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A Publication of the National Golf Foundation

Questions, Answers and Insights for Everyone Interested in the Business of Golf

NGF TOP 100 BUSINESSES IN GOLF

Nippon Shaft

Category

Corporate Headquarters

Carlsbad, California (U.S.)

Website

Key Employees

Naoto Sakai, President
Nobuyoshi Okita, Director of Sales
Masayuki Akane, General Manager (US)
Hiro Fukuda, Sales and Marketing (US)

Profile

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.

Part of Nippon Shaft’s popularity is a lightweight design comparable to graphite.

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.

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.”

NGF Takeaways

Professional golfers have demanded constant shaft weighting for the sake of consistency and Nippon Shaft has been able to deliver that to all golfers thanks to its zero-defect” manufacturing approach with all its products.

Nippon Shaft’s N.S.Pro 950GH is widely considered the standard for lightweight steel shafts and was a statement-making introduction throughout the market. Since its release, it has remained a favorite among golfers because of the lightweight design comparable to graphite.

With its OEM connections, Nippon continues to have a substantial presence in the U.S. equipment market as one of the game’s top shaft manufacturers.

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