix Ozik TPHD

Matrix Ozik TPHD

Like U.S. Open winner Justin Rose, runner-up Jason Day also used a Matrix shaft in his driver and fairway wood. But Day’s Matrix Ozik TPHD shaft costs more than three as much as Rose’s 6M3  — about $1000.

Click here to see all the clubs and shafts used by Jason Day.

Like the Aldila Rogue shaft, the Ozik TPHD shafts are made with exotic materials and special constructions that offer increased strength and improved performance. Chris Nolan, executive vice president of global operations for Matrix, said one of the leading factors of the TPHD’s high price tag is a material called Zylon, which has been used to make bulletproof shirts and sells for about $2000 per pound.

“In layman’s terms, Zylon is like Kevlar on steriods,” Nolan said. “Kevlar is very tough and strong, but it doesn’t have a high modulus. Zylon has a high modulus.”

Ozik TPHD shafts also use several other special materials, such as boron and GMAT, which are arranged in a way that gives certain golfers like Day an opportunity to gain as much as 3 to 4 mph of ball speed, Nolan said.

Do you need a $1000 shaft?

Jason Day Merion

Even the experts, Oldenburg and Nolan, admit that most golfers probably don’t need a shaft that costs anywhere near $1000. So while the latest materials and manufacturing processes have allowed Aldila and Matrix to make shafts that are better than ever before, super high-priced shafts aren’t for everyone, even if cost wasn’t a factor.

As a general rule, golfers with more club head speed prefer lower torque shafts — and many tour players like Westwood like as little as possible. On the other hand, golfers with slower clubhead speeds usually need more torque. That’s why the most recent shafts from Aldila have what’s called progressive torques.

For example, Aldila’s RIPd NV shafts, which debuted in 2010, have 4.4 degrees of torque in the regular-flex models, but only 2.8 degrees of torque in the TX, or tour extra-stiff model.

Nolan has a different attitude toward torque, however. He said that Matrix is not that concerned with standard torque numbers — like shaft flex, torque tends to be measured in different ways by different manufacturers, which results in different readings. But what he said is important is the distribution of torque and stiffness throughout the entire length of the shaft, which creates stability and consistency.

As Nolan and Oldenburg both said, choosing a shaft really comes down to one thing.

“Do the numbers make sense?”

Chances are, golfers don’t need to spend $1000 for the answer to be “yes.”

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23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Gae922

    Jul 9, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Personally, I play only Tour shafts on my R1 Driver (Tour head also version 2 8,5° TD1xxxx), 3 wood RBZ stage 2 and on my rescue
    This is not the same world… the productivity and the control is better than stock shaft or market shaft… but the price is not the same between 600 € and 1200 €.. performance has a price !…
    But this is pure pleasure to play with this kind of equipment.

  2. Putt King

    Jun 22, 2013 at 8:53 am

    I’ve been building clubs for myself and friends for 20 years and have tried a lot of golf shafts in irons and woods. Some of the best performing ones have been the inexpensive ones and some of the worst have been expensive. Price was never really a good indicator of potential performance/success in trying a new shaft whether for woods or irons. As Nolan and Oldenburg state at the end of the article, it all comes down to the numbers – how does the shaft perform for YOU? So then how do you decide what shafts to even try? You can go by the specs – torgue, CPM, kickpoint/bendpoint, etc but those are sometimes more marketing than reality. I’ve had shafts that claim to be high launch (because that’s the current mantra) that don’t launch the ball high at all. It’s probably best to go to a club fitter that has interchangeable shafts and you can use the launch monitor for irons and woods to determine what’s best for you, and then take it out onto the driving range or golf course for final testing. Most people have different swings indoors vs the golf course.

    By the way, the best driver shaft I’ve tried in a long time is the TFC-189D Tour-S in my Ping G25 driver, 45″ length. I didn’t lose any distance or trajectory going to the Tour-S vs the Stiff shaft, and I’m hitting 12-14 fairways per round as a 6 handicap golfer (which is coming down because I’m hitting 3-4 more fairways per round now!).

