Introduction

By: Matt Saternus

Lots of companies talk about being proponents of custom fitting.  They have lists of authorized fitters on their website…right next to the button that says, “Or just buy it online without trying it first.”  Rare is the company that puts their money where their mouth is, but Oban is one such company.  Try to find a place online (other than eBay) to buy an Oban shaft.  You can’t do it.  That’s because Oban only sells their shafts through qualified custom fitters.  So check out this review, then book an appointment with a certified fitter to see if Kiyoshi is what you need to start hitting it pure.

Specs, Price, and Manufacturer Notes

  • The Kiyoshi line was launched with the PRP in 2010.  It features Oban’s Emersion Wrapped Frequency Technology.
  • The Kiyoshi BLK offers low spin similar to the PRP but with a higher kick point for lower ball flight.
  • The Kiyoshi WHT is the newest Kiyoshi.  It features proprietary Multiplex Design Technology to combine a softer butt section with a stiff tip and mid-section.
  • Oban uses numbers to represent the flex of the shaft: 01 (Ladies), 02 (Senior), 03(Regular), 04 (Stiff), and 05 (X).  Each shaft is available in 55, 65, 75, and 85 grams.  The PRP is also available in 45 grams.
  • All of the Oban Kiyoshi shafts are offered as both .335 tip shafts for drivers and fairway woods as well as .370 tip for hybrids.  The hybrid shafts range from 90 to 100 grams.
  • The Oban Kiyoshi line can be purchased through authorized club fitters.  The MSRP for the PRP and BLK is $360.  The MSRP for the WHT is $400.

Looks, Feel, and Miscellaneous

One of the things that I like best about the Kiyoshi series is that each shaft has a very distinct feel. The purple Kiyoshi kicks like mule with a black belt.  Of all the shafts I’ve tested, I can’t remember one with this much pop; it’s almost enough to make you feel bad for the golf ball.  Where the purple Kiyoshi is a pure mid-kick point shaft, the white has a mid-high kick point and thus a little less snap.  The black Kiyoshi has the highest kick point which gives it the least amount of “kick feel.”

A “side effect” of these three very distinct feels is that the difference between stiff and X (04 and 05, in Oban terms) can be very big or very small.  In the purple, the difference is very pronounced – the 04 has the big kick, the 05 is much smaller.  In the white, the difference is noticeable but not enormous.  The difference between stiff and X in the black Kiyoshi is only slightly noticeable.

Just as the feel of the Kiyoshi varies greatly from one model to the next, so do the looks.  The graphics are identical in all colors: gold bands wrapping the “Oban” name and angry-looking faces above the branding.  The colors, however, are what give the shafts their personality.  The white is good looking, very trendy.  The black is refreshingly black (not so many black shafts these days…I’ll call that the Fowler Effect).  And the purple may be the single best color since Ozik’s candy lime. It's pure awesome.  It’s one of a handful of shafts I want to play simply because it looks great.

And a final bit of nonsense: Kiyoshi is a great name because it’s fun to yell after you smash a drive.  Try it.  “KIYOSHI!!!”  Wasn’t that fun?

Performance

For the Performance testing, I hit each of the shafts in a Callaway RAZR Fit Extreme 10.5 head on a FlightScope X2 launch monitor.  I hit 20 “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.  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.

*NOTE: Testing has moved back inside for the winter, and our FlightScope seems to be producing somewhat different numbers indoors compared to outdoors.  To greater or lesser extents, ball speed, club head speed, and spin are all coming in lower than they did outdoors, hence the carry number is smaller.  That said, it’s still an apples-to-apples comparison, so no attempt has been made to “normalize” the numbers: we’re publishing the numbers straight off the FlightScope, as always.

DATA

oban kiyoshi purple

oban kiyoshi black

oban kiyoshi white

ANALYSIS

When I first looked at the final Dispersion display, I did a double-take.  I could not believe that three shafts that felt so unique could produce results that were so similar.  From the "Dispersion" to "Launch Angle" to "Spin", the differences, for me, were not huge.  Personally, I like the idea that I can pick my favorite feel and get similar, excellent performance no matter what.

Please keep in mind when viewing these results that they are unique to me on the day of the testing.  Others might find very large differences between the different models.  As we always say, fitting is key.

Conclusion

While the lack of “retail” availability might be a turn off to some, we at MyGolfSpy applaud Oban for their commitment to real custom fitting and for making a series of shafts with exceptional performance.  And for the “Try-Buy-Sell-Repeat” crowd, there’s always eBay.

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