What is Torque in a Golf Shaft – Everything you need to know
The world of golf shafts seems to continually become more complex. It is now at the point when only the most enthusiastic golf equipment geeks truly know what they are talking about. What this means is that it is becoming harder and harder for normal golfers like us to know what shaft we should be playing.
We are all fairly confident when it comes to shaft flex and what we need be it stiff or regular etc. However, shaft attributes like torque make this a little more complicated and can be an important thing to know. Today on the blog we will help you decipher some of the figures around torque and what it means for you.
If you are looking at upgrading the shaft on your driver or even buying a whole new club, you can talk to your custom fitting technician on a new level by knowing a few things. This article will also give you some little nuggets to impress/show-off to your golfing friends. Read on to learn everything you need to know about torque in a golf shaft and why it is important during your swing.
My Polish Golf Friend
I used to play golf frequently with a Polish guy called Andre. He played on the old Nike Tour, now the Korn Ferry Tour, and he knew more about golf clubs than anyone I have ever met. He would dazzle me with talk of swing-weight, kick-points and torque.
As a young man, I was completely dumb-founded by the incredible amount of knowledge he had about golf clubs. He taught me so much about how shafts work and what to look for to get the best for my game.
So, before we go any further, what is torque?
Torque is a measure of how much a shaft resists twisting during the golf swing. It is measured in degrees which denote how many degrees the shaft will twist under a given force.
What does it really mean?
Okay, so the technical definition is up there for you, but what does this all mean in your hands. I like my driver shafts to feel smooth, I really dislike the feeling of a “boardy” shaft that feels dead in my hands. I like to emulate the feeling of steel shafts in my woods.
A shaft with a higher torque will feel more “whippy” or smooth even if it is extra-stiff. Likewise, a regular shaft with a low torque can feel very stiff in your hands. So this is very much about the feeling of your club during your swing.
What effect does this have on your golf game?
Golf has a problem with “conventional wisdom” and by that I mean that a lot of “facts” people talk about just simply don’t stand up in real life. One study, by MyGolfSpy looked at some of these “facts” about torque and put them to the test.
Some say that golfers who hook the ball need low torque and players who slice it need high torque shafts. According to this study this may not be the case. It is also thought that golfers with a higher swing speed need higher torque, this is not true. The point here is that your swing has its own requirements and you should try different products.
Do I need high or low torque?
Whilst many will tell you that your swing speed or your shot shape can help you decide, we have seen from the study above that this may not be strictly true. I would really say that the answer to this question really lies in what feel you like in a shaft. For me, I like to feel a bit of whip so I prefer higher torque.
If you like to feel that a shaft is sturdy and not moving much during your swing then you want lower torque. You can then use the stiffness of the shaft to help you with stability through impact.
What swing speeds require what torques?
Conventional wisdom would suggest that a high swing speed would require lower torque. If you think of a high speed swing, the club is under more pressure during the action and will be more prone to twisting, a low torque shaft will help the stability of the club.
In order to help maximise swing speed, a higher torque will help lower swing speed golfers. You will find it easier to deliver a square clubface with a higher torque shaft as it will twist more into the ball. Try some different torques on shafts and see what you like the feel of best.
How is shaft torque calculated?
The number that is quoted is measured in degrees and this is the amount a shaft rotates during the golf swing. The butt end of the shaft is clamped and a force is applied to the tip end. As this force is put on the shaft it will start to twist, the amount of this twisting is measured in degrees.
The amount of torque in a shaft is important and it is something that a custom fitting technician will have in mind as he/she fits you. One issue with these measurements is that there is no industry standard so it is hard to accurately truly compare torque across manufacturers.
How would I know if the torque of my shaft was too high or too low?
In simple terms, torque does two things, it helps control the club face through impact and it provides the feel of the shaft. If you are using a torque that is too high, say someone with a fast swing using a shaft with a torque of 6, you will hit low hooks. The club will feel like a whip, not in a good way.
If you are a slower swing speed golfer and you are using a low torque shaft it will feel impossible to swing. It will feel like you are swinging a plank of wood and you will hit a lot of slices as you can’t deliver the club square at impact.
Does shaft flex affect shaft torque?
They aren’t related in terms of design but they have an important relationship. The flex of a shaft is a measure of how much it bends under pressure i.e. your swing. The torque is how much it resists twisting under pressure.
