Fujikura Axiom brings Ventus driver shaft tech to an iron shaft
The technology behind the most popular driver shafts in golf, the Fujikura Ventus and Ventus TR, is now coming to the company’s latest series of iron shafts. And while that may sound like a fairly obvious next step, it wasn’t.
The new Fujikura Axiom will be available in three weights, a lightweight 75-gram option, a tour-weight 125-gram option and a 105-gram version that aligns with the weight where the majority of steel shafts are gravitating toward. The difference, of course, is that Axiom is a graphite shaft and it features the company’s proprietary VeloCore technology that fuels its popular Ventus driver shafts. VeloCore refers to the way multiple high-stability carbon fibers are oriented in the tip section. On the driver shafts, it’s done in a way to reduce twistinng in the head that essentially enhances how stable the head is on off-center hits. That reduced twisting is designed to create more solid impacts combined with a tighter downrange dispersion.
Now those sound like great attributes to inject into an iron shaft, but there’s one problem: Driver shafts are attached to clubheads that ideally don’t hit the ground during the swing. Iron shafts have to deal with the effects of turf interaction pretty much every time. That is not an insignificant challenge, said Fujikura’s Marshall Thompson, and it’s why the development behind Axiom took a solid two years. It’s where having the company’s Enso system, the high-speed camera-based motion capture and digital analytics tool was vital in learning the unique demands on an iron shaft.
“Our engineers spent a lot of time just trying to figure out the best way to measure what’s happening to a shaft on an iron impact,” he said. “We had to invest in 3D printer just to figure out how to do this. There's so much more violence because of ground turf interaction.”
The Enso system was designed to understand how changes in the bending stiffness of particular sections of a shaft would affect ballflight. Adding how bending stiffness might also be affected by the ground was another element, but the learnings produced knowledge that the long irons generally interact with the turf differently than short irons. Long irons are less forceful because it’s more of a sweeping stroke, while short irons are more direct with the ground because of their steeper attack angle.
It helped having success with a Ventus hybrid shaft on tour, of course, but another key was building the Axiom as three separate blanks within the same set of iron shafts. Essentially, there’s a blank for the long irons, for the middle irons and for the short irons. Each is designed for the flight and typical turf interaction requirements of those three types of clubs. One big result was keeping the shafts at a constant weight for a similar feel throughout.
“We've always known that graphite is easier on the body, especially in damping vibration,” Thompson said. “But I think Axiom works for some of the same things we’ve seen with Ventus. It’s the consistency is where I think that you're going to find this shaft excel.”
Aside from repeatability, though, the Axiom, particularly in the average golfer friendly 75-gram and 105-gram weights, targets a slightly elevated flight.
“In an equipment world where the golf ball doesn't really spin anymore and clubs further reduce spin, it’s hard to create spin,” he said. “So having a shaft that gives you a little more launch, a little more peak height, and a little more descending angle is going get you better, more consistent results.”
Axiom will be available at retail in March in three weights and multiple flexes: 125 grams ($125 per shaft), 105 grams ($115) and 75 grams ($105).