Over the last few years iron heads have gotten increasingly hotter (thinner faces creating more ball speed) but not necessarily more forgiving. Some of the early hot models (X Hot, Rocketbladez) were really hot as long as you hit them on the sweet spot. When you missed, the loss in distance and accuracy was pretty dramatic. In some cases, they were actually worse than a forged club in distance lost on an off-center hit! That has changed with the 2015 models from Callaway, TaylorMade and others. They learned their lesson! The Rsi 1, Rsi 2 from TaylorMade, the XR and XR Pro from Callaway, and the JPX-850 and JPX-EZ from Mizuno are all much more forgiving and lose far less distance on off-center hits. This is accomplished by making the face thinner across more of the face thus expanding the sweet spot. This is especially great news for mid handicap players seeking more distance. So if you have not upgraded your irons in a while, we encourage you to go through an iron fitting and see how much distance AND accuracy you can gain!
What's New: From the Lab
Every manufacturer is claiming huge distance gains with their new irons and Callaway is no exception. In this case, their claims are very close to reality, but not quite. Claiming a full club increase in distance would be huge but in comparison to last years X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro, it is maybe a half a club. Our testers compared 6 irons for both models against the respective models of the X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro. The distance comes from an increase in smash factor (efficiency of club speed to ball speed), which means a hotter face and slightly lower spin. Of course, all of our testing is done with the iron head matched to a shaft that matches our testers so we take that variable out of the equation. The new XR line appears to have a slightly thicker top line but no big deal as the satin finish makes it appear smaller. Sound is a little “tinnier”, especially on toe shots. The biggest improvement our testers saw, in addition to the half-club distance increase, was tighter dispersion, especially on off-center hits. That is where the true advantage to the thinner face comes in since Callaway was... Read More
ACCRA Golf Day was a huge success at the Orange Tree Golf Club in Orlando, FL today. ACCRA introduced their new Fx line of shafts which is a significant improvement in terms of technology and quality over the DyMatch 2.0 line. Incorporating some of the technology from their premium CS line of shafts, the Fx is a comprehensive suite of shafts that allow us clubfitters to match weight, flex, and torque very easily throughout a set of clubs, something we used to have to do using multiple shaft companies. I tested the driver shafts on the range and they felt pretty awesome. We have used the DyMatch shafts for years and this is a great new addition for ACCRA. Kim Braly, founder of KB Steel shafts, has done extensive research on the PGA Tour regarding wedge shafts and he has come up with a dual-pronged approach for us clubfitters. If you need higher launch and more spin, the KBS HiRev 2.0 wedge shaft is the one for you. But if you are a stronger player that is tired of backing approach shots off the green, the new 610 Wedge gives you slightly lower launch and less spin for better control. ... Read More
We literally test over 2,500 shafts each year for our Shaft Performance Database which is an integral part of our MyGolfShafts apps and BGF (Better Golf…Faster) Fitting System. The first part of the shaft testing basically holds the manufacturers accountable. Do the shafts have the characteristics that the spec sheets say they should? Are weights within tolerances? Do the shaft flexes match what we would expect? Are the profiles (launch, feel) as advertised? But the second part of our testing and reviews is what is really fun. How do these shafts perform? We have several testers of various handicaps that help us out when we create comparison reviews. The results are usually pretty revealing. For example, we did a KBS Tour vs. KBS Tour V comparison and it has been one of our most viewed comparison tests. Sometimes we get really surprised with launch and spin results. We just never know until we test them. So here is where you come in. What should we review next? We can literally compare almost any shafts so give us an idea of what you would like to see next? Send me an email at [email protected] with your suggestions and we will start... Read More
