Torque is one of the most important considerations when fitting golfers for a new shaft, but it’s also widely misunderstood.
Some golfers place far too much emphasis on torque, while others essentially ignore it altogether. At TPT, we believe that the correct approach lies in between. Torque is not the most important consideration in most shaft fittings, but it must always be considered.
In this article, we dive into what our testing reveals about torque so you can understand torque it does… and just as importantly, what it doesn’t do.
What Is Torque?
Shaft torque is measured by a device that records the amount a shaft will twist under a certain amount of force, and it’s recorded in degrees. A shaft with 3 degrees of torque will twist less than a shaft with 5 degrees of torque, and so on.
Torque is a separate variable from the more talked about measurement of “shaft flex,” which deals with the up and down bending of a shaft, but the two variables are related in the sense that more flexible shafts tend to have higher torque and stiffer shafts tend to have lower torque.
The reason for this relationship is that a golf shaft is both bending and twisting at the same time during a golf swing, which means that stiffer shafts will benefit from a lower torque. It wouldn’t make sense to make a very stiff shaft with a very high torque.
What our testing does not show, however, is why softer shafts would intentionally be given a higher torque. We continue to see advantages in minimizing shaft torque — not just for high-speed golfers, but for slower-speed golfers as well.
For that reason, each of the TPT Red Range shaft profiles was created with a torque that was as low as we could make it.
Why The Red Range Is “Low Torque”
With a lower-torque shaft, golfers often are able to use a shaft that has a softer flex. This allows them to benefit from a better energy transfer (i.e. more shaft “kick”) while taking advantage of the added stability a lower torque provides.
Red Range shafts are designed with this in mind. Their low-torque design gives golfers the opportunity to maximize swing speed and ball speed with a lighter, softer shaft than they’re often used to playing while maximizing club face control through a lower torque.
As an aside, golfers should also know that all shaft manufacturers measure torque and flex on different machines, which is why comparing shaft specifications across different manufacturers is often misleading.
The only way to know if a golf shaft will or won’t work for you is to test it.
The Most Important Thing To Know About Torque
Our testing reveals that while torque can affect both clubhead speed and the feel of a club, its most important function has to do with dispersion.
The guidelines below are what TPT and our Authorized Fitters believe about shaft torque. They’re outlined for right-handed golfers. For left-handed golfers, the dispersion direction should be reversed.
A lower-torque shaft will help a golfer create a more leftward dispersion.
A higher-torque shaft will help a golfer create a more rightward dispersion.
These guidelines seem to fly in the face of conventional wisdom about shaft torque, which has long stated that lower-torque shafts help golfers avoid a snap hook due to their greater resistance to twisting.
Notice that we’re not saying a low-torque shaft won’t help a golfer prevent a snap-hook. After all, every golfer does respond slightly differently to torque.
What we are saying is that if a right-handed golfer were to hit a group of shots with a lower-torque shaft and a group of shots with a higher-torque shaft — with all other things being equal — the average dispersion of the low-torque shaft would be more to the left. The average dispersion of the high-torque shaft would be more to the right.
How Torque Affects Dispersion
While it’s true that low-torque shafts are more resistant to twisting, it’s this same resistance to twisting that actually causes a shaft to “snap back to square” more easily than higher-torque shafts at impact and thus produce a tendency to move dispersion to the left.
Here’s an extreme example to explain why.
Imagine you’re a golfer with a very fast swing speed, and just for fun, you hit a drive with a junior golfer’s driver. Because this shaft is too weak for you in terms of torque, the first swing you make with the junior club is likely to create a big miss to the right if you’re a right-handed golfer. For a left-handed golfer, the miss would be far to the left.
This is because in the downswing, a higher-torque shaft will cause the clubhead to twist open heading into impact. And because this shaft has a high torque, it won’t “snap back to square” as quickly as necessary, which is why higher-torque shafts tend to create a more rightward dispersion for a right-handed golfer.
After a few swings, the high-speed golfer will likely make the necessary adjustments and begin hitting straight shots with the junior driver. But the key to optimizing performance is building a club that works with a golfer’s natural tendencies. We want to adjust the club to the golfer, and not vice versa.
Fitting Red Range Shafts For Torque
TPT Head of Performance Jon Sinclair closely monitors dozens of data points during a TPT shaft fitting. But his approach is simple in the sense that he’s looking to help a golfer with two goals: distance and consistency.
The first step in his process is to help a golfer maximize distance. And to achieve this goal, he first identifies the softest-flex shaft the golf can consistently control. He calls this giving a golfer “extra pop.”
Once Sinclair identifies a flex that’s working, he moves on to the second step of manipulating torque to help a golfer create better consistency. And the TPT Red Range gives Sinclair several options to do so.
Say Sinclair has identified the TPT Red Range 17 Lo as a good fit for his player, which has 3.6 degrees of torque. If the player is consistently missing shots to the left, Sinclair can then test the 17 Hi, which has a higher torque (3.9 degrees), to move the dispersion pattern to the right.
And should Sinclair need to further fine tune a shaft for a player, he can do so with the Red Range. Its tipping protocols allow fitters to achieve half-step flex and torque profiles. For example, a 17 Hi tipped 1 inch will have a flex and torque value that is exactly between the 16 Hi and the 18 Hi shafts.
Torque and Manufacturing
At TPT, we create golf shafts with the finest carbon fiber prepreg and use an automated manufacturing process called Continuous Fiber to make sure that the carbon fiber is orientated in a way that will maximize performance. This is one of the reasons that we’re able to minimize torque in each of our shaft profiles; automation gives us greater precision and control over our shaft characteristics.
It’s one thing to set out to create a shaft that has a torque of 3.6 degrees like our Red Range 17 Lo. It’s another thing to manufacture shafts that achieve a torque value of 3.6 degrees time after time. Because TPT Red Range shafts are created with Continuous Fiber, we can ensure that our torque values are consistent in every shaft.
After all, it’s a big deal if the shaft you test in your fitting has 3.6 degrees of torque and the shaft you buy has 4.6 degrees of torque. And as you now know from this article, you’d be missing more shots to the right.
Is it you? Is it the shaft? With a Red Range shaft, you’ll never have to wonder.