Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black Shaft Review

50 Words or Less

The Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black shaft is the next generation of low launching, stout HZRDUS shafts.  Very low spin.  Extremely stiff profile.

Introduction

Project X’s HZRDUS line, first introduced in 2015, became an immediate hit on Tour and among gear enthusiasts for its ability to drop spin and stand up to aggressive swings.  The HZRDUS Smoke Black is the second generation of HZRDUS, using new material placement and a tweaked design to deliver that same consistent performance with better feel.

Looks

The HZRDUS Smoke Black looks very similar to its predecessor but with some notable changes.  The hazmat placard is still the most eye-catching part of the design, showing the shaft’s weight, torque, flex, and spin characteristics.  What’s new is the base color – charcoal grey instead of matte black – and the bolder “HZRDUS” graphic.  If you’d prefer all that out of sight, you can flip it logo down for a completely clean look at address.

Also worth noting: you won’t see the “Handcrafted” graphic on any HZRDUS Smoke Black shafts.  Project X states that there are no differences – aesthetic or otherwise – between their aftermarket and stock shafts.

Feel

The biggest difference between the HZRDUS Smoke Black and the original HZRDUS Black is that the torque is higher in the Smoke.  This gives the Smoke a smoother feel than the original despite the fact that Project X actually made it stiffer along the length of the shaft.

If you’re looking for a shaft to provide some kick, look elsewhere.  However, if you want a shaft that’s going to stand rock solid against your most aggressive swings, the HZRDUS Smoke Black is right up your alley.

Performance

I’ve had the opportunity to test the HZRDUS Smoke Black in a few different driver heads, and it does the same thing in every one: produce low launching, low spinning bullets.  Because of my positive angle of attack, I’m used to seeing my drives launch in a fairly high window.  With the HZRDUS Smoke, that window was noticeably lower, and the ball flight was as flat as can be.  For me, this combination brought me out of the optimal range, but for a high spin player it could result in huge distance gains.

Similar to the original HZRDUS Black, the Smoke Black took all the surprise out of my shot shapes.  Good swings produced arrow-straight shots.  Bad swings gave me the exact results I expected, too, be they a pull or weak push.  With so little kick, this shafts gives back exactly what you put in.

The change in feel from the original HZRDUS Black did make a noticeable performance difference for me.  With the original, I felt like I wanted to go 100% all the time.  The smoother HZRDUS Smoke Black let me make that 80%, “fairway finder” swing more confidently.

Conclusion

If you found the original HZRDUS Black too harsh or demanding, do yourself a favor and check out the second generation HZRDUS Smoke Black.  Project X has done a great job of maintaining the performance characteristics of the original while making it feel much smoother.

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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

58 Comments

  1. I notice your clubhead speed is 103 vs 108 with the Diamana DF. Is it because of this Hzrdus Shaft? How does the Smoke shaft compare to the Hzrdus Red?

  2. Frank Benson

    Upgraded to the new Callaway Epic Flash with the HZRDUS Regular shaft. Looking forward to see how it performs.

  3. How would you compare the Smoke Black to the Evenflow Black. They are both described as low/low shafts that have better feel than the original Hzrdus Black.

  4. David Patton

    Hey Matt,

    I read your review of the EvenFlow Black, but your description of both shafts are very similar. I was wondering whether that is accurate or whether there are differences in feel, liveliness, stability, or other characteristics. Thanks!

  5. My epic flash with a Hzrdus Smoke shaft had the head cracked. They sent me a replacement with the Project X Evenflow shaft. How would you compare the two?

  6. Hi Matt-

    Definitely enjoy your reviews. Did you happen to frequency test these at all? I remember the original Hzrdus played a full flex stiffer than stated. Curious about this. If you’re a 6.5 player, do you get 6.0 or are the smokes more true to stated frequency?

    Thanks!

    • Matt Saternus

      Riley,

      No, I do not frequency test shafts.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Hello Matt, as a 15 handicap which hzrdus shaft would u recommend for myself, I have a tendency to push the ball a little right and what seems to be a fairly high ball flight. Thanks Marty

        • Matt Saternus

          Marty,

          Picking a shaft doesn’t have much to do with handicap, it connects with swing speed, transition, feel preferences, etc. If you want to find a shaft that improves your game, you need to work with a qualified fitter like Club Champion.

          Best,

          Matt

  7. Chris Greenway

    Hi Matt, just as a rough guide, which hzrdus smoke flex would a 105 mph swing speed support please? I was going 6.0 but think it might even be 5.5. Thanks again.

