GOLF SHAFT TORQUE: WHAT DOES IT MEAN?
Posted by Seth Zipay, April 26th, 2017
Last Updated: August 4th, 2022
Although we all know that ball striking in the middle of the club face is a must to producing good golf shots, the equipment that you are using can help produce the best results from that good swing. Many times we hear that the shaft is the engine that drives the club to get the best results. With that in mind let us examine what golf shaft torque is so that you can achieve the best results from your personal swing.
Two of the most popular materials used are steel and graphite or a combination of both. Steel shafts have existed since the days of Nelson and Hogan and have been a common staple in golf equipment. Graphite came along many years later and a pre-graphite shaft was fiberglass. The shaft surfaced in late 1960s and early 70s. The great Gary Player actually played these shafts but they did not catch on for the same reason that graphite initially didn’t…TORQUE. The fiberglass shafts were made by the Shakespeare Company, who was famous for making fishing rods. The material was very light compared to steel but also very inconsistent when striking a golf ball at a high speed. So this idea did not last long.
Graphite Shaft History
Next came graphite made shafts. In the beginning it had the same problem .The golf shaft torque was too high. Let’s explain the property we call torque. It is basically the twisting action of opening and shutting the club face upon impact. If you hold the grip end of the club with one hand and the head of the club with the other and twist the butt end of club left and right you will feel some turning action. That is the torque action of the shaft. Hold one end firm and turn the other to get the result. The more the turning, the higher the torque. Thus the more the opening or closing of club head when ball is hit slightly off center.
This factor was the downfall of the first graphite shaft to hit the market. The material could definitely improve your clubhead speed to produce more distance but if you miss hit a shot slightly off-center the ball would travel well to the left or right producing a low slice or duck hook.
Graphite Shaft Torque
The Aldila golf shaft company found that adding boron filaments to the shaft would greatly reduce the golf shaft’s torque numbers and hence causing the shaft to perform more like the steel shaft in regards to the twisting factor upon impact. This shaft was painted gold and was called the HM 40. The golf shaft torque was listed as 2.5degrees, which was very similar to the torque of the steel shafts. At this time the graphite shaft was used and manufactured primarily for wooden woods.
Today, golf shaft torque is always given as a specification by shaft manufacturers and will affect the price of the shaft. The more expensive shafts will have lower torques. One of the problems with manufacturers of standard shafts (OEM) is that the torque is too high for golfers with faster club head speeds. The higher your speed the more twisting will occur upon impact. One of the reasons shaft prices are higher and the quality is better on shafts sold separately by shaft manufacturing companies is because it costs more to manufacture a lower torque shaft. Torque will also affect ball fight if it is too high for fast swing speeds by opening or closing slightly on shots hit a bit off-center. If torque is too low the shaft will have a very hard to feel on feedback and you may not get the desired height or trajectory on your ball flight.
Golf Shaft Flex
Golf shaft flex is also important when determining what torque on a golf shaft is right for you. If you check out the flex of a particular shaft you will notice that the stiffer the flex the lower the torque. Another factor that will determine the torque is the weight of the shaft. I will use the listed specs of one Shaft Company to illustrate this point. Using the Proforce v2 wood shaft, the shafts are grouped in three weights. 55 grams 65 grams and 75 grams. The torque is 3.7 for 55 grams, 3.0 for 65 grams and 2.2 for 75 grams. Although this shaft is not made in a ladies flex, when there is one in other models the torque will be the highest of the five flexes.
The Right Flex For You
Because of the difference in torque between flexes, it also really becomes important to have the right flex for your club head speed. A basic guide for the flex would be 75 mph or lower with your golf driver would call for a senior of lady flex. A swing speed of 75-85mph would be in the senior range, 85-95mph in the regular range, 95-110mph in the stiff range and anything above 110mph would be in the extra stiff range. These are suggestions and may vary a little based on other characteristics of the swing. There are other examples where torque is higher as the shaft is softer, as in the Rogue max mid-launch. Regular flex has a torque of 4.9, stiff is 4.2 and extra stiff is 3.5.
Shaft Torque In Steel Shafts
Steel shafts have a much more consistent torque and proof of this is that torque is not even listed in catalogs selling golf shafts. This is one reason so many professional golfers including those on tour use steel shafts in their irons and wedges. The few who use graphite in there irons are using the highest grade and are going through many shafts to get the same consistency of torque on the eight or nine they may choose.
Keep in mind that golf shaft torque is only one factor in choosing the right golf shaft for you. Although a shaft board measuring torque is available to check torque on your present golf clubs, it is only one factor of the shaft make-up that will affect your ball flight and consistency. Using the information the companies list of the torque is a good tool to use in relation to your swing speed. Other factors in selecting a shaft are the flex, the kick point, and the weight. These all play into the right shaft for you, but let’s not forget that a consistent golf swing in the most important factor in deciding what shaft is best for you!