Lightning Rods: Newfangled shafts from startup TPT Golf promise to blow you away

TOT Golf

Lightning Rods: Newfangled shafts from startup TPT Golf promise to blow you away

You may not recognize the name TPT Golf, but you’ve probably seen the company’s driver shafts in action. Founded in 2017 as a division of Switzerland-based technology and composites company North Thin Ply Technology (NTPT), the premium shaft maker is slowly but surely expanding its footprint.

“We’re building our business on innovation and quality,” says Sebastian Sebayang, Director for TPT Golf.

NTPT has its own history of innovation. Thirteen years ago, the company developed a manufacturing process to build lighter, more stable sails for racing boats, including ones competing in the America’s Cup. Today, a majority of boats in sailing competitions feature the NTPT-developed technology. Can TPT Golf revolutionize golf shafts the same way its parent company transformed sailing?

TPT Golf

TPT Golf

TPT Golf’s “secret sauce” is found in its materials and manufacturing processes. The brand makes its own prepreg material, which is a mixture of carbon fiber and proprietary resins. “The prepreg is significantly thinner and lighter than most materials used for golf shafts,” says Sebayang. But the real game changer is an automated manufacturing technique the company developed four years ago. “We slip the prepreg into a tape and wrap it onto a steel mandrel at the exact fiber orientation we want,” adds Sebayang.

With next-level manufacturing capabilities, TPT Golf can reproduce the same specs in every shaft. The company also has the flexibility to fine tune bend profiles. “Our shafts perform the same in all orientations,” says Sebayang. “The added stability enables players to hit it on the center of the face more often, which leads to longer distance.” And, here’s another byproduct of improved stability: Golfers of all abilities typically play TPT Golf shafts that are softer than they’re accustomed to.

By contrast, the industry’s go-to technique for making graphite shafts hasn’t changed much over the years. Sheets of graphite are laid flat on a table, at various angles, and rolled onto the tapered mandrel. The method can cause seams or inconsistencies, which can lead to uneven performance.

In TPT Golf’s case, no seams or spines are formed when the small strips of graphite pass through the winding machine. “The manufacturing story is great,” says Nick Sherburne, founder at Club Champion Golf. “I love that I know where the shafts come from. It’s not a situation of ‘what plant in what country, with what quality.’ It’s the real deal.”

TPT Golf

TPT Golf

The product line includes 11 driver shafts, for players with slow swing speeds (60 to 70 mph) all the way to Tour-level speeds (105+ mph). Shafts vary in weight (52 to 69 grams), kickpoint (low and mid), and torque (low is 3.3°; mid is 3.9° to 7.6°). “I really love the range of offerings,” adds Sherburne. “Whereas other brands have different lines with different options, TPT Golf has the most options in one unified line with lots of flexes, torques and kickpoints. For a fitter, that’s nice.” While TPT Golf models played on Tour are the same ones sold commercially, many other companies typically have “stock” shafts for consumers and “Tour” shafts.

Like with any burgeoning equipment company, it can be a big deal when Tour pros use your product. Though the company doesn’t pay players for usage, TPT Golf shafts have been victorious on the PGA Tour, Champions Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour and Japanese LPGA Tour. This season, 10 to 15 players tee them up at full-field PGA Tour events. According to TPT Golf’s Sebayang, “Pros like our shafts because they perform so well, feel consistent and we can reproduce an identical shaft in case something happens to the current one.”

TPT Golf

TPT Golf

Given the top-quality materials and exclusive manufacturing processes, the TPT Golf driver shaft has an ultra-premium price point. At $499 (prices vary outside the U.S.A.), the shaft is available only through TPT Golf’s 175+ Authorized Fitters globally. (Click here for fitters.) “We want to make sure each customer gets the right shaft and is happy,” says Sebayang. “We work only with fitters I personally select.” With a proper fitting, you’re much more likely to experience consistent shots and better distance.

As TPT Golf gains a foothold in the U.S. market, the company has plans for expansion. “Our objective is to have Tour players using TPT iron shafts in 2019,” says Sebayang. “By 2020, we want TPT shafts available to consumers for all 14 clubs in the bag.”

Remember TPT Golf. The company’s innovating, which is a good thing for players serious about game improvement.

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