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SHAFT REVIEW! – UST Recoil Iron Shafts

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By: Matt Saternus

Will More Golfers Switch To Graphite Iron Shafts?

Coming out of the PGA Show, I knew that UST was really going all-in on their Recoil iron shaft.  But in spite of all of the tech talk and marketing, I couldn’t shake my doubts about better players actually switching to graphite iron shafts.  Then, as winter started to break and people headed to the course, I started seeing more and more posts about players gaming the Recoil.  Is a true sea change underway?  Are we headed towards a day when players will carry 14 graphite shafts in their bag?

SPECS, PRICE, & MANUFACTURER NOTES

The Recoil line encompasses three unique series of shafts.

:: The Recoil Prototype is designed for better players looking for great feel and the ability to work the ball.  It has a lower balance and higher flex point.  It comes in heavier weights (90-125 grams) with a firmer tip for lower ball flight.

:: The Recoil 800 Series is for players looking for a lighter weight option (50-94 grams).  It features optimum weight and flex profiles to fit a wide range of golfers.  A mid-balance, medium tip creates a medium ball flight.

:: The Recoil 600 Series offers great feel and lightweight options (68-84 grams) to increase club head speed for greater distance.  This line favors a medium to medium high ball flight.

Prices for the Recoil line vary widely.  The Recoil Prototype has an MSRP of $135.  The Recoil 800 Series is $92, and the Recoil 600 Series is $53.

The Recoil Prototype and 800 Series are only available through UST TOURSPX dealers, but the 600 Series is available through all UST dealers.

LOOKS, FEEL, & MISCELLANEOUS

In terms of looks, UST took a safe middle road with the Recoil.  From afar, no one would guess that these are graphite: they have a shiny silver look that is close enough to steel to fool the casual observer.  They do have more branding than your typical steel shaft, but nothing gaudy; a nice clean white and silver graphic that can easily be hidden at address.

When you pick up the Recoil Prototype 125, there’s nothing about the feel that says “graphite.”  It has plenty of heft and a nice even balance.  During the swing, there’s a very minimal amount of load and kick; it’s a small but noticeable change from a Dynamic Gold.  It’s at impact that you really sense the difference.  Mishits have none of the sting and shock associated that you normally associate with missing the center of the club face.  Centered hits feel even cleaner than normal, almost as if there was no impact at all.

PERFORMANCE

For the Performance testing, I installed the UST Recoil Prototype 125 shafts into a set of Wilson FG Tour V2 heads.  They were tested against a set of Dynamic Gold S300 shafts that were installed in the exact same heads.  Testing was done on a FlightScope X2 launch monitor.  All shafts were gripped with PURE Grips.

Testing was done at Golf Nation in Palatine, IL, one of the best indoor golf facilities in the country

DATA

ANALYSIS

The 2 biggest differences between the Recoil and Dynamic Gold, for me, were the peak height of my shots and the spin rates.  With the Recoil, my shots were peaking an average of 10 feet higher than they were with Dynamic Gold.  Interestingly, the spin rates with Recoil were higher with my long iron (compared to Dynamic Gold) and lower with the short irons.  This combination of higher flight with better spin rates led to the distance gains that I saw.

When it comes to accuracy, Recoil and Dynamic Gold were essentially equal in dispersion.  The FlightScope graphic shows a large numerical advantage for the Dynamic Gold in the 4 irons, but, looking at the shot pattern, my eye test disagrees.

CONCLUSION

All in all, I think that switching to the Recoil Prototype 125 would be a fairly easy transition for anyone playing any of the heavy weight steel shafts.  When you consider that there are 19 different Recoil models, there’s probably one that would make for an easy transition, or, perhaps, a marked improvement, for almost any player.  If you’re getting fit for new irons this season, do what an increasing number of players are doing, and see if your game wouldn’t be improved with UST’s Recoil iron shafts.

