Golf Shaft Torque -How Much Really?

By Carter Penley

            OK, OK. So you’ve heard and read enough about golf shaft torque to fill the National Library of Congress – and what have we learned? Well, I can share with you what I have learned and not everyone will agree with; but here is my two cents worth. 

There’s more torque than what is on the shaft specification sheet, which is what most club builders rely on, and that’s what I want to discuss in this article. 

First of all, when it comes to designing a golf shaft, and, more specifically a golf club, there are two areas of physics we must contend with: static and dynamic functions.

Static testing is generally done without motion or activity, such as checking the flex or torque; both of which are done by simply hanging a weight at a certain position on or about the shaft. Dynamic testing is done during or with motion, such as frequency or by a person swinging the club. 

Dynamics is the reason that when two assembled clubs are having exactly the same static measurements, they will not always feel or hit the same. Thus, dynamic measurements incorporate physics: all the mechanical properties of the components and materials, and the most difficult of all to analyze – the “human factor”. I say this because players will say shafts with too much torque, say 5 degrees or more, slice the ball, and shafts with too much flex, say “R” or less, cause a very highball trajectory and lose distance! Well, if all of this is true, how can Joe Bianchi, a long drive specialist, who swings at 140 mph and hits a ball in competition 350 plus yards, hit two balls that I witnessed over 420 yards and stay in a 50 yard grid, using a club with an “L” flex shaft and 5 – 6 degrees of torque? 

Considering the above statement, let’s take a look at and make some static measurements not usually discussed by club makers or club manufacturers in general. For the purpose of this article, I will use that long drive shaft of Joe Bianchi’s; a shaft I designed, designated as the ·Parabolic Action” model. The following table shows degrees of torque for the shaft only, then the shaft with a grip assembled, and finally, the shaft with a grip assembled and the player’s grip. It also shows the actual torque value differences:

 

 

Standard Graphite Shaft

Parabolic Action

Torque Difference

Shaft only

7°

75%

Shaft and Grip

10°

13°

30%

Shaft, Grip & Player

16°

19°

18%

 

As you can see, once you bring all the factors into play, the torque of only the shaft may not be as significant as many would have you believe. When you take into account the above data, there is not much difference in a shaft with 7 degrees or 4 degrees of torque. I believe that’s why Joe Bianchi and a host of other strong, fast swinging long drive specialists (four players qualified for the Chrysler Nationals with this shaft), hit a 7 degree shaft better than most players can hit a 5 degrees shaft or less. It’s more a control function (human) than a shaft function. 

P.S. Let’s not get crazy now, there are limits to everything. Remember: no black and white, only a sea of gray.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *