Aldila ‘Tour Blue’ and ‘Tour Green’ shafts
When designing its newest line of shafts, the “Tour Blue” and “Tour Green,” Aldila sought inspiration from its most successful platform, the NV shafts it released to tour players more than 10 years ago.
The NV shafts were made using the company’s Mico Laminate Technology, which means that extremely thin, high-quality layers of graphite were stacked on top of each other to make a shaft that felt smooth and performed more consistently.
A lot has changed in the golf industry in 10 years, but one thing that hasn’t changed is golfer’s appreciation of consistent, smooth-feeling shafts.
For all the technology that went into the new shafts, their design differences are simple. The Tour Green shafts have a stiffer tip section, which creates the low-launch, low-spin conditions that tend to work well with today’s drivers. The Tour Blue shafts have a softer tip section that launches the ball higher and with more spin, making them a good fit for fairway woods.
So what has made the Tour Blue and Tour Green two of the most popular shaft models on tour in 2013? According to John Oldenburg, vice president of engineering for Aldila, it’s the same reason that the NV shafts were so popular on tour — high-quality materials that create smooth feel and consistency.
Oldenburg said the Tour Blue and Tour Green shafts are the most consistent shafts his company has ever produced. They use what he said are the thinnest materials available, graphite fibers that are between three one-thousandths and five one-thousandths of an inch thick, which makes them better in two ways:
- Because graphite shafts are built in layers, their manufacturing always results in a bit of overlap (often referred to as a shaft’s seams). Using thinner materials allows the seams to stay thin. When those seams are balanced throughout the shaft, as Aldila does with its Micro Laminate Technology, it results in a shaft that has more consistent wall thicknesses.
- Since the graphite fibers are thinner, they also need less resin, or glue, to be held together. According to Oldenburg, resin is the weak link of graphite shaft design, because it is much more flexible than the graphite fibers it holds together. With less resin, Aldila can make shafts that are lighter, stiffer and lower in torque.
Aldila engineers also made the Tour Blue and Tour Green shafts with a balance point that is closer to the handle than its NV shafts, which helps balance out the heavier weight of today’s driver heads. It also allows golfers to play the longer-length shafts that have become more common in the industry, yet still keep the swing weight of the club in the D2-to-D5 range that most golfers are comfortable with.
“Before adjustable drivers … features that added weight to the head … drivers used to weigh between 198 and 202 grams, and measure between 44.5 and 45 inches long,” Oldenburg said. “Now they’re between 206 and 2012 grams, are are 45 to 46 inches long.”
The last, and maybe most important finishing thing for the sales of the Tour Blue and Tour Green shafts are the color-coded circuitboard graphics near the handle, which Oldenburg said he hopes communicate to consumers the high-tech materials and construction used to make the shafts.
“Technology stories like Micro Laminate are hard to tell,” Oldenburg said. “This is a very high-tech product, but unfortunately it still looks like a stick and it has to by the rules of golf. With the circuitboard look we’re saying, ‘Hey, there is technology in this.’”
The Tour Blue and Tour Green shafts will be released on Sept. 15 and carry an MSRP of $349. Aldila will initially release both models in a 65-gram version in R, S, X and TX flexes. In January, Aldila plans to release the 75- and 85-gram versions of the shafts.