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By Martin Anderson

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.

Appearance

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.

Technical Specs

Type Tip Diameter Butt Diameter Torque Launch Angle Weight Length
XVS6 0.335″ 0.630″ 3.2 Mid 68g 46″
SVS6 0.335″ 0.630″ 3.5 Mid 66g 46″
RVS6 0.335″ 0.630″ 4.2 Mid 65g 46″
XVS7 0.335″ 0.630″ 2.8 Mid 76g 46″
SVS7 0.335″ 0.630″ 3.2 Mid 75g 46″
RVS7 0.335″ 0.630″ 3.9 Mid 74g 46″

Feel

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.

Performance

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.

Overall

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.

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Morning 9: Secrets of wedge stamping | Woods’ GF dismissed from wrongful death suit | Golf art masterpiece

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 18, 2019

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans.
5 USC!
Adam Woodard at Golfweek hyping the Trojans! 
“There’s no denying the NCAA Championship-level talent on hand this week at the ANNIKA Intercollegiate Presented by 3M.”
  • “Since its inception in 2014, the event has boasted the best field in women’s Div. I golf. But if you ask preseason No. 1 USC, this week’s competition at Royal Golf Club is no more difficult than one of its pre-tournament qualifiers.”
  • “If you ask (Gabriela Ruffels), probably the biggest driver in her improvement is having to compete at home every week in qualifiers,” head coach Justin Silverstein said of his 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur champion.
  • “Silverstein’s squad returns eight players – five of whom were Golfweek All-Americans – from last season’s team that won seven events. Just how good are the Trojans on paper…”

(Find out in the) full piece.

6. Knee injury for Rose
Golf Channel’s Rex Hoggard…”Rose withdrew from Wednesday’s pro-am at the European Tour’s flagship event citing a knee injury.”
  • “Last Thursday I slipped and jarred my knee,” Rose said in a statement. “Since then I have been getting treatment on the injury and I have been working hard with Justin Buckthorp and my medical team away from the course in order to ensure I am able to play in this week’s BMW PGA Championship. I am doing everything I can to be fit to play on Thursday.”

Full piece.

7. Who needs an equipment makeover?
I don’t agree with the premise, but it’s a witty piece nevertheless! E. Michael Johnson at Golf Digest rounds up players in need of an “equipment makeover”
“Henrik Stenson…It’s hard to knock a former major winner who also sits at No. 31 in the world ranking, but it’s time for Henrik Stenson to retire some clubs in his bag, notably the Callaway Legacy irons and Callaway Diablo Octane 3-wood (above). We know he has the strongest level of comfort with that fairway wood. But it dates back more than a decade (it debuted in 2008), and the Grafalloy Blue shaft in it goes back another five years to 2003. It’s one thing to have a “trusty” club in the bag. It’s another to have something that leads people to believe you might have stolen it from the USGA Golf House Museum. As for the irons, Stenson used this model to win the FedEx Cup … in 2013. We applaud loyalty, just not this much.”
“Bubba Watson…”I hate changing equipment,” Bubba Watson told Golf Digest in 2013. When it comes to his irons, that’s a bit of an understatement. The two-time Masters champion has used his Ping S55 irons since the 2012 BMW Championship (save for a few weeks with a different set). This after using the company’s S59 irons since 2004. So change comes slowly for Bubba. There are reasons, however. For starters, Watson is the ultimate “feel player,” noticing the slightest of differences. His specs are also not typical. His S55s are a half-inch longer in length with an extreme heel grind on the 3- through 5-irons. They’re also one degree upright, and the grips are massively oversized with 10 wraps of tape on the top and 12 wraps on the bottom. Still, having the same irons for seven seasons would seem to indicate it’s time for a change-even if you don’t like it.”
8. The craziest thing you’ve ever done for golf? 
Ryan Barath frames his trip to Sweetens Cove for the Oil Hardened Classic…
  • “Let me start by saying that I’m not a “Bag Tag Barry” or really a bucket list course kinda guy. Yes, I have courses I want to play, but at the moment the highest on the list starts and ends with the Old Course at St. Andrews – because, simple – it’s St. Andrews. Beyond that, my “hoping to play” list pretty much the standard classics.”
  • “But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t gone WAY out of my way to play, especially when you think about the recent 1600-plus mile journey I just took to Sweetens Cove to play in the First Annual “Oil Hardened Classic” run by Eternal Summer Golf Society.
  • “Sweetens has been on my radar since I first heard about it, and if you are at all interested in course architecture I’m sure it has been on your radar for a while too…”

Full piece.

