Does PUREing a Shaft Improve Performance? – Golf Myths Unplugged

DOES PUREING A SHAFT IMPROVES PERFORMANCE-

Is Golf’s Best Technology a Secret?

It may be hard to believe, but there’s something that hundreds of PGA Tour players have done that a relatively small number of golfers even know about – PUREing their shafts.  SST PURE has been on the PGA Tour for over 15 years, and players using this technology have won over $1.5 billion.

In this edition of Golf Myths Unplugged, we test whether PUREing delivers measurable benefits or if it’s just a fancy placebo.

CC SST Pure Mod wide

What Is SST PURE® ?

Start by understanding that, to varying degrees, golf shafts aren’t perfectly straight or perfectly round.  These irregularities can cause problems when the shaft twists and bends during the swing.  SST PURE Shaft Alignment finds the most stable bending plane or “Neutral-Axis” of the shaft.  SST claims that when the club head is installed in the proper orientation with the “Neutral Axis,” golfers will see improved consistency.

SST PUREing is NOT the same as “spining” or “FLOing.”

SST PUREing is available to all golfers through SST PURE licensees.

CC SST Pure Mod

The Myths

Myth #1 – PUREing doesn’t improve distance

Myth #2 – PUREing doesn’t improve accuracy

Myth #3 – PUREing doesn’t improve the way a club feels

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How We Tested

For this test, we used two seemingly-identical six irons.  The clubs had the same head, shaft, grip, loft, lie, length, swing weight, and total weight.  The only difference was that one shaft has been SST PUREd and the other had not.

We tested with seven golfers.  The golfers’ handicaps ranged from mid-teens to scratch.  Each player hit ten shots with the PUREd six iron and ten shots with the non-PUREd six iron.  Some players hit the PUREd six iron first, some hit the non-PUREd six iron first.  No one knew which was which until after they had tested.  All shots were recorded on Trackman and no shots were deleted.

All testing was done at Club Champion.

The Results

1

Our first myth is totally busted – PUREing a shaft led to significant distance increases.

On average, our testers gained over 7 yards of total distance with the PUREd six iron compared to the non-PUREd club.  That’s nearly a full club of extra distance despite the fact that the two clubs had the same loft!

The greater distance came largely as a result of greater club head speed, ball speed, and smash factor.  Players swung the PUREd club nearly 1 MPH faster and generated an extra 2.8 MPH of ball speed.

2

Down goes another myth – PUREing does, in fact, boost accuracy.

Overall, our test group was 2.2 yards closer to the center line with the PUREd six iron versus the non-PUREd six iron.  That may not seem like a lot, but six feet and seven inches can be the difference between a makable birdie putt and a challenging two-putt.  On the PGA Tour, that would be the difference between being #1 in proximity to hole and being 91st.

PUREing not only helped players land their shots nearer the centerline, it also helped them to shrink their dispersion.  The average distance between players’ furthest right and furthest left shots was 2.1 yards smaller with the PUREd iron versus the non-PUREd iron.

MYTH #1PUREING DOESN'TIMPROVE DISTANCE

After each player had completed their twenty shots, we asked them a simple question, “Which club felt better?”  6 of our 7 testers said the PUREd club felt better, and most were emphatic.  Players felt that their well-struck shots felt better, their mishits stung less, and the club was more under-control and predictable throughout the swing.

Conclusion

The SST PUREing process is no placebo, it’s one of the most impactful technologies that we’ve ever tested.  I entered this test as skeptical as anyone, but the data combined with my own firsthand experience proved that PUREing your clubs definitely leads to improved performance.  You can expect the clubs in my bag to be SST PUREd from here out.

You can find out more about getting your clubs PUREd through SST PURE Licensees such as Club Champion.

The Data

PURE Test - Players

PURE Test - Averages

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Matt Saternus

Co-Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is a golf instructor, club fitter, and writer living in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. Matt's work has been published in Mulligan Magazine, Chicagoland Golf, South Florida Golf, and other golf media outlets. He's also been a featured speaker in the Online Golf Summit and is a member of Ultimate Golf Advantage's Faculty of Experts.

Latest posts by Matt Saternus (see all)

27 Comments

  1. Hey Matt,

    This is a great read. I’ve really wondered about this for a while now and this just leaves me with one question….
    I was “big box” fit (I know it’s not the best but it’s all I had access to at the time) for my Ping i25 irons for length, loft and lie, and clubs were ordered factory direct with the stock CFS shafts. Do you think it’s worth it (or possible) to get the clubs pured (almost 2 years after using them) or would it make more sense to do a full shaft fitting for these irons with a fitter that pures all newly built clubs?

