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BGT’s Stability putter shaft: Real numbers, real improvement

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What do you get when you take a collection of experienced, hard-working, talented, golf industry minds, and bring them together with an idea to revolutionize a part of the game that has been overlooked for far too long? You get Breakthrough Golf Technology (BGT) and the Stability putter shaft.

Let me be up front: As a professional club builder, and a guy with a putter I was fit for and love, the idea of changing an integral part of that club was something I was unsure about. But it was obvious five minutes into meeting Blair Philip (my fitter and VP of R&D) and the rest of the BGT Team, I could trust them with building anything, especially my putter.

What BGT has come up within the Stability Shaft is a product that delivers results for golfers of all skill levels looking to improve both feel and consistency with the one club they use on every hole–the Putter. And who doesn’t want to be a more consistent putter? They achieve this with the Stability through a multi-material design that has lower torque, deflection, and stiffer flex than any putter shaft on the market. What is also very smart about the design is that thanks to some clever engineering, it can easily be retrofitted to your existing putter by an experienced club builder, or you can have it sent right to the BGT HQ to get retrofitted.

How the Stability Shaft works

The shaft is made up of four parts

  • The bottom steel shaft portion that connects to the putter head: It’s either a completely new shaft OR, it is the small amount of shaft remaining above the head from the existing shaft that was already in the putter. This is how BGT retrofits putters with double bends by cutting above the bend and then attaching the Stability Shaft to the tip of the existing club with the adapter. For 99% of putters without a double bend – the whole shaft is assembled from scratch.
  • The aluminum connector: This piece at the bottom of the graphite section allows for the universal fitting of almost any putter imaginable and is five times stiffer than steel. YES, five times! When talking to the builders at BGT, they haven’t met a putter they couldn’t install the shaft into.
  • The shaft itself: A graphite shaft built to parallel .600″ all the way down (same diameter as the butt section of a standard shaft), which also means it won’t distort your favorite grip. Compiled of eight layers, strategically wrapped to exacting specs for straightness and stiffness. The builders and R&D team at BGT check EVERY SINGLE shaft for straightness once it arrives from their manufacturing facility (see below tool).

  • The aluminum shaft insert: Developed through finite element analysis the insert is only 22g and is positioned to both reinforce the graphite at the exact spot of maximum potential deflection and further reduce any vibration to optimize feel.

All of these parts working together create the Stability Shaft.

Stability Shaft fitting and numbers

For all its testing and fitting BGT utilizes Quintic Ball Roll – the “Trackman of Putting.” With a high-speed camera shooting at 720 frames-per-second, it allows for a multitude of parameters including: face angle, face rotation, twist at impact, ball speed, club head speed, angle of attack, shaft lean, lie angle, low point, ball roll, spin, spin axis (side spin), skid and more. Below is a representation of my initial testing with my Ping ZB vs. the same putter built to the same specs with the Stability

 

Pre & Post Stability Number Comparisons

So what does it all really mean? 

To quote my fitter Blair after initial testing, “those are some really good numbers there!” Now, to be fair, like I said before, this is a putter I was fit for (NOT using Quintic) BUT I have used the system extensively in the past and have conducted fittings for others using the system. Just like with a driver, it’s possible to optimize your putter for less skid and more/faster forward roll, with the right club and proper technique. Looking at the numbers, there are few things that stand out including an improvement on all key performance factors.

Ball Speed Range (distance control) dropped. Being able to control distance is an important factor in making more putts. The numbers don’t, at first glance, appear to be enormous, but if you think about the time spent trying to “max” out a driver getting more consistent results, when you break down the actual numbers is a just below 18 percent.  On a putt over 15 feet, that could mean catching an edge or missing high or low on the break. If there is one thing I struggle with during a round of golf, it’s distance control and having the numbers to prove that the Stability helps with that was a big confidence boost.

My ability to return the putter to square. The reason the data appears to show the opposite is because, like many, I have an aim bias (I knew I had it before the fitting), and Blair quickly identified during the fitting process. From Blair: “The steel putter face angle was closer to “square” but if you add the concept that we identified about a one-inch right aim bias the Stability Shaft actually returned the face closer to the line at the point of impact.” Armed with the knowledge of my aim bias, and equipped with the new tools, setting up on line becomes easier, and as a result, will help improve my mid-length putts – that valuable 15-foot range. One extra made putt per round adds up quickly.

