Many golfers cannot deny the fact.
A missed, yet makeable, putt usually elicits a glare strong enough to burn a hole through the club face. Eyes rarely, if ever, become affixed upon the shaft. It’s neglected more than an old wardrobe collecting lint in a closet.
For years, the shaft has gotten about as much attention as bridge-building plans in Antarctica. However, it obviously plays an integral role, enough so that longtime equipment enthusiast Barney Adams founded Breakthrough Golf Technology (BGT).
“I tell people up front, ‘Look, I can show you the data, I can show you the third-party affirmations that says this is better, but this is not a miracle where you are going to start making everything. But on the whole, you will absolutely putt better,’” Adams said.
Adams decided to focus on the putter shaft because its engineering hasn’t changed for more than 50 years. Putter heads have, though. They’ve gotten heavier, resulting in oscillation, twisting and turning. Three years ago, Adams was sold on data that verified the Stability shaft could eliminate such sway and help golfers putt better.
Before starting Adams Golf years ago, Adams followed a basic premise: does the product allow the player to be as good as possible, and will it help the player optimize talent? With the Stability shaft, which sells for $199, Adams found it met such criteria.
“I guarantee those people who have a relationship with their putter,” said Adams, “they take the putter shaft for granted. The fact that that shaft doesn’t allow them to be as good as they could be, they’re like, ‘What? I’ve never heard of this before.’ It’s hard to fathom.”
According to a BGT release, the Stability shaft uses a multi-material design with geometries never used before in putter shafts. In technical terms, it uses eight layers of high modulus carbon specifically layered, wrapped and widened, with a no-taper design to reduce torque. Through Finite Element Analysis, a lightweight 22-gram aluminum insert was developed and precisely located to reinforce flexural rigidity.
The Stability shaft also contains a 7075-aluminum connector that helps to stiffen and reinforce. The versatility allows attachment to virtually any tip diameter of any putter, regardless of the bend profile.
In layman’s terms, the steel shaft is a thing of the past, replaced by this four-piece replacement. That’s the Advanced Materials Integration. According to Adams, the strongest part of most steel putter shafts is just below the hands, and that’s culpable in the club oscillating.
Since 2002, Jim MacKay has been testing putters for consumers and companies that want third-party verification under his One Putt Enterprise business in Massachusetts. He was also sold on the Stability shaft after hundreds of hours of testing. Based on his findings, he believed the Stability shaft contributes greatly to lower launch and better control during a putt.
"The putter shaft is the most overlooked, under-appreciated piece of equipment a golfer has,” said MacKay on the BGT website. “The Stability shaft removes inconsistencies that current putter shafts have and it helps compensate for mistakes all golfers make.”
MacKay, who also serves as the U.S. representative for England-based Quintic Ball Roll – considered a gold standard putter evaluation company – has known for years that oscillation occurs during and after a ball has been hit by a putter.
He spoke via phone for more than two hours extrapolating data findings and why he’s a believer.
At first, the club itself was being monitored until he started focusing more on ball launch and what happens after the ball departs the club face. With his robot, he would set it to stroke balls from various points of the club head.
A multi-material Stability putter shaft design, featuring eight layers of high modulus carbon and a lightweight 22-gram aluminum insert, helps reduce oscillation that occurs during and after a ball has been struck. (Photo: Breakthrough Golf Technology)
“We were physically tracking the putter head,” said MacKay, who also coaches on the PGA Tour. “We were working 360 frames per second and we started to see something that no one had thought of, which was the on- and off-center hit off the putter head. The putter head starts to twist. A little bit is twisting while the ball is on the face, but the vast majority of the twist comes well after the ball has left the club.”
Besides MacKay, the shaft was “exhaustively tested” by a slew of systems and through hundreds of putters. Robots, SAM Putt Lab and Trackman4 all played roles in testing.
Once Adams had the data, which resulted in rebuilding the putter shaft from ground up, he knew the technology could benefit golfers. BGT claims a player will get a higher “Smash Factor” and hit the club face more squarely and more consistently. Of course, who wouldn’t want that?
It’s hard to doubt Adams, especially with his track record and voracious appetite for making equipment all about improving player performance.
“It’s funny, golfers will change drivers as a general rule and this is because of all the marketing,” said Adams. “They’ll change drivers like shirts. It’s this ongoing quest for more distance. But changing putters is a different story.
“Once we figured out … how to mitigate oscillation, the other criteria was that the shaft had to be designed in such a way where the golfer could putt blindfolded and not feel anything different. It’s all about just getting better results.”
Ken Klavon was the online editor and a senior writer at the U.S. Golf Association for 12 years. He has covered golf for 22 years.