Playing the right golf shafts can have a massive impact on your ball flight and distance. While most golfers focus on shaft weight and flex, let’s not forget about golf shaft torque.
This is a good question because torque in a golf shaft is very misunderstood. A lot of everyday recreational golfers have no clue what this number means (or how it impacts performance). In fact, a lot of shafts don’t even have the torque measurement on the shaft so you have to check out the specifications online.
Today, we’ll simplify torque to help you find the right shafts for your game. This way you can buy the right shafts with confidence and improve your ball striking with irons and woods.
Golf Shaft Torque 101 (Torque in Golf Shafts)
Buying new golf clubs can get a little overwhelming at times. Picking the right clubhead is where most golfers spend their time then think about shafts. But I’d argue that picking the right shaft is just as important as picking the right clubhead (especially with the driver).
If you play golf shafts that are too heavy, it’s hard to swing fast enough and you’ll lose out on distance. Not to mention you will probably hit a lot of shots right of your intended line as well.
Plus, you need to use shafts that also have the correct amount of flex too. If your clubs have too much flex you’ll likely hit it too high from extra spin. Not to mention have a wider shot dispersion too.
While a shaft that is too stiff for your clubhead speed can lead to a lot of issues as well. Like I said, it can feel a little overwhelming when buying new clubs.
But there’s another factor that a lot of golfers don’t understand and it can have a big impact on your ball flight, distance, and shot dispersion – torque.
- Torque is a vital component to how a shaft feels as you swing the club.
- A lower torque shaft vs. higher torque shaft has a big impact on performance.
- A new shaft that matches your ball speed and club head speed can do wonders to your game.
- You need to play shafts that are the right weight, flex, and torque to optimize distance and ball flight.
Keep reading to learn more about torque so that you can play the right golf shafts for your swing.
Golf Shaft Torque Explained
So, what does torque do in a golf swing?
Torque is simply the shaft’s resistance to twisting. However, it’s not to be confused with shaft flex which we’ll also discuss in this article.
Here’s how Callaway, a top name in the golf industry, defined torque:
“Torque is the amount of rotational force necessary to twist an object. A low torque shaft will twist less than a high torque shaft when a force is applied. Shaft torque is a post impact phenomenon and has little measurable effect on ball flight. Torque does have an effect on the player’s feel.”
As they mentioned, it has little measurable effect on ball flight…it’s more about the feel of the club.
How Torque is Measured (Low Torque vs. High Torque)
Shaft torque is measured in degrees – typically from 2 to 7 degrees. The less torque in a golf shaft, the less it will twist as you swing the club; while more torque will lead to more twisting.
This is why fast swinging professionals like Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods, or Bryson DeChambeau use low torque shafts. They’re more stable and give them the ability to swing faster, minimize spin, increase distance but also minimize big misses that can happen at higher speeds.
Basically, a lower torque shaft leads to more stability at higher speeds.
But the biggest thing to understand with golf shaft torque is that it impacts how a shaft feels. While most golfers think feel has to do with weight and flex, the torque is also incredibly important.
For example, most golfers think that playing an extra-stiff shaft makes the club feel stiff. But if the shaft has 5 or 6 degrees of torque, the club can still feel whippy. This is because of the material used to construct the shaft.
According to Golf.com, “Torque can be controlled a number of different ways, but the most common is utilizing exotic materials — including Kevlar, Carbon, Boron and Zylon — to stabilize the shaft. Accomplishing this makes the profile more resistant to unwanted twisting during the swing, especially at impact. In other words: improved consistency.”
Flex vs. Torque in Golf Shafts
So, which should you care more about… shaft flex or torque? They kind of go hand in hand…
In general, more flexible shafts have more torque. While stiffer shaft options have less torque.
So you don’t need to worry as much about it as much as the type of shaft and weight. In fact, most everyday golfers buying off the rack sets shouldn’t concern themselves with torque.
Instead, it’s the faster swinging, lower handicap golfers who need to understand their golf clubs shafts.
Graphite Shafts vs. Steel Shafts
Steel shafts vs. graphite shafts is one of the biggest things to consider when choosing the right shafts for your irons. A graphite shaft is a better option for players with slower swing speeds. While a steel shaft set might work better for faster swinging golfers.
But how does torque compare between steel shafts vs. graphite?
Steel shafts have less torque as they’re heavier compared to graphite. While a graphite shaft has higher torque which is best for slower swinging amateur golfers. Plus, they’re more lightweight and easier to swing faster too.
Torque vs. Shot Dispersion
The club head and path determine how the golf ball will react off the face. While clubhead speed will determine how far the total distance for the shot.
But what about shot dispersion?
Lower torque shafts lead to more left shots. While a higher torque shaft leads to a slightly wider right shot dispersion.
It’s also important to test out different torque shafts in a club fitting so you can see for yourself as every golfer has different swing tendencies.
My Experience With Torque
To better understand torque I wanted to provide an example I had after a recent club fitting. I was playing a Callaway Rogue ST Pro Hybrid with a Mitsubishi Tensei shaft. But the club didn’t go as high as I’d like and had too much ball flight.
