What's New: From the Lab

Light Weight Steel Shafts Offer a Lot of Clubfitting Options

September 15th, 2016

Light weight steel shafts are offering a lot of clubfitting options.  Just like the rush of graphite shaft makers to get 85 to 115 gram graphite shafts to market, steel shaft manufacturers are dropping from the 115 to 125 gram range to the 95 to 110 gram range.  Why?  Older golfers that have played Dynamic Gold, Project X or KBS Tour shafts (125+ grams) are not enamored with the feel of graphite and are looking for a lighter weight steel shaft to maintain the same feel and potentially give them more distance.  On the other side, as junior golfers start getting stronger, it is a tough transition to go from a light weight 70 to 85 gram graphite shaft to a heavy 125+ gram steel shaft.  As a clubfitter, we know that weight, flex and profile (launch characteristics) of these new shafts are important to getting optimum performance.  There are several manufacturers that offer steel shafts in the 95 to 110 gram range.  True Temper has been there the longest with its Dyanmic Gold Super Light(SL) shaft.  This shaft is a lower launching shaft similar in ball flight the the heavier Dynamic Gold shaft.  True Temper launched its XP series... Read More

PXG TPE Core Technology – The Performance Difference

August 30th, 2016

The PXG TPE Core Technology is what really creates the performance difference in the PXG iron heads.  While hollow iron heads have been around for several years, this is the first head to incorporate an elastomer, TPE, filled head.  My first thought was that it would be difficult to do this without creating “hot” or “dead” spots.  Wrong on both counts.  In all of our testing and fittings, the 0311 and 0311T heads have the most consistent smash factor.  This means that ball speeds, launch angles and distances are more consistent across all levels of golfers.  Sure, some other heads may offer more distance but you have to look at the lofts and spin rates of the heads.  And yes, they are expensive but the results speak for themselves.  Coupled with the right shaft, grip and custom fit, you will have the best performing irons you have ever hit!  If you are as geeky about this as I am, continue reading about the technology…  Or better yet, schedule a fitting and come in and feel the difference yourself. Dan Sueltz TPE Core Technology The TPE used by PXG is a Japanese, high-performance anti-concussion polymer that enhances a club’s sound and... Read More

What is Your Optimum Wedge Distance From the Green?

August 2nd, 2016

What is your optimum wedge distance to the green?  You know, the distance that you have the most confidence that you will get it really close to the hole.  Some golfers like to hit relatively short shots to the green, say 50-60 yards.  Other golfers like a full wedge shot, whether it is sand wedge, gap wedge or pitching wedge.   We did a survey on the distance and here are the results: 100 – 110 yards:  34% 80 – 90 yards:  31% 50 – 60 yards:  21% 120 – 130 yards:  7% 140 – 150 yards:  2% Personally, I am the 100 – 110 yard guy as well. So, what this tells us is that if we want to lower our scores, we need to take more shots from our “safety zone”.  Under a tree 150 yards out?  You have two choices.  Punch out to your safety zone or try to run it up to the green.  Water in front of the green?  Safety zone it is!  I used to try to gouge my way to the green with a perfect shot but that just seemed to add a couple more strokes to my handicap so I started playing... Read More

Too Stiff of Shaft Tip Section Can Rob You of Distance

July 27th, 2016

Too stiff of tip section can actually rob you of distance especially on your driver.  The prevailing theory among most golfers is that a stiff shaft tip section lowers ball flight and reduces spin.  Sometimes the opposite is true.  OK, let me add a caveat here.  What we have seen in our testing is that, if a player has a steep negative attack angle (-4 to -8 degrees) with a driver shaft with a stiff tip, the spin rate is increased and in some cases, the player will hit the ball off the upper portion of the clubface causing the launch angle to be too high.  That is not a good combination. A softer shaft tip section will actually cause more forward lean on the golf shaft at impact.  This does two things.  First, the forward lean will actually increase, or make more positive, the attack angle.  This effectively reduces spin.  Second, the forward lean of the shaft at impact will move the impact area down on the clubface.  This results in a lower launch angle and lower spin as well.  When we tested this several players with the GEARS system last year, it was very evident that shaft tip... Read More

OBAN CT 115 Steel Shaft Review

July 12th, 2016

OBAN CT 115 steel shafts are the first introduction of steel shafts by OBAN.  Traditionally a graphite shaft company with the Kiyoshi, Devotion, Revenge, Tour and Isawa models, OBAN has decided to go after the steel shaft market in a big way.  Their first introduction, the CT 115, looks to be a great start. The CT 115 is a taper tip shaft with a constant weight of around 115-117 grams from 36″ to 41.5″.  The absolute best thing about this shaft from a club builders perspective is that it is available in 12 different discrete lengths.  This means that I can build a softer flex, higher launch set of irons starting with the 41.5″ shaft in a 4 iron, for example, and going through the 38″ or a much stiffer set starting at the 39″ for a 4 iron and going to the 36″ in the wedges.  All this is accomplished with the same weight in each shaft.  The test clubs we have built have ranged from soft regular to extra stiff.  Based upon the testing profile of these shafts, they will perform very similar to a “flighted” set of irons, meaning the longer irons will launch slightly higher and... Read More