Impact Ratio. This is the smash factor of putting and it was another piece of the puzzle that was improved during the fitting: 20 percent to be exact (from a 0.50  range to a 0.40 range). As the impact ratio shrinks, range shrinks, then putts and distance control from all distances continue to get more consistent. These percentages are a big jump from changing one component of a golf club, and as I will get to, these percentage improvements are starting to add up.

Zero Skid Length. This metric is just like what it sounds like. The length at which zero skid occurs and the ball starts to roll forward. With steel, I reached zero skid at an average of 20.5,” and with the Stability, the average was 19.17″ AND the range went from 8′ to 5′. Again, another drastic improvement in the statistical advantage.

These are all significant improvements with a putter that I was already putting well with. What’s even more interesting is that when BGT was testing higher / mid handicap players the numbers improve at an even fast rate. The below data demonstrates the improvement in the ability to return the face to square before after having the Stability installed.

So how do BGT and the Stability Shaft help you become a better putter?

Let’s forget putting for a moment (bet you didn’t expect that statement, right?) and let’s talk about performance improvements and what we can do when presented with data and a problem. It’s called the “The Aggregation of Marginal Gains” and it was pioneered by Sir David Brailsford the British cycling coach, MBA, and holder or a degree in Sports Science & Phycology. The theory states “The idea that if you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike and then improved it by 1 percent, you will get a significant increase when you put them all together” (great interview here from the Harvard Business Review).

Under David’s coaching, starting in 2002 the British Cycling team — a country with only a single gold medal to speak of in over 75 years of competition, won seven out of an available 10 gold medals in track cycling during the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Four years later they matched this success again at the London Olympics! Many other coaches in varying sports have adopted this philosophy with proven success.

BOOM, There you have it! The entire ethos of what the Stability Shaft can do for you and your putting. It’s not about 10 putts on a practice green, and it’s not about the first round you put it into play — it’s about the long-term effects of getting more consistent and measurable results over and over. Just a small sample size of data provided by Quintic proved this for me and extrapolated over the course of a year’s worth of golf is going to add up to some very interesting results, which I am excited to follow up on as the season progresses.

As a golfer focused on performance, and someone that puts a premium on using the right equipment, I never put a new piece of gear into my bag unless I know without a doubt it’s going to be better. Whether it be trying a new grip to changing the hosel setting on a fairway wood, I need to see proof of better. After going through my fitting with Blair at BGT headquarters, having my putter re-shafted and retesting on the Quintic system the Stability PROVES it’s better for me, and I believe that it can prove to be better for you.

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Ryan Barath is a writer & the Digital Content Creation Lead for GolfWRX. He also hosts the "On Spec" Podcast on GolfWRX Radio discussing everything golf, including gear, technology, fitting, and course architecture. He is a club fitter & master club builder who has more than 16 years experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour professionals. He studied business and marketing at the Mohawk College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop in Hamilton and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers, including True Temper. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, from course architecture to physics, and share his passion for club building, and wedge grinding.

23 Comments

23 Comments

  1. Dm

    Mar 11, 2019 at 3:12 am

    Ryan,
    All you needed to do was to switch to a high-moi mallet type putter instead of the low-moi blade you’re using and could have spent the same money on a new putter

    • JJ

      Mar 15, 2019 at 10:37 am

      I have always wondered why there hasent been a putter shaft company!! I always thought to myself that a stiffer shaft would result in straighter more consistent putts!!

  2. Bill

    Mar 10, 2019 at 12:58 pm

    More Snake oil, if you really have a problem with a STEAL shaft at most distances you use your putter, then just get a few putting lessons. This is just MORE overkill and marketing. Don’t waste your money!

    • Ed

      Mar 10, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      Bill, I couldn’t disagree with you more. I have the shaft installed and it is terrific. It’s not snake oil. For you just blindly say that it’s snake oil without ever trying it makes little sense. Also, will you please explain to me the difference between the Stability Shaft, a Steel Shaft, and a “Steal” Shaft? It sounds like you’re someone who uses a “Steal” shaft by the looks of your post. Looks like rather than suggesting people should take a putting lesson, you yourself may want to think about taking a spelling and grammatical lesson. Respectfully speaking of course.

      • Mad-Mex

        Mar 10, 2019 at 8:20 pm

        Dude, seriously? Maybe you should take your own advise. Your sentence structure is horrible! That was his opinion on a product. Stop trying to sound pompous and arrogant!

