MyGolfSpy Labs – “The Secret To Longer, Straighter Drives?
Drivers

MyGolfSpy Labs – “The Secret To Longer, Straighter Drives?

MyGolfSpy Labs – “The Secret To Longer, Straighter Drives?

(Written By: Matt Saternus) In two recent MyGolfSpy Labs, we’ve talked about the impact of shaft flex and shaft weight.  The data we gathered showing the importance of fitting for the right flex and weight was shocking: we saw testers gain or lose 20 yards or more with the wrong flex or weight.  Today, we discuss torque, which may be the least understood, and possibly most important variable in making your drives long and straight.

“What the hell is torque?”

Some of you know what torque is, some of you have seen the word on shaft spec sheets, but the majority of you are probably encountering it for the first time.  Torque is really pretty simple: it’s the shaft’s resistance to twisting. Torque is measured in degrees (meaning: how many degrees will the shaft twist under a certain amount of force), and you’ll typically see measurements as low as 2° and as high as 5°, 6°, or 7°.

As with many other things, these numbers don’t necessarily mean a lot because there’s not a standard way to measure, but I’ve already done that rant.

“So…why should I care?”

You should care because torque is a major component in how a shaft feels, much more than flex.  You could have an XX-stiff shaft with high torque, and it might feel “smooth” or even “whippy.”  Alternately, you could have a senior flex shaft with low torque that can feel “boardy.”

Torque also has a major impact on where the ball ends up.  All other things being equal, a shaft with higher torque will lead to a club face that is pointed further left (for a RH golfer) at impact…but we know “all other things” are rarely equal when you add in the human element.

The Conventional Wisdom

The conventional wisdom on torque consists of two major tenets:

1) Players who tend to hook the ball will benefit from a lower torque shaft.  Players who tend to slice the ball will benefit from a higher torque shaft.

2) Players who swing faster need lower torque.  This assumption is built right into most shafts by the manufacturers: take virtually any shaft on the market, and the X-flex version will have lower torque than the S-flex, which has lower torque than the R-flex.

As always, we look at conventional wisdom like an email from a Nigerian prince who wants to transfer his wealth to us…that is to say, skepticallySo we put it to the test!

HOW WE TESTED

For this test, we had golfers test drivers with low ↓, mid ↔, and high torque ↑ shafts.  All 3 shafts had the same weight and flex, the only difference was torque.  The golfers were able to choose whether they wanted stiff or regular flex.  Every player used the exact same head: a 10.5* Callaway RAZR Fit.  To keep the testers from knowing what shaft they were testing, UST Mamiya supplied blacked out shafts with no distinguishing marks (I marked the grips so that I would know which shaft was which).

Each golfer hit 10 shots with each shaft and the results were measured by our FlightScope X2 launch monitor.  All testing was done at the range at The Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club.

What Effect Can Torque Have?

Validation

The numbers are indisputable: torque made a huge difference for our testers.  To validate our results, I ran our numbers past the guys at UST Mamiya to see how our test compared to theirs.  Once again, we saw the same things in our test that they did when they tested hundreds of golfers: no simple pattern, but a clear statement about the importance of fitting the golfer into the right shaft.

How Did Conventional Wisdom Hold Up?

Over the course of our last three labs, conventional wisdom has fared about as well as you would in a bar fight with Mike Tyson.

Why is Conventional Wisdom So Wrong?

Because golf clubs are swung by HUMAN BEINGS.  If golf was played by robots (and I know many of our robot-loving readers wish it was), conventional wisdom would be great.  Robots have no feel and they swing every club the exact same way.  Our testers, on the other hand, do have feel.

Tester 3 hates boardy feeling shafts, so, despite the fact that his most-hated miss is a hook, he does not like low torque shafts.  On the other hand, Tester 1 doesn’t like loose feeling shafts despite the fact that he needs all the help he can get to square the club face.  Historically, he has found better success with lower torque shafts because he feels like he can release the club more aggressively.

The Takeaway

Torque matters, and, like flex and weight, there are no easy rules to follow.  You need to try a variety of things and be fit into the shaft that will work best for you.

