The engine of the golf club

The new MP-650 Driver from Mizuno

I recently tested the new MP-650 driver from Mizuno Golf – the same company that has been long regarded as one of the best designers of irons in the golf industry in terms of design, feel, and playability. Its newest entry into the driver and metal woods market follows right along with the fantastic characteristics of their irons. The club head is not over designed; the clean pear shaped head will appeal to most good players.

But my concerns are not with the club head, rather with the stock shaft that is shipped with the club. Like all major club manufacturers, a partnership is formed with a shaft company to specifically design a shaft that will complement the club head’s design. This, however, typically works only with the average golfer.

The stock shaft that comes in the new MP-650 driver is the Fujikura Orochi. In this particular club I used the 9.5 degree, 65 gram stiff shaft. According Mizuno, the Orochi shaft (named after a Japanese mythical dragon) has similar playing characteristics as Mitsubishi Rayon’s Diamana blue shaft. After playing the driver for a few weeks, I do not completely agree with this assessment. I have tried the Diamana blue shaft in other clubs and the playing characteristics are not at all similar.

I found that the Orochi shaft played much softer and lighter than advertised. I generated too much spin which resulted in a ball flight that was much too high for my tastes.  I typically generate club head speeds between 110-120 mph on average, for my swing and desired ball flight trajectory, perhaps the shaft was too light and perhaps too weak, particularly in the tip section of the club where I felt too much movement.

I recently re-shafted the golf club with the new Accra DyMatch 2.0 stiff MT 70 gram shaft. I immediately noticed the difference. I could actually feel the golf club, and at impact the shaft loaded and unloaded properly there was no give or feeling of weakness on the downswing. The ball flight also flattened back out as the shaft characteristics took spin away resulting in a more piercing flight.

For a consumer, finding a new golf club is always difficult. Often the extent of the search does not go much farther than the aesthetics and distance gained. It has been offered that the golf shaft is the true “engine” of the golf club. If that’s the case, it’s essential that before a consumer chooses a new driver, he or she test the club and experience the results for themselves on the driving range or golf course.

 This is even more essential than simply walking into the nearest golf store and testing on a swing monitor. Despite what the computer generated numbers register, it does not replace “real” on-course conditions. If I had not played with the new Mizuno MP-650 driver, I would not have the depth of playing experience to gauge whether the club and shaft combination are in alignment with my playing capabilities and desires.

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