SHAFT REVIEW! – Matrix 5M3
(Written By: GolfSpy Matt) The word “Prototype” gets thrown around like confetti when it comes to golf equipment. The only more over-used word is probably “Tour or Tour Issued.” But today, my fellow spies, I have a true prototype review for you: the new 5M3 shaft from Matrix. You may or may not be familiar with the M3 series; if not, it’s a popular shaft option for those looking to cut down backspin and lower ball flight. Recently, Matrix has released the lightest M3 variation on tour, and this spy was able to track one down for a review.
Notes, Feel, and Miscellaneous
Let’s start with the feel. I will first admit that I am a big Matrix fan: I have yet to find a Matrix shaft that didn’t feel good to me. The Matrix 5M3 is no exception. Despite being tip stiff and low spinning, the shaft feels very smooth and easy to load. I attribute this to a softer butt section. Also, in spite of the light weight, the 5M3 never felt loose or “whippy.”
With regard to graphics, the 5M3 will have the black tie M3 graphics when it comes to retail. The shaft is a satin black with minimal white graphics. While not quite as beautiful as the old candy red shafts with the full length rain graphics, it’s a pretty cool, understated look. And, yes, I’m going to write about how cool the old shafts looked until Matrix brings them back.
The M3 family of shafts comes in weights of 50, 60, 70, and 80 grams. One unique thing about Matrix is that they offer “tweener” flexes, so in addition to regular, stiff, and X-stiff they also have firm and strong…and XX-Stiff for the beasts out there. The M3 line also includes hybrid shafts in 85, 95, and 105 gram configurations.
The 5M3 will hit retail on June 1st. They will have an MSRP of $375 and a likely street price of $300.
As usual, I’ve broken the Performance section into two pieces: Data (launch monitor testing) and Real World (range and course).
For the launch monitor testing, I put the Matrix 5M3 up against the USPG Black Ops, both in a Taylormade R9 460 9.5 head. I hit 10 “good” shots with each shaft, changing frequently so that fatigue was not an issue, nor did I get grooved with one shaft to the detriment of fairness. I went through this process three times and averaged the sets of data.
* For anyone interested in the swing that produces these numbers: my club head speed is usually between 100MPH and 110MPH and my swing is fairly flat. Historically, my big miss has been a block right, but, as you can see, that has been trending towards a hard hook.
* For dispersion, the results are listed with an (L) for left of target, and (R) for right of target.
** **The new launch monitor software that I’m using seems to really exaggerate roll. This is why my pedestrian ball speed ends up with LM readings of 300 yards.
Overall, the Matrix 5M3 held up really nicely. I have a long standing preference for heavier driver shafts, but the 5M3 shows me that lighter weight does not have to mean unstable or high-spinning. I also picked up a couple MPH of ballspeed over some recent testing that I’ve done with my normal 70 gram shaft. You can see that the 5M3 spun just slightly more than the Black Ops with a slightly lower launch angle. My dispersion was slightly wider with the 5M3, though the side spin was actually a bit lower than the Black Ops. I would likely chalk this up to my being less comfortable with the lighter weight shaft.
REAL WORLD RESULTS
In hitting the Matrix 5M3 on the range, I found the same lower ball flight that I did on the launch monitor. Outdoors I didn’t not see the heavy left bias that I did on the monitor. This could be an effect of swinging in an enclosed space vs. outside, or it could just be one of those pleasant lies that I tell myself.
With all my other reviews, I try to gather opinions from other golfers. I have stayed away from doing this with shaft reviews in the past, but it’s something that I am going to try to incorporate going forward. While I won’t be asking the Peanut Gallery to go through the same rigorous data gathering process, I can, at least, relay some varying opinions about the feel of the shaft and how it performs for different swings.
One thing I can say without hesitation is that the Matrix 5M3 does an excellent job reducing backspin, even for players with higher swing speeds. A couple of the Peanut Gallery members have substantially more club head speed than I do, but even they couldn’t get the 5M3 to balloon.
The other thing I took away from the Peanut Gallery was that I am not the only one who really likes the feel of this shaft. Regardless of swing speed, our testers agreed that the shaft was very smooth, and they didn’t feel like they had to stand on it to make it work. On the other hand, no one said anything about the shaft feeling loose or unstable. For reference, the shaft tested was labeled as being 253 CPMs, stiff flex, and our test group members swing anywhere from the low 90’s to over 110.
For the player that wants to drop their spin numbers and the weight of their shaft, the Matrix 5M3 is a perfect fit. It offers the benefits of a lighter weight shaft without sacrificing stability or distance. Particularly for players that have historically liked the feel of Matrix shafts, the 5M3 is something worth checking out.
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