The other thing that we were able to see in this test is that feel is important.  In past tests, players could not always feel the changes in the equipment, but in this test, they picked up on the differences right away. This allowed them to verbalize how the feel of the equipment impacted their swing.  Though we do consider ourselves a data-driven site, and many would eschew feel as nebulous, the data seems to indicate that feel has a very real impact when it comes to a good fit.

For You

For You

Partner Content
Feb 22, 2024
What Club Should You Use to Get Up and Down?
adidas tour360 24 adidas tour360 24
Golf Shoes
Feb 22, 2024
adidas TOUR360 24: The Return of an Icon
News
Feb 22, 2024
Opinion: Pro Golfers Should Still Keep Score—But Let’s Reduce the Penalty for an Incorrect Card
Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

8 Can’t Missing Putting Trainers
Sep 5, 2013 | 19 Comments
SHAFT REVIEW – Project X Graphite Shafts
Aug 21, 2013 | 13 Comments
SHAFT REVIEW! – UST PROFORCE VTS
Aug 6, 2013 | 8 Comments
Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus

Matt Saternus





    This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

      Morris

      5 years ago

      Excellent article! I went to a custom fitting session and after few hours of testing different woods shafts the conclusion was that I need (for a smooth feel) lighter shaft with high torque. The only problem was the prices for the new shafts, more than a new set of clubs. I asked them if they can recommend me something similar at a cheapest price and they say NO!!! I tried to find myself on the internet different brands with same characteristics but a little bit cheaper and after I’ve change it, surprise: it don’t works!!! In a mean time I’ve change my swing, increasing even the swing speed and I’m feel much more attracted by a stiffer shaft (even extra stiff and counterbalanced) with a low torque cause I want to know where is the club head through all the swing and I still have an inconsistent ball flight alternating hook with fade and straight. So, what type of shafts what would you recommend me for my woods? Now I use stiff shaft with 60 grams and 3.7 torque in driver, stiff shaft with 67 grams and 4.5 torque in 3 wood and also stiff shaft with 75 grams and 5 torque in hybrid. Thanks!

      Reply

      John

      7 years ago

      Unless your a 5 handicap or less, I would not waste time with all this technical nonsense. I’ve had the clubs since 1990. Technology has gotten out of hand and honestly, it won’t change my game. I was a scratch player back then and 50 lbs thinner, I had a 112-114 mph swing speed, hit my driver 275-285 and my 5 iron 190-195… I’m over 50 now, 27 yrs later. A bit weaker, not flexible. I can’t hit it over 250 today and people keep telling me I could probably hit it 300 today with technology, but that is false advertising. I’ve tried the new technology and the ball doesn’t go farther at all, now. Plus bigger club heads create more drag which slows speeds down and with a bigger face, more space for error and miss hits.

      Reply

      Funkaholic

      5 years ago

      What a bitter and stupid comment.

      Reply

      Kevin

      4 years ago

      Yep. He’ll remain that way. Some people refuse to accept or learn what science proves. He probably believes putting is where all the strokes are gained as well. Despite I overwhelming data proving it’s approach shots and driver.

      Hal.

      2 years ago

      Everything you said was spot on. But the dumb buying public will remain the same way – they’ll keep on buying the newest ‘moder technology ‘ every year because .. um, they’re stupid.
      (and they suck at golf)

      Reply

      Desert Hack

      1 year ago

      John and his golf game will go the way of the Dodo Bird.
      I fit clubs on a daily basis, the amount of change in technology over just the last five years is astonishing. The numbers don’t lie.
      While the old adage of the Indian over the arrow still holds a lot of weight, if the arrow is crooked, it will never fly straight.

      Reply

      Dave

      9 years ago

      Was swing speed a major factor in the disperssion rate in relation to the different torques. Or was it universal with all swing speeds?

      Reply

      david

      9 years ago

      How does swing speed play into a golfers choice of which level of torque to look for when choosing a driver shaft?

      Reply

      Kris

      10 years ago

      Thanks for a very informative article. BZ

      Reply

      W. Scott

      10 years ago

      Taken together, the articles on shaft torque, flex, and weight are the most important equipment articles I have read. Period. How do we find a reasonably priced, accurate, reliable professional to test our swings to optimize these variables in our shafts and swings?

