Monday, April 6

SST - Becoming a Pure Believer!

Today we're talking Puring... What's that and why should I care you say?

Have you ever had a club that just seems to swing well? It always seems good in your hands? And conversely have you ever had one that just didn't feel great when you swung it? Think this was all in your head? Well there is a lot of evidence now that there is actually something behind this.

In the world of building golf clubs, the SST process for analysing shafts and providing direction for installation is becoming a big thing.

A golf shaft is golf shaft right? Well according to the team at SST that's not really the case. Yes a shaft is essentially a cylinder, with a tapered cone-like profile. But small changes in thickness of the material and especially with rolled graphite shafts, say SST, will cause shafts to perform differently depending on how you align them.

So to the average golfer what does this mean? Well the short of it is, you can have the shafts in your clubs analysed by a licensed SST technician (list here), realigned and reinstalled into your clubs. It is usually cheaper to do this when you get fitted for new clubs (as you don't have to pull the shafts first). For example at Golfsmith you can order a Pured shaft from them for about a $13 premium.

I have been hearing about Puring for a couple of years now, and was sort of skeptical. Could it make a distinct difference? Well recently I was fitted for a driver at the Golf Lab (a great facility run by a true genius, Leith Anderson) and I ended up getting a club fitted with an SST'd Fujikura shaft. It felt great. But not having played that club when it was unpured, it was still difficult to tell.

I think the thing that swayed me was the news that Tiger is playing irons with SST'd shafts this year. Yep, apparently of the dozen or so sets of irons that Tiger tested when he was trying his new Victory Reds out, the Nike guys slipped in 2 sets that were SST Pured and didn't tell him. Tiger picked those two sets as his equipment for the year.

On the back of that, I decided to try out a couple of clubs that I know I like and see if I could tell the difference. I took my 3 and 5 woods to the Golf Lab and they unassembled them, analysed the shafts, aligned and reinstalled the shafts for around $50 a piece.

I have to say the results are very interesting. My latest 3 wood has always been my favourite - and it still performs well. Very smooth, long, easy to play. So not much change there. The 5 wood I liked, but it was never the same feeling as the 3. Now... oh boy, that club is the same buttery feel, high, long, very smooth to play.

If you get a chance, try it out. The puring process is not cheap, and it wont help your swing, but it can turn a mediocre club into a really great one, and do that consistently. And if that gives you more consistent results, then who are we to argue.

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