Smooth Swinging Sammy the Samurai

Posted by Kevin Lye on

(First published on Vivo Golf facebook page in July 2016)

Vivo Golf Customer Feature – Mr Sam Crisante

Sam, with his insatiable desire for Japan Domestic Market (JDM) golf products, is affectionately known as “Sammy-san” amongst his golfing peers. Sam loves fiddling with his golf equipment. In his free time, he would grind his putter, drill holes in them to experiment, bend his fairway woods (despite being advised that fairways cannot be bent). 

VGA: How long have you been playing golf and where do you normally play?


“Too long! Back in the day, when I was a single digit handicap and used to practice a lot, often till dark, I could hit every iron to a 10 yards difference, with the 2 iron at 200 yards. I had a terrific game from tee to green and only putting kept me from being much better. My 3 wood could carry 235 yards and driver 260 yards. Even played a 1 iron on some courses. Woods were really woods back then. I had beautiful persimmon woods which were refinished every year.

I celebrated my 70th birthday in 2015 with a surprise birthday cake from my fiance and feel truly blessed that I still enjoy this great game. There was even a picture of mother, sister and me on the wine bottles!”


"My home course is Niagara Frontier Golf Club. I also love visiting my buddy Vinny (pictured here on my right) who is a pro at Juliette Falls in Florida. I try to catch up with him regularly over a round or two, especially during winter."

VGA: What are your best memories playing this wonderful game?


“There are so many highlights whenever I look at my collection of photographs:  Toby Lyons, the first pro I had a golf lesson with, meeting Jack at the Porter Cup event where his two sons played, opportunities to meet Arnie, Johnny, Tom and Sir Nick. Each of these photographs has a great story which I think about all the time.”

“But the highlight, in recent years, has to be the 2015 club championship at the Sheridan Park Golf Club, one of the best public courses attracting very good players. In the first round, I managed the course well, overcame some bad shots and a couple of 3 putts with good recoveries for 42 in the front nine.  However, I came back with some steady play on the back nine and a couple of birdies for 37!  There were 36 players in B Division and I was leading after the first round with my low round for the year, in tournament play, of 79! I managed 86 in the second round and won the B Division (10 to 15 handicap). Course plays long but I was in places off the tee farther than I ever was with my JDM equipment. A younger fellow was say, “there are too many 400+ yard holes at the course that he has to hit woods on their approach shots into the green, unless you’re Sam.” I’ve never received a compliment like that before. Had to wait till I turned 70 to win this tournament! Sheridan has the best players and lowest handicaps so I am very proud of my achievement.”

VGA: What is in your bag?


“My experience with JDM golf equipment started when I had my first set of custom-made Epon AF-503 irons assembled with Shimada shafts a few years ago. There has been no turning back since.

For wedges, I have the Halyruid wedges in 50, 54, 58 assembled with NSPRO WV115 shafts which I paint filled the numbers to match the flags at my home course: red-front pin, white-middle and gold-back. Older golfers will understand what I'm trying to achieve with my paint fills..."

"I use the RomaRo UT Type R 21 and 24 degrees for hybrids as long iron replacements.

All my woods are fitted with Deramax shafts. For the Driver, I first had the Grand Prix One Minute which gives me solid, straight drives with perfect trajectory.  With the Emillid Bahama EB-02, I’ve been hitting bullets that went further than any driver I’ve hit and when I wanted to launch it, it also went farther…..until I was introduced to the Muziik On The Screw, which gives me even more distance! The Bahama and Muziik are my keepers at the moment.

Fairway woods were next…I had the RomaRo FW Type R but eventually settled on the Roddio FW. The putter is a Yamada and the bad is Halyruid.”

VGA: Why did you choose Deramax shafts?


“They do refer to me as the shaft man since I am always trying out different shafts and re-shafting clubs all the time. I am happy to provide information on what I know whenever I am approached for advice on shafts.

I was apprehensive about how a shaft weighing like a feather could cost so much. I researched for a long time on premium JDM shafts such as Crazy, Fire Express and Basileus. Not much information in English is available about Deramax, a relatively new line of products Olympic Co., Ltd., a well-established company which has experienced great success manufacturing fishing rods and subsequently ventured into golf shafts.

To be honest, it was first a Deramax shaft which I had purchased and fitted with a Callaway head I had.  I have played with this head for some time so I would know if the Deramax does improve performance. The first drive I hit with the Deramax shafted Callaway was solid, straight with perfect trajectory. The shaft really responds quickly and provides great feel. I couldn’t recall the last time I felt this excited about a driver. Immediately, I started thinking about the possibilities if I tried the Deramax shaft with a premium JDM driver head! So, all the other JDM heads came along! With a 92mph average swing speed, I’ve picked up at least 20 yards on average, with some of the longest reaching 260 yards. Before the JDM stuff, my drives were 215-225 yards.

I often let better players try my drivers and find that they gain as much as 30+ yards over their own drivers. The lighter, longer regular shaft holds up to the higher speeds because of its make-up and rebound ability. I was able to interest a senior PGA pro from my club in JDM equipment. He is now playing with Miura Giken MB-5005 irons with lighter weight Shimada shafts, a Miura Giken Hybrid and recently added the A Grind 3 and 5 woods, all with tremendous success. After much testing with my drivers, I set him up with a Emillid Bahama EB-02 driver mated with a ultra-light shaft at 46 inches in length. He picked up 20 yards with the driver and now plays tournaments with much shorter shots into the greens.”


Note from Vivo Golf:

Vivo Golf wishes to thank Mr Sam Crisante for giving his consent to publish the above information.

To contact Vivo Golf Asia or Mr Sam Crisante, please write email to Emails addressed to Mr Crisante will be forwarded to him for direct responses from him, if he chooses to do so.


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