Matrix Shafts Q&A: The new X3 "White Tie" shaft
Joe Miera, Director of Tour Operations for Matrix Shafts, has been fitting tour players with Matrix shafts for 10 years. He took the time to answer questions from GolfWRX Managing Editor Zak Kozuchowski about his company's new product line. Scroll to the bottom for specs.
ZK: Last year Matrix released its M3 “Black Tie” shaft. Now, we’re seeing photos of tour players testing the X3 “White Tie” shaft. Who do these shafts target and how do they differ?
JM: Every year Matrix strives to improve performance of all golfers through shaft innovations. We are continuing to fill our Matrix Flight System portfolio with shafts, the M3 “Black Tie” replaced the FM2 and is low-launch, low-spin shaft. The X3 “White Tie” replaced the X-Con, which is a high-launch, low-spin shaft. We will also be releasing the highly anticipated Q3 “Red Tie,” which replaces the HD Series, and is a mid-launch, mid spin shaft, completing the new Matrix Flight System (MFS).
ZK: What about these shafts make them perform in the way that they do, and where do the names come from?
JM: Aside from some of the structural patents like the 16-sided hexadecagonal internal chassis and our manufacturing techniques, we developed a DEC (Deformation of Energy Curve) modeling system that is vastly superior to designing on a traditional EI Curve. That’s what gives us the ability to leapfrog some older design ideas. The combination of color and letters in the new MFS allowed us to simplify things for greater understanding. For people that remember colors well, it’s red (mid-launch), black (low-launch) and white (high-launch), which happen to be our corporate colors. For those that can think of the Alphabet vertically off the ground -- A being the lowest -- they can picture the apex of the ball at the letter M, a bit higher for Q and higher yet for X. It’s comprehensive, but a simple memory tool for players, tour reps and fitters.
ZK: When will these shafts be available and how much will they cost?
JM: The OZIK M3 Black Tie and OZIK X3 White Tie shafts are available now and the OZIK Q3 Red Tie will be available in early January 2013. The MSRP for each will be $375.
ZK: What are the tolerances?
JM: As you may know, Matrix started as many years ago as a boutique product, available only through clubmakers. We have never wavered from the lessons learned along the way from them. The input helped Matrix become a leader in the field of shaft manufacturing and we are very proud of our reputation for having exacting standards. It may not be well known by some of your readers but our system is set up in such a way that all Matrix Shafts follow the same manufacturing process and procedures as the OZIK TP line.
ZK: We’ve heard from fitters that Matrix shafts tend to produce very good ball speeds for golfers. Why is this?
JM: Advanced design tools and materials are key ingredients in shaft development, while advanced production techniques allow companies to push the envelope of what is possible to produce. While it’s an open secret on tour that many players gain as much as 4 mph of ball speed using our shafts over conventionally designed shafts, (COO) Daniel You and his team are unlikely to give the recipe to the rest of the world. That being said, the structural design and manufacturing of our shafts is considerably different compared to how most traditional shafts are made. We don’t introduce and release products just to do it. We do it to build a better mousetrap, so to speak. The forward momentum of design, advancement of materials and the application of lessons learned help us incrementally move forward from previous models. We like to believe that our increments are just a bit bigger than expected.
ZK: There’s a lot of talk about shaft inconsistency – one company’s stiff flex can be another’s regular flex, and vice versa. How do you determine how stiff to make your regular flex, stiff flex, etc.?
JM: That’s a great question. It’s also a very difficult question to answer. As manufacturers, we each have to make our own decisions as to what we are going to design and implement as our flexes. There are no accepted standards for testing protocols or overseeing body in golf shafts. To decide on our flexes, we utilize player and robot testing and base our flexes on ideal maximum deflection at a given swing speed.
ZK: What do you see as being more important in the shaft industry going forward: materials or construction methods?
JM: Another great question, but you can’t separate the two. Our aim from day one has been to make the finest golf shafts available. In order to do that it has to be a holistic approach combined with sweating the small stuff. Using the very best materials in the world and combining it with mediocre manufacturing produces truly flawed products in our estimation. Alternately, if you are not willing to use cutting edge materials you won’t be able to produce the best shaft available. In simpler terms, a drag racer does not use fuel with a lower octane when trying to maximize performance. However, I believe that the key to producing the finest shafts in each class is having world-class design and manufacturing. At that point, a design engineer can choose materials to fit the price categories golfers are comfortable with.