Quick Guesses about the Nunchuk Shaft
Dave Tutelman -- April
This keeps coming up, so
let me put up an article I can point to when asked...
Around the beginning of 2011, NVentix introduced the Nunchuk shaft
Since then, the subject comes up on various golf forums about whether
its rather radical claims and design are a good thing or bad. And I
have been asked the question directly. Here are a few posts on
the subject, which really constitute the bulk of my thinking about the
Bear in mind that I have not used it myself, nor done any scientific
on the shaft or other golfers swinging it. This is just reasoning from
their claims, through the lens of my experience with shaft analysis.
From the Secret In The Dirt
forum about March 24, 2011, in response to a post by Mark Blake:
Mark asked me to comment.
Mark Blake wrote:
what I would really like to know is what Dave Tutelman thinks of this
shaft, considering he is probably the only person I could trust to be
I have never used the Nunchuk, nor have I had the opportunity to
profile it. (At $250, I don't expect to have one to try or profile any
time soon.) So I have to go by its specific claims and how they relate
to my knowledge of science. Here goes...
New driver shaft on the market,
the Nunchuk, as used by Johnny Vegas who just had a win.
OK, so we know it fits SOME golfer. Johnny Vegas likes it.
Read all about it here:
but the basics are
- one size only,
fits all, from Bubba Watson to my Aunty Dora
Every golfer? I kinda' doubt it. Read on.
- stiff tip and butt and soft
- weight is 104g
- cost $250
It's a very VERY tip-stiff shaft from their claims and what I could see
from the video. That does make a few of their claims work, but not all.
And it gives the lie to the notion that it will fit Aunty Dora, or even
me. From my experience (and that of most clubfitters I know), the
majority of golfers actually do better with a tip-flexible shaft. Not
the majority of strong, big-hitting golfers, but the majority of the
folks out there.
Normally, a super-tip-stiff shaft will feel like a telephone pole. They
way the Nunchuk gets around this is to have a flexible area (almost a
hinge, like a real nunchuk) in the middle of the shaft. Not a bad idea.
Definitely not original!
- Around 1990, I built a set of irons for myself with
TrueTemper Flex-Flow shafts. They had a pinched "waist" to control
where shaft bend occurred. The waist was at a different height for each
club: high for the short irons and low for the long irons. It was not
high for all the irons (as the Nunchuk would be), because most golfers
need a more flexible tip on the longer clubs.
- The Nicklaus clubs in the 1990s had a proprietary
shaft called the Crankshaft. It did the same thing. In fact, it was
made by TrueTemper. I'm pretty sure they were the Flex-Flow with a
- In the first half of the 2000s (perhaps still),
Fujikura was known for a stiff tip and butt and a soft middle. That
sure sounds like the Nunchuk.
My first reaction to that, is
what a load of crap, goes against everything a clubmaker has ever told
me, but reading the product info, it does make sense
Sorry, but my instincts still say "what a load of crap". Not that it is
a bad shaft for some folks, but most of the claims are nonsense and I
strongly suspect most golfers would hate it.
the good news
One claim that I buy is that the leading bend is reduced. Tip-stiff
does that. It is not for everybody, but if it is for you then that is a
For the same reason -- tip stiffness -- it does limit toe droop. That
is almost certainly a good thing. (But you may have to be re-fitted for
lie, if you use it on a club where lie matters. You probably won't.)
The claim that it increases ball speed because the clubhead does not
lose as much speed during impact is marginal. But let's give them that.
There may be a little more shaft mass involved in impact (because the
tip of the shaft is stiffer and the shaft is heavier). This could raise
the momentum transferred infinitesimally. Let's assume that this
combination adds an effective 20g to the clubhead for purposes of
momentum transfer. (Probably not that much, but let's be optimistic.) A
big hitter with a 120mph clubhead speed (that is BIG) would see an
extra six yards or so. Not a huge amount, but certainly not to be
That's sorta' the max. More realistic assumptions or a more "normal"
golfer would not see nearly as much gain. For instance, 10 grams and a
100mph swing speed would see a little over two extra yards. Hardly
enough to get a consistent experimental verification without a robot.
the bad news
One size fits all? I don't think so! If the Nunchuk theory were
correct, all proper custom fittings (before the Nunchuk was available)
would result in the most tip-stiff shaft money can buy. But they don't.
Except for big hitters, the good clubfitter and his launch monitor just
as often fits a tip-flexible shaft. I won't go into the reasons here --
too much to say and too little time -- but the Nunchuk does not negate
How about clubhead lead and "energy loss". That's a red herring. Sounds
good, but really not much to it. Energy is the product of distance and
force. If you reduce the lead by making the shaft stiffer, you are
increasing the force. So, if lead represents energy loss, then both
shafts are the same. (I won't discuss here whether lead is energy lost.
