” Chris infringe it .”

That was the statement by Alex Dee, VP of Fujikura Composite, during my recent visit to Fujikura’s R& D facility in Carlsbad, CA. The “it” to which he’s referring is ENSO, a $300,000 3D gesture capture system.

Full disclosure, I didn’t really break it. But, for 10 -1 5 minutes, plenty of nervous people considered it a real possibility.

Though this near-miss generated a sprint of levity bookended by several minutes of panic, it revealed an important fact.

ENSO is Fujikura’s sacred cow.

It’s the heartbeat of Fujikura’s R& D process, and without it, Fujikura is likely just another middle-of-the-mall shaft manufacturer.


In( nearly) every golf shot, the projectile, formerly struck, gone on an aerial jaunt, ultimately coming to rest in a determined locating. But how did it get there? And what role did each variable play in that outcome?

ENSO is a platform that measures and records large amounts of data to quantify the relationship between the shaft, shaking, and projectile flight. Going a stratum deeper, ENSO evaluates all aspects of shaft movement to ultimately determine how shaft behaviorimpacts launching, spin, trajectory, top height, and descent angle for every shot.

In other words, ENSO assistances engineers like Alex Dee, VP of Fujikura, isolate the specific contributions of the shaft to ball flight. Put another way, ENSO is concerned with everything that happens with the shaft and clubhead during the swing while determining how every fragment of information systems wallops every other component because of individual swing characteristics.

Quick aside- the term ENSO is derived from a sacred Zen Buddhist symbol, meaning “circle.” Often, the spontaneous describe leaves the circle incomplete, representing the perpetual quest for completion. Hopefully, this comes in handy during your next Trivial Pursuit game.


The hardware side of ENSO is a matter of 10 high-speed motion capture cameras and several dozen motion-sensing diodes. The diodes are affixed to specific locations on the brain, rod, and clutch. Furthermore, at least three cameras( recording at +/ – 1,000 fps) target each diode during the swing.

To put that in context, it’s comparable to structures are exploited by motion picture companies to create animated sequences.

The proprietary ENSO software is a joint effort between Fujikura and Vicon. More or less, Fujikura told Vicon what the software needed to do, and Vicon designed it. To be clear, that’s a wide-ranging oversimplification of a far more complex piece of the ENSO system. Effectively, it’s like mapping the human genome, but for the golf swaying. And without any of the double-helix citations. In fact, the application makes a data dump with 3X more information than can be expressed in video.

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This part might get a bit nerdy but stick with me. To understand the possible yields of ENSO, it’s beneficial to take a glimpse into the sort of information it produces.

ENSO visualizes clubhead accelerated throughout the entire swing. Additionally, it find the fraternity manage and assess every data point on all three airplanes of analysis. Think of it as a three-dimensional coordinate system( X, Y, Z ). If that builds your eyes glaze over, just know that a shaft bends, deflects, and twistings various sums throughout a swing.


In this screengrab, we focused on Xander’s hands. Peak hand speed typically results during the downswing when the hands are close to hip summit. This is true for most golfers, regardless of swing speed or skill.

His peak hand speed is 24.3 MPH, but at wallop, it is 18.4 MPH. So, contributing into wallop his hands slow down nearly 6 MPH. However, at the max hand speed location, the clubhead is traveling 65 MPH. At wallop, it’s 119 MPH. So, as the hands decelerate, the association manager accelerates by 64 MPH. Some version of a marginal decrease in hand speed coupled with a large increase in club head is typical for golfers with an effective kinematic sequence.

Keep in brain that everything of this happens in a little over 1 second. Xander’s backswing is a fraction over 0.9 seconds. His downswing takes 0.21 seconds.


The two most obvious differences when comparing an amateur golfer with an early liberation( casting) is the change in hand quicken from max hand hasten location to impact and clubhead hasten at wallop. Both musicians reach max hand accelerate and roughly the same time in the downswing. In this case, the amateur musician had a max hand speed of 21 MPH, simply 3 MPH less than Xander’s. However, the amateur’s hand velocity declined by 3 MPH producing into wallop. The clubhead only gained 5-6 MPH from the max hand speeding location to impact.

Amateur golfers aren’t trying to swing slow. In fact, they might be trying too difficult to sway fast.


After seeing these two swings, it was my turn. It felt a little like stepping on the scale the day after Thanksgiving. You’re not expecting a lot, but you wouldn’t mind if no one else watched.