A player with a high swing speed will require a stiffer shaft with lower torque as the shaft will be under more pressure during the swing. So whilst they don’t affect one another, shaft engineers and designers know that they have an important relationship in shaft performance.
How does shaft weight affect torque?
Well this brings another characteristic of the golf shaft into consideration and it is something you should be aware of when choosing a new shaft. Weight in a shaft tends to be created with the addition of more materials, this is said to give more stability through the swing. Although this may not always be the case, higher weight tends to mean lower torque.
From a look through the shaft offerings of some of the major manufacturers in the market, this rule holds true. Even within the same model, as the weight of the shaft increases the torque lowers.
Is torque different in graphite or steel shafts?
Whilst torque is a factor in steel shafts, because they are all made of steel they all act in a very similar manner. This is why you will never really see a manufacturer of steel shafts talk about the torque of their products. To increase the torque of a steel shaft you need to add more material, this just makes it heavy.
Graphite shafts or composite as they are known in the industry are multi-material products. This means that torque is more of a factor and can be changed without adding too much weight. Don’t worry about steel shafts for this one, it isn’t relevant.
How does shaft torque affect ball flight?
If we think about torque affecting how the club head is delivered to the ball at impact, you can imagine that it would affect ball flight. One study in 2017, showed that shafts with a higher torque caused a more open club face at impact which led to a slightly higher launch that tended to go right.
The outcome of this study, and others of similar design, has shown that torque is not something that affects ball flight significantly. Other factors like loft will be better to look at to modify ball flight.
Best high-torque shafts
If you have a slower swing speed and feel like you need some help from your shaft with the driver, the UST Mamiya Helium shafts are a great place to look. These super-lightweight shafts have a high torque but still remain nice a stable.
For those who prefer slighty heavier shafts, the ProjectX EvenFlow Blue is incredible. These shafts feel silky smooth during the swing and the performance is certainly difficult to beat.
Best low-torque shafts
It depends how low you want to go, I use an Oban Devotion 7 shaft in X-flex, it has a torque of 3.5 and I love it. It feels smooth and stays nicely with me during my swing.
If you want to go even lower torque then the Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro Orange has a torque of 2.5 in the tour x flex model. This is a shaft that has been used by Tiger Woods.
How do I pick the right shaft?
You need a skilled fitting technician and your own opinion. The technician can look at how you swing the club and advise the best shafts for your, then you need to pick what feels best to you. Try to leave your ego at the door when you go for a fitting.
How do I determine my swing speed?
Technology that was once reserved for only the best players in the world is now available to anyone. Launch monitors can measure the speed of your club at impact and give you your swing speed. Remember that this isn’t the only factor that matters when being fitted for a shaft.
How do I know what shaft is right for me?
There must be a reason that you are thinking of changing shaft. It could be a loss of control from the tee or wanting to find more distance. When you find a shaft that takes care of your particular complaint then that is the shaft for you.
Also, golfers are very versatile people and you will be amazed how quickly you can adapt to new equipment. Your shaft doesn’t need to be absolutely perfect for you. Something that is pretty much right can work wonders as you learn how to get the best out of it.
The market for shafts has exploded in recent years and the options continue to grow at an incredible rate. It really is one of those things that ignorance can help you with but now you know more so that option is gone. Like many things, having a skilled technician that you trust can help you with decision making on clubs and equipment.
By getting onto a launch monitor and trying many different products, you will feel which you like and dislike. Then all you have to do is match the ones that feel good to the ones that give you the best data. Just like that you can have a shaft that ups the performance of your game from the tee or in any graphite-shafted club.
Take your time and talk to a professional about why you are thinking about changing shaft. When it comes to torque, it should be fairly easy to find out what you need from your swing and how the right shaft can benefit you.
Finally, adjustable drivers have made it so easy to switch what shaft you play and this means that you can give your club a serious upgrade for less cost than buying a whole new club. The shaft is the “engine room” of your club and getting this right can bring serious benefits. No matter your swing speed, a shaft upgrade can be one of the best purchases you ever make as a golfer, go try some and see how you get on.
Hi, I am Matthew, a mid handicap golfer who likes to play as much as possible. I love trying out new gear and this blog is where you can find all the gear I have tested over the years!