  3. Don Prudhomme

    Mar 10, 2019 at 8:40 am

    Snake Oil

  4. Swirly

    Mar 9, 2019 at 9:54 am

    If you’re too broke to afford it, then it’s not for you. Fortunately, I’m not broke, and I love it.

  5. Eli69

    Mar 9, 2019 at 9:31 am

    The Odyssey Stroke Lab shaft is the putter shaft everyone should try. You will putt better.

  6. 8thehardway

    Mar 9, 2019 at 8:55 am

    I’m not sure how this works (ie, why does alignment become easier) and weight specs (of the new shaft and your putter head & previous shaft, feel and impact on your stroke stroke are missing. I have two identical putters whose heads weigh 450g and 350g; is one head weight more likely to benefit than the other? I can’t send my putters off and cross my fingers.

  7. Dave

    Mar 9, 2019 at 8:11 am

    I think I’ll take my $200 and take 4 putting lessons from our pro.

    • Dm

      Mar 11, 2019 at 3:07 am

      Why waste your money on lessons? There are plenty of videos out there and you can use all the tools in your house without spending any money, just do what the videos tell you and spend 4 hours practicing every week instead of giving those hours to a Pro

  8. vince

    Mar 9, 2019 at 6:21 am

    I tried one and I was hitting it so much straighter….my putts were just shaving the hole but now I’m lipping out.

    • JP

      Mar 9, 2019 at 8:05 am

      It’s not the shaft.
      .
      Are you trying to say you CAN’T hit a straight putt with a standard steel putter shaft? If that’s the case, you lack any and all skills on the greens.

    • BS

      Mar 10, 2019 at 12:16 pm

      Very funny.

  9. Steve Cantwell

    Mar 8, 2019 at 11:31 pm

    “ how this shaft works “. … I will simplify it for everyone. You open your wallet, pull out your credit card, and one week later you make a putt that you may, or may not have made with any other putter. You exclaim to your golf buddies, “so worth it! “. The following month you look at your credit card statement and think “why did I spend $199 on a putter shaft ?”

  10. Mad-Mex

    Mar 8, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    With all due respect Mr. Barath, seems you used your marketing experience to the max in this article. Your tried to validate this with numbers which are not explained nor can be read (I have a 27″ monitor)
    One interesting item was not included in this infomercial, THE PRICE $199 for a PUTTER shaft?

  11. Jeff

    Mar 8, 2019 at 9:10 pm

    Ryan,

    Thanks for the review. I have cut my handicap by 2 strokes already and I attribute it to this shaft. It was worth a try, for me.. I will be gaming this for the year.

    • Mad-Mex

      Mar 8, 2019 at 10:02 pm

      *LMAO!!!!* This is some funny stuff !!!!!

    • Johnny Penso

      Mar 8, 2019 at 11:43 pm

      April first is still a few weeks away.

  12. Emilio

    Mar 8, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Actually, I’d probably use one if I were trying to hit putts 200 yards.

  13. Tom

    Mar 8, 2019 at 2:10 pm

    Too Funny!!!!

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Puma polos

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Product: Puma polos

Pitch:  From Puma “A world leader in high-performance sports clothing, Puma launched their first golf collection in 2004 complete with Puma golf shoes and clothing. The collection has gone from strength to strength ever since its creation, with tour pro golfers wearing the range out on the course. With bold colorful clothing to classically sporty and smart pieces, Puma golf is a versatile collection certain to appeal to golfers of all preferences.”

Our take on Puma’s polos

It’s difficult to look past Puma’s 2019 polo collection without seeing its Paradise golf shirt. Showcased by Rickie Fowler during the Island stretch of golf to begin the new year, the unconventional all button up shirt may not be to everyone’s taste, but anyone who pulls the shirt on will likely agree on its comfort. The shirt will channel your inner Ned Flanders, “feels like I’m wearing nothing at all,” and the ultra-lightweight feel combined with the looseness makes it an ideal summer shirt for swinging the club freely on the golf course.

Puma has a lot more polos on offer in 2019 than its Paradise shirt though, and one of the most visually striking shirts of theirs is the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo. The shirt comes in three vibrant colors (blue, white and green), and its camo inspired pattern is subtle and discreet which gives the shirt a cool look without being distracting. Also a lightweight polo, the Aletknit Radius Golf Polo features a clean three button look, as well as a very comfortable fit, and its dryCell technology means you won’t be drenched in sweat this summer.