  8. Alexander Kubala

    Hi
    Just wondering if you could compare the new Hzrdus Smoke Black to an Atmos Black
    Thank you

  9. John Robertson

    Thanks for the review Matt! I recently bought a Titleist TS4 with the HZRDUS Smoke Black (6.5). I like it, but I have a little buyers remorse that I did not go with the 6.0. My driver speed is 99 mph, do you think it would be a worthwhile experiment to buy a 6.0 and the Titleist adapter to compare? The $150 wouldn’t bother me, but no point wasting the money if you think the 6.5 is an obviously better choice.

    • Matt Saternus

      John,

      On the whole, I think most players at 99 MPH would be better at 6.0 than 6.5 in this shaft.

      Best,

      Matt

  10. Matt,
    Currently gaming a Smoke Black 6.0 70g in my drive with a swing speed around 105 faster tempo and load but smooth swing style 2 handicap player. The answer is undoubtedly go get fit to dial in this level of detail, but I’m wondering if in your opinion moving to a HC Black or Yellow OG HZRDUS at 62g to try and atttain more club head sped while potentially upping the flex (or tipping) to maintain dispersin and spin characteristics of the 70g wouod be a worthwhile adventure? Looking to go lighter without losing the feel of the Smoke Black.
    Thanks,
    Greg

    • Matt Saternus

      Greg,

      You got it: go get fit.
      If the journey is the destination and you want to fart around with your gear, by all means try the experiment, but if you just want to play better now, let the professionals do their job.

      Best,

      Matt

  11. What swing speed would you recommend for the 6.5 hazardous smoke black? Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus

      With the caveat that swing speed is not the be-all-end-all metric for fitting a shaft, I would think you’d want to be north of 105 MPH.

      -Matt

  12. I read your review of the Evenflow black as well. Compared to the smoke do you remember which you would prefer? I have hit both of them with similar numbers and can’t decide between the two. Thanks for your reviews!

  13. Just got fitted for this shaft in conjunction with a TaylorMade M3 460cc head (at a good price since it’s not the “latest and greatest” M-line driver anymore, too). Everything felt connected with that combo– other shafts felt like a driver head with a shaft connected to it with a human connected to it… if that makes sense. Like there were 3 distinct entities in the swing. Everything felt very linear and and together with this shaft when I swung. Got some distances that I didn’t think I was capable of reaching, and without swinging out of my shoes. Tighter dispersion than other combos too. I’m pumped.

  14. Hey Matt — Looking for comparable alternatives to this shaft. Typical swing speed is about 110. Options to consider?

  15. Hello Matt, love these short sharp reviews. Could you suggest which out of black or smoke black would “feel” closest to a Diamana D+ 70 X. Spec wise I know the Black in a 6.5 with a torque of 2.9 is closest but sounds like it would have a more harsh / boardy feel than the D+. Just trying to find a cheaper replacement for a broken fairway shaft than the D+ (which I completely loved).

    • Matt Saternus

      Leigh,

      In my opinion, the Smoke Black is smoother feeling than the original Black and thus a closer comparison to the D+.

      Best,

      Matt

  16. I was just fit for SIM Max in both driver and fairway. Interestingly enough, I ended up with Hzrdus Green in 6.5 for the driver and Smoke Black in 6.0 for 3 wood both in 70g with a swing speed between 100-105 for driver. This goes against “conventional wisdom” but this is a classic example of how important it is to get fit. 6.5 in the fairway wood wasn’t producing the height I’d need so we dialed it back a touch and it was bang on.

  17. Brian bell

    Hey Matt, love your reviews. Currently playing the smoke black 70g 6.0 flex in driver and 3 wood. Best shaft I’ve used! Is there a steel iron shaft that would be comparable to this? Currently playing kbs tour 6.0.
    Thanks, brian

    • Matt Saternus

      Brian,

      If you like the Smoke Black, I would guess you want an iron shaft with little to no “action.” I would suggest trying Project X or Dynamic Gold.

      -Matt

  18. I love my Atmos Black 7S in my 3W and even found it really stabilized my driver when I tried it in that but it is a little shorter (I don’t have trouble finding the center of the face with either length) but have ordered a Hzrdus Black Smoke 70 6.0 for my driver, based on recommendations. I have 105 SS and aggressive tempo. Will I need to tip this shaft ? I only ask because I don’t want to cut it to length and then end up with it shorter if I have to tip it. Thank you

    • Matt Saternus

      Steve,

      All I can do is offer a semi-educated guess. I could think that installing it straight in would be fine.