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{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

hckymeyer May 14, 2013 at 11:21 am

Just looking at the numbers it almost feels like UST priced themselves out of the market with the Recoil 125. Considering you can buy an entire set of DG’s for the price of one Recoil shaft I would need to see a much bigger improvement to even consider switching. Higher spin with long irons and lower spin with short irons is the exact opposite of what I’m looking for.

Then throw in the Nippon, Steelfiber and KBS high end shafts at a third of the cost of one Recoil shaft and I have a hard time thinking you couldn’t find something that feels as smooth with similar performance for 1/3 to 1/4 of the cost.

I’m just not seeing the benefit to playing or even testing these.

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Matt Saternus May 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm

I think the pricing is intriguing. Obviously at $125/shaft, the Prototype 125 isn’t going to be a best-seller. What it does is start a conversation, and, as the saying goes, the only thing worse than people talking about you is people not talking about you.

My feeling (I have no inside info), is that the pricing is designed to do two things:

1 – It intrigues the guy who wants high end stuff. In that way, it’s a page out of the Miura playbook. The most expensive thing in the room is interesting by default because it’s the most expensive. Some people want the most expensive purely because it’s the most expensive. They will sell a certain number of these not in spite of the price but because of it.

2 – It creates a halo effect for the other Recoil shafts and UST in general. Most golfers that I know have a perception of UST that is colored by the Proforce V2 – a “value” shaft that feels bad to a lot of people. If UST can change that perception from “the company that makes that cheap yellow shaft” to “that company with the crazy-expensive iron shafts” that is a HUGE positive. Think Mercedes vs. Chevy. Think Titleist vs. Top Flite. UST wants to be with the former, not the latter.

As ever, just my thoughts.

Best,

Matt

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Kyler Ries May 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

Wow! Overpriced to cover R&D?

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Bob Welsh May 14, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Prototype is THE best iron shaft I’ve ever played. Consistent, consistent, consistent; awesome feel, and no vibrations!

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SPY ZINGER May 14, 2013 at 6:17 pm

“Mishits have none of the sting and shock associated that you normally associate with missing the center of the club face. Centered hits feel even cleaner than normal, almost as if there was no impact at all.”

This was the most apparent to me as well. I think the dispersion numbers tell it all with this shaft, and are consistent with UST’s marketing.

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golfer4life May 15, 2013 at 9:22 am

Unless any of the companies figure out how to make them ‘friendlier priced’, I don’t see a big push to graphite over steel. Its a hard sell to ask someone to double the price of their new iron purchase to put these shafts in, especially with no standout advantage.

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TourStriker May 15, 2013 at 1:35 pm

Prototype shaft is the best iron shaft on the market. I was originally fitted for KBS Tour C taper and then tested UST Prototype 125 F5′s and increased my carry distance on 6 iron by 22 yards due to lower spin and different flight arc.

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jmiller065 May 16, 2013 at 11:30 am

Matt, thanks for the data, I just wanted to make a couple comments on Steel vs Graphite and some comments on the data and your conclusions. Thanks for the hard work on this review, it gives me something to talk about.

Graphite is always a lot higher priced then steel. OEMs charge you upgrades always from steel to graphite shafts regardless, they are really wanting to make margins here so they go with the cheapest thing they think will perform the best for the price they are listing clubs. From an after market stand point, True Temper has SensiCore technology. On there website steel is 0% vibration dampening, Graphite is 50% vibration dampening, SensiCore claims to be 70% vibration dampening. You can pick up a pack of 8 for around $28. So if you figure your shaft costs $20 a shaft $160 for a set of 8 then $30 for SensiCore Inserts you are looking at $190 for the set. I don’t know if the inserts actually do what they claim maybe Matt can do a review on them.