This can lead to a lot of low, left misses and it didn’t have a high enough launch to land softly on greens either. So I did a fitting at PXG to buy their new 311 hybrid and tested out all sorts of shafts.
I ended up going with the Graphite Design Tour AD DI-85 gram X flex and fell in love with it instantly. The head/shaft combo instantly improved my total distance, ball flight, and loved the feel.
Here’s how the two shaft profiles differ:
- Mitsubishi Tensei AV White 85 HB Graphite: 3.3 degrees of torque, high kick point, low launch, low spin.
- Graphite Design Tour AD DI: 2.9 degrees of torque, mid-kick point, mid-launch, low spin
The torque is nearly identical but the kick point is much different. This produces a much better ball flight while still keeping a stable flex/torque throughout the swing. This just shows that switching shafts can have a massive impact on your ball flight performance and total distance.
Unfortunately, these are expensive shafts but what I needed to get my desired distance and flight.
FAQs About Golf Shaft Torque
Do you have more questions about torque values and finding the right shafts for your golf swing? If so, keep reading to learn from the most frequently asked questions and answers below.
Where do you find the torque of a golf shaft?
This is the problem with torque and why a lot of golfers don’t pay much attention to it.
First, it’s hard to find; while some shafts have it listed on the shaft (alongside flex and weight), it’s not that common. Instead, you have to look up the shaft specifications online from the shaft manufacturers website. Ironically, torque isn’t even listed on most club providers’ websites.
For example, I wanted to compare the different driver shafts for the new Callaway Paradym drivers but they’re not even listed online. You have to instead go to each shaft company website to find the torque measurement.
But just remember that shaft flex goes hand in hand with torque. A higher torque shaft has less flex, while lower torque shafts are stiffer shafts.
What does higher torque on a golf shaft mean?
Torque is measured in terms of degrees – typically 2–7 degrees.
High torque shafts, usually 5–7 degrees, means the club twists more during the swing. This amount of torque is best for slower swing speed golfers. While a low torque shaft is ideal for faster swinging golfers.
How important is torque in a golf shaft?
Torque is an important part of picking the right shaft alongside flex, weight, and material for lower handicap golfers. Slower swing speed golfers will need clubs with more torque, lighter weight, and less flex. While faster swinging golfers will need less torque, heavier shafts, and more flex.
This is why it’s a good idea to get fitted professionally for the right shafts if you swing at 100 mph or more. I’ve seen players change their game almost overnight from using the same club heads but switching shafts. Please don’t make this great game more complicated by not using the correct equipment for your swing.
Does torque affect ball flight?
Not much, instead it has to do with how a club and shaft feel during the swing.
Who should be concerned with torque?
Lower handicap golfers with faster swing speeds. Golfers with 100+ mph swing speeds need a lower torque shaft especially in their driver to optimize performance. This is why it’s a good idea to visit a club fitter.
The everyday golfer should focus on finding graphite shafts (or steel shafts) with the right flex and weight. The torque will kind of take care of itself since swing speeds aren’t as high.
How does golf shaft torque effect ball flight?
Torque effects feel more than anything but also shot dispersion. So yes, it can impact flight but more so the accuracy. This is why higher swinging golfers need lower torque shafts that don’t twist as much.
How is torque measured?
Measuring torque in a particular shaft (aka torque value) is done with a device that tests how much the shaft twists under certain forces.
What is the kick point in shafts?
Kick Point is another thing you might see on shafts that can lead to some confusion. Kick Point refers to launch and also impacts the feel of the shaft like torque.
A low kick point shaft (which is near the head of the club) will create a higher launching ball flight. While a high kick point (which is toward the grip) will create a lower launching ball flight. Or, a mid-kick point shaft (which is located in the center of the shaft) produces a mid-range flight.
It’s common to have different types of checkpoints for different clubs based on your ideal flight and shot shape. For example, I use a high kick point shaft in my driver to keep the trajectory lower due to my higher than average swing speed. But use a mid-kick point shaft in my hybrid to increase launch.
What torque should I use with a 90 mph swing speed?
Here’s what the same Golf.com article mentioned earlier about finding the right torque. “If you’re on the slower end of the speed spectrum (less than 90 mph), going to a shaft with higher torque properties affords the face a better opportunity of being returned to square at impact.
Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. How you deliver club to ball can affect the amount of torque needed in a shaft.”
Final Thoughts on a Shaft’s Torque (Torque Rating)
Hopefully you have a better understanding of torque and other aspects of what makes up a golf shaft. Remember, using the right shafts in your irons and woods plays a big role in getting the most out of your golf game. Otherwise, your equipment might be working against you and making a hard game even more difficult.
Is torque the most important component of a shaft?
No, but it’s something that you should consider especially if you’re a lower handicap golfer with a faster swing speed. It’s most important with your driver shaft since you’ll swing it the fastest and need the right shaft. Next up, make sure to read our article on regular vs stiff flex shafts or about puring golf shafts.