Greetings one and all!
A common topic of conversation across the vast and fathomless depths of the “interwebz” goes something like: “Ooooh, these Kusala shafts are shiny! What do they do?”. You know, aside from funny cat videos like this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lC2lbeY_rU.
So, some quick back story.
Long ago, in the mists of yore, there was talking about standardizing the golf shaft industry. This would have been nice as companies don’t even measure club length the same way let alone, flex, torque or the overall bend profiles. This never ended up happening as no one wanted to give up the way they did things for another method. What do this have to do with Miyazaki? Well, one thing we’ll talk about over and over again with them is flex signature. Miyazaki decided to try and go the path others rejected. They split a shaft into four zones, butt, middle top, middle bottom and tip. They then measure each area and assign a number between 1 and 9 to the section. 1 being the weakest flex and 9 being the stiffest. Then to try and give a guide as to how their offerings compare to the rest of the industry, they ran a number of offerings from other companies through. You can see some of these numbers in the Cleveland Golf custom catalogues or you can contact Miyazaki directly, they’re more then happy to help out.
The Line Up
The Kusala lineup is split into 5 offerings that vary in height and spin. From highest flight to lowest it runs White, Silver, Blue, Indigo, Black. Let’s look at each in turn.
The Kusala White is the highest launching and spinning shaft in the range. It’s weight ranges from 56 grams and goes all the way up to 83 grams, running from regular to X stiff depending on the weight (83 for example only comes in X stiff). The White line is characterized by a soft butt section, a very firm upper middle, firm lower middle and a soft tip. The purpose of this is to give it a lot of feel under the hands and throw the ball way up in the air via the soft tip section. The stiffer middle section keeps the overall shaft stable and allows one to direct all their swing energy into the ball without the shaft getting squirrely on them. Yes, squirrely. Super technical I know. Here it’s a reference to being unpredictable or producing unpredictable results which is the very last thing we want in a golf shaft.
Due to the softer butt section and tip, this is best suited to someone with a very, very smooth swing. If you get jerky or want to lean into one this isn’t for you. That being said, if you’re someone who swings extremely fast but in tempo all the time, this shaft will keep up with you. The softer tip also means it’s good for those with a earlier release along with those with a neutral or positive angle of attack into the ball.
The overall “kick point” is low.
The Kusala Silver drops launch a spin a touch from the White. It does this through a very well known flex profile by being stiff under the hands and the upper middle and then quite a bit softer through the lower middle and into the tip. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s likely because it’s making you think of a KBS Tour iron shaft. The design isn’t quite the same but it follows the overall guide lines. Thus it’s better for those who stay in tempo, want to through the ball in the air and really enjoy the feeling where the shaft just kicks through impact like a horse breaking down a barn wall.
Like the White it’s available in weights ranging from 56 grams up to 83 grams and flexes from regular to X stiff and it’s overall “kick point” is mid low.
The Kusala Blue is truly the middle of the road for this lineup. It’s very much a mid launch shaft but produces less spin then you would think given it’s launch. The height of the flight will be very familiar to someone who’s used something like a Blueboard or Tour AD DI in the past. This shaft doesn’t achieve the results the same way (nor the trapezoid flight of the Tour AD DI) but results for those without a high tempo will likely be similar.
How the Kusala Blue achieves this is to start with the Kusala Silver’s profile of stiff butt, stiff upper mid, soft lower mid and softer tip and then stiffen up the lower half of the shaft a half flex. They also bring the “kick point” of the shaft higher (I’ll have a huge thing later about how the term kick point isn’t as useful as it use to be later, but in the meantime look at it like this: the higher the kick point of the shaft, the lower the ball will launch. Swap that when someone says low kick point).
Along with the famous Blueboard, this is the baseline I and others think of when someone wants to talk about a mid launch shaft. It’s the Axis of the launch/spin graph for shafts that we’ll add sometime in the future.
So, who’s this good for? Someone with a tempo either side of average. If you’re pretty middle of the road tempo and release wise, this is a great option. If you vary just a bit on the side of quick or slow, you’re covered too. Same thing with release. This is definitely the every person option of the lineup. Everything else is specialized to someone, but nearly any one could adjust to this and produce good results.
As with all the others, weights range from 56 to 83 with flexes going from regular to X stiff.
The Kusala Indigo was a late addition to the Kusala line and fills a need that one of the others do. It’s unique in that it has a consistently flex code up and down the shaft. This makes it very one piece, a feeling some people call rebar. For those that like a rebar feeling shaft, they do so because their tempo and transition is really quick and very hard. None of the other shafts in the Kusala lineup like that kind of a swing, but for the Indigo, it’s the only type of swing that works for it.
Along with an aggressive tempo and transition, the ideal player for this shaft also has a late release and really snaps into the ball. For those types of players, you will be rewarded with a mid to low flight and spin rate. As you go up in weight, that flight will drop considerably.
Again, this shaft rolls from 56g to 83g in flexes from regular to X stiff with a mid-high “kick point”.
Finally we come to the lowest launching and spinning shaft of the bunch. It sits in rare company with such offerings as the M3 lineup from Matrix, the Tour Prototype from Oban and the X.2 line from Fujikura. All produce a very low launch and very low spin for the golfer who creates too much of both on their own.
The Kusala Black does this with a very classic profile. The butt section is very soft compared to the rest of the shaft. This is to give it feel and allow for those who aggressively load a shaft on the downswing to use it. The upper middle of the shaft stiffens up quite considerably to the tune of a whole flex vs the butt section. The lower half of the shaft stiffens up a half flex more then that. This creates a ultra stable tip section that allows the stronger golfer to deliver the club head exactly where they want with as much speed and force as possible. Unlike the Indigo, you don’t need a very quick transition, but it should certainly be a strong one. Think of the player here who takes the club back slow and almost pauses at the top of their backswing but then brings the club down hard and extremely fast. That coupled with a very late release is the player who’s going to get the most out of this offering.
You’ll find that among such players the Kusala Black is a firm favorite of many of them because it offers the extremely stable shaft they’re looking for, but at the same time maintains a really good feel that’s enjoyable to hit.
Weights here range from 61 grams to 83 and run from regular to X stiff. The “kick point” is high.
I hope that’s satisfied your curiosity both about funny cat videos and the Kusala lineup. It’s not a brand spanking new lineup, but it’s one that has a lot to offer and can give a well fitted golfer a lot of bang for their buck.
I will also mention that while they aren’t standard in North America, there is a Kusala Kena lineup that’s worth a look for some. What they’ve done with the Kusala Kena lineup is two fold. First, the changed the paint scheme to a red and white one. Secondly they monkeyed with the balance point of the shaft. It’s been raised higher, ala counter balanced. Thus making them a good choice for those who prefer counter balanced offerings (think KBS and Project X players) as well as those who like to play a heavier shaft and a driver where the head is heavier then normal (like say the Taylormade SLDR). Having a counter balanced shaft with that shaft being heavier then standard and that head will allow it to be built at standard lengths but without a really heft swing weight. Definitely worth a look via your Miyazaki dealer or through JDM markets.
Stay tuned, same Tuna Time same Finny channel as we’ve got many more reviews queued up to help you find the best products for your game.
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