If you thought the ultralight phenomenon was strictly for drivers, you better think again. Two new shafts available this year might make you want to consider upgrading your hybrids soon. Those two shafts (in alphabetical order to show no favoritism) are the Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue with Speedcoat and the UST MP5 Hybrid Lite and both shocked me as how well they performed.
Comparison amongst the typical hybrid shaft
If you look at the majority of hybrid-specific shafts on the market today, they will tip the scales at 85, 95 and even 105 grams. Both the Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue with Speedcoat and the UST MP5 Hybrid Lite are in the low 60 gram range meaning once cut to normal playing length will weigh about the same as an ordinary grip. To be truthful when the manufacturers came out with them, I kind of scoffed feeling they will be just too light for the average player to control. After all, the shaft that I had been using in my hybrids was close to 100g.
|Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue Hybrid Speedcoat Graphite||#GRFMSCBHY||$37.99 each|
|UST-Mamiya MP5 Hybrid Graphite||#USTMP5HY||$44.99 each|
I should start out by stating both of these shafts are not for full sets of hybrids like our Acer XDS React or perennial best sell Power Play Select 5000, but primarily for the #2, 3, 4 and 5 hybrids. A quick look at the trimming instruction should tip you off since you don’t see trimming option for the higher lofts. But this is usually true with whichever hybrid-specific shaft you find on the market since those seem to be the only ones the major name brand club manufacturer’s offer.
I shafted these with two older Acer XP905 hybrids I had squirreled away as the heads have identical specification to conduct testing in a scientific way as possible. One item to point out is assembly lengths. Since these shafts are a good 20g lighter than the typical hybrid shaft you have a couple choices to make regarding assembly. One, you can add weight to the head to achieve a normal swingweight or you can do as I did and assemble them ½” longer as I prefer a slightly longer club to begin with. Also, to offset the lightness of the shaft, I made sure to build the clubs with a slightly heavier swingweight to give me a sense of where the club was rather having a feather in my hands.
Tale of the Tape
To give you a little better insight on the playing characteristics, here is the information we publish in our annual Shaft Fitting Addendum.
As you can see, the DSFI (our rating system to tell how stiff a shaft is relative to others) were both fairly close to one another. But upon closer inspection, you can clearly understand there is a lot of difference on how they got there. The ProLaunch Blue is a little more tip heavy than the MP5 that will cause a higher swingweight with else being equal. But the major difference is stiffness / torque relationship. The ProLaunch Blue is a very low frequency / low torque design while the MP5 must utilize more longitudinal to increase the stiffness rather than for torque reduction.
The Grafalloy had a little more kick and produced more of a draw biased flight path (which I like and comes in handy from time to time). The best I can describe it was smooth and yet as light and flexible as it was provided a very predictable and controllable ball flight. The hybrid I had it in featured a semi-offset hosel. If I would have placed it in a non-offset hybrid such as our Acer XF and I bet the ball flight would have been dead straight.
There is a stiffer tipped version from Grafalloy called the ProLaunch Red with Speedcoat which I did not try yet as I haven’t fared well with stiffer tipped shafts in the past but might have with that particular hybrid and hosel configuration. It is slightly heavier than the Blue, but still far lighter than any other lower launching hybrid shaft available today.
The MP5 shaft in combination with the hybrid I used had a firmer feel as you can expect, but even with the high torque, the ball flight was remarkable straight and high too. With a shaft almost half the weight I was using, I was able to produce the same results with very little effort on my part.
No longer am I going to scoff at using such lightweight shafts in a hybrid as both of the shafts have been part of my rotation since the early spring when I first conducted the experiment. No longer are shafts this light relegated for slower swinging ladies and senior men. The shaft manufacturers have figured out how to lessen the weight and provide a performance-based shaft for average golfers like myself. The best part about these two shafts – they are affordable too.