That is a controversial statement anyway. But the energy represented by
the lead is the same for the Nunchuk -- less lead but more force.)
Then, there's the issue of spin. Sidespin is not reduced by tightening
the torque of the shaft. Gear effect here is not reduced at all. No
advantage to Nunchuk. But let's talk about backspin and vertical gear
The reason you want to hit the ball above the center of the driver's
face is that vertical gear effect will reduce backspin for a high-face
hit and increase backspin for a low-face hit. But, if you manage to get
a really REALLY tip-stiff shaft, vertical gear effect might be limited.
Let's assume that the Nunchuk is sufficiently tip-stiff to limit
vertical gear effect significantly. I don't know that it is, but let's
assume. In that case:
Bottom line: the Nunchuk will be more "forgiving" of low-face hits, at
the expense of potential gain in high-face hits. If you're skilled
enough to make high-face hits, that's a disadvantage. If you hit all
over the face, the Nunchuk may be able to limit the distance dispersion.
- If you hit the middle of the clubface or below, the
Nunchuk will limit the increase in backspin. That's good.
- If you hit high on the clubface, the Nunchuk will
limit the decrease in backspin. That's bad.
- Either way, you probably need a driver with less face
roll than most commercial drivers have. E.g.- something like the Wishon
That's all I can think of for now. There were other things that
occurred to me as I watched their video and read their web site. But
I've hit the high points.
Dave Tutelman wrote:
That's all I can think of for
now. There were other things that occurred to me as I watched their
video and read their web site...
I just recalled one other point, and it is sort of important.
They slammed the current trend in driver design, which is to use ever
lighter shafts to build ever longer clubs. Nunchuk is a heavy shaft. So
a driver with the proper swingweight/MOI for the golfer is going to be
shorter with a Nunchuk.
They are right about that! Long clubs are harder to control. I won't go
into the details here, but my own drivers are about 44.5", an inch or
more shorter than the typical commercial driver. And I start beginners
with a driver of 43.5". (Just built one for a second-year golfer, and
played with him yesterday the first time he used it. He hit more good
drives yesterday than the previous three rounds I played with him. So
the principle works.)
That said, we have to look at how we get the club shorter. Going with a
heavier shaft is not silly at all, but it is not the best way. Adding
weight to the clubhead turns out to be better. You don't have to add as
much weight to keep the club's heft the same. So heavy head and light
shaft is always my preferred method, if I can. If not, a heavier shaft
is still preferable to a too-long driver.
I have analyzed this before; see the article on my web site. The gains
from light shaft and heavy head are comparable to the gains from my
most optimistic assumption for the Nunchuk from my previous post.
From the TrajectoWare
forum on April 4, 2011, in response to a post by David Bahr:
Mon Apr 04, 2011 10:25am Post subject: Re: Nventix
Joined: 09 Apr 2007
Location: New Jersey,
One shaft fits all, from A flex to XXX flex, from hybrid to driver.
Smells gimmicky. But I have heard some glowing reviews.
Same here. Smells gimmicky. Heard some glowing reviews.
I did a quick-and-dirty assessment based on analysis. I've never
actually hit one myself. It was at the SecretInTheDirt
forum. I guess an article on my web site wouldn't hurt -- when I get
around to it.
The same head, 9* loft, was used in all testings, as well as the same
golfer, who by all accounts is very, very solid. The machine was the
Below are the numbers in a nutshell:
Ball speed for all three shafts is basically 157 mph across the board.
LA numbers in order (Kyoshi shaft, Kai'li shaft, Nunchuk shaft):
12.3 Vertical, 1.3 Horizontal Right
11.9 Vertical, 1.7 Horizontal Right
10.6 Vertical, 0.9 Horizontal Right
Backspin Numbers (same order):
The Nunchuk is living up to it's billing of low launcher or launches
true to loft. What I don't get is how?
I find it curious that the lowest launcher would have the highest spin.
I guess this means the dynamic loft was highest at impact but that
would also imply the AoA was lowest with this shaft. Why would someone
launch 2+ degrees higher with two softer tipped shafts? Wouldn't a
softer tipped shaft bending forward at impact, create a greater dynamic
loft? I just can't picture how this shaft is doing it's thing.
Actually, David, it makes a bunch of sense. The lower launch angle with
the super-tip-stiff Nunchuk isn't surprising. Apparently it's not
surprising to you either. The increased spin is the issue, and it
should be. Here's my take:
Let's assume that, as you noted in the overall description of the test,
the golfer making the swings is very solid and repeatable.
