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.
Find out what shafts need SST PURE the most HERE
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
CAN PUREING A SHAFT HELP YOUR PUTTING? FIND OUT HERE
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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…
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.
How much does cost to get a set of clubs pured
It depends on the shop doing the work, but I think it’s in the neighborhood of $20/club.
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?
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.
My own experience in Pureing my expensive Aerotech Steelfiber graphite shafts made no difference in distance. I really have no way to know about dispersion. 6 iron through wedges. I hit them before pureing and after and I could not tell any difference in feel. Cost $30 a club.
Were you properly fitted into the Steelfibers? I have seen a lot of golfers complain about Pure’ing and that is does not work but if you have the properly fitted shafts to your swing – Pure’ing will work. i do it with all my clubs every single time – no questions asked.
Before SST PURE tested the myths, they should have pured all the clubs and put half 180° from pure. To be sure.
so why do so many drivers have adjustable shafts if puring works so well? doesn’t spinning the shaft in the hosel couteract pureing?
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.
Isn’t the purpose of Puring the shaft to align the “spine” of the shaft to the club face? If you twist the shaft relative to the club face when adjusting it wouldn’t it then change the puring effect?
Yes, which is why I said above that you should get fit – including finding the best setting – and then have the shaft PURE’d and installed correctly.
How do I find an sst pure certified club fitter in my area (Michigan, 20 min north of Detroit)? Thank you
Go to the SST website (linked above) and search for a licensee.
Would the results be more accurate if Iron Byron was used?
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.
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.
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.
Absolutely agree with this. Eliminating the human element by utilizing robotics would isolate this down to just the impact of Puring. This is just sound science. More reps and fewer variables will give more accurate results.
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.
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.
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.
can pureing be reversed? my club feels much more “boardy” since getting it pured and I dont like the feel of it.
Sure, you can pull the shafts and then re-install them in any other orientation you like.
In your test what shaft was used?
Can you Pure both graphite and metal shafts too?
I believe it was a Dynamic Golf AMT.
Yes, you can PURE graphite and steel shafts.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
I could not agree more with Bill on this. I was not part of this testing but I have been getting my shafts Pure’d for many years now and have noticed consistency and feel with my pure’d shafts over non pure’d immediately. I know it can be expensive but I cannot understand how you can buy a $1500 set of irons and not put the additional $140-$180 for pure’ing. You are obviously buying in on the OEM marketing hype about their “new” clubs will be X and Y to buy them. This article alone provides proof that pure’ing the shafts does work. I am a firm believer and will definitely do it each and every time.
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?
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.
I got fit for irons and had the shafts pured . But once in play I saw NO increase in distance from the numbers I saw in the fitting, in fact the numbers seemed to go down. Why ? What do you suggest
That’s interesting. Have you taken your new clubs back to the fitter to discuss this?
If you get a driver shaft pured then later changed the loft settings doesn’t that change the shaft being pured ?
If you’re getting a PURE’d shaft installed on an adjustable hosel driver, you’d want to let the builder know which setting you plan to use. If you align it differently, then you’re negating the benefits of PUREing.
Can you explain the difference between Pure and FLO?
I don’t have a highly technical knowledge of PUREing, but it’s a method of finding the strongest point of the shaft. FLO is finding the point where the shaft oscillates “flat.” I believe that the FLO and PURE “points” or orientations may be the same, but are not necessarily the same.
I have just purchased a “Pured” golf shaft from Golfworks. Where is the pured marking symbol? I see a blue line on the butt end… but, it seems to run vertically down the shaft. Only other markings are two white tape just above the Parallell tip
Golfworks provided no help.
The blue line indicates the strongest “side” of the shaft. I believe that the typical installation method is to align that so that it’s pointed toward you at address.
As I read this I do find it a little challenging to say that these myths are completely busted. I like that you took a variety of players with different handicaps but from the data I see Player 1 Almost no difference in distance or accuracy…etc and in the end saw almost no improvement from the puring. And when looking at “Range” 4 of the 7 Players saw a lower range between min/max with the Non-Pured Iron than with the Pured Iron. To sum up what I am getting at is that the data is a finicky thing and can easily give incorrect data.
One thing when collecting data like this is that your sample size needs to be much larger. I could flip a coin 10 times and it can land on heads 4 times and tails 6 times. I hand the same coin to another person and they flip it 10 times but see heads 9 time, and tails 1 times. This does no not mean that the odds of landing on heads is 65% it just means my sample size was too small and skewed the data. A suggestion for the future is to have your players hit a bit more and actually take out some of best and worst hits. The reason for this is that you are truly looking for an average and we are human and sometimes you hit the ball REALLY well and sometimes REALLY poor. Those shots can skew data greatly.
Again Like the idea behind this article but when trying to debunk myths there needs to be a lot more put into how the data is run.
