Shaft Month

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May 7, 2013 | 4:28 p.m.

MPC to re-launch Loomis graphite shaft

James Achenbach
Meyer Performance Composites is preparing to re-launch the Loomis graphite iron shaft, which enjoyed its hey-day in the mid-1990s when it boasted Greg Norman and Davis Love III among its users.
Meyer Performance Composites is preparing to re-launch the Loomis graphite iron shaft, which enjoyed its hey-day in the mid-1990s when it boasted Greg Norman and Davis Love III among its users.

The Loomis graphite iron shaft is back.

That’s the word from Jeff Meyer, president of Meyer Performance Composites, and his brother, Robert Meyer, MPC vice president of marketing and tour relations. They anticipate the storied shaft will make a return appearance on the PGA Tour, and they plan to sell the shaft to consumers beginning in September.

Back in the 1990s, Jeff Meyer was vice president of engineering for G. Loomis, designer of the Loomis shaft, and he has “always had really good feelings about this shaft and its performance.”

Robert Meyer has been traveling the PGA Tour with ...

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James Achenbach

In January, Brian Gay won the Humana Challenge with an Oban Kiyoshi Purple driver shaft in his TaylorMade R1 driver (set to 9 degrees) and an Oban Kiyoshi Purple fairway wood shaft in his Adams Super LS 3-wood (13).

Any amateur can buy the exact same setup, because Oban never makes a shaft that is tour-only. All of the company’s shafts are available to both pros and amateurs in just one grade – premium. As Oban officials are fond of saying, the shafts are premium in performance and premium in price.

Gay’s R1 driver and Kiyoshi shaft? $399 for ...

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February 25, 2013 | 3:51 p.m.

Shaft Month: Matrix aims to make fitting simple

James Achenbach
The Matrix Flight System
The Matrix Flight System

For many golfers, understanding the science of golf shafts is just too complicated.

These golfers may not fully understand flex, frequency, torque, kick point and other terminologies that make shafts the most mysterious part of the golf club.

Welcome to Golf Shaft 101. Shaftmaker Matrix has taken a giant step toward simplifying the shaft picture. The company’s new Flight System contains three designations for shafts – Black Tie (low trajectory), Red Tie (mid trajectory) and White Tie (high trajectory).

Low, mid, high. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. It makes sense from a player’s perspective, because most ...

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February 22, 2013 | 11:19 a.m.

Shaft Month: Steel offers plenty of options

James Achenbach

Steel iron shafts have dominated the golf marketplace for 75 years. The reason: Consistency and stability.

The process for manufacturing steel shafts is easily repeatable, and the performance from one shaft to another is highly predictable.

Who are the obvious candidates to use steel iron shafts? Everybody, says Kim Braly, creator of the KBS steel shaft and a man with a long pedigree in golf shafts. Braly’s father, Joe Braly, invented frequency matching of shafts. Following in his father’s footsteps, Braly designed and patented the Rifle shaft and then the Project X shaft.

“KBS is sold in 5-gram ...

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James Achenbach
Aldila's NV shaft
Aldila's NV shaft

John Merrick, winner of the Northern Trust Open, is 100 percent southern California. He was born there, grew up there, learned to play golf there, went to college there (UCLA), still lives there (Long Beach), works with an instructor there (Jamie Mulligan at Virginia Country Club), and now he has won his first PGA Tour title there.

In capturing the Northern Trust title at Riviera Country Club, Merrick also relied on a graphite shaft manufacturer that has long been identified with southern California. That would be Aldila, which was founded in San Diego in 1972 and became the first shaftmaker ...

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James Achenbach
Nunchuk's nVentix
Nunchuk's nVentix

The concept behind the Nunchuk golf shaft invariably raises questions.

After all, Nunchuk advocates one weight and one flex for all golfers. “That’s right,” said PGA professional Bryan Nicholson. “I will give you the same shaft whether you are a Tour player or a senior lady or senior man.”

And how can this possibly work?

Nicholson, head professional at Northwood Club in Dallas, Texas, has heard this question probably 1,000 times. “Flex is not a necessary element to get the golf ball in the air,” he explained. “Flex is not necessary to gain distance. I realize that other ...

