You may have seen them on tour, or in your Sunday foursome – whether it’s an Odyssey Stroke Lab or one of Barney Adams’ Breakthrough Golf Technology Stability Shafts, multi-material putter shafts are re-emerging as the new hotness in putter technology. Bottom line, there’s some buzz around this new piece of technology. So we put it to the test.
For this lab, we took two identical Bettinardi BB1 putters, one with the stock steel shaft, and the other with the Stability Shaft, and tested them side by side.
WHAT IS THE STABILITY SHAFT?
Breakthrough Golf Technology says that the typical steel putter shafts have a fixed flex point which isn’t sufficient enough to handle the weight of modern putter heads. What you get is instability both in flex and in rotation during the stroke (especially on off-center hits). The folks over at BGT took modern materials science and developed a putter shaft that is designed to fix this common problem.
What looks like a bit like driver shaft with a putter at the end of it, the Stability Shaft is composed of eight layers of high modulus carbon fiber with a stainless steel tip. A 22-gram aluminum insert gives weight to the structure and provides additional flexural rigidity. Breakthrough Golf Technology (BGT) states that its shaft is not only stiffer but also dramatically reduces torsional rotation.
Simply put, this putter shaft ain’t supposed to move.
BGT says it limits unwanted movement by 25% (without limiting feel) and reduces torque by almost 50%. This ultra-stiff shaft is made specifically to help you stroke the putter more consistently and deliver the clubface squarer at impact.
To keep our test putters as identical as possible, we reached out to Bettinardi Golf. The company provided us with two identical BB1 putters. The two putters have the same loft, same lie, same weight, and the same grip. The only difference: one was built with the standard steel shaft common to most every putter on retail shelves, the other was outfitted with the Breakthrough Golf Stability Shaft.
For the test itself, we put ten golfers through the same protocols we use during Most Wanted Testing. Testers hit a series of putts from 5, 10 and 20 feet with each putter. We counted the total number of putts for each tester, calculated confidence intervals, and looked for any significant performance differences. At 10 feet we utilized Foresight Sports GCQuad Essential Putting Module to capture both ball and club head data – this would allow us to see differences (if any) that existed in how the putter was delivered.
For this test (and many others at MyGolfSpy), we take a multifaceted approach to analyzing the data we collect. For this comparison, we’ll first look at the launch monitor data captured by our Foresight GCQuad. From there, we’ll dive into the raw putting data (total putts, averages, etc.) and finish with an examination of the statistical reliability of the putt counts.
LAUNCH MONITOR DATA
The Foresight GCQuad Essential Putting Module captures both ball and club data during a putt. That means that in addition to standard launch metrics (ball speed, launch angle, launch direction, spin, etc.), we also get metrics like skid distance, time to roll, and more. While most of these values were mostly consistent across shafts, we noted a few areas where appreciable differences were recorded. Note: launch monitor data was collected for 10′ putts only.
- The biggest difference we observed was in the starting direction. The Stability Shaft produced a straighter starting direction with a smaller standard deviation. This is especially important when putting because it’s essential that putts start on the intended line.
- The angle of attack for the Stability Shaft was about half that of the stock shaft; however, the standard deviation was slightly higher. The data suggests the club was delivered at a shallower angle, although somewhat less consistently.
- Differences in club path and face to path are also apparent in the data. Testers delivered the Stability Shaft with more of an in-to-out path and a more closed face angle.
- The Vertical Impact data is particularly interesting. The stock shaft was stuck, on average, higher on the face than the Stability Shaft, which was struck just .03 millimeters from face center on average.
Observing club data provides insight into differences in how the clubhead was delivered, but it doesn’t necessarily offer a full accounting of performance. For that, as we do in all our putter tests, we compare performance at three distances to see if launch monitor differences translate to higher make percentages. Different doesn’t always mean better
- Testers holed out in fewer putts at 5 and 10 feet with the Stability Shaft.
- At 20′ feet, the stock shaft produced slightly better performance.
- Overall, the BGT Stability Shaft produced better results in terms of raw putt counts, resulting in a higher Strokes Gained value.
Finally, we look to see whether or not the results are statistically reliable. The chart below shows the strength of each putter at the three distances tested. We want to see how often the Stability Shaft or the Stock Shaft was in what we call the Top Group across the entire test pool. With only two putters – or in this case, putter shafts – in the field, the performance permutations are limited. For each tester, the top performing shaft will be either reliably better or statistically no different from the other.
- Data from across the testing pool yielded little evidence of a universally reliable performance advantage for the Stability Shaft.
- The Stability Shaft was reliably better for a few golfers in our testing pool at both 5 and 10 feet, with 10′ regarded as the most important of the three distances we test.
- At 20′, performance was largely similar, though one golfer did show reliably better performance from the stock shaft.
There is some evidence to suggest that the Breakthrough Golf Technology Stability can produce a more consistent stroke, but our test doesn’t yield a result that would suggest it’s truly a breakthrough. The technology shows promise and our data suggests that some, though far from all, golfers will perform better with it. As with most other pieces of golf equipment, we recommend you invest in a thorough fitting process to determine if the Stability Shaft can help you hole more putts.
Now it’s your turn – have you or will you be trying The Stability Shaft soon? Let us know YOUR thoughts in the comments section below.