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The Big Review – Aldila VooDoo
In the first few months of its release Aldila’s new shaft, the VooDoo, has been a roaring success by any standards. Not only was it almost immediately in the winner’s circle but was also found in a number of Ryder Cuppers bags and also in the bag of Harrison Frazar for his recent victory at Q school, including his sensational 59.
The NV, DVS and VS Proto shafts are amongst the most played shafts at todays events but somehow they seem to be seen as ‘blue collar’ shafts rather than the high performance Tour pedigree shafts that they really are. Aldila are looking to change this perception with the VooDoo.
The level of success in this shaft has probably surpised even Aldila. Early take-up on Tour was much higher than they could have expected, the VooDoo got its first victory almost immediately and the year culminated in Aldila being the the leading wood shaft and hybrid shaft manufacturer at all 4 of the 2008 Fedex Cup play-offs: The Barclays (including 36 VooDoo’s from 144 players), Deutcher Bank Championsip (also with 36 VooDoo’s from from 144 players), The BMW Championship (including 21 VooDoo’s from 70 players) and The Tour Championship (including 7 VooDoo’s from 30 players).
So what is it about the VooDoo that makes it so different from the standard Aldila shafts? The additions of Aldila’s S-Core is their entry into shaft stabilization and anti-ovalling technology seen in Triax from Fujikura (basis of the RE*AX and ROMBAX shafts) and Smart-Ply from Grafalloy.
The drive towards these technologies comes from research that found that by increasing the hoop stiffness, the shaft will not ovalize or deform during the golf swing so maximum energy is transferred to the ball. As the shaft loads, the energy is stored along the length of the shaft rather than wasted in deforming the shape of the shaft. The efficient storage of energy also allows for more efficient release. Releasing more energy means that not only is distance is maximized but that the player is able to more consistently deliver the club-head to the ball resulting in increased accuracy.
Cut-away of the S-Core – an internal spiral rub of high modulus Carbon
Currently the S-Core technology has only been applied to the VS Proto bend profile although Tour only versions of the VooDoo exist for almost the entire Aldila family. While Aldila tell us that there are currently no plans to release the VooDoo versions of the NV and DVS, this must surely be dependent on the success of the VS Proto version.
The dark red on black spiral color scheme (a reminder of the S-Core technology) is quite understated as it is darker than it appears in photos. While it may not be as camera friendly as the lizard green NV or the bright blue VS Proto it still makes a statement as it is unlike anything else out on the market.
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Aldila’s best feeling shaft yet. This shaft is a quantum leap better than the previous generation of Aldila shafts, which while they were no slouches were never going to be troubling the likes of Matrix, Mitsubishi Rayon or Fujikura for the smoothest shaft award. The likes of the NV and the VS Proto were always far better known for their performance rather than their feel.The VooDoo is completely different however as with the VS6 version you can practically feel every dimple on the ball as you crush it down the fairway. And while the VS7 version is stouter than its lighter brother it still feels superb. The weight and balance is very good and when the shaft kicks through it lacks the vagueness that somewhat affected the VS Proto while still being just as lively. At impact you get a real sense that the whole shaft is unloading, irrespective of whether you are a swinger or a hitter as the shaft feels very stable throughout the swing.
It’s worth noting that, in typical Aldila fashion, this shaft tapers quite sharply from the butt end so an extra layer or two of tape under the bottom half of the grip might be needed to keep that connection with the lower hand.
Everything about the performance of the VS Proto that was good is still here but the R&D boys at Aldila seem to have dug out something extra. While the S-Core has a noticeable effect of tightening up the feel, it also seems to have a similarly noticeable effect on the performance. While the trajectory of the VooDoo is almost identical to the VS Proto, the VooDoo does seem to be able to unload at impact more effectively which utimately leads to longer drives. Nothing ridiculous here, no magical extra 15 yards that some people seem to expect but another little bit of assistance towards carrying those bunkers, flying that water or driving that green.
The shafts play straight to flex with just the right balance of spin – enough to keep the ball soaring but not so much that the ball can be blown about or will not bound down the fairway on landing. While versatile might be an odd description for a shaft, the VooDoo can be used by both those with smooth swings and those with a more aggressive transition. The shaft is easy enough to use without having to swing out of your shoes but is also great at higher speeds as it is incredibly resistant to being overpowered. There is a real sense of increasingly progressive loading as you swing harder, so the harder you load it, the harder it will fight back without losing any of that feel.
The VS6 version weighs in at almost 70g at stiffer flexes so it should be considered first for a driver shaft and unless you are a monster, the VS7 version is best left for fairway woods as while the specs say that it shares the same launch angle as the VS6, the heavier weight and lower torque mean that it does launch lower and with a bit less spin.
A short period of testing shows you why the VooDoo is being so successful on Tour – a longer period leaves you in no doubt that the VooDoo will no only been seen in a lot of bags on Tour but also been seen in a lot of winner’s bags. A great combination of feel and performance that should be considered for any driver setup.
Aldila have always known how to make high performance shafts and their commitment to top end shafts, while initially shown with the semi-mythical Cinnamon, has been firmly cemented with the VooDoo.
For more information visit www.aldila.com/