Harrington's search for purity

Padraig Harrington will got to extremes to get an edge on the competition. And that includes having a set of golf clubs that are as fine tuned as a Stradivarius.

The Dubliner's attention to detail and his determination to get the maximum out of his talent is obvious in the way he approaches his fitness regime, both mental and physical.

The importance of his work with the Titleist Performance Institute and professionals such as chiropractor Dr Dale Richardson, fitness coach Dr Liam Hennessy and mental coach Dr Bob Rotella cannot be underestimated.

As for his clubs, he has built up a close relationship with Wilson Golf over the past ten years. But it is the make up of those clubs that is most interesting.

According to James Achenbach's report of golf shaft puring in the latest issue of Golfweek, Strategic Shaft Technologies (SST) have come up with "a sophisticated new machine designed to swiftly measure and analyze the construction and potential performance of any golf shaft ... "

According to SST, every manufactured golf shaft remains as unique and individual as a fingerprint, and no shaft is perfectly round, straight or stiff despite modern manufacturing capabilities. By identifying the inconsistencies of the shafts and installing the shafts in the clubhead so that their effect is neutralized by proper orientation (spine-matched) toward the target, the shaft will bend exactly on the same plane as the golfer's swing.

Harrington will undoubtedly be one of the first to take advantage of SST's new baby. As will Tiger Woods.

Around 75 percent of the game's top 100 are taking advantage of the technology, according to Golfweek:

SST does not use or publicize the names of PGA Tour players, but Padraig Harrington often has talked about sending his clubs through the puring process. Three of the four major championships in 2008 were won with pured clubs, the only exception being Trevor Immelman at the Masters.

Golfweek has learned through sources at Nike that Tiger Woods had his clubs checked and adjusted by SST. As revealed by Nike insiders, the company assembled a dozen sets of irons for Woods, with only two sets being pured. In blind testing, Woods picked those two pured sets as his primary set and backup set.