    By the way, if anyone has any leftover Utility Master Series (UMS) heads, let me know! I built drivers and 4 woods with these heads years ago and they still perform great. My brother is a scratch golfer and still can’t find a better utility club for his bag. It’s not as long as a modern 3 wood, but for that 225 yard draw/fade/high/low shot, it’s awesome! I wish I still had mine…. I don’t even remember the off-brand shaft I put in these but they worked great too.

  3. Chris

    Jun 21, 2013 at 7:53 am

    Considering all the other expenses associated with gold, including $4+ golf balls and multi-thousand dollar annual memberships I frankly don’t see much difference between a $400 driver and a $1,400 one.

  4. Bob

    Jun 20, 2013 at 7:31 pm

    Ever heard of Honma? Their 5 star shafts come with an even steeper price point. Heck, an iron set with 4 star ARMRQ6 graphite shafts will set you back a cool $20k.

  5. BigG

    Jun 19, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Taylormade = the biggest swindlers in the golf biz

    • Lee

      Jun 20, 2013 at 7:20 am

      Taylormade is like the Ian Poulter of Manufactures. They may be pretty good, but they give you so many reasons to hate them.

    • Gae922

      Jul 9, 2013 at 4:44 pm

      BigG… be fair with Taylormade

      Taylormade is the biggest marketing company in Golf… I will certainly advise to them to be more transparent with the market, the consumers and players in their Golf market approach…
      The product made for the Tour are not the product branding Taylormade on the golf market… end of discussion… even if they are both design by the same company Taylormade… It means that Taylor has the know how to produce equipment for Tour pro.
      Despite this fact, the Taylormade products are the best for the mass market… 45 to 6 hcp… If you want performance you need to use aftermarket heads and shaft or even better use the graal some Tour equipements… as Tour head from Taylor (see R1 driver version 2) + Tour shaft… etc … difficult or expensive to find this kind of Tour Golf equipments…. My entire golf bag is 10 000 € of equipments.. This is my pleasure… I know that hand crafting tour irons heads cost 60 000 € even for the tour players… quality and pure performance has a price.

  6. SSgt. Bear

    Jun 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm

    Jason Day has three $1000 Matrix TP7HD shafts and elects to have them with Taylormade TP graphics. Is that part of the Taylormade endorsement contract? Do the contracted staffers all have to be “sheeple” and follow the herd?

    • Scott

      Jun 19, 2013 at 4:39 pm

      All taylormade players have the stock graphics on aftermarket shafts.

      • Gae922

        Jul 9, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        You are right Scoot but also you are wrong… The Tour shafts for the professional have the stock graphics not on aftermarket shafts but on special Tour shafts dedicated for the Tour players.
        These are better than the regular aftermarket shafts (selection in carbon, quality process, tests of the final product…etc This explain the price of each Tour shaft – 600 to 1200 €/$)
        This is where is the scam of club & shaft manufacturers … they want us to believe that the champions have the level of performance with their mainstream public products… This is completely wrong…
        This is also right for the head of the club… Tour heads are different… see
        For that reason, I advise good players (-5 to 4 Hcp) to obtain and play Tour products… no compromise o)))

        THIS IS PRODUCT MARKETING FOR THE CONSUMERS… WE NEED TO EDUCATE IN THE RIGHT WAY THE PLAYERS.. AND CONSUMERS

  7. Socorr4

    Jun 19, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Just like watches that cost in the hundred thousand range, Áldila will find some buyers among those people who always want the most expensive item on the market. But seriously, does the watch tell time better or even as well as any cheap quartz model? What on earth can be gained from a shaft that costs a thousand bucks? Most pros play with driver shafts that cost less than a quarter of that.

    • bradford

      Aug 27, 2014 at 9:11 am

      But it’s ITALIAN leather…..

      Sure, that’s much lower quality than mexican or honduran leather—but we can charge more–because it’s ITALIAN leather.

      Will it last? Hell no, and it’s thinner and less comfortable BUT!, It’s ITALIAN leather.

