2013 Best Shafts
One of our favorite subjects on GolfWRX is shafts. They’re very confusing to most people, but golfers who get fitted and know what works for them can get into a comfort zone on the course that can be the difference between a good shot and a great one.
We’ve already covered the latest launches for for drivers, fairway woods, irons and wedges. But golfers buying new or looking to dial in their old gear need to know about the hottest shafts that are hitting stores this year. You can click here to see what shafts the pros are playing in their equipment and also read through this article to find some inspiration prior to your fitting.
If you are one of those readers that are looking for a very deep dive into shaft facts we have a series of articles that are for you. One of our featured writers, Tom Wishon, a 40-year veteran of the golf equipment industry specializing in clubhead design, shaft performance analysis and clubfitting research and development. Tom served as a member of the Golf Digest Technical Advisory Panel, and has written several books on golf equipment including “The Search for the Perfect Golf Club” and “The Search for the Perfect Driver,” which were selected as back to back winners of the 2006 and 2007 Golf Book of the Year by the International Network of Golf (ING), the largest organization of golf industry media professionals in the USA. He wrote a three-part series exclusive to GolfWRX to educate golfers about shafts:
Now that you’ve learned what shafts do and don’t do, take a look at a few of the latest shafts that have impressed our forum members and our panel of elite custom fitters.
UST Recoil Graphite Iron Shafts
The Recoil Iron shafts won our “Best in Show” for 2013. Mike Guerrette, vice president of brand development and Tour operations for UST Mamiya, said the reason why graphite shafts haven’t become popular with Tour players in their irons was because of a problem with their design. Click this link to read more about the Recoil Shafts.
According to Guerette, graphite iron shafts of the past had walls that were too thick, which decreased ovaling and resulted in poor energy transfer. That resulted in less feel and less distance — two things that never go together on Tour.
UST’s new Recoil iron shafts are made with denser graphite fibers that allowed engineers to decrease wall thickness. Because the fibers are denser, the shafts can be made as heavy as 110 to 125 grams, the weight range that is preferred on Tour.
Graphite Design’s new Tour AD GT Shaft
Graphite Design has added to its popular line of Tour AD shafts with the Tour AD GT, a softer version of the company’s low-spin, low-launch Tour AD BB shaft.
The GT it a good choice for golfers who like the feel and performance of the BB (Click here to read our review of it) in their driver but want a shaft that gives them more spin and a higher launch with their fairway woods. The GT is available 50-, 60-, 70- and 80 gram weights and will retail for around $380.
Oban’s new ‘Kiyoshi White’ Shaft
Oban’s “Kiyoshi White” shaft is the latest edition to the company’s Kiyoshi family of shafts, offering a different bend profile and improved stability through a new design pattern.
Oban, a high-end golf shaft manufacturer based in Chicago, released the first member of the Kiyoshi family, the “Kiyoshi Purple,” in mid-2011. The purple-colored shaft uses Oban’s Emersion Wrapped Frequency Technology to offer golfers a product with a high-launch and low-spin in a wide weight range (45-to-85 grams and hybrid, L-X Flexes).
Oban’s “Kiyoshi Black” was released in early 2012. It uses the same technology, but the Black was designed with less torque and a stiffer butt section that gave it a medium-launch and low-spin. Like the Kiyoshi Black, the Kiyoshi White offers a mid-launch and low-spin. But a new design pattern that Oban calls “MultiPlex Design Technology” allowed it to be made with a softer butt section, which makes the shaft feel “more bendy,” especially at the top of a golfer’s swing.
2013 KBS Custom Series Shafts!
In 2012, KBS Shafts launched their Custom Series, which offered three custom finishes to their popular KBS Tour line: White Pearl, Black Pearl and Silver Pearl. This year, it looks like things will be a little different.
Here’s a sneak peek at the updated KBS Custom Series for 2013. It looks like we’re going to get a few more choices including a custom label color and laser engraving options (GolfWRX username on the shafts, anyone?). While options are increasing, the price is headed in the opposite direction. This year’s KBS Custom ‘base’ MSRP will be $40.95, down from $49.95. We’ll add more info on these as soon as we can.
Fujikura Fuel Shafts
The Fujikura Fuel is a low-launch, low-spin shaft that uses special construction and a high kick point that the company says gives golfers a tighter dispersion and a softer feel than Fujikura’s previous low-launch, low-spin shafts.
Dustin Johnson used a 70-gram Tour Spec version of the shaft to win the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions, giving the company tons of momentum heading into 2013.
Along with the standard Fuel shaft, which is available for $225 in a wide range of flexes and 50, 60 and 70-gram weights, the company has created a 60-gram version of the shaft Johnson used to win the Tournament of champions in stiff and x-stiff flexes.
Project X 95 Iron shaft for the masses
No longer are True Temper’s Project X iron shafts reserved for only elite players.
The new Project X 95 Flighted iron shafts are the lightest in the Project X family, weighing only 95 grams. They are also more playable than previous Project X models — the long irons have a softer tip to help golfers hit those clubs higher, while the short irons have stiffer tips to give golfers a more consistent flight with their scoring clubs.
Nippon New Modus iron shaft
Nippon’s latest iron shaft, the N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 130, is stiff in the butt and mid sections, but it has a softer tip section. “What that creates is a little bit of a higher, easy launch but then a lower, Tour-type spin to get the ball to go through the air in a more penetrating fashion,” Mark Pekarek, North American distributor for Nippon said.
This is the opposite construction of the company’s N.S. Pro Modus 3 Tour 120 shaft that debuted in 2012, which is about 10 grams lighter than the Tour 130. Usually, lighter weight shafts are designed to hit the ball higher than their heavier weight counterparts, but the Tour 120 has a stiff tip with softer mid and butt sections — a construction that actually results in a lower flight.
Matrix has simplified its shaft offering for 2013 with three shafts that fit into three distinct categories.
New for this year are Matrix’s X3 “White Tie” shaft, which replaces the company’s popular XCON shafts, and the company’s Q3 “Red Tie” shaft, which replaces the HD Series shafts.
Last year, Matrix released its M3 “Black Tie” shaft, which replaced the company’s M2 series. It’s the lowest-launching, lowest-spinning shaft in the Matrix Flight System — the company’s portfolio of shaft characteristics.
The White Tie is on the opposite end of the spectrum from the Black Tie, offering golfers a high-launch with mid-to-high spin. Splitting the difference is the company’s Red Tie shaft, which offers a mid launch and mid spin. All three shafts carry an MSRP of $375.
True Temper re-releases the Grafalloy Blue shaft
Don Brown, product developed for True Temper, knows that the Grafalloy Blue shaft isn’t for all golfers. In fact, he even estimated about 80 percent of the golfers were not upset when it was discontinued in 2011.
But the 20 percent of golfers who fit into the Blue were a vocal minority. “We discontinued it a few years ago and we got inundated with phone calls, ‘I want a Blue. Where can I get a Blue?” Brown said.
Recently, True Temper decided to re-release its “cult favorite” shaft with some minor alterations. One obvious alteration is the color. It has been painted white instead of blue because of the color’s popularity, Brown said.
Nunchuk’s xi graphite iron shaft
Nunchuk’s wood and hybrid shafts have already found the winner’s circle on the PGA Tour.
nVentix hopes to have the same success with its new graphite iron shaft, the Nunchuk xi, which debuted at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show. The shaft has the same design theory has the company’s driver/fairway and hybrid shafts, as well as the same weight — about 104 grams. It’s available in both 0.355-inch and 0.370-inch models and will retail for $75 per shaft.