If there is one thing that Robin Arthur, founder of Xcaliber Shafts, has never been afraid of, it is being different. In fact, I’m not sure we have seen someone so willing to dare to be different in this segment, but that is just my take. One such example of this willingness is the impending release of a new iron shaft design which Xcaliber is calling the “Rapid Taper”.
To be frank, there is nothing like this out there, and I do mean nothing. Nor have we ever seen Robin this excited.
THP was able to get a pre-release sample in to do some work with and see just how the performance stacks up.
No hype, no hyperbole, no fluff…just performance. A 75g iron shaft designed to fit a breadth of swing speeds that held up and then some with a unique feel. The Rapid Taper offers shockingly consistent launch, playable spin, and a jump in ball speed that was eye opening.
The Rapid Taper Design
This one is out there.
Robin Arthur has been working on this one for several years now, a concept that he developed in his mind while thinking about the way a bull-whip works for the build up and release of energy, due in no small part to the shape of the whip and the size transition from handle to tip. The uniqueness of this design really cannot be questioned. While Xcaliber started first with their “RT Spin” release, the real work and focus has been on the iron shafts as well as a wood design. To give more credence to the unique factor at play here, Robin Arthur was just granted his patent for the design.
The Rapid Taper is a build that according to Xcaliber has 2.9° torque, a 75g weight, and is playable up to 125 MPH swing speeds. Also, within this is that they are marketing them to be an option for all different swing tempo styles and a mid-high launching design. Another point to mention, THP was able to get our hands on this one early, as such, the shaft I tested is absent the final graphics and ion finish which based on teasers we have seen, will be as unique as the shape itself.
Unique Package – Unique Performance
Speaking of that unique shape, this is absolutely wild in hand. Even though I had seen the RT Spin wedge shafts in the past, I was still surprised when looking down at this one since the longer length shows off the shape more, I can only imagine how wild the wood shafts will look. As for the testing, I chose to install this one in the new Cobra Forged Tec 4-Utility which plays at 22.5° loft. The reason for this was two-fold, seeing as I had only one shaft to work with for me it made the most sense to test the claims of launch and speed in a longer club that I typically find harder to elevate, it also allowed me to use an adapter for easy install.
Right into the meat and potatoes, I did my testing on the Foresight GC2 and that data will be included in this article. To understand what is going on there I want to first touch on the claims from Xcaliber. According to the company their internal testing of swing speeds ranging from 97 to 125 MPH yielded ball speed increases from 2.5 to 5 MPH, every single person tested saw an increase. Not to mention, increased launch with the mid-high profile while not sacrificing spin numbers.
Well, as it turns out, in my testing I fall in line with pretty much all of that. In order to try to ensure a fair comparison to the stock setup of the Forged Tec 4U, I recorded two sessions, one hitting the stock setup first, and the other flipping the order. The reason here was simple, I wanted it clear in my head that warm-up/fatigue was not a contributing factor. In the first go-round I saw a 5.5 MPH average ball speed increase, the second time was a 4.2 MPH increase. Add into these, that despite different days yielding different swings as is usually the case for us mere mortals, the speed, spin, launch, peak, and descent angles were all an improvement from the stock graphite offering.
Now, to address a couple of things, yes, there was a 10g difference in shaft weight from the stock graphite offering, and that can account for some speed differences, but in my opinion not as much of a jump as was seen. While I know most will look at the speed and be as blown away by that as I was, the fact that I saw extreme playability out of a low lofted iron consistently was what stood out most to me. Not only in terms of launch and peak, but the fact that the spin and descent angles afforded me the ability to hit it into greens during testing as opposed to keeping it a tee dominant option.
Here is the reality, there is a lot of performance intrigue here for me, and while I wish we had the opportunity to work with a full set of shafts as opposed to just one club, the return of information is pretty clear to me. Another thing I want to touch on is the feel and consistency. The bullwhip analogy has a lot of merit here because through the swing I could really feel a release through transition, but I want it clear that this did not, for me, sacrifice dispersion or accuracy. In fact, the repeatability I saw stood out more than maybe even the ball speed.
By now, if you have been around THP a while and kept up with Xcaliber, you know that they march to their own beat. Robin Arthur is downright giddy about this Rapid Taper design and rightfully so, but the issue now becomes balancing the desire to offer a higher tier product lineup while also balancing keeping it accessible to golfers. Price wise, these are an unknown as that will be dealer specific, and being entirely honest this is my biggest concern when it comes to the product. Performance is there, but now there has to be an emphasis on getting it into the hands of people without pricing themselves out before they even get started.
Availability: Summer/Fall 2020
Price: Dealer Set
Flex: L, A, R, S