      Reply

      Magnito

      11 years ago

      Iv’e read before that each shaft company uses their own way to measure torque… and that there isn’t a universal standard way of measuring torque.

      So, company A’s “3.0” torque shaft might be significantly different from company B’s “3.0” shaft?

      Is that true?

      Reply

      Daniel Cordes

      11 years ago

      Very informative Golfporn! Love it! And now i have a reason to go out and get fitted with a new variable in mind!! Torque!!

      Reply

      D Hooker

      11 years ago

      I remember those days, now I got a senior flex no more torque

      Reply

      vivacarlos

      11 years ago

      You folks do a great job and i love all the articles, very interesting reading and i’m sure alot of work goes into them. Seems like most all appreciates it as well.

      I have a question, my favorite most well struck shots come off my old Taylormade Raylor 21*.
      I do have newer equipment but it is what it is.
      It has all the specs right on the shaft. Do you think i could use these to determine what my other shaft specs should be and if so how?
      Thanks for any reponses.

      Reply

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      @vivacarlos: It may not work out. As Golf Spy noted, there aren’t standards as far as measuring these things. One company’s S flex can be completely different than another company’s S flex. And there is no standard way to measure torque yet, so it can vary greatly from company to company.
      It may be that your TM Raylor 21* is simply that “magic” club, the one that you always hit well. I have one of those in a 19* five wood. I liked it so much that I purchased the same brand 3 Wood with same shaft… Guess what? I don’t hit that 3 wood well at all.
      It’s probably just that it is easiest to hit a club of that length and loft, rather than the particular shaft specifications.

      Reply

      The Club Nut

      8 years ago

      Agreed with Joe on this one – However if you have the ability to get the club specs actually measured, I would say it’s FEASIBLE to determine a good place to start for your other shafts. Notice i said a good place to start – you’d still have to try and measure because of industry tolerances and secrets. If you get the torque, flex point, and CPM all measured for that magic club, and know the head weight and grip weight, you can start to paint a picture of what works for you as far as specs for each club to mimic the feel. The trick is to find stuff and measure it using the same techniques to see where it falls into your game. IT’s a long process – quite so – but if you’re really into building a magic set, you have to put the time and dollars into it. Heck, even Harry Potter had a vault of gold he spent. Magic is expensive!

      GIO ZANNIN

      11 years ago

      A good definition of torque is, waking up in the middle of the night with a stiff flex and having to pee. When your feet fly out from underneath you, that is torque.

      Reply

      J C Jones

      11 years ago

      Could please you give the exact torque # for Low, Medium and High Torque. Thanks

      Reply

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      @J C Jones: MyGolfSpy has the exact specs, but if they don’t have time to get back to you on your post, I’m guessing that the shaft used was the UST Mamiya Proforce VTS shaft.
      You can look up their torque values online at their website at at various component suppliers like Golfsmith, Golfworks, Hireko, etc…
      If that shaft was used, then the values still depend on the shaft flex used, and the shaft weight used.
      For example, the S flex in the Proforce VTS 65 (approx wgt of 65 grams) is as follows:
      Red: 5.0* torque
      Silver: 4.0* torque
      Black: 3.0* torque

      I may be wrong about the particular shaft model used in this test, in which case the torque values I listed are not relevant. That said, I suspect that they are for the following reason: The article says they used UST Mamiya shafts. This particular model of shaft comes in three torque values, which UST Mamiya (mentioned in the article) uses to market the shaft. Red has highest torque, then silver, then black has lowest, regardless of the weight or flex. Other than torque, the other aspects of the shafts are supposed to be similar to each other. So it makes sense that this particular shaft was most likely the one that was used for testing.
      You can go to the company website and fill out a form listing your distances or swing speed with driver, and it will recommend a shaft model with flex and torque for you.

      Reply

      Dave S

      11 years ago

      So this is likley a dumb question/comment, but I’d like it explained… If the definition of Torque is “Resistance to twisting”, then wouldn’t a Low-Torque shaft twist MORE (it’s resistance to twisting being low), and a High-Torque shaft twist LESS (higher resistance)?

