Ernie Els wasn’t paid to stick Recoil Prototype graphite shafts in his irons. He did it as an experiment and tied for third at the Macau Open in China in October.
UST Mamiya makes the Recoil Prototype. To complete the Recoil project, it almost seemed that UST Mamiya engineers locked themselves in a laboratory and emerged months later with a solution.
The result, said UST vice president and shaft designer Mike Guerrette, is the company finally mastered the ovaling process. During the golf swing, a shaft changes shape.
“We know a steel shaft does that (he makes an oval with his fingers) and a graphite shaft doesn’t,” he said. “OK, finally we got the graphite shaft to oval like the steel shaft. Players could feel the difference.
“Composite (graphite) shafts in the past haven’t performed (as judged by touring pros). And they tended to feel harsh or hard. Feel is all about torque (the twisting of the shaft during the swing). It’s 90 percent torque (the more the torque, the better the feel).
“We’ve been able to kind of loosen up the torque and put feel back in the shaft and still keep the flex profile relatively stiff.”
Guerrette, a scratch golfer, knows what he wants in a shaft. He offered this tip to all golfers: “Go hit punch shots with your irons. If the shaft feels like it’s going to rip your fingers off, you don’t want that shaft. I will tell you absolutely that the Recoil doesn’t do that. The feel is unbelievably good.”
The Recoil Prototype is made with 19 layers of carbon-fiber material and is offered in 18 combinations of weight, flex and torque.
Guerrette claimed ball speed will increase slightly with Recoil, but the real benefit is consistent performance and feel.
With Recoil Prototype shafts available from a network of certified dealers and club fitters, consumers are talking about the shaft. Now, though, they have two Recoil shafts to discuss.
A new shaft called Recoil joined Recoil Prototype on Jan. 1.
What’s the difference between the $113 Recoil Prototype and the $45 Recoil? In a word: launch.
Recoil Prototype is designed for a low-to-mid launch, while Recoil is designed for a mid-to-mid-high launch.
The feel is the same, said UST Mamiya marketing manager Danny Le, stressing that feel was a central theme from the start of the Recoil project.
Both shafts are available in the 95- to 125-gram range.
“I’m very finicky about what I play with,” Guerrette said. “I grew up with steel. I was a late-comer to the graphite arena. I had to be convinced.
“I see more and more Tour players testing it, and I’m not surprised at all. This is the future of golf shafts.”