    I love my iron heads, but I can’t fight the curiosity about these irons being even better for me than they already are…

    • Matt Saternus

      Adam,

      I’m not enough of an expert on PUREing to know if what you suggest is possible, but my feeling is that if you’re going to spend the money for PUREing, you would want to spend it on the exact right shafts.

      Best,

      Matt

  2. One of my favorite Myths so far, I had no idea the results were that dramatic.

    I’ve always passed on PUREing in the past due to cost, but might be worth the investment after reading this.

    • A couple of follow up questions. Do you think the results would be the same throughout the set, or would you expect the variances to be smaller as you got into higher lofted irons and wedges? Is there a bigger difference at the top end of the bag vs the bottom end of the bag? Any different results with graphite vs steel shafts?

      • Matt Saternus

        I don’t know or have a guess about the difference between graphite and steel.
        My thinking with regard to your first question is this: the dispersion with your driver is bigger than your wedge. You can easily hit a drive 30 yards offline, but that’s unlikely with a wedge. Hence there’s more room for improvement with the long clubs. That said, a foot or two can matter a lot with an approach shot, so I’m not sure it’s overall “less important” to PURE shorter clubs.

        -Matt

  3. so why do so many drivers have adjustable shafts if puring works so well? doesn’t spinning the shaft in the hosel couteract pureing?

    • Matt Saternus

      Donny,

      What correlation does the rise of adjustability have to the importance of PUREing? I don’t see a connection.
      You are correct, adjusting the club at the hosel will change the shaft orientation. This is why it’s important to be fit completely – including the settings – and to have the club build by someone who understands how the club is going to work for you.

      -Matt

  4. How do I find an sst pure certified club fitter in my area (Michigan, 20 min north of Detroit)? Thank you

  5. frank cichon

    Would the results be more accurate if Iron Byron was used?

    • Matt Saternus

      Frank,

      Accurate in what way?
      We set out to test whether or not PUREing can help human golfers improve their performance. I believe we did that.

      -Matt

      • It would be a much more objective test if Iron Byron was used, as it would remove many variables. In this sort of testing 70 shots is not enough. You should take out the high and low result players as sample testing, then you are left with 50 shots. Too small to make such big claims about puring. If you use Iron Byron then it becomes a fact.

        • Matt Saternus

          David,

          Robot testing has its place, but until Iron Byron is teeing it up alongside humans, we’ll stick to testing with flesh and blood golfers.

          -Matt

  6. Matt –
    I love the discussions and reviews on technology and improving my game. However — for my next set of clubs, how can I identify whether a club has been PUREd or not? or – Is there an easy way to know if a club is PUREd before purchasing? Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus

      Michael,

      Clubs do not come from the manufacturer PUREd. The only way they’d be PUREd is if you bought them second-hand from someone who had them PUREd. Personally, I wouldn’t trust that a set is PUREd unless I knew the seller.

      Best,

      Matt

      • Matt Meeker

        To follow-up on what Matt said, having just received my PUREd clubs from Club Champion, they put a PURE sticker on the shaft and provide an analysis sheet for each one. So even if you know the seller, there’s two things you should expect to see. Trust but verify.

  7. Matt

    In your test what shaft was used?
    Can you Pure both graphite and metal shafts too?

    Thanks

    Mark

  8. If you have a repeatable golf swing with IE a Driver Then a pured shaft
    will give you the same trajectory most of the time. If your swing isn’t consistent. then no, SST puring won’t help you. I have used pured Woods for years and if I make a good swing I see the same trajectory every time.

    This technology will not correct a bad swing! Put your effort and money in
    getting a repeatable swing.

    • Matt Saternus

      Bill,

      No one is suggesting that PUREing your clubs can replace making a good swing. However, PUREing your clubs makes them more consistent and predictable meaning that you’ll get better results from good and bad swings.

      -Matt

  9. If this is so great, why don’t the top end shaft manufacturers and club manufacturers pure all of their shafts? before painting? If I spent 500-1000$ on a high end shaft, shouldn’t I be justified in expecting that it was painted with the graphics up or down relative to its pure line? Titleist, for example, claims that through thousands of tests they have never seen any measurable improvement in iron or wood performance. Wouldn’t some company promise this as a way of gaining an edge on the competition?

