Nippon Shaft Co., Ltd. is a leading manufacturer of golf shafts. Founded in Yokohama, Japan, in 1959, the company has distributed both in that country and internationally to original equipment manufacturers and clubmakers since. The company’s prominent North American headquarters are in Carlsbad, California.
A subsidiary of automotive parts maker NHK Spring Co., Nippon Shaft has been Japan’s top steel shaft manufacturer since 1965 and it remains the top producer of steel shafts in all of Asia. The company’s introduction of the lightweight N.S.Pro 950GH in 1999 led to widespread OEM adoption, as it was the first constant weight steel shaft to weigh under 100 grams.
The 950GH is a lighter, more pliable shaft targeted at slower swinging amateurs. However, the popularity of the 950GH extended much further. “Even low-handicappers and pros took note,” said Hiro Fukuda of Nippon Shaft USA.
N.S.Pro MODUS³, the company’s heavier and firmer steel shaft series, have been played in over 100 global tour wins. Nippon Shaft designers traveled with the professional tours for 18 months and developed the shaft series in close consultation with touring pros.
Part of Nippon Shaft’s popularity is a lightweight design comparable to graphite.
At the opposite end of the shaft spectrum, the company sells the world’s lightest steel shaft, the N.S.Pro Zelos 6 at 68 grams. In total, Nippon sells more than 15 steel shaft models.
Nippon Shaft leans on its automotive roots for its unique steel shafts, which the company says have the ability to be both “soft” and “hard” at the same time.
The combination of pliability and stability is made possible by the type of steel Nippon Shaft uses in its manufacturing process. The steel engine valve springs that NHK Spring makes for automobiles need to be both pliable and durable, and Nippon Shaft employs the same principle when making its shafts. The result – soft but solid impact feel.
“Essentially, we view golf shafts as springs,” said Fukuda. “That’s why we can manufacture our shafts to very precise specifications and why they can be feel both soft and hard at the same time.”