By Russ Ryden, A Golf Digest America’s 100 Best Clubfitter Fit2Score, Dallas Fort Worth, Texas
A box of the new Oban ISAWA shafts arrived and as I was preparing them for measurement I was wondering just where Oban would go with a new design. They already have 5 shafts in the premium Kiyoshi family covering a wide range of profiles . They have the the Devotion in the in the high mid price range and the Revenge in the lower mid price range. Just what was the ISAWA going to bring to the party. The first thing I noticed was the MSRP, $199. Putting it in the same price range as the Devotion and the Revenge. It is a different profile from all the other Oban shafts. I see the typical Oban shaft to have been soft mid in relation to butt and tip. In the Oban line of shafts there are many variations on both ends. The ISAWA is the first of the Oban family to be mid stiff as seen below.
Radial quality of these shafts averaged 98.9% with a 0.6% standard deviation. Like most quality shafts being brought to market for use in rotating hosels, orientation of this shaft will not matter. One might say that this shaft is in conformance with the USGA rules of golf, Appendix II, Rule 2b, Bending and Twisting Properties of the shaft:
“At any point along its length, the shaft must: (i) bend in such a way that the deflection is the same regardless of how the shaft is rotated about its longitudinal axis; and (ii) twist the same amount in both directions.”
The ISAWA is slightly high balanced, the 70 gram version more than the 60 gram version. Torque is in the range of most shafts at this price point. A little higher than one would see in premium models, but certainly in the range of playable for most. Overall stiffness is inline with averages. The review samples I measured showed the over flex of the different weight models to be the same regardless of weight. This is atypical. Most shafts get stiffer as weight increases. For example, the 60 04 would be stiffer than the 50 04. That is not the case with the Oban Isawa driver shafts. The 70 gram model have a slightly stiffer tip and higher balance than the 50 and 60 gram shafts.
This profile is a classic low launch design. I do not do comparisons between brands here. But, I know this profile. It is new for Oban, but it is not new in the business. This is a great addition to the design matrix offered by Oban fitters.