What the testing done blinded? I’m asking if the golfers knew which club was pured and which one wasn’t before they hit with them? Not only could this influence the answer to the subjective question, but it could also subconsciously influence the way they swung each club.
Yes, it was done blind.
I could tell the difference immediately. Ball flight held a truer line and impact felt more consistent.There was also a discernible difference in distance, especially with longer clubs
If you PURE an adjustable driver like the TS2, can you remove and replace the head without changing the settings? Does that impact the PUREing of the shaft? I understand changing settings would have an impact? Second question, would you PURE all irons, including wedges?
First, yes, I would (and do) PURE all my shafts.
Regarding the driver shaft, as long as you use the same settings, the shaft will retain it’s PURE alignment. The head doesn’t factor into the PUREing process.
Thanks. Have you ever PUREd your existing irons so not a new purchase? If yes, did it al work our ok? I think it’s $30/club at Club Champion. I’m probably going to do it.
I’ve played 3 sets of PURE’d irons. On the first set, I changed shafts and got the new shafts PURE’d. The second set was PURE’d from the start. The third set followed the same route as the first.
why not test them with a robot swing
Because our readers are humans, not robots.
Thank you for all of this. I find this fascinating. The concept makes perfect sense to me but I have friends who are PGA pros and some say puring is a must while others say it’s total BS.
I recently picked up a used set of Callaway irons for $200 Bc they pured. Hard to say if there is a diff be they’re the wrong shaft for me.
Anyway thanks for the answers have a great summer
I’m surprised you don’t see how robot testing would actually produce factual results. Hitting balls with a consistent swing speed on a consistent plane would will provide the most consistent results and prove once and for all if there is any difference between to pure or not to pure and if there is just how much difference?. Different shafts, along with short, mid & long irons could be tested and all with consistent swings. The results would have to show the truth and nothing but the truth to the question Does PUREing make any difference? I was fitted for a set of irons and had Recoil shafts put in. The fitter wanted to pure them for $30 per shaft ($300) I called UST who makes Recoil and they said their shafts do not need pured and to just place the shaft in the club with logo down. Who do you think I believed? PUREing or Spine aligning is a fact of performance, but the hucksters out there ripping golfers off to pay for the high priced machine is a fact as well.
Our testing is designed to offer informations to humans that play golf, so robot testing doesn’t have any value for us. For other pursuits, robots are invaluable.
As for a company saying their shafts don’t need to be PUREd, did you really expect them to say anything else?
Once we find the stiffest part of the shaft or spine. When installing that into the driver where should the spine be? I have seen articles for both 3, 9 and 12 oclock. thanks
I believe that the stiffest portion is set toward the target.
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average distance between players’ furthest right and furthest left shots was 2.1 yards smaller with the PUREd iron versus the non-PUREd iron…
yada yada yada….. what does that Mean??? So…. their spread was like 35 yards with the non pured, and only 32.9 yards with the pured or something? They poked it 163 yards with the non-pured, but 170 with the pured? I’d rather see percentages… as in “the pured irons were 3 % closer, and 4% longer” ON AVERAGE. Take that same group, and have them hit two groups of shots like they did this time… with the same club. Same exact club, just two different sessions. Just like this time, you could even tell them it’s a different club. See what kind of variances they have there…it will be very similar to this study. One session will have tighter dispersion, by a yard or two….. one session will be longer by 3 or 4 yards ON AVERAGE… seems the benefit is far outweighed by the cost at those figures. Perhaps if you’re trying to shave off some strokes and already have a 68.9 scoring average… but if you’re out there trying to break 80 or 90, spend the money on lessons instead LOL .. IMO.
Matt, I would be interested in seeing a comparison between a pure-Ed six iron, and one that had been spine ‘ed and flo’ed with the neutral point set toward target. My guess would be that the differences would not be worth the cost of puring for anyone with a 5 h’cap and above unless they have a fat wallet. Use the human test sample, or robot just don’t believe the advantage is there.
I had a set of Ping shafts for my irons pured years ago at Golfsmith which they only charged a reasonable $5 a shaft. I didn’t notice any distance gain, but they seemed to swing easier and dispersion was better. Go forward a few years and pureing becomes niche and they Jack the price up. The real price though is much more if you want your current irons done. It costs anywhere from $20+ additional more to remove and reinstall. The comment that poor swings will not be helped much by pureing is appropriate. A consistent and repeatable swing path will see the best results for the additional costs.
the shaft, pure and reinstall.
I have a pured shaft in my driver with it installed at standard loft. If I increase the loft by 1 degree it rotates the shaft about 10 degrees based on the grip rotation. Will this have a effect on the puring and will it not function as well?
Yes. PUREing is about finding the ideal orientation of the shaft. If you change that orientation via hosel adjustment, you lose that advantage.
This info is invaluable. How can I find out more?