True Temper's new PX prototype shaft. (Jonathan Wall/PGATOUR.COM)
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — True Temper unveiled a new PX prototype driver shaft this week at the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind that has a higher launch and moderately higher spin rate than the original Project X and Project X Black graphite driver shafts.
The shaft also features a weave pattern in the middle of the shaft that's significantly softer than previous Project X graphite models and acts as a loading zone on the downswing.
"The new PX prototype is still butt and tip stiff like the other Project X graphite shafts," said Simon Wilson, True Temper's PGA and European Tour manager. "The big difference is in the center of the shaft. By softening the middle, you're able to release more energy into the ball and increase ball speed."
True Temper had players testing three PX prototype models early in the week — 55- and 65-gram versions in a 7.0 flex and a 55-gram in a 6.0 flex. The new shaft is also slightly lighter — 3-7 grams depending on the flex — than Project X and Project X Black.
While the weights and shaft flexes offered are common for Project X's line, the addition of multiple loading zone options for each shaft could be the biggest game-changer of all.
If you look closely at the photo of the PX prototype, you'll notice some numbers below the shaft name. The "LZ 18" on this particular model denotes a loading zone that's 18 inches from the butt end of the shaft. There's also an "LZ 16" that has a loading zone that's 16 inches from the butt end of the shaft.
Of course, matching the loading zone to your swing type is critical if you want to synch everything up. According to Wilson, players with slower swing speeds would most likely want to go with the "LZ 16," because the loading zone is closer to the butt end for easy shaft loading.
Players with faster swing speeds would likely want to go with a 7.0 that's 18 inches from the butt end and slight closer to the tip. The higher speed players need a lower loading zone so the shaft doesn't load too early during the downswing.
True Temper hasn't figured out retail shaft weights and loading zones for the new PX prototype, but the company is hoping TOUR feedback over the coming weeks and months allows them to make a final decision on retail shaft options in the near future.
George McNeill was one of the first to test out the new shaft at TPC Southwind and had True Temper reps put a 7.0 55-gram PX prototype in his 9-degree Cleveland XL Custom driver on Tuesday.