    Further, and bear with me, if a good shaft varies less than 2 CPMs in any orientation, and any shaft that varies more than that is not a good shaft, if it were anywhere near the proper SST orientation the difference would probably be negligible. So, that said, i would be interested to know about the control and variable here. If the “non pured” shafts were “pured” and then intentionally installed 90 degrees from the proper orientation to maximize the shaft inconsistency, then this test is somewhat misleading. If, however, they were randomly installed (some 20 degrees off, some 50, some 80 etc.) then it is much more significant test. At the very least, while this test certainly shows some correlation, it is certainly not a terribly scientific test because of the sample size and how the variables of the testing procedures are not outlined completely.

    Still, a fascinating and interesting read, and I suppose it served its purpose, especially if that purpose was to really mess with my head…like way more than it should. My driver was pured by a top 50 fitter, but not the irons fitted by the same shop, nor the FW woods that the same fitter inserted my favorite shafts from a previous set. If the performance difference is so great, I must say, I am a bit peeved that this fitter would not pure all of the clubs considering the price of a good complete set trackman fitting. And I will be really pissed because now I feel as though I HAVE to go spent 25-50$ PER CLUB to have my remaining clubs, bought less than a year ago after a lengthy custom fitting, pured if I want to play decently. Would I just be doing this for psychological or placebo purposes?

    I suppose what upsets me most is that I really felt confident in my set up after last season, but just reading this makes me think all of my equipment is inferior now and I can’t feel confident in the more than $2500 I spent on it all last Spring. I suppose this is the purpose of this article and SST’s brilliant marketing; now I will plop down 500$ at a SST Pure location (Club Champion perhaps?) to fix this catastrophic failing in my equipment. Man, being a significantly less than rich golf nut with a wife and child is tough on a very thin wallet. OUCH

    • Matt Saternus

      JC,

      Hopefully I will address your many questions/points. If I miss something, please let me know.
      1) Some shaft companies do claim that they paint their shafts to indicate an optimal position. We have never tested this, so we can’t comment on whether or not it’s true.
      2) Club companies don’t deal in PUREing because they’re in the business of selling club heads. No company is going to shift the focus away from their product. Also, the increased cost (time and money) to PUREing shafts and assembling them perfectly is not tenable for large scale operations that are trying to compete with other similar companies on price.
      3) The control club was assembled with a random shaft orientation.
      4) We are very open about our testing procedures, sample size, etc. If you don’t find it compelling or scientific, oh well. We’re doing things no one else is doing to try to educate golfers about what may or may not help them improve. No more, no less.
      5) We have no association with SST Pure. Had the results of our testing shown that PUREing was meaningless, we would have published that. We’ve published plenty of results in this series that don’t make people, including our long time sponsor Club Champion, very happy because our goal is to help golfers.

      -Matt

      • Thanks for the answers. I apologize for seeming too snarky…sometimes tone doesn’t come off well on a keyboard. I actually never meant to imply intentional deception, and you are not the FDA so perfect scientific methods are not necessary. BUT I am not joking that I did feel a pang of paranoia about my clubs now, and I am really wrestling with the cost of getting piece of mind by getting this done, and finding a way to justify that cost to my wife. And I am near enough to Club Champion in Hackensack that it probably would be where I went. And yes, I do suppose that this is part of the SST message–even if I believe it is not yours–that even a hacker like me needs this technology to play decent golf. thanks for all of your work, honestly.

        • I’ll give another honest take. When we did this testing, I was neutral to skeptical at best. Following the testing, I was convinced from a feel and consistency perspective, no question. The better feel made me more confident in the clubs and I flat out hit the ball better more often. The numbers didn’t lie for me. I was so convinced, I didn’t hesitate to leave my clubs at Club Champion and have them PURE’d. Call me a 100% believer, and that’s complete honest truth. Well worth the investment for me, and I would encourage any serious golfer to pursue it in their irons.

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  11. Barbara Economou

    I recently bought PURE’d irons from Club Champion. I noticed that the shaft orientation with respect to the head was identical in each club. Does this mean that the manufacturer did a great job in shaft positioning or is it evidence of something else?

    • Matt Saternus

      Barbara,

      When you say “shaft orientation” are you referring to the placement of the sticker? Club Champion typically puts the sticker on after the shafts are PURE’d so that they look the same throughout the set.

      Best,

      Matt

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