PXG expands portfolio to new equipment category: M16 putter shaft
Until relatively recently, if you were looking for technology in your putter shaft you were likely looking in the wrong place. While there have been forays in that area over the years, including several all graphite models and ultralight designs like those from Sacks Parente Golf, the putter shaft was a bit like the land that time forgot.
That changed with a rush of new ideas led by most notably the StrokeLab shaft from industry leader Odyssey Golf in 2019. It combined a steel tip section with a graphite main body to shift the balance point for better feel, control and consistency effects. StrokeLab putters from Odyssey became the top-selling putters in the game. Another shaft that’s drawn interest at all levels, including the PGA Tour, and actually hit the market a few months before StrokeLab was the Stability shaft from Breakthrough Golf, led by former Adams Golf founder and CEO Barney Adams.
More recently other brands have introduced their own ways to improve putting consistency with the shaft. Those include Mitsubishi’s MMT Putter Concept, which uses a metal mesh internal structure to strengthen and support the carbon composite body, and LA Golf introduced its TPZ putter shafts that are used by Bryson DeChambeau and Dustin Johnson. All these designs were aimed at increasing the shaft’s stability, particularly as head weights for putters started to creep up. The theory is that these combined materials would allow for higher stiffness without sacrificing feel because even the smallest instability in a putter shaft would lead to putts failing to hit their targets.
The team at PXG, which has been developing its line of putters to go with the rest of its lineup, has seen this trend, and believes this type of shaft has a place in how it fits putters. But the interchangeable hosels on the company’s fitting system for the Battle Ready series of putters, as well as the multiple hosels on its 0211 putters, required a different fit than what the current marketplace was offering. That set the team at PXG to work on a solution. The result is the company’s first shaft of any kind, the M16 putter shaft.
The M16 features a multimaterial carbon composite upper section and a steel lower section. The multimaterial upper section is imbedded with steel wires within the carbon fiber to create a stiffer but softer feel. The ultrathin steel wires, 22 of them, run lengthwise in the outer section of the composite portion of the shaft.
“We feel like we created a really nice combination of a very stiff, stable product that feels incredibly soft and responsive off the putter face,” said PXG’s Brad Schweigert, chief product officer, who noted the company’s measurements of the butt stiffness of the shaft have it the stiffest of any of the current composite putter shaft models. Schweigert said the carbon material is a much stiffer 60-ton version compared to typical carbon composite materials in shafts. The carbon composite also features two rubber sheets sandwiched between the steel wires and the carbon composite to enhance feel on the heavier 135-gram shaft. “The steel wires increase the overall stiffness of the product.”
The diameter of the graphite portion of the shaft also tapers more slowly to further increase stiffness. All that extra stiffness is designed to work with keeping the overall putter more stable during the stroke and at impact on off-center hits, Schweigert said.
“Even though it’s crazy to think about it, the shaft is still flexing on the putting stroke so when you have a very stiff shaft, it’s going to deliver the clubface to impact more consistently,” he said. “You eliminate any sort of variation in the transition and how the face is delivered. In addition, the stiffer shaft reduces the twisting that occurs during impact. So both of them have an effect on the ball’s start line and its speed.
“At the end of the day, those are the two things that you can measure. It’s hard to say which accounts for more of that improvement, but those are the things that are improving and those are the things that determine whether or not you’re making putts.”
The M16 putter shaft will be a custom option on all PXG Battle Ready and 0211 putters in both straight and double-bend offerings.