Mitsubishi introduces Kuro Kage on Tour

Mitsubishi Kuro Kage Shaft

Shaft question of the day: Translated to English, what does Kuro Kage mean?

Before investigating the new Kuro Kage golf shaft, let’s take a look at its manufacturer, Mitsubishi Rayon. The Japanese company, like a handful of other elite shaft makers, produces highly sophisticated shafts.

However, Mitsubishi Rayon is very different in one respect: It makes shafts with tongue twister names. Any golfer who knows all these names is surely a certified golf fanatic.

It was a tribute to Mitsubishi that golfers around the world latched onto the Diamana shaft name. The White Board, Blue Board and Red Board versions of the Diamana shaft are still widely recognized by professional golfers and ardent amateurs.

Although the White, Blue and Red shafts with the Diamana name remain available (roughly $275 in the aftermarket), a new generation of the Diamana family is out there as well -- ‘ahina, ‘ilima and Kai’li (retail approximately $360).

Say what? The Mitsubishi approach to naming its shafts is a departure from the strategy of most shaft companies, which seem to believe simpler names are better. Fujikura’s Speeder shaft has become a household name among many golfers. True Temper’s Dynamic shaft is famous after more than a half century of use. UST Mamiya became widely recognized for its Proforce shaft. Graphite Design’s YS name is known around the world. Aldila has an impressive collection of easy-to-remember names such as RIP, NV, VooDoo, and Blue ByYou.

The bottom line on Mitsubishi Rayon: This is an international company, and its shafts are designed and named to appeal to a worldwide audience. Catchy American names are not necessarily part of the plan.

Two new shafts for 2012 are being spotlighted by Mitsubishi. One, the Fubuki K, has been on the PGA Tour for several months. The other, Kuro Kage, was released to PGA Tour players for the first time at the recent Northern Trust Open.

First, Kuro Kage.

Graphite golf shafts are made with a material called prepreg, which is composed of graphite fiber and resin. The more fiber in the shaft, the better the feel and response.

So Mitsubishi designed the Kuro Kage as a lower-priced shaft (less than $200 retail) with a high fiber content. This was accomplished, according to Mitsubishi, with a lighter, less dense graphite material. This shaft is all about feel.

The Kuro Kage will be sold in several weights: 50, 60, 70 and 80 grams.

Next, Fubuki K, which retails for about $360. Like the Diamana family, the Fubuki family earned a reputation among touring professionals and then spread across the amateur landscape.

Some golfers view the original Fubuki Alpha as a premium shaft with plenty of zip and a high trajectory -- too high for some. This is a simplification, because several touring pros continue to use the shaft very successfully. In addition, the Fubuki Alpha is ideal for many skilled amateurs.

Anyway, the Fubuki K is a low-spin shaft with the lowest launch in the Fubuki family. The shaft is reinforced with stainless steel mesh in the butt section, making it firmer and stiffer. Want to hit low bullets? This may be the shaft.

Golf is fast becoming a global game, and all of us should be prepared to welcome shafts with impressive pedigrees but complex names. Mitsubishi Rayon is the current king of elaborate names.

Kuro Kage, by the way, means black shadow when translated into English.

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