The Four Hottest Shafts Available Today for Drivers, Hybrids and Fairway Woods
Shafts have been called the “engine of the club”, the “drive train of the club” and the “thruster of the club”, amongst many descriptions. Regardless, the main conclusion is that if you are going to be a player, Tour or low handicapper, getting custom fit is the most crucial aspect to getting the right tools to enhance your game.
As it relates to shafts, manufacturers’ stock shafts are increasingly lighter and tip-flexible and suit the majority of golfers. This is great news for hackers because they need the slice-correcting, flight-elevating, speed-enhancing properties of lightweight graphite and steel. You, however, are not like them: with shafts, think (slightly) heavier.
If you check with players on the PGA Tour, their driver shafts weigh in the 70- to 85-gram range, though experimentation with 40- 60 gram weighted shafts is taking place. Slightly heavier shafts might provide regular golfers with more feel, particularly for how well the club is staying on plane during the swing. Heavier shafts also require less of an adjustment in terms of feel when going from the driver to the irons.
There is definitely something to be said for having some mass in the shaft of a golf club to improve accuracy. Where accuracy is more of a premium, you will often see a progression in the weight of the shafts as the clubs get shorter. Simply stated, it’s common to see driver shafts at 75 grams, 3-woods at 85 grams, utility clubs at 95 grams and irons in the 120-gram range for pros and better players.
So, to get yourself on the right path to more distance, accuracy and enjoyment of the game, visit a club fitter who uses a launch monitor. Start the process by testing a driver with a 75-gram shaft. See if your ball speed or accuracy changes if you use a lighter shaft (such as 65 grams). If you gain two to five yards, but your shot dispersion pattern gets noticeably larger, stay heavy. If you gain 10 to 15 yards, as did some of our testing group with the Nunchuck, it’s worth some on-course evaluation. Machines don’t lie, but neither do scorecards.
Graphite Design Shafts
The G series shaft is the next generation of premium Graphite Design shafts and is very adaptable to today’s new head technology. Currently the G series shafts are being tested and played on the PGA Tour. As with all Graphite Design shafts, the G series shaft technology is derived from years of research and development designed to produce consistency and stability and deliver outstanding performance benefits.
The G series performance characteristics favor a low to mid launch trajectory and mid ball spin. The new X Directional Technology – XDT – incorporates the use of the already proven Graphite Design MSI (Material Stiffness Integration) design method as well as this new and unique application of graphite fiber alignment throughout the shaft structure. During the development phase of XDT, measurable performance gains were discovered through a more balanced distribution of the graphite fibers within the plies of the shaft design. This proprietary application of XDT has made the new G series the most balanced, versatile high performance golf shaft available today.
The new G series shaft is available in four weights: 40 gram (Lite, Regular and Stiff flexes); 50 gram (Lite, Regular and Stiff flexes); 60 gram (Regular, Stiff and X-Stiff flexes); and 70 gram (Stiff and X-Stiff flexes).
The company’s Tour AD logo is featured on all of Graphite Design’s Tour-proven shafts to specifically promote “Accuracy and Distance” and has long been known for high quality and superior performance. This is represented by the company’s success that has been documented by professionals and amateurs alike. Graphite Design is the most dominant shaft on the JGTO Tour (Japan Golf Tour Association) and has been for the past eight years.
MSRP: $199.00 www.gdintl.com
Fujikura Sakura Golf Shaft
Specifically engineered for added performance at slower swing speeds, the Sakura Iron Shaft has a soft tip and low kick to get the ball in the air quicker to maximize distance.
These shafts are very lightweight and amongst the most flexible shafts on the market to help increase distance and trajectory for slow swinging golfers.
Our testing group was amazed at the solid feel this shaft delivered, but also the extra distance they gained, especially on the R11 3-wood.
With its 4.9 torque this is definitely a shaft for seniors and women.
The shaft is very affordable at $39.99 and is available at Golfsmith and club fitters.
The Nunchuk Shaft by Nventix
How about a shaft that only is available in One-flex? This shaft will perform well for professional golfers, high level amateurs, seniors, women and juniors!
How is this possible you may ask? The revolutionary technology in the NUNCHUK’s design allows the exact same shaft to be used by professionals and amateurs, men and women, juniors and seniors in their drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. With the Nunchuk, any “flex’ created at the initiation of the downswing will rapidly recover in only the first few feet. Therefore you DO NOT have to “time the kick” of the shaft. The NUNCHUK’s “Tri-Zonal Stability” design offers exceptional power and a greater acceleration of the club head. This means the ball flies a lot longer. Many of our testers and teachers say the Nunchuk has a great “one-piece” feeling with the club head.
“When you’ve got a NUNCHUK in your bag, you’re playing what the pros play,” according to Mike McCall, Nventix’s president. Jhonattan Vegas, the winner of the 2011 Bob Hope Classic, used the Nunchuk.
The NUNCHUK’s unique Tri-Zonal Stability technology is manufactured by UST Mamiya and enables golfers of all abilities to more consistently deliver LONG & ACCURATE driver, fairway wood and hybrid shots.