Project X HZRDUS Red Shaft Offers Higher Launch and Spin

June 23rd, 2016

The Project HZRDUS Red shaft offers a higher launch and spin versus the Black and Yellow shafts currently in play.  Scheduled to be released to True Temper Performance Fitting Centers July 11, 2016, these shafts will be a great addition to those golfers that need a little higher trajectory, especially with their fairway woods.  In our testing, the HZRDUS Red launches .5 to .75 degrees higher than the Black with 300 – 500 rpm more spin.  While this is not necessarily for everyone, we like to put higher launch and spin shafts in most golfers fairway woods.  The HZRDUS Red will be a great fit for that golfer.  And, there are some golfers that actually need a little more launch and spin off their driver so the HZRDUS Red will fit the bill.  Our testers think the HZRDUS Red feels more like the HZRDUS Black than the HZRDUS Yellow, so it fits a more aggressive swing.  As always, we will put the HZRDUS shafts to the test when we put our golfers through a fitting to optimize shaft performance.

Project X LZ Steel Shaft Review

June 1st, 2016

Project X LZ Steel shafts were tested and reviewed this week and so far we love what we see. The Project X LZ Steel shafts come in four different flexes and weights:  5.0 (R flex) at 110gr, 5.5 (R+ flex) at 115gr, 6.0 (S flex) at 120gr, and 6.5 (S+ flex) at 125gr.  The Project X LZ steel takes a chapter out of the book from the original LZ graphite shaft.  The Loading Zone (LZ) for the lighter shafts will result in a slightly higher launch and spin than the stiffer, heavier shafts.  Great design idea and our testing proved this to be the case. All of our tests were done indoors using TrackMan and the Callaway Chrome Soft ball.  All testers used shafts that matched their fitting specs as closely as possible.   According to our tests, the 5.0 and 5.5 flexes launched about the same as the KBS Tour R and C-Taper Lite R but slightly higher than the XP 115 R flex.  In the 6.0 and 6.5 flexes, the LZ Steel was slightly higher launch than the XP 115 S but lower than the C Taper R and KBS Tour S.  Depending upon your ball flight desires,... Read More

OBAN Shafts Making A Difference on Tour

May 18th, 2016

OBAN Shafts are making a difference on tour.  With a strong lineup of premium graphite shafts, OBAN literally has a shaft for every type of swing and player.  The most popular on the PGA Tour are the Tour Limited, Kiyoshi (Black, Purple, White and Gold) and the tried and true Devotion, Isawa Red and Revenge.  There is quite a difference among all of these shafts so make sure you see a fitter that has a wide selection of these shafts to test.  As an example, the Kiyoshi Black in a 55 gram gram shaft is a nice mid-high, mid-spin shaft for golfers that need a little more loft off the tee while the Kiyoshi Black 65 (which actually weighs 70+ grams) will be a low launch, low spin shaft.  The torque ratings for these shafts also get progressively lower from the 55 to the 85 gram shaft which will give the heavier shafts a firmer feel at impact.  The Kiyoshi White as a similar transition from the 55 to the 75 gram but not near as pronounced of change in launch and spin as the Black. The greatest value shafts in the OBAN line-up are the Devotion and Isawa Red. ... Read More

How Attack Angle is Affected By Shaft Tip Profile

May 3rd, 2016

Attack Angle can be dramatically affected by the shaft tip profile in the driver you are using.  We learned this last year when we were using the GEARS Golf system.  A shaft with a stiffer tip profile will lower your attack angle while a softer tip section will actually increase attack angle. The reason this is important is that attack angle can change both the launch angle and spin rate of your drives.  In general, if you are hitting the ball in the center of the club face on your driver, the lower your attack angle, the lower you will launch the ball and the more back spin you will impart on your shot.  This lower launch, higher spin shot will rob you of distance off the tee.  In our fittings we try to get our golfers to create a positive attack angle with their drivers.  This will create more carry with lower spin.  This, in turn, will give you more roll after landing also increasing distance.  When we tested several driver shaft profiles, we could change attack angle by up to 2 degrees with different shaft profiles.  The result was an average gain of 15 yards with a proper... Read More

Kuro Kage XT Review

April 19th, 2016

Kuro Kage XT and XM are the new standards for excellence in the Kuro Kage line.  Featuring low resin prepreg material and Titanium Nickel (TiNi) wire, the new combination gives the Kuro Kage a boost in both accuracy and distance due to its lower spin characteristics.  We put the new Kuro Kage XT through its paces against the Kuro Kage Black TiNi and the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi.  All tests were done with a Tour Edge E9 driver set to 10 degrees of loft and a Callaway Chrome Soft ball.  All of the shafts tested were within the fitting specs for the testers in terms of flex and weight. Launch:  The Kuro Kage XT launched slightly lower than the Kuro Kage Silver TiNi but a full 1.5 degrees lower than the Kuro Kage Black TiNi.  This is primarily due to the softer tip section in the Black TiNi which caused the toe to droop more than the XT causing higher ball contact on the club face. Spin:  The smash factor (1.49) was the best for the Kuro Kage XT as was the spin rate (sub 3,000 for all testers).  Spin went up slightly for the Silver TiNi but the most... Read More