Nippon Zelos Story: Steel For Life Lite Key Takeaways
Lightweight steel can match lightweight graphite virtually gram for gramNippon Zelos is the lightest constant-weight steel shaft in golf – light like graphite but plays like steelProprietary steel and unique heat treatment makes Zelos both light and durable
Since its inception in 1959, the Nippon Shaft mantra has been Steel For Life. In 1999, Nippon added “light” to the steel equation with the 950 GH. It was the industry’s very first sub 100-gram constant-weight steel shaft. Since then, Nippon has released more light hits than Air Supply. That light quest culminated in 2013 with the Nippon Zelos line – the lightest steel shafts you can buy.
The very existence of Zelos poses many questions. The first is obvious: If you want to go that light, why not just go graphite? But the deeper you dig, the more interesting the questions become. How will steel shafts in the 68- to 84-gram range feel and perform? How would they perform differently from a premium lightweight graphite shaft? And how the heck can you make a steel shaft that light that will actually stand up to repeated ball striking?
All fair questions. And we laid them right on Nippon’s doorstep. We think you’ll find the answers interesting.
Nippon: The Anti-Heavy Metal
The Nippon 950 GH was a true game-changer for Nippon when it arrived. As mentioned, it was the lightest constant-weight shaft on the market at the time, ranging from 104 grams in X-Flex to 94.5 grams in R-Flex. The 950 was so successful that it prompted Nippon to go lighter still with the 850 GH (87 grams in R-flex, 91 grams in X-flex) and ultimately the 750 GH (79 grams R-flex, 83 grams S-flex).
“Even though it’s a lightweight product, it doesn’t play like a lightweight shaft at all,” says Hiro Fukuda, Sales and Marketing Director for Nippon Shaft. “It’s quite firm feeling, actually.”