In the days leading up to the start of the U.S. Open at Merion, Rory McIlroy changed the shaft in his driver to a new Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Silver prototype. Now, the company has announced that it will make the final version of that shaft available to the public for $300 starting in August.
According to Mark Gunther, Mitsubishi Rayon’s director of sales, the new Kuro Kage (which means ‘Black Shadow’ in Japanese) will have a similar bend profile to its predecessor, but it’s got a trick up its sleeve.
“There are elastic, titanium-nickel wires in the tip section that extend up about 12 to 14 inches,” Gunther said. “We’ve been working on the concept for the last year and there were two prototypes that ended up on tour, and one of those was the shaft that Rory ended up playing.”
The wires that are encased in the graphite sheets of the shaft stretch when the shaft bends during the downswing. Then, as the golfer releases the clubhead, the wires naturally snap back to their normal length as the shaft unloads. According to Gunther, that action should help golfers square the face more effectively to create more consistency.
“When we first started using wires like this, we put them into our super-lightweight shafts, but that wasn’t really a shaft for a lot of Tour guys, so there wasn’t a lot of recognition about it,” Gunther said. “In light, soft-profile shafts it helped to create a snapping effect. Now, from a Tour perspective, there are longer strips of the wires, and they are positioned lower to ensure there isn’t extra bending or ovaling. They really help to stabilize the tip.”
Because it is tip-stiff, Mitsubishi says that the new Kuro Kage Silver is ideal for players who need to reduce spin off the tee. The popular Mitsubishi Diamana White Board shaft used by Tiger Woods and Rickie Fowler does that, too. However, Gunther said that the Kuro Kage Silver – which will be available in 60-, 70- and 80-gram options – is softer in the butt section.
“Typically we like to do things in families,” Gunther said. “So you may see additional Kuro Kage products come out over the following year.”