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In the recent MyGolfSpy.com “Golf’s Most Wanted Driver” equipment test, manufacturers were asked to submit “stock shafts” available for off-the-rack retail purchase. In the forum during the equipment testing, along with all the comments during the announcements, the majority of the topics were about the necessity to custom fit.
PowerBilt submitted the Air Force One DF with the Motore F-3 OEM shaft from Fujikura. We clearly understood going in that the Motore F-3 is an outstanding performance shaft for the AFO DF, head but we also knew it does not fit every swing. The test results from the MGS testing were quite favorable for Air Force One ranking in the top five in two categories. Digging further into the numbers revealed even more impressive numbers for PowerBilt in the Ball Speed, Smash Factor and Spin Rates. The numbers basically fell into line with the results we have tested over the past year. Once again, it tells the story for custom fitting.
With “Nitrogen Charged Technology,” we realized a very hot and forgiving face. Results were faster ball speed, controlled spin and tighter dispersion or accuracy. Since the introduction of Air Force One we have experienced great results when the shaft has fit the golfer. Results were just fair when the shaft did not fit.
It is spoken that the shaft is the engine, however our test proved that the nitrogen could be the engine.
The only problem was that we were limited in fitting. After further testing with multiple shafts and characteristics we discovered we could create the winning situation with a majority of golfers and compete head to head with golf’s biggest club makers on performance.
We agree with MGS that robotic testing tells only part of the story. We don’t all swing like a machine, and a machine cannot comment on feel, look etc. In 2012 we went out to 10 markets with a pilot custom-fitting program with a combination of over 20 shafts that were chosen based on robotic testing with the Air Force One DF head. Now was the real test to see actual performance. Through this pilot program, we settled on a dozen shafts in the premium shaft market and now have expanded our offering due to demand for ultra-premium shafts that are more in line with tour-performance-type shafts.
Through these options, incorporated with “Nitrogen Charged Technology,” we have proven that we can create the optimum combination that will out-perform the competition hands down. Although there are many nuances we definitely see patterns that assist in creating the best fit.
The key elements in fitting are to create the optimum launch angle, spin rate and ball speed. These variables change with swing speed, angle, path etc. What we have found is that the variable in swing speed within a given flex has a profound effect on which shaft works the best. The industry standard for flex in swing speeds is as follows:
70 – 80 Light Shaft
80 – 90 Regular Shaft
90 – 100 Stiff Shaft
100+ X shaft
Once swing speed is established, we narrow the selection down to the following shafts.
70–80 Light shaft
Fujikura Blur 47 gram LT Flex High Launch
Graphite Design 49 gram LT Flex High Launch
Aldila NVS 55 gram LT Flex Mid Launch
On the low end of the scale, we find the Blur to offer the best distance and launch angle. On the high end, the Graphite design was a bit more stable showing the best results. Aldila NV or NVS provided better results for golfers with a high launch angle. The NVS helped bring the ball flight down to the optimum angle.
80–90 Regular Shaft
Fujikura Blur 48 gram R Flex High Launch
Graphite Design 59 gram R Flex Mid Launch
Aldila NVS 55 gram R Flex Mid Launch
Fujikura Motore F-3 61 gram R Flex Mid Launch
Once again we found the Blur best fit the swing speed closer to 80 miles an hour and the Graphite Design best fit as you moved up closer to the 90 mph swing speed. Although the F-3 is a heavier, stronger shaft, we have found this shaft to be more accurate, which also came through on the MGS testing. A bit of distance was lost, but fairways hit increased dramatically.
90–100 Stiff Shaft
Graphite Design 68 gram S Flex Mid-to-Low Launch
Fujikura Motore F-3 61 gram S Flex Mid-to-Low Launch
Aldila Rip Alpha 63 gram S Flex Low Launch
Reduced spin rates become more important in the higher swing speeds. The Graphite Design performs best closer to 90 mph swing speed. We also found the Motore F-3 in a regular shaft had low spin rates at these swing speeds. As we move up to 100 mph, the Motore F-3 consistently tested well with launch angle and spin rates, while the Aldila Rip Alpha produced even lower launch angles and spin rates when needed.
100+ X shaft
Fujikura Motore F-3 61 gram X Flex Mid – Low Launch
Aldila Rip Alpha 63 gram X Flex Low Launch
In the premium category, the Motore F-3 and the Rip Alpha have proven to be stout shafts controlling the spin rate and launch angle along with producing outstanding smash factor and ball speed. Since our custom-fitting program has been developed, we have turned heads with results – not only in performance, but also in value. The previous shafts we have reviewed are all comparably priced and now, based on consumer demand, we have moved into testing ultra-premium shafts for the stronger, higher swing speeds. We have found the materials used to produce the torque and launch angle in these shafts due benefit the higher swing speeds and are worth the investment. At this time, we have added the following ultra premium shafts to our line and are continually testing additional shafts to see how they fit with the Air Force One “Nitrogen Charged Technology”:
Fujikura Motore Speeder 7.2
Mitsubishi Diamana 62
Misubishi Fubuki 70
Oban Revolution 6 & 7
Stay tuned. We’ll report results when we get sufficient data.Read more
Powerbilt® 77-725 Enfield Lane, Suite 100 Palm Desert, CA 92211 p.888-488-4653 f.760-772-5858