      From your write-up it looks like you’re describing a “boardy” feeing shaft as one with Low-Torque and a “whippy” as having High-Torque… the opposite of the conventional defintion noted above.

      Am I correct in assuming that your definition of “Low-Torque” in this piece means a Low DEGREE of twisting and vice versa for “High-Torque”…. that’s the only way I can make sense of this.

      Great insight though… enjoyed your write-up as usual!

      Reply

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      @DaveS Your instincts are correct.
      A low torque shaft means that the shaft actually has a high degree of resistance to twisting.
      The “low” refers to the number assigned to the torque value.
      For example, a shaft that has a torque value of 2.5* has a very low degree of torque, which means that is has a high ability to resist twisting.
      A shaft that has a torque value of 5.5* has a rather high degree of torque, which means that it has a poorer ability to resist twisting.
      A low torque shaft will thus twist LESS, not more.
      Consider it this way: If we measure a shaft, and we put a twisting motion onto it (we torque it), and it moves only 2.5* of twist, then that was a low amount of twist that it allowed.
      If we measure a shaft, and we put the twisting motion onto it (torque it), and it moves 5.5* of twist, then it had a higher amount of torque because it allowed the shaft to twist further under the same amount of torque pressure in the test.
      Thus, the higher the torque number, the more twisting it allows. And typicallly, those that twist more (high torque) will also feel whippier, while those that twist less (low torque) will typically feel boardier or stiffer.
      I can see where you’d get confused if you are unfamiliar with the terminology of torque, but your latter part of your post is actually correct, not the first part.
      If a shaft has a low number when listing torque, it doesn’t mean that it has a low resistance to twisting or torque. It actually means that it has a high ability to resist twisting. If the number is low, it means that the shaft twisted a small amount under standard twisting/torqueing pressure. If a number is high, it means that the shaft twisted a higher amount under standard testing pressure.
      Hope this helps and doesn’t make it even more confusing.

      Reply

      Jay

      1 year ago

      Ty for explanation….I will be doing some club fitting soon.

      golfer4life

      11 years ago

      Every part of the profile of a shaft has some affect on feel. I would love to see a test run on what is felt to have the biggest and slightest impact on feel. (flex, kick point, tip stiffness, torque ect.) Not sure how to pull that off, but that’s for the mygolfspy team to come up with. After all that’s how you guys roll!

      Reply

      Adam

      11 years ago

      This is great information. I have local big chain guys that love to say torque doesn’t matter but in the same breath will say that feel matters….I dont’ know how that finish their explanation because i just shut down at that point.

      Reply

      Wayne

      11 years ago

      Interesting article. What’s going on with the driver tests?

      Reply

      GolfSpy T

      11 years ago

      Wayne – testing will be completed by the end of next week with results published soon after.

      Reply

      pgapro

      11 years ago

      Yes I find that shaft torque is an important factor when fitting a golf shaft. But it is not the only factor to look at—–many golfers tend to relate torque to feel and performance. From my experience a golfer that will average 90 mph (driver) clubhead speed should look for a shaft of 3.5* to 4.2* of torque. To hit the golf ball straighter it helps to have each and every one of the shafts in the bag with the spine aimed down the target line (9 o’clock position). Many golfers do better with a shaft no longer than 45″ for center of face contact (which increases ball speed). Golfers with 90 mph clubhead speed should look for a shaft of 58 to 70 grams, depending of a fast, medium, or slow swing tempo. Next know if the shaft that you are using has a high, mid, or low bend profile, which will effect the amount of ball rpm’s.
      Thanks, pgapro.

      Reply

      Walt

      11 years ago

      You said weight and flex were the same, but was the bend profile of the shaft the same? I do not think the only difference was torque that made that great of difference.

      Reply

      Marty

      11 years ago

      guess i’ll play a mid-torque shaft in the absence of a good fitter.

