If you think putter shafts don’t matter, don’t bother telling that to Nick Hardy.
At the World Wide Technology Championship at Mayakoba earlier this month, PGA TOUR player Nick Hardy reeled off eight birdies in a row during the final round en route to a T21 finish. The birdie run came just a week after Hardy started using a new custom Swag putter at the Butterfield Bermuda Championship.
For Hardy, the story of his new putter starts when he was in college at the University of Illinois.
About eight years ago, Hardy said he started using a custom Bettinardi BB1 style putter, equipped with a stepless steel shaft and an orange grip.
A couple years ago, however, he had to replace the original steel putter shaft, which sent him down a long road of searching.
Although seemingly nothing had changed with his putter – he was still using the same exact putter head and grip – something was off with the shaft. It just wasn’t performing or feeling the same anymore.
“I never believed shafts made much of a difference in putting, but I lost that feel,” Hardy told GolfWRX.com on Tuesday at The RSM Classic.
Eventually, after a long period of exploration, Hardy tasked Nate Brown, the Director of Tour Operations for Swag Golf, to help him figure out what was wrong. Prior to working for Swag Golf, Brown was a longtime Tour rep for Bettinardi, and he worked closely with Hardy for nearly a decade on all of his putter needs.
Brown was able to identify that Hardy’s original Bettinardi putter was equipped with a steel shaft that is no longer in production. Hardy couldn’t find the shaft he needed because it doesn’t exist on the current market.
Brown wasn’t letting up easily, though. Motivated to find a stock of those specific shafts, Brown got in touch with one of his contacts to see if they had any of Hardy’s old stepless shafts.
As it turns out, Brown’s guy had a box of them in his garage.
“I would call it the box of destiny,” Brown told GolfWRX. “An old dealer had a box of the shafts in his garage room. He had no use for it, so he gave it to us.”
The box of destiny is now locked away in a safe spot at Swag Golf headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. Hardy has his old shaft back.
“For a couple years, I was on a shaft witch hunt,” Hardy said. “It was like Cinderalla finding her shoe.”
The reason the shaft feels and performs so differently is because it has a significantly higher frequency (frequency is calculated by the amount of times per minute that a shaft oscillates on a flex meter). Hardy’s new shaft measures nearly double the stiffness of standard steel putter shafts.
In addition to the shaft, Brown also worked with Hardy to design him a new putter head that was built to his exact look, feel and performance needs.