#1: The difference ain't gonna be the angle of attack! A
difference of AoA is a big swing change for a repeatable golfer. And
the combination of effective loft and AoA doesn't sound like anything a
shaft would do on its own.
#2: If the guy is repeatable, he probably hits the ball in
same spot on the face nearly every time. And if he is solid -- a good
driver of the ball -- that spot is high-middle on the face. So he is
getting backspin reduction from vertical gear effect. (See
What does all this tell me? It is possible that a very tip-stiff shaft
will limit the vertical gear effect, and the result would be more
backspin. Dana Upshaw has observed this effect years ago, with less
radical shafts than the Nunchuk. My own analysis
the effect should be a lot less than he observed. But a super-tip-stiff
shaft like the Nunchuk might emphasize the effect that Dana observed,
and that could explain the spin results.
Hope this helps,
Within a week or so, I had seen quite a bit of evidence on these forums
and others that the Nunchuk was not terribly different from what my
guesses suggest. A few observations, along with additional information:
Here are a few of the posts reinforcing those views:
- Feel is not the long suit of the Nunchuk. It feels very
- It does produce straight hits, straighter than other shafts.
- "One shaft fits all" is still an unrealized dream. The
Nunchuk is not for everybody. Slow swingers lose distance with it; the
extra weight loses clubhead speed. Even longer drivers of the ball lose
distance, if they are swingers as opposed to hitters. Big hitters do
very well with it.
- The extra weight is somewhat concentrated toward the butt,
but certainly not enough to be considered "counterweighted".
Date: Thu, 21 Apr
2011 13:49:41 +0000
[SpinetalkersForum] Re: nunchuck chuckle shuffle
As I recall, Nanchuk is around 305 cpm.
Butt trim only for all applications
One shaft fits all......
I was at the PGA DEMO day. I had to try out the Nanchuk so here I am
with my 90 mph swing hitting this REBAR.....
Hitting it straight down the middle shot after shot!
It did not have the Feel that I personally like, but the results were
awesome. Straight, sometimes a push or slight pull, but the ball flight
was straight (no side spin)!
It was windy,and I was hitting downwind, but overall I would guess
distance would be normal for me.
Beside me is big Mike Dobbyn. He is hitting the same shaft, looooong
and straight. He was very pleased with what was going on with the shaft!
There were also Ladies hitting the same shaft.
IMO - It works. It certainly makes inventory easy!
Is it worth $259 ???
I don't know but then is any shaft?
Date: Thu, 21 Apr
2011 22:23:57 +0100
From: Ed Robertson
[SpinetalkersForum] nunchuck chuckle shuffle
I brought some Nunchuks back from the PGA Show and have since tested
them on a series of golfers using Trackman.
I generally swing a driver around 92 mph. Using the Nunchuck
I lost around 2-3mph of clubhead speed. I can't afford to do
that at my swingspeed. Same thing happened with all but two of the
players we tested, both of whom were big hitters. Most of us
hit it pretty straight with no gain in ball speed as claimed by the
manufacturer. If you are achieving centre strikes with your
current club, then I can't see how you will get more ball speed from
the Nunchuk considering the slight loss of clubhead speed.
Most didn't find the extra total weight much of a problem other than
the drop in clubhead speed. Most are surprised when they hear
how heavy the shaft is at around 105g. One player raved about
it and instantly wanted to buy one. He is a young strong golf
pro with a swingspeed of 114 mph and loved the accuracy of the Nunchuck
over his current shaft. He generally has no problem with
distance, only direction. One of our teaching pros also hit
it very well with a swingpeed of around 112mph.
Our conclusion is that it might suit big hitters who struggle with
accuracy. I am therfore not surprised by the
Nunchuk success on the pro tours. Big hitters might be more
likely to accept a slight drop in swingspeed in order to achieve
greater accuracy, control and consistency. However for those
slower swingers who value distance, then I doubt if the Nunchuk is the
answer to their prayers.
Date: Sun, 24 Apr 2011
[SpinetalkersForum] nunchuck chuckle shuffle
I also bought a couple of “Nunchuk” at the PGA Show and have had
several folks including myself hit the shaft. Didn’t get the detail
that Ed has but the Results from a 10hcp lady golfer felt
great/straight but not as far as my current driver. PGA teaching pro
and club pro both with SS at 105+ one a swinger and a hitter. Swinger
again felt great ,straight and short of his regular driver. Hitter was
the only one to have any advantage as he was for the most part all over
the place with his driver and this shaft keep him down the middle.
Additional spec’s: Balance point 25” from tip on a 46” shaft,
Shafts are made by UST Profile uploaded to file section
Next week I have a chance to test with several club pro’s using a TM
R-9 adapter on a shaft .
Last modified -- Apr 25, 2011