      -Matt

      • Just an update. I installed this shaft in my driver and didn’t find it to be low launch in my case, or as firm as I was hoping and the dispersion wasn’t what I was looking for. I was thinking of getting a Black instead of the Smoke but I decided to tip it 1″ and it made a big difference. It now has much improved dispersion and lower launch and I find it very firm. I may pick up another one at some point and try it with only 1/2″ off. My understanding was that an inch off the tip would make a difference of approximately 1/2 flex but it feels a lot stronger than that.

  19. Thank you

  20. Matt – clubhead speed is 96-98. I have the Smoke Black in my three wood and love the launch. Original a Black 6.0 seemed stout in driver. Big misses right. Just replaced with a Smoke Black 6.0. Ball flight should match 3 wood but is much higher. Misses now are left. Now what?

  21. 108-112 swing speed
    My drives are avg 280-310 range
    I like lighter shafts
    And a stiffer tip.
    Slow backswing quick down swing
    Recommendations?

    • Matt Saternus

      Max,

      I would suggest getting a fitting. It’s the only way to know you’re getting the optimal combination of head and shaft.

      Best,

      Matt

  22. Great breakdown, thanks for the detailed review. How would you say it compares to a Fujikura Atmos 7X Blue?

  23. Matt – great review as always and I have come to trust you and your site a great deal for information on equipment. I’ve been re-reading many of your shaft reviews after a recent fitting at TrueSpec. I’ve been fitted there several times for irons and have generally been happy (Got into Srixon z785s with Rifle 7.0s that are awesome), but I have a question about components in stock after a recent driver fitting. Do you find that even “quality” fitters like TrueSpec might have limitations or an agenda regarding the shafts they carry? My fitter was having a hard time finding shafts that performed better for me than my gamer which I find surprising. I currently game a Taylormade R15 (10.5 degree head) with the stock Speeder57 shaft in Stiff flex that I bought on ebay for $35. I have high swing speed (124mph average) with my miss being a big hook. I was hoping to try HZRDUS Smoke Black and Smoke Green among others but he didn’t seem to have anything from Project X (HZRDUS, evenflow, etc.) or anything from Fujikura or Accra. I’m hardly a gear expert and I trust them, but I just felt a bit let-down by the results not being there with anything he gave me. Lots of shafts that I’ve never heard of. Do you find that to be surprising as well?

    • Matt Saternus

      Jim,

      That’s an interesting situation. On paper, a stock stiff shouldn’t be optimal for you, but that’s why I always say that you can’t fit on paper.
      There’s no question that every fitter is limited in terms of what they carry. I addressed that here [ https://pluggedingolf.com/there-is-no-perfect-fit/ ] because the reality is that fitting is a business and they have to carry/fit with the shafts that they’re going to use a lot. That means lighter weights in softer flexes, heavier weights in stiffer flexes. If you want something light and stiff, you’re usually SOL. Similarly not every fitter can carry every brand for a variety of business reasons.
      As to having an agenda, I think that’s absolutely the case with some fitters, but I hope not too many. If you feel like you’re being pushed into something, the best thing you can do is leave.
      My advice to anyone is that if you have something specific you *need* to try, call your fitter beforehand to make sure they have it.
      Which brings us back to, “Why couldn’t they beat my gamer?” I can’t speak to the fitting you experienced, and I’ve only dealt with one True Spec location in person, but I don’t have any strong reasons to believe that True Spec was doing anything malicious. Most of the comments that I hear about True Spec from readers are positive. I think it’s probably a case of you being very comfortable with your gamer. Also, and now I’m just guessing, if you hit the center of the face and swing up a bit, you’re going to make a lot of different combinations look very similar which doesn’t leave much room for something new to crush your gamer.

      Best,

      Matt

  24. Would you say the smoke black is more stiff than the HZRDUS T1100?

  25. Hi Matt – I’m in the 117-121 MPH club speed and 171-174 ball speed range. I generally carry it around 295-300 and end up with something around a 310-320 yard drive. I used to play the Diamana 60-X B Series shaft… it launches a bit high and I get the occasional hard left ball. Would you recommend the HZRDUS Black Smoke 6.5 ? I thought about the Fujikura Evolution IV 661 X as well… I’m not fan of a super boardy or heavy shaft because I hate high floaters to the right which is why the Smoke sounds enticing. Any other shafts you think I’d like given the info provided? Thanks

    • Matt Saternus

      Alex,

      My recommendation would be to get a fitting. The Smoke Black is a fine shaft for handling speed, but there’s no way to know if it’s a fit for you without trying it.

      Best,

      Matt

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