Patrick Reed has achieved success at every level, including his victory at this year’s Masters. He surely will be a fiery presence on the U.S. Ryder Cup team next month in Paris.
But after switching drivers last week to a Ping G400 LS clubhead and a new shaft from TPT Golf, he did something that apparently stood out in his mind during the first round of the Northern Trust: The six-time PGA Tour winner hit every fairway in a round on Tour.
“He hit 14 of 14 fairways the first day, and he told me that was the first time he’d ever done that on Tour,” said Arnie Cunningham, the Tour rep for the relatively new TPT, which started with a focus on recreational golfers in 2017 and expanded to offer shafts for Tour pros in 2018.
Reed wasn’t the only Tour player to put the shaft into play last week. Bryson DeChambeau, who had used a TPT shaft at a handful of events several weeks before the Northern Trust, put it back into play in a new Cobra King F8+ clubhead before recording his third PGA Tour victory and likely clinching a spot as a captain’s pick alongside Reed on the U.S. Ryder Cup squad.
DeChambeau’s TPT 14 MKP-LT shaft is a little stiffer and heavier than Reed’s TPT 15 LKP-LT, Cunningham said. The MKP in DeChambeau’s driver stands for mid kickpoint, while the LKP in Reed’s is for low kickpoint.
DeChambeau’s playoff victory was just the latest for TPT, which scored two Tour victories in Jason Day’s TaylorMade driver this year. Justin Rose also used a TPT shaft in a TaylorMade driver to win on Tour this season, but he isn’t currently using the brand.
TPT, which stands for Thin Ply Technology, says it uses a unique manufacturing process with thin, extremely lightweight carbon-fiber strips that are about a quarter of the thickness of strands used in most golf shafts. The material originally was designed by parent company NTPT, a Swiss-based technology and composites firm that has produced everything from America’s Cup yachting sails to material found in satellites.
The company said that because the shafts are assembled in a robotic, automated process with no hand-rolling, they can be built consistently to incredibly tight tolerances.
And TPT shafts have no spine, which is normally a buildup of material as multiple pieces of fiber are wrapped around a steel mandrel. A clubmaker typically tries to align the shaft’s spine during final club assembly to achieve the best playability, but TPT said that step isn’t necessary with its shafts because they are perfectly concentric.
“It’s different because the way we produce it, because we can produce identical shafts,” said TPT Golf director Sebastian Sebayang. “We can put less material in a shaft and still be very precise. It allows us to produce a shaft that is softer and lighter and still very precise.”
Sebayang said TPT shafts work well with modern adjustable drivers, because players can rotate the shaft to change lofts at the hosel without worrying about spine alignment. He also said there’s less variance from shaft to shaft within one model.
“If a player needs a back-up, the back-up will be exactly the same as the one he had,” Sebayang said. “And we know that most of the time when a club fitter orders a shaft for a player, what the player gets is not exactly the same as the test shaft. With TPT, it can be exactly the same as the test shaft.”
Cunningham said different players have reported different performance benefits.
“Players say it’s a really good feel, and their misses are probably a little better,” Cunningham said. “Jason Day always mentioned that he felt like he could make a really bad swing, and it would be just off the fairway. … Some guys say they hit it farther, and some guys say it just feels better and goes straighter and more consistent.”
Sebayang said the consistency can help provide the distance gains, because players feel like they can swing more freely without losing control.
“It’s like driving a car,” Sebayang said. “If you don’t know how to drive a car, you don’t drive fast.
“So (the shafts) are a lot more accurate with tighter dispersion. … We believe that dispersion factor means people are more confident. They gain more speed because they just get more confident.”
TPT shafts list for $499, and they are available only through a network of custom fitters. The brand offers six series of shafts, with 11 models in all. Sebayang said a proper fitting is crucial.
“We know that our shaft is expensive, but I believe that buying bad equipment and trying to change from year to year is more expensive,” Sebayang said. “The objective is to make sure that everyone who buys a TPT shaft is properly fit and is a happy customer. … We want to make sure every customer gets the exact right shaft.”