Golfers of all ages and swing speeds who play the NUNCHUK will see their shot dispersion narrow AND their spin rate reduced – thus increasing both accuracy and distance.
One caveat, you will definitely need some time to get used to this heavier feeling shaft, possibly weight training, as less physical individuals could conceivably find the shaft too heavy over the course of a round.
Also available are Nunchuk Branded PURE Pro Grips. These are velvet-styled, traction-grooved grips providing significant firmness and maximum shot feedback desired by top players. $7.95.
My personal experience was wonderful! Not only did my drives feel solid, but the extra 25-35 yards brought a big smile to my face and wonderment to my playing partners!
MSRP: $259.95 pricing www.nventix.com
Aldila RIP Shaft Series
The Aldila RIP is a scaled down torque driver shaft with a stiff tip offering the advanced golfer a solid driver. Built for solidity, decreased spin rate and an optimal trajectory, the RIP is proving its mettle on the PGA Tour.
RIP (Reverse Interlaminar Placement Technology) transforms the golf shaft from the inside out providing players with shot control. The RIP shafts come in a variety of flexes, weights, torques and launch variations for woods and hybrids.
The revolutionary RIP Technology of the Aldila RIP has made it the hottest model on the PGA Tour. The RIP’d NV is not just long, it’s longer – not just straight, it’s straighter. Our testing group really enjoyed testing this shaft in Callaway’s RAZR Hawk driver so much, that the PGA pros on our team were ready to change their current shafts.
A host of Tour players, such as Heath Slocum, Steve Stricker, Geoff Ogilvy and Ross Fisher are switching to and winning with the RIP because the shafts provide lower torque, increased tip stability and better tip stiffness control.
Michael Connell, the most accurate driver at the Greenbrier Classic, recently switched to Aldila’s latest shaft, the RIP’d NV, in his driver. He finished the tournament with an overall accuracy rating of 87.5 percent.
The new RIP’d NV incorporates the best performance attributes from two of Aldila’s most
innovative shaft designs – the ‘perfect feel’ and slim, stable shaft profile of the Aldila NV and the unprecedented control and accuracy of the Aldila RIP. The Aldila NV featuring Micro Laminate
technology (MLT) is the most popular aftermarket shaft in history.
MSRP: $199.99 www.aldila.com
Since its inception in 1993, MATRIX has become one of the world’s most influential shaft companies by designing transformative structures for nearly every golf company in the marketplace. MATRIX designs, manufactures and engineers performance-driven and technologically advanced shafts that are built on a patented Hexadecagonal (HD) platform. Coupling leading edge design with a nearly obsessive attention to craftsmanship, material selection and performance advancement, MATRIX has become a mainstay on the PGA Tour. MATRIX has increased its tour usage every year for 10 consecutive years.
Matrix just happens to be TaylorMade’s most dominant shaft supplier, and Titleist, Adams Golf and Callaway are huge devotees, especially of the Matrix OZIK series.
Their new Matrix Ozik HD Program 95 Shaft (3-PW) for irons is phenomenal, delivering excellent feel, consistency and responsiveness.
Our testers used this shaft in the new R 11 irons and were absolutely delighted with the results they each achieved.
In our opinion, the Program irons launch higher, spin more, more consistent and are more stable than all other steel and graphite iron shafts.
Also available in 130 grams.
MSRP: $720.00 (3-PW)
The Matrix OZIK XCON Driver shaft has been one of the most popular high-end driver shafts for a long time. Matrix shafts are ubiquitous on the PGA tour, with five out of the top ten players carrying one in their bag.
Matrix surpasses even Fujikura or Aldila, laying claim to more top ten golfers in the world using their shafts.
The Matrix OZIK XCON-6 (X-Axis Control) driver shafts are built to produce a high-launch, low-spin ball flight.
With the XCON model, the greater fulcrum is located closer to the axis (the golfer). As the shaft is swung around the axis, the XCON’s butt section creates a greater momentum.
XCON’s gradient energy flow tip section allows for less deformation of that energy and momentum. The end “mass” (the club head) therefore travels with greater angular velocity.
Created as highly efficient delivery systems, XCON designs bring maximum performance in high MOI club heads and stable feel for all players.
OZIK XCON-5 shafts have high launch with mid spin.
OZIK XCON-6 and OZIK XCON-7 shafts have high launch with low spin.
All have a variety of FLEX(ES)/WEIGHT(gms)/TORQUE(°).
Being fit with the correct shaft and ball, together with the driver head, is undoubtedly going to enhance your game and ego.
Barry Lotz, J.D., Ph.D. is the director of the Professional Golf Teachers Association of America . He is a member of the Golf Writers Association of America , the California Golf Writers Association, and serves both as a Consultant and Mediator to the golf industry. He is also the author of numerous books, including “333 Best Web Sites for Golfers” and his previous book, “How to Build Business Relationships through Golf”, updated for 2011, is still in the Top Ten Golf Business Book’s best seller list. His latest book, “The Right Mind for Golf”, has just been released this month and is already into the second printing.