Then there’s the Rotation Golf Polo which comes in both solid and stripes styles. The shirts offer a very modern feel and look, and you certainly won’t be disappointed with the selection of colors which the shirts come in, with an abundance on offer.

On the throwback front, Puma has you covered with their Nineties Golf Polo, with a striped shirt style and color. There are five different color blocks to choose from which are about as representative of spring/summer as I’ve seen, and the shirts also come with Ultraviolet Protection Factor, which is a nice summer touch.

The Faraday Polo is according to the company itself “one of our best”. Lightweight and one of the softest shirts they provide, it’s hard to disagree with them in terms of comfort level. The only off-putting feature of this shirt for me is the odd unfinished lining around the pocket.

The exhaustive selection of golf polos provided by Puma is impressive, and they’ve covered everything you’d want in a golf shirt in each of their styles. Prices range from $50-$70, and no matter what your taste, you’re bound to find a great summer golf shirt to add to your collection from their 2019 lineup.

 

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Equipment

Forum Thread of the Day: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from Glowbal who is on the lookout for sexy, slick, minimal irons ala Scratch Golf’s old SB-1 iron set. Clean, as little branding or markings as possible and lofts instead of numbers on the club, are all the things Glowbal wants from an iron set, and our members have been on hand sharing their suggestions.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • Fried Slice: “National Custom Works are Scratch. Same grinders and owners I believe. I’m sure they can hook you up. http://www.nationalcustomworks.com 
  • 11forgedblades: “When I was looking for irons without any logo, Geotech blades only had the numbers on them…completely blank.”
  • ivygynonc: “I have a set of Kyoei MB’s black.  They are nicer than my BBs as far as feel and looks.  Look great at set up.  Can’t go wrong with these.  And they are on the low end as far as costs for JDM blades, at least they were when I bought mine.”
  • kmay: “Another for National Custom works, incredible products, and from what I see watching there IG every day, they will make them to your exact requests, any stamping you want (or don’t) any shape muscle you want, sole grinds you want, seems like everything can be customized starting from forged blanks. True craftsmen.”

Entire Thread: “Sexy, slick, minimal irons?”

 

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight: Lynx Prowler VT Driver with Switch-Face Technology

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Product: Lynx Prowler VT Driver with Switch-Face Technology (the first driver to feature interchangeable club faces)

Pitch: From Lynx: “Switch-Face Technology is an idea that has taken the best part of a decade to perfect and produce. Various innovations in the past have tinkered with removable and replaceable faces on drivers – primarily for the purposes of changing the sound generated while striking the ball – but none of them have ever proved successful long-term.”

“The concept was borne out of the desire to give golfers true loft change options for the first time in an adjustable driver so, while adjustable hosel drivers, including other models in the Lynx range, do give golfers multiple options to configure their clubheads, setting and maintaining the perfect true loft and face angle combination for their own individual swing becomes almost impossible.”

Our take on the Lynx Prowler VT Driver with Switch-Face Technology

After a solid drive, you might have said “I hit it on the screws!” in your life. Well in 2019, you actually can. Lynx has taken a different approach to adjustability in a driver. Instead of using an adjustable adapter in the hosel to change the loft of the club, with the Prowler VT driver, you swap out the face by turning five small screws. That’s right. The whole face.

We were admitted skeptics when we first heard of the Lynx VT Prowler driver. We might even have chuckled a bit (we did). Nonetheless, we were intrigued. We tried it out and the verdict is….hey, that’s actually…not too bad. Good look at address. Good sound. Good ball flight. Chalk us up as “pleasantly surprised.” Now understand we didn’t put this through its paces on-course or deep dive into launch monitor testing and dial it in, but the initial reaction was positive.

Before you run out to purchase, we do have some long-term questions. How will the design hold up over time? Will the screws keep the face secure during an entire round? Is that hosel design going to hold up? What rule enacted by the USGA are we potentially breaking by putting this in our bag? (Kidding about the last one — kind of).

Still, for $500, you’re getting a driver with two faces with true adjustability of face angle and loft. We’re pleasantly surprised.

The Prowler VT is available in five different lofts (8,9,10,11 and 12 degrees) with varying open and closed settings (2-degrees closed, 1-degree closed, square, 1-degree open and 2-degrees open), giving golfers 25 different face and loft angles. Orange/Black or White/Black models available.

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