What's the biggest misconception about golf shafts?
There are many misconceptions about golf shafts but the biggest misconception about shafts are that golfers feel they can match a swing speed to a flex. Here at Fujikura, for instance, we might have a shaft that produces a high ballflight, and inversely some that produce flatter, lower ballflights, but they can have the same flex designation. Swing speed is just a small part of the equation, and that's why getting fit is so crucial to golfers at every level.
Why do people need to be fitted for shafts? Why not play with an "off-the-rack" driver?
First of all, it's no secret that PGA Tour professionals don't use an off-the-rack driver. Every player, at any skill level, can be optimized for the perfect launch and optimal spin with the ability for more consistent center-face shots. It's the same reason why you don't buy a suit off the rack–it won't fit your body properly unless you get it tailored. You should do the same thing with your golf equipment–get them tailored to your swing profile for optimal performance.
What's the most significant recent technical change in shaft design and how has it impacted performance?
The ability to make super-lightweight shafts using new material technologies such as TeXtreme and new state-of-the-art design technologies. The result is fairway wood shafts that weigh in the 40- to 50-gram range but have the stiffness and durability characteristics of 70- to 80-gram graphite shafts. Golfers are now hitting the ball farther than ever before but still keeping it in the fairway.
Will we ever see graphite shafts become the norm in iron sets?
Slowly but surely, graphite in irons is becoming more and more popular. We believe our graphite iron shafts are superior in overall performance at every skill level compared to steel shafts. We have dabbled a bit with Tour players and have had some great success, especially on the Champions Tour, which is a similar path taken for graphite wood shaft popularity a couple decades ago. Once the economy truly starts to improve and unemployment reaches normal levels, I think golfers will start seeking better performance in their irons, and graphite iron shafts will grow rapidly.
What's new this year?
2011 is becoming a Blur! We're extremely excited to introduce Blur, "The Fastest Shaft in Golf." Blur has a very unique look with three distinct innovative technologies. Blur features our proprietary Phantium finish, which allows the shaft cosmetics to be up to 70% lighter. It also features TeXtreme, the thinnest, lightest carbon interweave ever used in a golf shaft. Finally, it features CAGE technology, a trade secret design technique where weight is removed from the shaft without disrupting its stiffness and durability integrity. The result is a shaft designed to accelerate faster and to generate greater swing speeds without compromising the solid and controllable feel typically absent in lightweight shafts.
Visit fujikuragolf.com to find one of over 600 Fujikura charter dealers. The company also has recently opened their Fujikura Fit-On Studio, in Vista, Calif. If you're in the San Diego area, make an appointment to get fit by their professional staff.