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Aretera Golf: A visionary shaftmaker strikes out on his own (with a little help from his friends)


Published on Feb 6, 2024

By

Ben Alberstadt


Plugged-in gearheads have heard the whispers: Alex Dee, of Fujikura fame, the Ventusmaker, has left the company and hung a shingle of his own. Some may have seen our photos of the new company’s wares from the PGA Show’s Demo Day and wondered “What’s going on here?” Beyond this, however, we haven’t had much to report on the newly formed Aretera Golf.

That is, until now. Dee and company gave us a quick peek behind the curtain as they gear up for their first release.

Highlights from our conversation below, presented in a sort of F.A.Q. format, answering the most common questions we’re hearing from GolfWRXers.


What is Aretera Golf?

A graphite shaft company. But let’s start with the name: Aretera (ah-reh-tay-ra). The root is derived from the Greek word for excellence and an individual’s fulfillment of purpose. It’s no stretch to say that for the “dream team” at Aretera (Alex Dee’s words), all accomplished industry veterans, this effort represents a point of career culmination. All were at a point in their careers where they wanted to take the plunge, try something new, build something from the ground up, and produce a product that sacrifices nothing in the pursuit of quality and performance.


Who are the key players at Aretera?

Alex Dee: 25-year Fujikura engineering veteran, his credits include the Vista Pro, Axiom, Pro, Speeder Pro, Motore, Blur, Ventus, and Ventus TR lines of shafts and developing the company’s Enso motion capture system, as well as revolutionizing the company’s in-house testing systems.

Bill Stiles: From initial product concepts to production across a global supply chain, Stiles has done it all in his 25-plus years in the industry, working with every major OEM and aftermarket shaft maker.

Michel de Fontaine: The “operations guy,” de Fontaine has worked as an executive in the consumer products and sports sectors over the past 20 years with experience in both startup and high-growth companies.


How is Aretera making golf shafts differently?

Technology: Dee told us that extending the concept of a full-length pitch material further, literally, Aretera is utilizing a high-end multi-ply material throughout the shaft to a degree that would never be cost-effective for a major shaft company selling to OEMs. “We’re hungry and we can pull this off,” Dee said.

While we don’t have full details of the technology Aretera is leveraging, we do know it is a high-end carbon fiber that’s thin, light, and super stiff, and it is used throughout the entirety of the shaft. Additionally, it is configured “off-axis” throughout the shaft, that is, at 45 degrees, to reduce twisting, and as it is a woven material, it’s capable of absorbing load in four directions for greater stability.

“I like to think that you’re using more of the shaft’s length to store power and release it and to store different loading on the shaft and distribute it,” Dee said. “There’s stability in that. There’s integration in that. You’ll feel it. There’s connectiveness in that.”

He added, “A lot of shafts have had to sacrifice feel to get stability. We’ve found ways to get it back. And it’s not a compromise.”

Graphics: In keeping with Aretera’s strategy of allowing “the fitter to be the hero,” the company has taken an interesting approach to its shaft graphics. In addition to doing away with flex designations, each shaft features three rectangles that are shaded to indicate the relative firmness or flex of the butt, middle, and tip of the shaft. This serves as a handy reference for both fitter and player in communicating how the shaft functions throughout the golf swing. Additionally, graphics for an “active” tip shaft are blue and charcoal for a firmer tip.

Flex: …is a four-letter word, for the company. Acknowledging that fitter education will be a key component of the company’s early strategy, and while not the first in the industry to do it, Aretera is fully committed to banishing “flex” from the discourse around shafts, calling it a “relative” and “nonstandard” term that harms more than it helps fitters (and players). In place of standard R, S, and X flexes, the company is using numbers 3, 4, and 5, with an indicator of weight coming first. For example: a 65-gram “S” flex shaft is indicated by 65-4.

Distribution: Aretera shafts will be available via fitters (appearing in a major national club fitter soon), on tour, and at select pro shops. The company does not plan to sell via OEMs.


What’s next for Aretera?

After a soft launch of its first shaft at the PGA Show, the company is ramping up production for distribution via top fitters and courses.

Expect to see an Aretera shaft in play on the PGA Tour soon as the company has a rep who will be active throughout the PGA Tour’s West Coast swing.

Stay tuned to GolfWRX for official launch details around the initial product offering.


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