An Expert Guide to Understanding Torque in a Golf ShaftPublished on 06/16/2023 · 6 min readWhen shopping for new clubs, shaft torque is an important thing to take note of! Golf Expert Jorge Arteta gets into the details of what this means exactly.
Photo by Martin Magnemy
Here's a golf term that you may not hear much: shaft torque. Does it have to do with other terms such as shaft flex, stiffness, bending, clubhead speed, kick point, end of the shaft, boardy, whippy, butt end? Or is it just something of a myth created by manufacturers?
Well, it's not a myth! It is a real term and could be one of the more important ones to know when looking at new clubs.
The Technical Definition of Torque
- Torque is defined as "a measure of how much a shaft resists twisting during the golf swing. It is measured in degrees, which denotes how many degrees the shaft will twist under a given force."
So the conventional wisdom that follows that definition is that a low-torque shaft number (2-3 degrees) would be for the higher swing speed and stiffer shaft type of golfer; while a high-torque shaft (4, 5, 6, 7-degrees plus) would be for a slower swing speed and lighter-weight shaft type of golfer.
Normally you'll see torque measurements from 2 degrees to about 7 degrees.
To the average golfer, a shaft with a low torque number such as 2.1 degrees would feel like you're swinging a pipe. The shaft will have a boardy feeling and stout. A high torque number such as 7 degrees would mean that the shaft is flexible and smoother.
Which one is better is the preference of the individual golfer? Whether it's graphite shafts, steel shafts, lower torque shafts, stiff shafts, extra stiff shafts, really flexible shafts, or just plain neutral, they all have a certain feel during the golf swing.
A higher torque number does not necessarily mean it's for golfers with less swing speed, however. Variables such as consistency, clubface, accuracy, launch angle, loft, downswing tempo, ball flight, and spin all contribute to how the shaft feels during the swing. The article, Graphite vs. Steel Shafts: Which Is Right for You?, discusses the differences in the material used to make shafts and how either might affect your swing.
What Kind of Torque Do Certain Shafts Have?
Let's take a look at some of the more popular shafts on the market and their torque numbers:
1. Project X Evenflow Riptide MX Graphite Wood Shaft Specs
We start with the model number and flex when reading this from left to right. The other columns and numbers in between are for clubmakers and don’t impact torque. The first shaft model is TT0178 with a 5.5 regular flex. Go across and we see that it weighs 64gm, which is toward a lighter shaft. The torque is 4.2, making this a higher torque, smoother-feeling shaft that offers a mid-trajectory ball flight (MID).
Translation: This is a regular flex, lightweight shaft that should feel smooth during the swing. You'll notice the stiff and x-stiff flex models are the same weight, yet the torque numbers are lower, which means they'll feel a bit more stout and boardy.
Looking at the TT0179, we see that this is also a regular flex shaft that weighs more at 72 grams, with a lower torque of 3.9 degrees, yet still has a mid trajectory ball flight. This model would probably be for someone who wants a heavier-weight shaft and a bit more stout feel during the swing, but still some flex.
2. Graphite Design Tour AD UB Graphite Wood Shaft Specs
Looking at the Graphite Design Shafts, we see the model Tour AD HD 4 R2 is a lite/senior flex. It weighs 49 grams—which is very light—and the torque is high at 5.8 degrees. This shaft is very flexible and smooth at the same time.
This player profile can be of many different types. This could be a younger golfer who is gaining strength, learning the game, and has just enough strength to swing this club. This could also be a woman in her mid-life who is learning the game or a casual player who the weight feels right for. Another option could be a senior player who has lost some strength and wants something light and easy to swing.
Shaft model Tour AD HD 7 tx is a very different shaft compared to the first one. This shaft is a Tour x-stiff flex that is 77 grams, which is on the heavy side of the scale for these particular shafts. It has 2.9 degrees of torque, which is low, meaning this will feel like a solid pipe and boardy.
This player profile matches a very fast and strong swinger. This golfer likes the feel of no-whip on the shaft during the swing and wants to feel the shaft at every point during the swing. This player wants to attack the ball during every swing; aka, they want to “go after it.”
3. Fujikura Ventus TR Graphite Wood Shaft Specs
Fujikura is a very popular shaft company that has been around for many years and is very consistent in the quality of the shafts they design.
Looking at the first shaft model, FK0112, we see that this is a stiff flex shaft that is also lightweight, at 58 grams. The torque is low at 3.3 degrees, with a mid-high trajectory.
This player profile will be someone who swings fast but likes the shaft to be lightweight and less whippy with the torque at 3.3.
The second model is the Fujikura FK0112, which also has a stiff flex, but is heavier at a weight of 77.5 grams. This one will feel like you’re swinging a steel pipe, at 2.9 degrees of torque. This is a shaft for the faster and stronger swinger who does not want any whip in the shaft at all. All the shafts are mid-trajectory, which is the desired launch for mid-to-low handicappers.
How To Get Fitted for the Correct Torque
As explained earlier, torque is just one of the many variables used to get fitted to the proper clubs. The following options can help you decide what is the right club for you.
The best way to get properly fitted for clubs is through a Golf Expert here on Curated. Chat with me or one of my fellow Golf Experts for free, personalized recommendations. We can help you find different models and styles and decipher all the numbers to find the best option for you.
In conclusion, torque will determine how the shaft feels while you’re swinging the club. A combination of the data and how it feels to you should determine the right amount of torque. Do you prefer smooth, light, boardy, or whippy? There’s no right or wrong answer—it’s simply what gives you the potential to play your best golf. Enjoy the round and have fun!