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Answer What Is Shaft Torque And Is It Important

The term torque is used by engineers to describe the force of rotation which can be put on an object. However, golf manufacturers use the term to describe a shafts ability to resist the force of torque during special tests.

During a golf swing, the shaft is subjected to a fair amount of twisting force, because a shaft is mounted in to the club head via the heel. The reason this is important is because a club head could cause a shaft with little resistance to twist before impact, leading to an offline shot.

Steel shafts are less likely to be effected by twisting because the material has a natural resistance when rolled into a tubular shape. Poorly formed graphite shafts, especially the early models released in the 1970s and 1980s, are more prone to twisting because of their construction (lots of fibers glued together). However, most of the top manufacturers have developed high tech methods to make this less of a problem.
Manufacturers test a shafts resistance to twisting by performing a specific test. They clamp the shaft and a weight is hung from an arm attached to the end. The less the shaft twists, the more resistance to twisting it is said to have. Graphite shafts have a torsional stiffness of between 2 to 7 degrees of bend when measured in the test. Steel shafts have a torsional stiffness of between 2 and 3.5 degrees. This difference is caused by the shaft material and manufacturing process.

A shafts resistance to twisting is often directly linked to the amount of flex (or stiffness) it has. Lady and senior golfers generally play with clubs which have softer flex shafts because of their reduced swing speed. This reduced swing speed will not cause as much twisting force (torques) to be applied to the shaft during the down swing. This usually means a softer flex shaft will have less torsional stiffness than when compared to a stiff flex shaft.

Although shaft torque can be slightly confusing, its important to understand the relationship between the shaft and club head during the down swing.

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If you used a graphite shaft when they launched onto the market during the 70s/80s, the chances of hitting errant shots when compared to steel shafts could be quite high. However, manufacturing processes have improved greatly. Steel and graphite shafts are now extremely similar.

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Graphite shaft production may have moved on a great deal from its inception but cheaper shafts could still be prone to extra twisting. In general, most manufacturers will charge more for fitting high quality graphite shafts which will be just as accurate as steel. They will however be lighter and offer more distance.

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A change in club face alignment at impact by just a few degrees can make the difference between a straight drive and a bending banana shot smashing into the trees. A twisting shaft during the swing could alter the club face position at impact by a great deal. Pick a good quality shaft and the consistency and accuracy of your shots will improve.