AXIOM. A premium graphite iron shaft from Fujikura.
Your Fujikura AXIOM Tester
Tony Covey. MyGolfSpy Editorial Director, gear junkie, occasional sufferer of tennis elbow and a devout believer in the potential of graphite shafts for every club in the bag.
The Requisite Background
As a guy who routinely fits into iron shafts with a nominal weight of 120 grams or more, I’m constantly on the lookout for serious graphite shaft options in my weight class. And while they’re admittedly few and far between, experience with products like UST Recoil and Mitsubishi’s MMT has given me hope for a high-performance, vibration-reduced future on the links (and in an indoor golf league).
While they’ve never generated the buzz of Ventus, Fujikura has offered graphite iron shafts for as long as I’ve been in the industry. For all the noise from guys in my swing speed demographic (and above) about not having any viable graphite options, offerings of 115 grams and more have been a continual part of the Fujikura catalog.
About Fujikura AXIOM Graphite Iron Shafts
AXIOM is Fujikura’s latest graphite iron shaft offering. It’s the first iron shaft from Fujikura to feature the VeloCore technology that makes a real-deal (that’s for you, JB)Ventus a Ventus.
It’s admittedly a bit of an odd offering in that Fujikura elected to forgo a taper-tip design in favor of three discrete length (long, middle and short irons) parallel-tip offerings.
AXIOM is available in three weights (75, 105 and 125 grams) with multiple flexes offered at each weight except 125 (X only).
According to Fujikura, AXIOM shafts “deliver ultimate consistency, stability and unmatched workability to give golfers extreme confidence with every swing.”
My Fujikura AXIOM shafts (125x) were installed in PXG 0317 T heads. I played the 0311 GEN5 T all last season (and absolutely loved it) so I was anxious to try the updated model. Since PXG heads are among the few non-game-improvement/super game-improvement designs that can accept a parallel-tip shaft without sanding the tip or boring the head, it seemed like an ideal pairing.
To give me a better opportunity to isolate the contribution of the shaft in performance, PXG also sent me an otherwise identically spec’ed 0317 T 7-iron with my gamer shaft (Nippon Pro Modus 120x) installed.
As part of this review, I tried the Fujikura AXIOMs on-course before bringing them inside to collect a bit of data with a Titleist Pro V1x and my Foresight GC Quad launch monitor.
On-Course with AXIOM
In terms of ball flight, nothing in particular stood out with the AXIOM. Anecdotally, the trajectory was similar to what I had experienced with the prior generation of PXG T irons with my Nippon shafts. Well-struck shots hit the number and flew (more or less) how I’d expect them to.
I did not achieve ball-striking perfection.
The most obvious area of contrast with my gamers was in the nebulous area of feel. What I noticed immediately was that the Fujikura AXIOM shaft felt heavier and quite a bit stiffer. A closer look at the specs provides a sensible explanation.
The AXIOM 125 X is closer to 130 grams, making it roughly 12 grams heavier than the Modus. Additional data from the Cool Clubs S3 shaft-fitting database shows the AXIOM to be significantly stiffer in the mid and tip sections.
With that, I would have expected AXIOM to produce an appreciably different ball flight. More on that below.
Moving from static feel to the dynamic stuff (when you actually hit a golf ball), a couple of things caught my attention.
First, hitting the AXIOM off mats on a cold morning (48F when I arrived at the course), I immediately appreciated the vibration reduction properties of graphite. If you’ve ever thinned one on a cold morning (or been struck by lightning), you know what I’m talking about.
That’s definitely a “pro.”
Second, and this might go in the “con” column for some of you, is the reality that to no small extent, vibration is feel and, while reducing vibration will reduce bad feels, it can also mask your misses.
Case in point: I had about 130 in on my approach on the 15th hole at Saratoga National. I hit a pitching wedge and felt like I flushed it. Honestly, it looked good in the air … until it landed 15 yards short of the green.
Did I miss some wind?
Maybe a touch but what I really missed (nearly, anyway) was the part of the face with grooves on it. Impact was way out on the toe and, while that’s typically the kind of thing I’m fully aware of with my gamer shaft, if not for the ball mark on the face, I would never have known.
So, yeah, there is a bit of a tradeoff here. Don’t get me wrong. Pured shots still gave me all the happy feels but mishits certainly aren’t as obvious.
On the upside, for those of you playing irons with absolutely trash feel, AXIOM will make playing them a bit more pleasant.
Frankly, I’m fine with all of this because, at this time of year, morning tee times start below 50 degrees (sometimes below 40) and, as we move into the winter months, I suspect vibration reduction is going to be beneficial for those of us who hit a lot of balls off mats as well.
It’s important to understand that I’m absolutely dialed in with the Modus 120x. My last three PXG fittings, my last two Titleist fittings and an iron fitting I did with TaylorMade last December all landed on Modus 120x.
There’s little doubt that it’s the right iron shaft for me.
With that, I would expect it to be difficult for any shaft (regardless of what it’s made from) to outperform the Modus for me. As noted, the AXIOM is quantifiably heavier and stiffer in the butt and tip sections though it’s worth mentioning there are some general similarities in the EI profiles, notably a more flexible mid-section paired with a stiffer tip section.
At a minimum, I would expect AXIOM to produce lower launch, flight and spin.
Instead, the averages were remarkably, perhaps even oddly, similar.
All of those differences suggest there isn’t actually much in the way of differences.
That said, a couple of other points stand out in the data.
I swung the Modus just under one mph faster. We can probably chalk that up to the weight difference but, as I covered above, I didn’t get much in the way of ball speed benefit for the extra effort.
Looking at the standard deviations, AXIOM was more consistent, though only just a bit, for a majority but not all of the metrics.
The most appreciable difference was in dispersion area where shots hit with the AXIOM were more tightly grouped due to a narrower front-to-back distribution, albeit with a slightly wider left-to-right pattern.
In a fitting scenario, I would certainly point out the tighter dispersion but everything else makes it a case where I’d be inclined to ask the golfer what he feels more comfortable with.
On one hand, it’s hard to make a strong argument (at least for me) for AXIOM. I’ll take the vibration reduction all day long but the price is roughly three times that of my beloved Modus for a nearly indistinguishable performance benefit.
On the other hand, I believe in the potential of graphite both in terms of performance and its ability to reduce the stress of impact. While graphite iron shafts often get pigeon-holed as being for senior golfers, it’s never too soon to start thinking about longevity, especially with indoor golf (more mats) becoming more common.
I’m technically out of hands but, if I had a third hand, I’m not sure how I would hold a golf club but, also, I’d consider the reality that a shaft I believe is heavier and stiffer than I should be playing still matched the performance of my well-fit gamer.
Ultimately, that’s the rub here. Regardless of what a shaft is made from, the profile still needs to fit and, while AXIOM isn’t wildly off, the 125x isn’t exactly ideal, either.