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By Mike Stachura
N.S. PRO 950GH
The Nippon N.S. Pro 950GH Neo is not merely a commemorative version of a long ago popular steel shaft. Yes, it was 20 years ago that the Nippon N.S. Pro 950GH hit the market as the first constant weight steel shaftless than 100 grams. But while there are now plenty of shafts that fit that weight range, the N.S. Pro 950GH Neo looks to take that lightweight steel shaft idea and further adapt it to where modern iron designs have gone.
With their lower centers of gravity and faster face designs, the modern iron demands different things from a lightweight shaft than it did two decades ago, so the new N.S. Pro 950GH Neo has been tweaked in feel and flex to produce the high ball flight and soft landing angle that N.S. Pro 950GH was known for. Inspired by both the N.S. Pro 950 GH heritage and Nippon’s successful family of heavier N.S. Pro Modus3 shafts, those changes include a firmer midsection on the N.S. Pro 950GH Neo compared to the original to help maintain acceleration.
The shaft’s butt section also is a bit softer than the original for improved feel, while the tip sicetion is a bit firmer to help increase launch angle by 1-2 degrees. The combination of the firmer mid-shaft and tip sections are designed to provide a little more spin to work better with today’s “distance” irons and balls.
The N.S. Pro 950GH Neo will be the standard steel shaft offering for the new TaylorMade P·790 Ti irons, which were introduced earlier this month and will be available beginning Sept. 6.
The N.S. Pro 950GH Neo will have quite the history to live up to. The original was the Nippon’s top-selling shaft and has sold over 40 million units, according to the company. It’s been used in more than 200 worldwide victories, perhaps most famously by Karrie Webb, who started using the shaft in 2002 and went on to win two of her seven majors and 15 of her 41 LPGA titles with it. She thinks the 950GH Neo helps amateurs better take advantage of modern iron designs.
“As irons get increasingly stronger lofts and lower CGs, even amateur golfers are now able to hit balls higher and farther with ease,” she says on Nippon’s website. “However, most amateur golfers can’t create enough head speed to ensure their ball stays on the green after a solid hit. With Neo, the entire shaft provides a sharp, flexible bend that ensures the proper degree of spin, even on clubheads or balls that reduce spinning.”
The N.S. Pro 950GH Neo will be offered in four flexes with weights that range from 94.5 grams in an R flex to 98 grams in S flex and 104 grams in X flex.