What is a CT test, and how does it differ from a COR test?

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“The COR test was really accurate to the physics of what happens with a golf club hitting a golf ball,” said Tom Olsavsky, VP of R&D at Cobra, on our Fully Equipped podcast. “If you have a COR test and you hit it off-center, [the face is] going to be slow because of the inertial effects and the speed effects.”

The problem with the test is, according to Olsavsky, is that it’s time consuming, taking about 45 minutes to map each club head.

In 2004, the USGA moved to a different test, called the CT test. The CT test also measures the spring-like effect of a club face, except it uses a small, portable pendulum system that strikes the face with a steel ball. Sensors then read the amount of time the two objects stay in contact with each other. The limit of time placed on golf clubs is 239 milliseconds with a tolerance of 18 milliseconds. Therefore, any golf club that measures higher than 257 milliseconds on the CT test is deemed illegal.

The CT test, being that it’s just a small pendulum device, is “really easy to use,” according to Olsavsky. Actually, some OEM Tour Trucks that travel to PGA Tour events each week have a CT testing setup right in their truck.

Due to the differences in how the tests are setup and measured, however, the CT test is not a perfect replacement for the COR test, according to Olsavsky.

“What we do find is that CT testing off-center is not as accurate as COR,” Olsavsky says. “CT testing will read high, because it’s really a mechanical response versus the actual impact physics.”

Olsavsky’s gripe is that the CT test doesn’t always accurately mimic the response of a golf ball.

“When you’re pinging [the steel ball in the CT test] a half-inch or more off-center, you get a higher response,” Olsavsky says. “When you hit it out there [with a golf ball], it’s a really bad, slow shot and it’s going sideways.”

Regardless of which test is better, the current rules of golf club conformity are based around CT testing. Therefore, that is the test that PGA Tour players must pass each week to continue using their gamer drivers, and that’s the test retail drivers must pass to hit shelves.

Hear more opinions and insights from Olsavsky on a number of gear topics in the Fully Equipped podcast below.

To hear more gear insights from Jonathan Wall and True Spec’s Tim Briand, subscribe and listen each week to GOLF’s Fully Equipped podcast: iTunes | SoundCloud | Spotify | Stitcher


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