      Fact is some idiot will always pay the money for this stuff, and even bigger idiots will believe that it does something. Fair to compare touring pros to us? Do you make millions? If so, feel free to spend it on what is in fact only expensive because someone’s willing to pay for it. You know as well as everyone else that there is perfectly comparable equipment for reasonable prices.

  8. Mike

    Jun 19, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    i think everyone should be required to fashion their own equipment out of materials only found in their backyard. a limit of 3 clubs per bag, and while i’m on the topic…no bags allowed. oh and make the holes 1/2″ smaller.

  9. Dave C.

    Jun 19, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Nobody needs a $1000 shaft. PT Barnum once said, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

    How true!

  10. Soul

    Jun 19, 2013 at 11:29 am

    Waiting for the Rogue on Classifieds $950 firm

  11. M Bartolomeo

    Jun 19, 2013 at 11:27 am

    good bye golf carts, hello Emus

  12. BreakThrough

    Jun 19, 2013 at 10:23 am

    All players should eb using Steel shafts. You are changing the materials to a point where the game is no longer what it traditionally designed to be.

    • stonyman

      Jun 19, 2013 at 10:45 am

      Why steel? Hickory was used before this new fangled technology called steel.

    • mctrees02

      Jun 19, 2013 at 10:57 am

      Is there any chance we can get rid of the dimples on the balls while we’re at it?

    • Curt

      Jun 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

      Hell, while were at it, why don’t we go back to balls made of feathers???

    • joro

      Jun 19, 2013 at 12:01 pm

      Hmmm, and they say “anchored” putters are “not the way the game was meant to be played” Seems a bit stupid and the shafts to a lot more than the putter.

      • Blanco

        Jun 19, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        anchoring is to ______ as shaft is to putter?

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Forum Thread of the Day: “New PXG putters”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases an array of new PXG putters. The flat-sticks have got our members talking, with the new look and weighting options proving to be popular amongst WRXers.

For lots more photos, check out the full thread here.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • nova6868: “These new putters look so much better than their first line.”
  • keto: “My eyes a popping out. I could roll most of those confident I would put a decent stroke on them. I haven’t checked $$, I imagine they are $$$$$, but I sure like the weighting options.”
  • chip75: “Look so much cleaner without the weights visible.”

Entire Thread: “New PXG putters”

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “New Mitsubishi AV shafts”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day showcases new Mitsubishi AV shafts which have caught many of our member’s interest. While speaking in the thread, Mitsubishi Chemical shared some details to WRXers on what they can expect to see soon:

“We are working on bringing 2nd Gen Tensei product to market – this is the first week of PGA Tour testing.

Be sure to stay tuned for more information towards the beginning of 2020!”

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • AdamStoutjesdyk: “I’m already a huge fan of the Pro White, I can’t wait to see how these look and perform in person!”
  • ForTourUseonly: “Please make an Orange!”

Entire Thread: “New Mitsubishi AV shafts”

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Equipment

Honma launches new XP-1 Series driver, fairway woods, and hybrids for 2020

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new 2020 Honma Driver

For 2020, Honma Golf is launching the all-new XP-1 line of clubs comprised of an entire family holistically designed to help players maximize forgiveness and get the most out of their games with one set. The new Honma XP-1 drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids, all the way to irons, is a new direction for the premium Japanese company that brings together ultimate craftsmanship with performance.

The highlight of the XP-1 line from Honma is the fact that they were designed from top to bottom to work as a comprehensive set of tool to achieve maximum performance. The technology in the metal woods flows from the driver to the hybrids with a seamless transition that creates consistency for feel and looks for the player.

Honma XP-1 driver

new 2020 Honma Driver

New 2020 Honma Golf Driver

Honma is known for its dedication to quality and craftsmanship, and every part of the XP-1 line was developed with the golfer in mind to both look appealing and perform to the highest standards. The XP-1 driver packs a lot of technology into a very classic looking club, and we’re here to take you under the hood—or in this case, the carbon fiber crown—to show you how it can help you hit better shots.