“When it comes to accuracy, Recoil and Dynamic Gold were essentially equal in dispersion.” I don’t agree with you on this for the PW. Your target is a green and specifically a spot / tier on that green when possible. Depending on the club dictates my target and accuracy expect from it on my approach shots. Lets assume that a PW i average 10feet for my first putt, with a shaft change I now average 15.7 feet (using your 1.9yards converted to feet). I know that this is going to increase my score by a stroke or two a round as my percentage for making the putt goes way down. From 6 to 10 feet PGA tour averages 55%, from 11 – 15 feet it’s more around 40% and 16 t o20 it’s even lower around 30%. You decrease your scoring potential by 15 to 25 percent by gaining 1.5 yards in distance, that trade off to me is not worth it at all. We had a thread in the forum about PGA Tour putting averages >> http://forum.mygolfspy.com/topic/6136-tour-putting-averages/

I think for me on irons I will scrub a little distance to have a little more accuracy as the resulting putts should be closer and I should be able to hole more putts from that. I don’t look at really any iron as a distance club, even hitting a 3iron off a tee box I am doing it for accuracy and a specific length to help avoid trouble. There are times where long par 3s you will be hitting long iron into them as well. Accuracy is really more a premium as little of a change in dispersion as it sounds.

Anyways, It is an interesting thing to think about in terms of the Steel vs Graphite debate. Do you give up a little accuracy for your feel at impact and a little higher / longer distance. Or do you stick to steel for the better feel and control? Maybe TT Sensicore throws the wrench into everything and it’s the best way to go?

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Leith Anderson May 16, 2013 at 1:18 pm

When it comes time to choose new iron shafts – distance doesn’t mean anything, especially if it’s just a yard or two. That kind of difference is simply natural from normal results in a single testing session. A fair summary of the data is probably that there’s “no difference” in performance.

That was a weird comment from the player who picked up 22 yards with a 6 iron. To say that was an extraordinary result would be an understatement.

To anyone who is contemplating “upgrading” – why would you buy anything without proving that performance improves? The ball has to go closer to the hole.

The results were extraordinary from the spin and total height numbers. Most very good players don’t want the short irons to go higher, that would be a show-stopper for most. On the other hand, less spin on short irons is a surprise that doesn’t match up with preliminary testing that we’ve been doing with Recoil shafts.

I think that the problem for me with recent testing results is that we need to know more about the player doing the testing – for credibility purposes – and it would be nice to see multiple sessions – to know if there should be a brief “get acquainted period” with a new club that might play very different. Is there an argument that the test club should be “fitted”.

I think that the methodology is correct. It seems like hitting several series of test shots to a good target and then analyzing the results is the way to go when you’re looking for lower scores. A couple of yards farther from the hole would raise, rather than lower scores. The logic is correct.

Choosing equipment from comparative performance numbers is more reliable than random testing for feel.

Regards, Leith Anderson, Golf Digest Top 100 Clubfitter 2011

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Yumanike May 18, 2013 at 10:04 am

It seems like this is a non-starter. MSRP of $135 per shaft for the prototype? Drop the 1 and we can have a conversation. For me to reshaft my current irons and wedges would take 9 shafts. So now I’m in for over a G. And it looks like the performance gain is minimal at best. I think instead I will invest that $1000+ in a sweet set of new irons. Also, with my current game, I will end up in the woods or near another obstacle. If I need to get out of trouble, I can punch an 8 iron or something. If I bend or break my current shaft, that is a pretty cheap fix. If I break one of these shafts, that is going to be a problem. It seems like it is technology for technology’s sake. I appreciate what they are doing, but that price is going to have to come down to about $35 per for me to even have a second thought about these.

P.S. I love these test and reviews!

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Brian T June 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

Have you tested the nunchuk iron shafts? They are getting rave reviews and sound like they’d have much better results than this in dispersion, and much more preferable spin and launch results through the bag.

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Leith Anderson June 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm
william pu August 14, 2013 at 6:57 pm

Matt, i wanted to get your feedback on the recoils vs the aerotech steelfibers. currently im playing the aerotech steelfiber 95 in a stiff thats hardstepped and tipped to play closer to an X flex. How do the ust recoil shafts compare to the steelfiber in terms of ballflight. any benefits that i would not be getting with the steelfibers? at 2x, actually almost 3x the price of steelfibers, what is the main difference that justifies the insane price difference?

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