As mentioned, a shaft has three governments of deformation. In techy terms, dangle( or float) is the horizontal bending of the shaft. Lead/ slowdown is horizontal bend, and twisting manifests in the clubhead opening/ closing at impact.

With the first rod, I had a max handle speed of 27.7 MPH. This dropped by 13.3 MPH at impact with a total rod deflection of five. 46.” The sag/ float was 0.9, but the face twisted 5.6 deg closed.

The shaft had 1.45 ” of make and a negative kick of 3.2 MPH. This intends this shaft cheated the clubhead of at least 3 MPH of swing speed.


With the second shaft, the max handle hastened fallen to 20.8 MPH and 15.1 MPH at impact. I didn’t deflect this rod quite as much( 4.68 ”), but the kick speeding proceeded from -3. 2 MPH to +1.3 MPH. In general, 3 “-3.5” of shaft deflection is reasonably optimal.

The bounce quicken on the second shaft indicated that the clubhead twisted shut but also shot away from me approaching wallop. This is what induced the loll/ stray amounts to sit close to zero, which” we’ve never seen before…and I didn’t think was even possible ,” distributed according to Alex Dee. This was the degree at which it seemed more likely that I ruined Fujikura’s prized self-possession than actually had a swing with 0.2 deg drift.

While neither shaft I tested made optimal outcomes, the quick experiment unveiled a couple of crucial points of differentiation. The second shaft launched 2deg lower with a start direction 1.5 deg a little bit closer to my target cable. It might not sound like much, but 1deg, 1 MPH or 100 RPM can be a big deal, especially when trying to fine-tune performance. Moreover, think of each individual degree of launching or start guidance as a zip code. From 30,000 paws, it might look insignificant. That is until your Amazon parcel arrives in the wrong one of the purposes of town.


It would be easy to glide such articles and reach the conclusion ENSO-provided information disproportionately benefits better players. And when it comes to very specific use-case scenarios, that line of feeling largely maintains up. For instance, ENSO helped Fujikura TOUR staff find an additional 15 -yards of carry interval while retaining the desired feel in the motorist of 3X PGA Tour winner, Jhonattan Vegas. Vegas’ Fujikura Motore 70 X shaft is a little softer profile and probably not the obvious option for a guy with a 120 MPH swing and quick tempo. But, tip-off the shaft 2 ”, increased the total stiffness while creating more lead into impact. Again, more contribute increases dynamic loft. The net answer is more distance without a sacrifice in feel for this specific player.

For the rest of us mere beings, the implications are likely as impactful, though perhaps not as targeted. ENSO can identify and quantify the relationship between specific swing characteristics and shaft profiles that best fit certain golfers. With that in brain, why couldn’t ENSO data be leveraged to optimally fit any golfer in 3-5 swingings? Or perhaps identify the most impactful variables that fitters should assess during a rod fitting? If ENSO can articulate the levers that most directly impact ball flight, why couldn’t Fujikura develop fitting protocols based chiefly around those elements? It’s my understanding that we’re much closer to tangible answers than some might think.


ENSO is approximately 10 years old and” we’re just rub the surface” according to Dee. The primary upside to big-hearted data is always the primary drawback- there’s a lot of it. It took engineers several years to get a framework of what ENSO could evaluate. From there, the primary objective centered around finding palpable applications for the mountain of data. And now that Fujikura has a reasonable treat on what that intends, what’s next?

In the short term, it’s examining the best way to arrange substances to best serve the needs of the majority of golfers. That’s bland selling speak for let’s find dominant swinging characteristics of average golfers and construct shafts based on those needs. It might speak something like a prescription drug commercial.” Have an early freeing and immerse shake? Try this .”” Want to make that majestic tight describe, but struggle to shallow the golf-club with economies in transition. We got you .” Or it could be more simplistic scenarios where ENSO findings let technologists to construct a shaft with a positive kicking( adding MPH of swaying quicken) on top of previous EI profiles. Basically, taking an existing design and tweaking it to be faster.

The “you don’t know what you don’t know” category is always viable, particularly in R& D applications. Fujikura’s Ventus shaft emanated from ENSO data that illuminated how bending and torsional stiffness control together. In practice, Ventus increased the golfer’s access to motorist MOI( forgiveness ). If a rod can make a driver more forgiving, what could it do for cast-irons or wedges? It’s a blue-blooded ocean of potential answers.

And while the nebulous world of composite rods will evolve, at least one thing is abundantly clear.

Does the shaft matter? Damn straight, it does.

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