Fujikura has long been a leader in high quality graphite shafts. Their Speeder series has been extremely effective on the PGA Tour and the new PRO series of woods is a great option for players seeking performance at a little lower price point. Using Fujikura’s ENSO shaft analysis system, the shafts in this series are engineered to offer great results for players of different abilities. The shafts are designed to be mid-launch with stiffer tip and mid sections which was evident in our testing. The slightly softer butt section still gives a great feel at impact. The TS (Tour Spec) versions in the 63 and 73 gram woods feature lower torque (firmer feel), slightly higher swing weight (balance point is lower), and stiffer butt sections. The S shaft in the 63 TS is the same stiffness as the X shaft in the standard 63 so be careful when selecting the TS flex. Our testing showed slightly lower spin and lower launch with the TS version versus the standard version wood shafts. There are also matching hybrids (63, 73 and 83 gr), and irons (75 and 95 gr). These are also a mid to low-mid launching shafts. Shaft Quality ratings run from... Read More
True Temper designed the XP 115 as a slightly heavier version of its popular XP 105 and XP 95. Currently the XP 115 is available only through Mizuno as one of their fitting cart options but that will change in early December when the XP 115 becomes available to the public. When we test a shaft, we always use the same head and ball for all testers, and the shafts are matched to the golfers swing dynamics in terms of flex. For all testers, the XP 115 had a great feel of a shaft that is releasing through the hitting area without feeling like there was a los of control. This is a testament to the design of the shaft so good job True Temper! And, the Trackman shot dispersion charts proved this out. We also did a comparison of the XP 115 to the KBS C-Taper Lite and KBS Tour V. Launch angles, spin rates and distances came out very similar for all testers putting this shaft in the mid launch, mid spin range. The XP 115 was ranked the best in terms of feel. Also, one tester found that the XP 115 picked up nearly a half club in... Read More
We tested the TaylorMade RSi 1 and RSi 2 irons this week and thought it would be a good idea to test them against the Tour Preferred CB and SLDR irons. Tests were conducted by golfers with varying handicaps with the shaft fit for their swing on each head. All tests were down with 7 irons from the TaylorMade Select Fit cart. Certainly the look of the RSi irons is appealing. The black cavity of the RSi 1 makes it easy to distinguish from the RSi 2 when going through the fitting cart so that is a plus. All of the testers (3 to 15 hcp) liked the look of the RSi 2 the best with less offset and slightly thinner topline. Even though the lofts on the RSi irons are roughly 1.5 degrees lower/stronger than the TP CB or SLDR, the actual initial launch angles for all of our testers were only slightly lower for the RSi irons by maybe a half degree in all cases. This is a testament to the design of the RSi lineup. The most noticeable performance difference was that both the RSi irons had lower spin by 800 to 1000 rpm over the TP CB,... Read More
The final shaft in the 3rd Generation Diamana series is now available. The R Series, which is the 1st Generation Red board and 2nd Generation ‘ilima replacement, has been put through our 24 point shaft testing and we are getting ready to put it into our demo system. The R series is a mid-high launch, mid-high spin shaft that should work well for golfers that like the performance of today’s low launch and low spin drivers like the TaylorMade SLDR and Callaway GBB Alpha. From the test profile results, these shafts are certainly up to the high quality standards we have seen from MRC before with a SQI (Shaft Quality Index) over 94 on a scale of 1-100. Good for golfers with a need for a slightly higher ball flight than they are getting with their existing stock or re shafted drivers or fairway woods. This may be the perfect fairway wood shaft if you are having difficulty getting your fairway woods in the air!
Thanks to the 20 testers that came in and spent some time with us on the new GEARS Golf motion sensing system. These testers hit a driver with four different shafts and the results were recorded not only with the GEARS system but with Trackman. Based on preliminary results, this system will help us do a better job with the initial shaft fitting. Our fittings will become faster and more dialed-in to the correct shaft in the first round of live testing. Because we know in more detail HOW the golfer loads the shaft and WHEN the release point is in the swing, we can pick shafts that will give a tighter impact area on the face (called a Face Map). We can also determine the impact of the shaft stiffness, tip stiffness and mid section stiffness on Attack Angle (higher or lower launch) and Face Angle (dispersion). We will be publishing the results in the next 30 days or so after we have completed our analysis of the test data.
How do we know how to predict which shaft is right for you? It’s all in our extensive player and shaft testing. We are now taking it to the next level with the GEARS high speed camera motion measurement system. Measures shaft deflection, shaft droop, grip speed, grip rotation, and probably 20 more stats that will help us make even better shaft recommendations based upon YOUR swing. http://www.gearsgolf.com/ We are testing several of our previous customers and fine tuning the shaft fitting process with this new information.