Nippon Zelos 7 Shaft Review

Nippon Zelos 7 (4)

50 Words or Less

The Nippon Zelos 7 iron shaft is the world’s lightest steel shaft.  Uber-smooth feel and high launch.  Exceptional for the smooth swinger.

Introduction

Last year’s PGA Show seemed like a death knell for steel iron shafts.  All the major graphite shaft manufacturers were introducing graphite iron shafts that they claimed were better than steel and with more options, particularly in terms of weight.  This year, Nippon is throwing a hay maker back at graphite iron shafts with the Zelos 7.  At just over 70 grams, the Zelos 7 is the world’s lightest steel shaft and right in graphite’s wheel house.

Nippon Zelos 7 (6)

Feel

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Nippon Zelos 7 is the smoothest steel shaft I’ve ever swung.  With just a modest effort, the Zelos 7 loads and makes a firm kick through the ball.  It’s an unusual feeling for a steel shaft, but one that I think many players will really enjoy.  At impact, the Zelos 7 produces Nippon’s trademark crisp impact feel.

Though the Zelos 7 is extremely light, the balance is good, and I never “lost track” of it during the swing.  That said, shifting to the Zelos 7 from my normal 120+ gram shafts was a transition that required some effort.  For players making a less drastic change, putting the Zelos 7 into play should be quite easy.

Performance

A quick reading of Nippon’s description of the Zelos 7 lets you know what kind of player it’s designed for.  You’ll notice phrases like “low kick point” and “easy to handle with an extremely smooth swing,” which let you know that this is a high launching shaft meant for players with very smooth swings or slower swing speeds.

While the high launching part sounds good for a low-ball hitter like myself, I’m still waiting for someone to describe my swing as “smooth.”  Also, as I mentioned, I typically play iron shafts that weigh nearly double what the Zelos 7 does.  In short, the Zelos 7 was not designed for me.  In spite of that, I installed these shafts in a set of irons and took them out for testing.

In my time on the range and on the launch monitor, I found the Zelos 7 to be just what they’re billed to be: high launching and consistent.  I was launching my irons 2-3 degrees higher on average compared to my normal shafts and seeing nice dispersion.  The only caveat that I have is that these shafts are not meant for really aggressive transitions, at least not with standard installation.  I do think that the Zelos 7 could be used to great effect in a driving iron, but it might need to be hard stepped a bit for more aggressive swingers.

Go even lighter with the Nippon Zelos 6 HERE

Nippon Zelos 7 (8)

Conclusion

For players who are thinking about dropping some weight from their irons or switching from graphite back to steel, the Nippon Zelos 7 should be at the top of list of shafts to try.  This shaft is extremely light, but it retains excellent consistency in the hands of a smooth swinger.

Matt Saternus
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3 Comments

  1. Bill Malloy

    Matt !

    I attempted to purchase a set of Mizuno irons – with the Zelos 7 shaft
    but failed. Mizuno would not attach the Zelos; dealer recommended a graphite shaft (Orochi) – egads! Zelos 8 is coming to US next year.
    Any suggestions ?

    Many thanks…

    • Matt Saternus

      Bill,

      Did the dealer give you the chance to try the graphite shafts? If so, and the results were good, there’s no reason not to play them. If they didn’t, I’d seek out a club fitter like Club Champion who can put any iron head with the shaft of your choice.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. jake krayson

    I was lucky enough to ‘win’ a set of Zelos7 via ‘PluggedIn” a few weeks ago. After searching around for suitable iron heads was able to locate a demo set of Ping G25’s…my friend (a clubmaker) offered to switch out heavy TT shaft for the Zelos7. I am a senior player (13 HDCP) and my swing speed has dropped like a rock the past few years. I needed help to recapture distance and these light weight steel shafts fill the bill. Estimate I’m picking up 7 to 10 yards versus my old set. Tip is low launching (in all flexes) and ball gets quickly airborne, even with the longer irons. In the shorter irons, ball can be parachuted onto the green. Great alternative to graphite (which I’ve also demoed); IMO feel is much improved and dispersion is tight to the target vs. graphite. Might be the only Nippon steel shaft that is avail in ‘soft regular’ for seniors.

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