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February 15, 2013 | 10:39 a.m.

Shaft Month: A call for industry standards

James Achenbach

Occasionally I am asked to speak to groups of golfers about golf equipment.

My opening comment is always the same: Do not compare your R shaft to somebody else’s R shaft; do not compare S shafts or X shafts or any shafts.

Why? Because the golf industry has no standards. Because one company’s R flex is another company’s S flex. Because the method of measuring shaft flex is different from one shaft manufacturer to another and one golf club manufacturer to another.

Don’t look to the U.S. Golf Association and R&A for help. Golf ...

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James Achenbach
Chris Hilleary is owner and president of Aerotech Golf.
Chris Hilleary is owner and president of Aerotech Golf.

Chris Hilleary is owner and president of Aerotech Golf, maker of composite SteelFiber golf shafts. These shafts are composed of separate layers of carbon fiber (graphite) and steel fiber. Hilleary, an engineer, ran Aerotech’s golf division before he bought the division nearly eight years ago.

For Shaft Month, he talked with Golfweek's James Achenbach and shared his thoughts on the evolution of composite shafts and their impact on the marketplace.

• • •

As the story goes, you bought Aerotech Golf on your own without help from any investors.

Hilleary: Yes, I leveraged everything I own. I refinanced our house. I ...

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February 11, 2013 | 12:25 p.m.

Shaft Month: Graphite gains momentum in irons

James Achenbach
Brandt Snedeker has been playing - and winning - with Aerotech's graphite iron shafts.
Brandt Snedeker has been playing - and winning - with Aerotech's graphite iron shafts.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Manufacturers of graphite iron shafts, citing exceptional feel and improved performance, are conspicuously bullish as they head into a new season.

Shaftmaker UST Mamiya showed up at last month’s Demo Day before the PGA Merchandise Show with 40 irons. That was it – 40 UST Recoil graphite shafts attached to a variety of 6-iron heads from major club manufacturers.

The point: UST is placing major emphasis this year on its new Recoil shaft for irons. The company believes it already has proved itself in the metalwood and hybrid arenas, and irons represent the last battleground between graphite and ...

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James Achenbach
Gawain Robertson, co-owner of shaftmaker Accra Premium Golf Shafts in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.
Gawain Robertson, co-owner of shaftmaker Accra Premium Golf Shafts in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Gawain Robertson, co-owner of shaftmaker Accra Premium Golf Shafts in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, may be the most straightforward person in the entire golf shaft industry.

Robertson was a touring pro for 16 years and a club pro for 9 years. In 2008, he and partner Dave Makarucha bought the Accra name from shaft manufacturer UST. Robertson is widely known as the man who makes driver and 3-wood shafts for former world No. 1 Luke Donald, although he appears to be just as concerned about amateur golfers as he is touring professionals.

And he is the first to tell amateur golfers ...

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James Achenbach
The True Temper Project X PXv 39
The True Temper Project X PXv 39

ORLANDO, Fla. - The quest for the high-performance, sub-40 driver shaft has fascinated golfers and shaft manufacturers in the era of lightweight graphite.

Sub-40, meaning less than 40 grams. For years, it has been golf’s version of the Holy Grail. It has been a dream but not a reality.

Such a shaft not only would have to meet the weight requirement, but also would have to be durable. It would have to produce penetrating drives that don’t balloon up in the air.

At the PGA Merchandise Show, which concluded Jan. 26, True Temper made a proclamation: “We have the ...

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James Achenbach
Fujikura MCI shaft
Fujikura MCI shaft

Editor's note: Often regarded as the engine of the golf club, modern shafts are marvels of science and technology. During Golfweek's Shaft Month, which begins today, we'll take an in-depth look at the category, including the latest innovations, the quest for "sub-40" and the battle of steel vs. graphite.

• • •

ORLANDO, Fla. – Dave Schnider is president and chief operating officer of golf shaft manufacturer Fujikura Composites America.

In addition to his business skills, Schnider is an excellent golfer who has qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship.

For Shaft Month, he sat down with Golfweek's James Achenbach ...

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