Once upon a time in Japan there were two brothers. They both loved golf and wanted to help others get better but they despaired of being able to do so. Neither could teach very well and there were already many great Golf Ninja Instructors across the land. Once their despair reached unfathomable depths they decided the only way to move past this proverbial boulder was to take a pilgrimage to the Lake of Tears. They reasoned that if it could make a crazy Panda into a Kung Fu Master, perhaps it could clear their mind to find the solution they were looking for.
Trekking for minutes if not a whole hour, they arrived amongst the Cherry Tree’s and sank into peaceful tranquillity.
Upon reflection, both came to the realization that the swing wasn’t the golfers current problem, it was the shaft. As they were not using the correct shaft for their finely honed swing, they simply could not deliver the club to the ball properly. Thus did both brothers leave to start their own shaft companies. For this review, we’ll only deal with one of them. That brother started Nippon shafts.
Actual Introduction to Nippon Shafts
Nippon shafts, if you were not aware is one of the premier steel shaft makers in Japan. Though, they are also branching out into graphite shafts as well for woods, but that’s a discussion for another day. This review is to talk about their brand new offering, the Nippon Zelos7.
From the very beginning, Nippon has had a strong offering for the golfer who requires a lighter steel shaft to get the most from their swing. They were amongst the first to create a sub 100 gram stable steel shaft which you know today as the NS Pro 950. Taking that a step farther, they also created the NS Pro 850 and 750 for golfers who still want a steel shaft but want something with less weight.
The NS Pro 750 has been wildly popular, but often garnered funny looks. The top of the shaft has a black weave on it which helped keep the upper part of the shaft stable in the swing. And to Nippon, aesthetics seem to be fairly important.
In the past few years, we’ve seen them use a different type of steel, called Spring steel. This different material is the back bone of the popular Modus3 Tour 120 and 130 offerings.
So finally, to the Zelos7. This shaft is a combination of better aesthetics that the NS Pro 750 lacked, uses the new spring steel technology which is called NZNS60 and the same dedication to give the golfer the best performing shaft they can at the lowest weight they can.
The first glance of this shaft is stunning. The different steel really makes the chrome colour of it pop at a distance but not in a way that will blind you at address. The blue logo and text is small and tastefully designed so as to not be distracting in the swing.
Like the NS Pro series it’s designed for the smooth swinger in mind. Someone with a low and slow back swing who almost pauses at the top to set themselves before beginning the down swing. The shaft steadily loses stiffness from the butt to the tip finishing in a soft tip to really let it kick into the ball. Though unlike the NS Pro 750, the feeling here is a bit different. Instead of flowing through the ball like water you can feel it kick right through, it’s a very bright feeling but not snappy or hard. Just assertive, letting you know you delivered a quality strike.
Like the Modus3 offerings, aside from the weight, the thing that really stands out here is the dispersion. For a light weight shaft, the dispersion is really quite something to behold. Yes, you can get it offline and bent it either way, but with a consistently smooth strike it wants to do the same thing again and again. If the ball moves offline, well, I’m afraid it won’t be the shaft you’ll have to blame. On average, testers tightened up their dispersion vs the NS Pro 750 by 4 yards/12 feet. 12 feet is enough to go from an outright 2 putt to a passable chance at a long bird.
The other point that really has to be touched on is the height of the flight. If you can believe it, this produces an even higher flight then the NS Pro 750. We saw an average increase in peak height of 3.6 yards, which equated to about another 6ish yards of carry per iron. The ball wants to get up in a hurry and just go. For those looking for a higher flight, well, I’ve never hit an iron shaft that sent the ball higher then this. As some of my British friends would say, “It does what it says on the Tin”.
Another benefit over the wrap tech that the NS pro 750 sports is that this is less expensive to build and thus the shaft to us, the buying public, is also significantly less expensive, which is nice.
Currently the Zelos7 shafts are offered in 5-W length only, giving us raw build lengths from 37″ to 35″ and come in three flex options R2, R and S, weighing 73.5g/74g/77.5g respectively. Each holds a 51.9% balance point as well. What this means is that the balance point is more towards the hands, so you feel more weight of the shaft. Think of something like the NS Pro 950 or a KBS Tour, both of those have the same balance point (where as something like a Dynamic Gold goes the opposite direction) as the Zelos7.
If one wants the R2 shaft, keep in mind that they’re listed as made to order currently, so you might have a bit of a wait to get them. Though if these are the shafts for you, the wait is definitely worth it.
So, lets review what we get. We get an ultra light shaft that’s incredibly stable at a cost effective price. Did someone just hear that chattering? I believe that was light weight graphite iron shafts shaking nervously. If you’re a smooth swinger who needs or prefers a light weight shaft, these must be on your list. Even if you’re a current NS Pro 750 user, I think the different feel and the added height you can get from the Zelos 7 makes going to find them and give them a hit or 50 a worth while time investment.
I’m sure many of you are curious as to how I go through testing iron shafts. For this, and future reviews here are the standards.
I use myself and 6 other golfers ranging in handicap from 0.2 to 24 with 6 iron swing speeds from 78mph to 90mph. Everyone uses Cobra Pro CB iron’s currently. I use this particular head because it launches low for it’s loft and produces more ball speed then most forged CB iron heads. This allows both myself and the other testers to really highlight changes in launch angle, peak height and ball spin.
All data is done from a Foresight GC2 monitor. I also frequently do checks against the data with Trackman as well to ensure everything is in sync between them. Outright shanks are removed from the data or something like the tester slipping. Everything else is in.
All irons are built following a 38″ 5 iron progression, D2 swing weight and I adjust the lie angle for the golfer as required (standard, -2, +1 for my standard test group).
Have your Say
Have you tried these shafts out yet? Perhaps at the PGA show or on a trip to Japan?
Let any and all comments rip.
By Super Tuna