      Reply

      jmiller065

      11 years ago

      “All 3 shafts had the same weight and flex, the only difference was torque.” I find this statement to be very suspect in itself. Not because of CPMs that only tells you BUTT stiffness of a shaft, it gives you zero indication of over all profile of the shaft. I don’t think you can have both a very tip stiff shaft AND high torque. If torque is the resistance to twisting it gives a slight indication on how stiff the tip section is. If you have an 6* torque rating then the tip would have to be slightly softer then if it was a 2* torque rating. When, you look at over all shaft profile the kick point and playability of the shaft will be slightly different if the tips sections are different stiffness. It can’t be identical, at least as far as I understand the manufacturing process.

      Anyways, yes torque matters. I would be very interested to see the coloration between skill level and torque rating. It would be interesting to see that low handicaps (as in 5 or better) tend to lean to one side or the other more often for the best results.

      Reply

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      @jmiller065: I’m guessing that the shaft profiles were fairly similar, except for the tip section, since as you stated, a lower torque will likely have a stiffer tip.
      These shafts were likely all the UST Mamiya Proforce VTS shafts, as one can select a different torque based on color Red, Silver, or Black (red is highest torque, black is lowest). They are the same model shaft, so one would expect a similar shaft profile overall for the most part, with a similar kickpoint and bend profile along the shaft, and a profile where the butt, middle, and tip frequencies follow a particularly similar curve along the frequency chart. Yes, the tip is probably a bit firmer in the lower torque models, but these shouldn’t be radically different profiles, so the results really shouldn’t be “suspect”.
      You are correct in that the tip is likely a bit stiffer in the lower torque models, but otherwise I’d guess a fairly similar profile.
      Thus, different torques may have mildly different profiles, but it shouldn’t be radically different.
      If it is the case that a similar model shaft was used, such as the one I mentioned above, but with differing torque values, then it seems that My Golf Spy did their homework in trying to keep that aspect valid as well. The brand name UST Mamiya was actually mentioned in the article as the shaft that was used. That VTS shaft is noted specifically for the torque differences in UST’s marketing.
      If different brand shafts had been used (or completely different models), then yes, there could be radically different shaft profiles present, but the context of the article leads one to believe that a similar model shaft was used, just having a different tip torque, such as UST’s Proforce VTS shafts. This leads one to believe that they have a similar bend profile along the length of the shaft, not just similar butt frequencies, and thus the testing should be valid and not suspect.

      Reply

      Daniele

      11 years ago

      What was the 3 torque value?

      Very interesting test…. I also tend to slice but I can confirm that high torque (4.8 my current drive shaft ) doesn’t solve mi problem… But with low torque I have my best result (3.2 my last driver shaft that unfortunately I already sell )

      Reply

      frank

      11 years ago

      Another great article on the “UNKNOWN”. This was a vital part of my fitting which I loved. the feel of the club was a great “tell” in that if I liek the kick at impact it helped my confidence in releasing hte cluba nd letting it go. if the feeling was stiff or boardy I tended to hang on

      Reply

      dmronsky

      11 years ago

      I thought that shaft torque had more of a relationship with swing tempo? Please let me know if i a wrong!!

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      11 years ago

      While I’m sure there may be some general correlations that could be made between tempo and torque, I would be very wary of proposing or accepting any hard and fast rules about their relationship.

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      Dave Mac

      11 years ago

      Agreed very impressive. This one is likely to stir up a hornets nets though, this is one of those super polarizing subjects. This test shows just how sensitive golfers performance is related to feel.

      The problem is, this throws a huge spanner into the works with regards to fitting because there is no transferable data regarding shaft torque (as usual they all measure it differently). Currently only one shaft range is available which has the same bend profile but different torque. The majority of models change torque with weight and flex. Unfortunately it just make a difficult problem more difficult.

      Reply

      KFlare

      11 years ago

      Throwing a spanner into the works? I like that. The US needs more spanners.

      Reply

      wdgolf

      11 years ago

      IIRC Wishon has a large list of info about shafts, though you have to pay for it.

      I haven’t seen the list, but I’d be very surprised if torque isn’t one of the measurements.

      Reply

      wdgolf

      11 years ago

      Standardized info that is. He ran the tests.

