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Matrix OZIK XCON Altus Hybrid Shaft Review

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Matrix OZIKMatrix are certainly hitting the news at the moment. With both the world #1 and #4 seen testing their shafts and #6, #7 and #9 currently playing them, it may surprise many people that Matrix shafts are the most used shafts in the World top 10 as well as being tied for most used driver shaft. With Matrix about to launch two new hybrid shafts – the hM2 and the XCON 8 hybrid – Bag Chatter took a look at their current mainstay hybrid shaft, the OZIK XCON Altus Hybrid.

There is no doubt that this year is going to be big for Matrix. Having inked deals with both Callaway and TaylorMade to provide shafts for their respective changeable shaft clubs, Matrix are consolidating their position as a high end shaft manufacturer with new testing procedures and equipment and series of new patents that should ensure some amazing new developments on shaft technology.

Matrix say that due to their exclusivity and price point they are really able to ‘take the gloves off’ and explore technologies that their contemporaries do not have the freedom to based on other companies use of overseas middle-men factories or their commitment to being a bulk supplier of club brands. In fact this is the only way, along with a devotion to R&D, that Matrix can compete against their much larger competitors.

The Matrix OZIK XCON Altus hybrid shaft is the successor to the original OZIK Altus hybrid shaft which was re-engineered in 2007 with the addition of the XCON technology. Competing in a segment dominated by Aldila who have led the hybrid shaft count on the US Tour for the past 3 years with their NV and VS Proto hybrid shafts and UST with their V2 hybrid and IROD, it has been as high as number 2 in the hybrid shaft count (being in the bags of the aforementioned #6, #7 and #9 in the world as well many others) and has since won a total of 7 times on tours worldwide.

Appearance

With the lustrous metallic red shaft and ‘raining’ Matrix graphics on the top portion of the shaft, it is a very striking. The logo is quite arresting but the standard installation for this shaft is logo down so at address all you see is the beautiful candy red. Some shafts own their colour in that they are instantly recognisable from a distance and the candy apple red seen on this shaft is one of them. The butt end of the shaft is clear lacquer which allows you to see just how precisely shaft is manufactured and it’s almost a pity when this clear section is covered by the grip.

Technical Specs

Shaft Flex Available Length Weight Tip Size Torque
R, F, S, SG, X, XX 42″ 90g-93g .370″ 2.5

This shaft is a little heavier than traditional hybrid shafts but that allows for usage in higher lofted hybrids as up to 3″ can be tipped from this shaft while still retaining a decent weight. It also makes this shaft a smooth mid point between the heavier shafts used in long irons and the lighter ones used in fairway woods.

Rather than a being a tweaked iron profile shaft, this is true hybrid shaft and the XCON technology follows a “Bow and Arrow” principle where the fulcrum and lever design aims at maximising ball speed with less spin and higher MOI. With a stiffer tip the Altus hybrid walks a delicate line between maximising distance while still retaining sufficient control to hit, and just as importantly stay on, the green.

Feel

Very tight and smooth but with a definite powerful solidity. It has that sensation that you associated with high end shafts in that it feels like the whole thing loads and kicks through rather than one particular point in the shaft hinging . The high tip stiffness plays a large part in this and with the low torque stability is very noticeable. Playing true to flex, there’s no sensation of extra movement or ‘squirtiness’ here and this feedback comes through from short punch shots all the way up to full strikes. Matrix advise that this shaft is tipped 1/2 inch in a 16 degree club iron replacement and in 1/2 inch increments as you go up each 3 degrees loft but I could imagine being quite happy not tipping this shaft at all until you reach 19 degrees, especially in softer flexes. Even if you give the ball a full-blooded lash, this is not a shaft you are going to overpower which for playing out of the rough is a godsend.

Performance

While it is branded as the Altus and is high launch, it does not launch as high as the driver Altus shaft (which fires the ball so high that you are almost a danger to low flying aircraft!). It is not a super high trajectory shaft but what a trajectory it is – long and straight. This is no anti-left shaft as some people seem to think as it can be worked both ways but it certainly rewards a good swing. It is also possible to generate lower trajectory spinners with this shaft. Choking down on the club, moving the ball back in the stance and hooding the face slightly produce shots with a fair amount of spin which is great for control on blustery days. In better conditions it can deliver some quite prodigious distances as you can take full advantage of the shaft’s lower spin/high launch properties and fire some sky bound screamers that land with run and generate maximum roll. Distance is very consistent as you would expect, with the shaft performing well when either taking a divot or not. Mishits are not as punishing as you might think with unwanted vibration well damped without being completely hidden. The heavier weight and tip stiffness of the shaft mean that this shaft may suit a faster swing speed over a slower one but the combination of distance and control is superb.

Overall

Matrix has a large and passionate following of fans of their OZIK products, and quite right too as their products are generally excellent. Unfortunately they also have a swathe of fanboys unmatched in the golfing industry. It’s sometimes impossible to tell fact from hype and trying to get balanced opinions can be a nightmare as everyone appears to have an agenda. One group claims that these shafts are the best in the world and that there is one for everybody. The other group says that they are over-priced and that if they are so good, why Matrix seems to have difficulty getting Tour players who have trialled the shaft to stay with them.

What can often be lost in this debate is that Matrix makes some truly superb products and the OZIK XCON Altus Hybrid is no different. It is an excellent shaft that will only bring an improvement to anybody’s game. The high price point is a reflection of this company’s dedication to research and development but it may unfortunately put off some golfers, especially given the number of high quality hybrid shafts currently available in the marketplace. That said, I can’t think of another hybrid shaft that would suit so many people looking for that elusive combination of distance and control.

As a final note, Matrix have also told GolfWRX that they will be relaunching their corporate site (http://matrixshafts.com) in the coming weeks as well as launching at least 3 other sites including a Tour blog so that they can, as they put it, ‘display our passion to new Matrix users and to give the current Matrix player an inside look at the Matrix culture.’

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1 Comment

  1. philip

    Apr 16, 2009 at 7:35 am

    By up to 3 inches can be tipped, do you mean it can be cut shorter at the tip by 3 inches? Or what does that mean and the effect of tipping?
    Many thanks.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

TartanPatternsSunfish

The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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