Congratulations! It’s the new year and you’ve been blessed with the opportunity to get custom fit for new clubs. My only warning is to prepare for that “kid in a candy shop” feeling, as you’ll likely get to try out tons of different head and shaft combinations that will have you drooling over the newly-discovered performance.
And once your fitter identifies your custom setup, you’ll likely get presented with questions concerning which grip you want installed, special ferrules and custom paint fill, etc. But there’s one question you should certainly take the time to consider and, in my opinion, add to your order: PURE’d shafts.
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And in the event you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about, allow me to explain:
Despite your expectations, the sad truth is that golf shafts (both OEM stock offerings and aftermarket) are not perfectly round or straight. The imperfections and irregularities cause off-line bending and twisting during the golf swing—no matter your club speed or tempo—which, consequently, will cause increased shot dispersion and inconsistent club performance. In a game where precision is key, this is bad, especially when it can be avoided.
You see, PURE stands for Plane of Uniform Repeatability and with the help of the SST Pure Shaft Alignment System, any golf shaft—graphite or steel—can be analyzed to identify the dominant flex plane and, accordingly, orient the shaft in a manner that will result in consistent, optimum performance.
Indeed, each and every individual shaft has an ideal orientation. In fact, even if you were to compare two of the exact same shafts—same model, weight, flex and length—the optimal orientation (e.g., graphics up vs. graphics rear-facing) could be completely different for each one.
In the event you’re still doubting the credibility of PURE’ing and the claimed “value added” from taking this extra step, a study was conducted by Golf Laboratories, Inc., a robotic golf testing company, who compared the same Driver and 6-Iron club heads paired using the exact same Seven (7) driver shafts and Three (3) iron shafts, respectively. To help evaluate ball data and quantify the impact of PURE’ing shafts, each club combination was hit on a Trackman. The Control (non-PURE’d) was hit first and, after data was collected, the shaft was pulled, PURE’d, reassembled and tested. Both the Control and PURE’d version for each setup was equipped with the same grip, club head, and tips (applicable for the driver) and were swung at the same swing speed using a robot to eliminate unnecessary variables.
The first metric evaluated was distance from the center line.
When comparing the PURE’d and Control Driver, distance ranged from as little 14.2 feet to as much as 111.3 feet, with an average of 53.3 feet between the two. In every test, the PURE’d Driver setup was closer to center. While 14.2 might be the difference between being in the rough and the edge of the fairway, 111.3 feet is the difference between being on your fairway and the road next to the golf course.
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Likewise, the distance from the center line between the PURE’d and Control 6-Iron ranged from as little 13.5 feet to as much as 25.2 feet, with an average of 18.9 feet between the two. Once again, in every test, the PURE’d 6-Iron setup was closer to center. With respect to irons and approach shots, even 13.5 feet is the difference between a Green-In-Regulation and chipping from the edge of the green (or out of a bunker, or dropping from the water hazard).
Spin rates was the second metric evaluated.
When comparing the PURE’d and Control Driver, spin rates ranged from as low as 2,674 RPMs to as high as 3,662 RPMs, with an average difference of 591 RPMs between the two. In every test, but One (1) Off-Center comparison, the PURE’d Driver setup had lower RPMs (which is ideal for maximizing carry distance).
Similarly, the spin rates between the PURE’d and Control 6-Iron ranged from as low as 5,745 RPMs to as high as 6,655 RPMs, with an average difference of 574 RPMs between the two. In every test the PURE’d Driver setup had lower RPMs. While pairing irons with the proper shaft to achieve ideal spin rates and ideal ball flight in order to ensure approach shots hold the green, excessive spin can kill distance and cause the ball to balloon (when excessive spin causes the ball to just spin straight up in the air and, eventually, fall straight back to the ground).
Subsequent testing by real golfers has also revealed that PURE’d shafts are (i) up to 7 yards longer, (ii) generate up to 2.8 MPH of additional ball speed and (iii) impact repeatability on the center of the clubface improves up to 51%.
In light of the proven, quantifiable gains made possible with just taking one extra step and PUREing your shafts has helped nearly 200 PGA Tour golfers win over $2 billion, including, among several others, Tiger Woods, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickleson, Jack Nicklaus, Justin Thomas, Gary Woodland, Dustin Johnson, Hideki Matsuyama, Cameron Champ, Bryson DeChambeau and Max Homa.
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In sum, if you’re investing in your game and getting custom fit with the idea being “I’m playing the setup that allows me to tap into my best,” then taking the extra step and PURE your shafts helps guarantee that you’re not leaving anything on the table. As shown above, due to manufacturing inconsistencies, no amount of lessons or premium, Tour-spec equipment can overcome equipment shortcomings that might be drastically increasing your dispersion and reducing your distance.