      Hireko also publishes a list:

      http://www.hirekogolf.com/dynamic-shaft-fitting-addendum

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      Hireko’s list is actually quite handy.
      They used to list it in their printed component catalog, but nowadays one must download it to their computer. The download is totally free of charge, and you don’t have to login or sign up for any newsletters in order to get it.
      They give you what they term a DSFI, a number that is designed to give an estimate of the swing speed a golfer should have to have that shaft fit them. They do incorporate torque as well as frequency, and they do the testing themselves, so they are measuring the torque rather than accepting a listed torque value.
      They even take into accout the tempo of the golfer, giving a range of DSFI depending on tempo, or giving values depending on whether one is fast, medium, or slow tempo.
      I’ve used Hireko’s DSFI Addendum (Hireko was formerly a component company called Dynacraft) for many years. It’s a very handy gauge for rule of thumb swing speed estimates. Not an exact science, as every person is different in what they subjectively like or feel, but a good starting point as far as choosing an assortment of shafts for a potential client to test when selecting a shaft.

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      Tom Wishon’s list is actually a software program. Wishon takes frequency measurements are numerous sites along the shaft. I can’t recall exactly, but I think it is every 11″ or every 9″. These values are compared to all other shafts. That way, if a person comes to you as a clubfitter/club builder, and that person tells you they once had a specific shaft that they really liked, you can look into your software program and find a shaft that closely matches the playing characteristics of that shaft.
      Since taking the frequency at the butt end alone isn’t enough, they go the extra mile so that one gets an entire profile of the shaft, thus informing you if the butt end is stiff or soft, as well as the middle, as well as the tip end, as the profile is shown in the form of a graph with a curving line on it showing the frequency at each of the points.
      A visual example of something like this can also be seen on Mitsubishi Rayon’s website with regard to the comparison of their Diamana shafts, for example comparing the flex profile of the Diamana ‘ilima shaft to the Kai’li shaft to the ‘Ahina shaft.

      Golfspy Matt

      11 years ago

      Dave,

      You’re right, this does not make fitting easier. My only real objective with this was to make consumers aware of another component that they should take into consideration with fitting.

      With the lack of standardized ways of measuring and reporting (be it torque, flex, etc), the burden falls to the consumer and the fitter to be educated and knowledgeable. It’s why we always go back to the refrain of “Find a great fitter and work with them.”

      Best,

      Matt

      Reply

      bubba

      11 years ago

      When you say “All 3 shafts had the same weight and flex, the only difference was torque” was each shaft checked for CPM measurements for flex or are you saying the letter painted on the shafts were the same? e.g. “R” and “S”

      Reply

      Golfspy Matt

      11 years ago

      All shafts within the same flex (regular or stiff) were within 2 CPMs of each other.

      -Matt

      Reply

      Joe Golfer

      11 years ago

      Glad to hear that you guys are really on top of those things. I’ve heard that there can be a full flex disparity between shafts that are supposedly identical, with the same flex designation.
      It’s great that you folks really examine this stuff to make sure everything is on the up and up when it comes to your testing.
      The article was great. And now we all have an idea of what UST Mamiya is talking about with their Proforce VTS shafts in Red, Silver, and Black (3 different torques).
      While tester #1 needs lessons more than a new shaft, it was great to see that Testers #2 and #3 had such a tremendous improvement in accuracy grouping when fitted with the correct shaft, even if it didn’t fit the conventional wisdom myths.

      Tim

      11 years ago

      good article and testing, totally agree with your results about feel – we all change the way we swing based on the feel of the club.
      I rarely hit a hook, main bad shot is a block fade, but I hate whippy feeling shafts, that feel stops me from releasing fully during the swing, so high torque shafts actually causes me to slice more because i don’t release the club as well as with a low torque shaft.

      Reply

      wdgolf

      11 years ago

      Awesome writeup Matt, very informative.

      Reply

    Leave A Reply

    required
    required
    required (your email address will not be published)

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

    Partner Content
    Feb 22, 2024
    What Club Should You Use to Get Up and Down?
    adidas tour360 24 adidas tour360 24
    Golf Shoes
    Feb 22, 2024
    adidas TOUR360 24: The Return of an Icon
    News
    Feb 22, 2024
    Opinion: Pro Golfers Should Still Keep Score—But Let’s Reduce the Penalty for an Incorrect Card