After the release of the Raijin, it comes as no surprise that VA Composites needed only a small amount of time before the release of a second shaft offering. SLAY has been recently introduced with a brilliant blue finish alongside graphics that suggest ties to the source of much of the exotic material used in its production. This review will take an in depth look at what golfers can expect when getting the SLAY shaft by VA Composites in their hands.
First and most importantly, the overall build logic by VA Composites suggests that SLAY will be high launching and low spinning; a combination that seems to be more of a unicorn-esque reality (to elevate the ball, you must soften something, and realistically, that is going to impact the spin of the shaft). In terms of the overall company spectrum, it appears that SLAY will be comparably low spinning to Raijin, while launching a decent amount higher.
From VA Composites:
The SLAY Series is the newest addition to VA Composites’ line of high performance composite golf shafts. SLAY features a multi-material design made with the industry’s most exotic materials from Japan. By utilizing these materials, VA Composites is able to offer the most advanced and versatile shafts in golf. SLAY’s unique design fits a wide variety of golfers and is offered in various weight and torque ranging from 55 grams to 85 grams. SLAY boasts high launch and low spin playing characteristics allowing golfers to achieve tighter dispersion and more distance.
Taking on the first and most obvious aspect of SLAY, it is worth discussing the brilliant blue finish they applied to the majority of the shaft, which generated a lot of attention during the testing process. Many companies are going with the white and the black finishes which are fairly subtle, but this blue just shouts “look at this!” every time it comes out of the bag. Subtle tie-ins with Japanese culture in the images (reflecting the materials in the shaft) is a great touch, and this writer’s opinion, are applied in a much better way for SLAY. Nice and subtle with the outlines, and attractive from up close.
Moving to the overall characteristics of the club, it would be very hard to factually describe the shaft as altogether low spin with high launch. Depending on the golfer utilizing the club, and the head being applied, there is a decent mix of mid to high launch experience. For a golfer who hits a high ball, any head that isn’t purely designed for low launch with a low degree of loft, is going to promote a very high launch. That same golfer applying it to some of the lower lofted and launching heads will lean more in the mid to mid high realm, which simply validates the necessity of a proper fitting. For the golfer who struggles to elevate the ball, this shaft seems to be more in the mid launch realm which seems to be a decent accomplishment. The flight overall will be discussed later in the review, but it does seem to provide an improved overall flight as compared to some of the stiffer tip driver shafts available today.
In consideration of the overall spin of SLAY, it would be hard to confine it to “low” after a month’s worth of diverse testing using multiple golfers and shafts. For the golfer who struggles to lower spin, the SLAY promotes a rather obvious upward arc in the flight with a steeper than preferred descent angle, again, unless the shaft is applied to the overly low spin and launch driver head offerings. Moving into the golfer who is seeking to gain yardage by promoting launch and spin with a head that does the same, this shaft is really going to shine. For one golfer who spent a number of rounds with SLAY during the testing process, this meant spin rates in the high 2000s to the low 3000s with a launch of around 10-11 degrees (much improved). More importantly was the mid 30s in descent angle that allowed the ball to project beautifully forward, and producing that inertia that let the ball land and continue forward in roll. This is something that was lacking badly for this golfer, and it became immediately clear that SLAY was a great fit.
The final discussion topic for this review is the overall feedback of the SLAY. For golfers who are looking for a shaft that has an active tip section that they can really feel load into the golf ball, this will be a great fit. A couple of the golfers who tried SLAY who are more commonly using a low/low tip stiff profile, spent a lot of time commenting on the ‘softness’ of the profile, really exacerbating the feedback that SLAY promotes throughout the swing. It is not really about overpowering a ball, but rather, allowing the driver to properly load and launch. Overall, it seems like SLAY would be a nice consideration in the mid-high launch and mid spin spectrum, at least as it relates to the 65 gram stiff profile.
A proper fit is always going to generate the best possible results, and in many cases that includes the driver shaft AND the driver head as a combination for success. As proved by SLAY, VA Composites now has two shafts that promote slightly different experiences in both feedback and launch/spin to accommodate a number of golfers successfully. For more information VA Composites and the SLAY shaft, visit www.vashafts.com.