October 8 2013
By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
Since it debuted in early 2008 as a prototype, Fubuki Tour has been one of Mitsubishi Rayon's most successful shafts, recording multiple wins on the PGA TOUR and European Tour.
Over the last few years, Mitsubishi has built on the success of the Fubuki Tour — Fubuki means "white out" or "blizzard" in Japanese — with the introduction of Fubuki Alpha in 2010, a shaft that employed the same Modulus Differential Technology (M.D.T.) in the tip section as the Fubuki Tour, with a new application of the M.D.T. along the length of the shaft that increased torsional stability.
Fubuki K, the shaft Phil Mickelson used in his Callaway X Hot 3Deep when he won The Open Championship earlier this year, was added to the line in 2012. The shaft featured a softer butt end and a stiffer mid to tip section, the same M.D.T. as Tour and Alpha, and a new metal weaved core that provided an efficient and powerful energy transfer.
Fubuki Tour has evolved over the years, but the original shaft has remained a part of the Fubuki series. That will change at the end of this year, when Mitsubishi discontinues the Fubuki Tour and replaces it with two new shafts — Fubuki ZT and Fubuki Z.
Fubuki ZT and Fubuki Z have been in the works for the last year-plus and feature third generation M.D.T. As opposed to the original Fubuki Tour that was designed around the 70x version and had the same M.D.T. materials in the other weights and flexes, the next generation M.D.T. in the tip section of Fubuki ZT and Z has different fiber strength, length and performance characteristics — in very specific locations and patterns in the tip-section — that create unique launch and spin characteristics for each weight and flex.
"The idea was to come up with a shaft that had similar performance characteristic as Fubuki Tour from a launch and spin standpoint," said Mark Gunther, Mitsubishi Rayon's director of sales. "From a bend profile, we based it off Fubuki Alpha. What we then did was instead of just having the same combination of materials in the tip section for all weights and flexes, we modified the modulus, or the strength and combination of the material, based on the weight and flex. It delivers similar performance characteristics for players with different swing speeds."
Varying the application, length and location of M.D.T. also gives both shafts a consistent bend profile curve throughout the swing.
Fubuki ZT, which makes its PGA TOUR debuts this week at the Frys.com Open, is the version that will be used by TOUR players. Inspired by Fubuki Alpha, the ZT is a low torque shaft that features 40T carbon fiber material, for increased stability, and a higher balance point that makes it optimal for today's driver heads. It will be available in four weights — 50, 60, 70 and 80 grams.
Fubuki Z has a similar bend profile to ZT and comes in lighter weight options (50, 60 and 70 grams) with progressive torque and a more standard balance point that makes it very versatile. Along with the driver shaft, Fubuki Z will also come in fairway wood, hybrid and iron shaft options.
Fubuki Z ($250 per shaft) and ZT ($300) will be available in January 2014.