2020 Honma XP1 Driver toe

Honma XP-1 Driver Toe

It starts with a tour-inspired look from address, designed to inspire confidence for any level of golfer. Underneath ther gloss black crown, there is a lot of technology to generate faster ball speeds around the entire face and help get you dialed into the right setting. Speaking to the crown, it’s made from ET-40 fiber, making it one the lightest in golf. This weight savings helps engineers relocate an additional 15g of mass around the head towards the heel for increased MOI and greater ability to help players close the club face more easily.

Flip the driver upside down, and we have a lot more going on with the sole than initially meets the eye. Honma is introducing a new double slot in the sole for increased ball speed across a much larger area of the face. What starts off smaller in the middle increases in width and depth as it reaches towards the heel and the toe of the club. These slots, along with improved MOI, keep ball speeds up and misses closer to the intended target. The last part of the equation: How these wider parts of the face, flex around the more narrow middle to also increase gear effect—think of it like one more way to help the bigger misses stay in play.

New 2020 Honma Driver XP1

2020 Honma XP-1 Driver sole and shaft adjustment connection

The last piece key piece of technology in the XP-1 driver head is exclusive to Honma—the adjustable hosel that changes face angle, lie, and loft, but never changes the orientation of the shaft. This gives the player or fitter the ability to truly dial in hosel settings without having to worry about the constantly changing of the grip orientation. This, according to Honma, also keeps the shaft spine in the ideal location for consistent performance.

Honma 2020 xp1 driver shaft

Honmq Vizard 43g shaft

Honma is the only manufacturer that produces its own shafts from start to finish in house, and the XP-1 is getting its own custom-designed and built shafts to complement the technology built into the heads. The Vizard stock shafts are engineered to produce a smooth feel that promotes faster clubhead speeds, yet also remain extremely stable. For the XP-1 driver, the matching Vizard shafts will come in weights of 43g, 53g, and 63g, and flexes from senior to stiff.

Honma XP-1 fairway woods

The XP-1 woods bring the same level of craftsmanship and technology as the drivers to a club designed for use both off the tee and off the fairway.

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

New for 2020 Honma XP-1 Fairway wood

The Honma XP-1 3-wood uses the same weight-saving ET-40 crown to position a large amount of the club’s total mass low and on the sole for greatest possible launch and spin consistency. The 3-wood is the second-lightest club in most players bags by total weight and head mass, and unless you are carrying a second driver, it’s also the second-largest by volume. By using the carbon crown designers get everything they can from the other technologies including the double slot sole and thin fast face without having to sacrifice the overall design of not just the head but the entire club.

New Honma XP-1 3 wood crown fairway

Honma XP-1 3 wood crown

The XP-1 fairways also include a 5  7-woods, but with the smaller volume of the heads and the reduced crown size, using a carbon crown would actually increase the mass higher in the head, so they instead utilize an extremely thin high strength steel crown.

New Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft XP1

Honma 53g Vizard Fairway Shaft

All of the fairway woods come with the same made-in-Sakata, Japan 43g, 53g, and 63g Vizard shaft options as the driver to help every player get the most of each club in the set. If might seem like a minor detail, but being able to design an entire club in house from head to grip is a big advantage for Honma versus other OEMs. This holistic approach to designing an entire club/set is a big benefit to the consumer looking to get the most out of each club in their bag and not feel like something may be working against them.

Honma XP-1 hybrid

With the Honma XP-1 hybrid, forgiveness and flow from the fairway woods is the number one consideration for these club. The flow includes a wood-like shape that keeps the club shallow and the center of gravity as low as possible for higher launch and approach shots that fly higher and land softer. Considering the target player for the XP-1 line, the wood-like shape is also very confidence-inspiring.

New 2020 Honma XP1 hybrid

Honma XP-1 Hybrid

Honma continues the design philosophy of keeping the XP-1 both forgiving and fast by utilizing the double slot sole all the way into these hybrids that go from a 19-degree 3-iron replacement to a 25-degree 5-iron replacement.

Honma XP-1 specs & availability

The Honma XP-1 driver, fairway wood, and hybrids will be available starting in October.

New 2020 Honma XP1 Driver fairway hybrid specs

Honma XP-1 line club specs

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