Can Ventus Deliver for Our Test Panel?
Three readers were recently chosen to be fit at Club Champion for a new Fujikura Ventus shaft. They have all completed the fitting process, and, in part 1 of their Reader Review, they discuss what it was like to be fit at Club Champion and the in-bay results they got from Ventus.
Reader Review #1
Name: Christian Nieto
Club Champion Location & Fitter: Miami, Nelson Mesa
Current Driver & Shaft: TaylorMade M5 w/Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black
Fujikura Ventus: Ventus Blue, 5-Regular
What did you learn in your fitting? I learned that an individual’s swing can be evaluated via significant amounts of data points–a lot of data points. I saw firsthand that the technology behind TrackMan is truly amazing. I think it is great that Club Champion is able to use this technology to show folks like myself how they can improve their game by virtue of the right equipment. In going through the session I was able to ask questions and get answers that taught me how a club fitting is really valuable, even if I am not a professional golfer. And to be able to see the results immediately was really impressive. Before today I honestly had not thought much about the use of technology for picking the right equipment. I simply looked at technology for improving my swing and thought “hey, a better swing will result in improved results.” However, after today, I truly walked away with an appreciation for the club fitting process and am certain I will use Club Champion when I purchase my next set of clubs. The right club, fit properly, can significantly improve my game. That is huge considering I don’t have 8 hours a day, 5 days a week to pound balls and improve my swing. Thus, I can get better results simply by going through the fitting process at Club Champion.
What worked well during the fitting? First and foremost, I believe that Nelson was really good and extremely professional. He was very knowledgeable and could relate things in a way that I could understand them. In other words, some folks can get very technical when explaining things but Nelson was able to speak my language and that really helped the session go well.
Did you see better results with the Fujikura Ventus shaft? Yes. I gained 9 yards of carry distance by increasing my ball speed (+2 MPH), smash factor, launch angle (+1.6*), and reducing my spin (-160 RPM).
Reader Review #2
Name: Stan Feuerberg
Club Champion Location & Fitter: Fairfax, Virginia. Brett Castleberry. He is excellent, helpful, and patient. Very professional in every respect.
Current Driver & Shaft: 2017 Taylormade M2 10.5 w/Fujikura XLR8 56R
Fujikura Ventus: Ventus Red 6-Regular
What did you learn? The XLR8 shaft produced too much backspin. We tried several of my other drivers, as well. I brought along a 2013 Taylormade Stage 2 10.5 driver with stock Fujikura Rocketfuel 50R shaft, and a 2016 Bridgestone JGR 10.5 with aftermarket Project X 5.0 R. Those drivers, as well, produced backspin rates that were in the range of 2,800 – 3,000 rpm.
I also learned that hitting in a simulator is not quite the same as hitting on my home courses’ (Pleasant Valley Golf Club and South Riding Golfers Club) driving ranges. My only prior fitting session was last November. That facility’s fitting center has a large garage door that is opened, so that the customer hits out to the range, a much different environment and, for me, a much different result.
What worked well? There was no Ventus Red 6 in stock with a Taylormade 2017 M2 adapter, so we had to do some trial and error experimentation. Brett attached his Ventus Red 6 to a number of different heads, including a Bridgestone Tour B JGR 10.5. The one consistent result was that the Ventus Red 6 reduced backspin by 700 – 900 rpm, in some cases the backspin dropped below 2,000 rpm, a rather dramatic and unexpected result. The Ventus Red 6 also tightened up the dispersion.
What didn’t? I had some difficulty consistently hitting my baby draw in the simulator. After leaving Club Champion, I decided that I suffered from “simulator anxiety.” I kept trying to lift the ball to a higher trajectory than simply swinging my normal swing. My confidence bubble was definitely deflated when I left. The next evening I went to my range to practice and was able to recover my swing and my confidence. At age 67 and having played since the age of 9 including some competitive amateur golf, I know my swing has slowed and that I am no longer able to hit the ball off the tee as far as I used to. I’m hoping that some newer and better technology will regain some of what I have lost.
Did you see improved performance with the Ventus? The Ventus 6R shaft definitely reduced backspin and tightened the dispersion. So far, I have concluded that the Ventus 6R is superior to the shafts, both stock and aftermarket, that I noted above. Previous to my two visits to Club Champion, I thought that the Project X Blue 5.0 aftermarket shaft in my 2016 Bridgestone JGR 10.5 driver was about as good as I could find at a price that was something less than a new club.
Reader Review #3
Name: John Grajek
Club Champion Location & Fitter: Willowbrook, IL. Andrew Moores
Current Driver & Shaft: Epic Flash Sub Zero with Accra TZ5
Fujikura Ventus: Ventus Black, 70 gram, X flex tipped 1/2
How did your fitting go? Got there a little early to stretch (I’m getting old) and hadn’t played in a little while. Once my fitter introduced himself we went back to our fitting bay and I hit a few 8 irons to get loose. Club Champion uses Trackman with a projector so you get instant feedback on your shots with ball flight, club, and ball data. Andrew asked me a few questions about my game, my misses with the driver and what I was looking for out of the Ventus shaft fitting.
Once I was loose it was time to hit my current driver and establish a baseline. I was missing left that day (normal miss) so we took a grouping of approximately 6 shots out of the 10 I hit originally. Based on my swing speed approx. 110-115 and my ball speed 155-165 Andrew quickly ruled out the Ventus Blue as an option. My next set of shots was with a std length Ventus 60 X flex. The shaft felt good however I typically play a heavier 70 gram shaft. The club felt unwieldy in my hands and it showed in the shot dispersion. Unfortunately they did not have a 70 x in driver length in stock, however they did have a 70X in a 3 wood length. With the heavier shaft, I had far better feel of where the club head was throughout the swing. Andrew and I then started talking about swing weight feel and at Club Champion they had heavier weights he swapped into my driver. I went from the 1 gram stock weight to an 8 gram weight and the overall feel of the club was profound. With the 3 wood length shaft in the correct flex and the weights I picked up about 8 yards on average and tightened my shot dispersion.
What did you learn? My clubhead and ball speed for driver is right at tour average! My accuracy is not. I probably learned just as much about my swing during the fitting as I did about my equipment during the fitting
What worked well? Partnering with Andrew to discuss options to tweak my current driver with shaft and weight swaps to get the driver dialed in.
What didn’t? My swing……I was a bit disappointed in myself that I couldn’t get my swing dialed in during the fitting. I struggle with a hook off the tee with a swing path that is a tad too far inside to out with a closed clubface. When timing is right it’s a pretty solid draw.
Did you see improved performance with Ventus? Yes. More ball speed plus higher launch and spin led to increased carry distance (+32 yards) with tighter disperson.