Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki AXIn the last decade, shafts have become as important to the performance of a golf club as tires are to a race car. Lightweight materials, different profiles, and adjustability have golfers looking at shafts as a way to increase distance and accuracy. If the shafts in your irons and woods don't fit your swing's DNA, then your game is going to hit a wall.
One thing that's also changed over the past decade is the number of shaft options available to the consumer. There are as many different shaft brands now as there are equipment manufacturers. To get a handle on them all check out this list.
2 of 13Accra Golf Shafts
ACCRA Tour Z, Z+
A synthetic fiber, Kevlar wrap is inserted deep into the tip section of these shafts to increase head stability, while the constant taper design (from butt to tip) helps transfer more energy to the ball for greater distance. The Tour Z+ offers a more stable tip section and is recommended for those players with higher clubhead speeds, while the Z has a more responsive tip section, making it a good choice for the fairway woods.
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Last year's money winner on the PGA Tour, Matt Kuchar, played the SteelFiber i95 Taper Tip Constant Weight shafts in his 4-iron through pitching wedge. These composite iron shafts feature a highly rigid graphite core laced with more than 59 miles of micro-thin steel fiber. The result is a shaft that performs like graphite (in terms of distance) while providing the control and accuracy of steel.
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Aldila had more wood shafts in play on the PGA Tour last year than any other graphite manufacturer. The RIP series includes the low-launching Alpha, mid-launch Beta and low-to-mid launch Gamma. The Alpha features two lower-spinning, tip-stiff hybrid shafts (85 grams and 105 grams), while the Beta features a softer tip flex for a slightly higher launch. Gamma has a higher balance point, which allows fitters to create a conventional swing weight with heavier heads.
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As its name indicates, these lightweight shafts are designed to move very fast without sacrificing feel. Blur, which stands for “Beyond Light, Ultra-Responsive,” uses a carbon-weaving process to enhance feel and responsiveness while also providing optimal stiffness. Saving every last ounce of weight, Fujikura's Phantium Finish is 70 percent lighter than standard paint.
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Graphite Design G Series
Graphite Design graphite wood shafts have been No. 1 on the Japan Tour every year since 2003.The company's proprietary Material Stiffness Integration (MSI) technology combines several different materials of varying thickness and fiber volume to help reduce vibration and enhance feel. The graphite fibers are evenly distributed to promote exceptional balance and stability, a low- to-mid-launch angle, and mid-ball spin.
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The iron shaft of choice for 2011 Players champion K.J. Choi, the KBS Tour features a very firm butt and tip section to control spin and create penetrating ball flight. The step profile helps maximize energy (and distance) by making each shaft perform like a whip as it loads and unloads during the swing. The newer KBS C-Taper shaft, introduced in May, targets players with faster swings. In independent robot tests, the C-Taper produced 5 percent less spin and as much as 10 yards more distance than the KBS Tour.
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Matrix Reign III
This sub-40-gram shaft is designed for slower swingers who need help getting the ball airborne but don't want to sacrifice control and stability. The high-spin, high-launch shaft features a unique paint (the same pigment can be found in current U.S. currency) that changes color in sunlight. The Reign III comes in 37- and 39-gram weights, and in senior, regular and stiff flexes.
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Mitsubishi Rayon Fubuki AX
The AX Hybrid Series of shafts were introduced earlier this year to complement Mitsubishi's fairway woods and driver shafts, providing golfers with the ability to perfectly match their sets. The AX Hybrid uses high performance carbon fibers to deliver a more penetrating, flat trajectory, while the AX Fairway Wood promotes a higher launch and longer carry distance.
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These sub-60-gram ultralight shafts put the "light" in the 2011 Launcher series of Cleveland drivers, which includes the Launcher XL270, SL290 and TL310. The lightest of them all is the mid-trajectory C.Kua 39, which is the standard offering in the XL270. It's designed for players with a smooth transition while the C.Kua 43 has a larger butt section and plays a bit stiffer. The C.Kua 59 is the most stable and promotes a slight fade-bias.
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The company’s fastest-growing shaft uses an Emersion Wrapped Frequency (EWF) process that combines high-modulus composite materials and ultra-thin carbon fiber sheets to promote higher-launching, lower-spinning shots. The Kiyoshi wood shafts come as light as 45 grams and advance up to 85 grams; there is also a slightly heavier Kiyoshi Hybrid shaft, Oban's first 100-gram offering for utility clubs.
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Project X Graphite
These popular low-spinning wood shafts are the choice of 2011 Open Championship winner Darren Clarke, Retief Goosen and Justin Rose. They have layers of fiber positioned in a circular fashion to add strength and stability, while each tip is reinforced to help reduce spin by as much as 500 rpm.
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UST Mamiya ATTAS T2
Longer than the original ATTAS, this second-generation carbon fiber shaft uses extremely thin, low resin materials to create a flat flex profile that removes the bending feeling so common with graphite shafts. The result is a consistently smooth feeling from start to finish that helps golfers transfer maximum energy to the ball. The tapered design and stiff shaft tip also help to stabilize the head at impact for better accuracy.
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