9. The golf art you didn’t know you needed
Golf Digest’s Joel Beall…”Phil Mickelson’s foray into social media the past year has produced its share of art works. But the masterpiece-or should we say, Masters piece-that made the digital rounds on Monday takes that phenomenon to a new level.”
“Matt Landers is a painter specializing in oil canvasing. A fact we only know thanks to this thing of beauty…”

 

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Morning 9: Solheim Cup finish for the ages | Credit where it’s due | Will Tiger pick Tiger? continued

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

September 16, 2019

Good Monday morning, golf fans.
1. For the ages!
Ron Sirak for LPGA.com says this year’s Solheim Cup was one of the best ever (and he’s not wrong!)…”Rarely in sports does reality match expectation. More often than not, the happening falls short of the hype. But the 14½-13½ Solheim Cup victory by Europe over the United States on Sunday at Gleneagles was better than advertised – almost better than imaginable.”
  • “You’d have to search far and wide to find a more dramatic finish anywhere in the history of sports. With the last shot of the day, Suzann Pettersen – a controversial captain’s pick – rolled in a 7-foot birdie putt on No. 18 to secure the victory. A miss and the U.S. would have won for the third consecutive time.”
  • “Like the Ryder Cup, this has just grown so hugely,” said Catriona Matthew, the Scottish woman who captained Europe to victory in her homeland. “It came down to the last putt on the last hole. You can’t get more exciting than that.”
  • “The victory by Europe denied Juli Inkster a chance to become the only captain with three victories and it stopped the Americans from winning three in a row for the third time in the competition. The Solheim Cup now stand 10-6 in favor of the United States.”

Full piece.

2. Credit where it’s due
Golf Digest’s Keely Levins says that while Pettersen will rightfully get the headlines, don’t forget the work of Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall at Gleneagles.
  • “But while all of this is going on, let’s not forget two other players who deserve a lot of the credit for Europe’s win: Celine Boutier and Georgia Hall. Each posted 4-0-0 records for the week, and together they earned five of Europe’s 14½ points at Gleneagles.”
  • “Like Pettersen, Catriona Matthew took Boutier with one of her captain’s picks. The 25-year-old from France won her first LPGA event in February, the ISPS Handa Vic Open. She then went on to top-10 finish in two major championships, making her a sensible choice.”

Full piece.

3. Bright spots for the U.S. 
Golfweek’s Roxanna Scott on the shining stars for the Stars & Stripes…”Rookie Nelly Korda joined her older sister Jessica as the leading players for the U.S., with both earning 3½ of four points. Friday they played together in morning foursomes, making history as the first sisters to be paired in a Solheim Cup match. It was also the first time their parents, Petr and Regina, watched their daughters play together. The sisters won their opening match 6 and 4, and went on to dominate Carlota Ciganda and Bronte Law 6 and 5 in Saturday’s foursomes.”
  • “Both Kordas were down early in their singles matches Sunday. Nelly Korda was down by three against Caroline Hedwall before the American made consecutive birdies on the 10 and 11th holes. Nelly Korda won the match 2 up.”
  • “Jessica Korda was down by two against Caroline Masson before she pulled it to all square on the 8th. Jessica Korda had three birdies in her last five holes to win 3 up.”

Full piece.

4. A late bid to flip his 2019 script
A year notable more for destroying courses in a literal sense sees Garcia get the better of a track…
SkySports report…”Sergio Garcia has won the KLM Open by one shot from Nicolai Hojgaard after finishing 18 under in Amsterdam to claim his 16th European Tour title.”
  • “Garcia went into the final day as joint-leader with Callum Shinkwin and seemed on course for a routine victory as he led by two shots at the fifth.”
  • “His playing partner Shinkwin then edged ahead by one shot at the seventh following successive bogeys on a mixed front nine at The International from the Spaniard.”
  • “But a double bogey at the 10th by Englishman Shinkwin offered Garcia some hope and the 2017 Masters champion looked to have sealed victory with a stunning approach from the rough at the 16th, despite having his feet in the bunker for the awkward second shot to dial in to five feet.”
5. Niemann breaks through
The first victory by a Chilean on the PGA Tour will no doubt be the first of many for Mr. Niemann.
  • AP report…”The 20-year-old cruised to a dominant six-stroke win on Sunday at A Military Tribute at The Greenbrier in West Virginia, picking up his first career win in the inaugural event of the 2019-20 season.”
  • “My game was feeling great, and mentally (it) was awesome,” Niemann said. “I was just feeling like I was going to win this tournament since the first day. I was in a really good mindset.”
  • “Niemann entered the final round with a comfortable two-shot lead over the field, and started the day steady – firing a 1-under 33 on the front nine.”
  • “That’s when he took off…”

Full piece.

6. 2 months, 2 Champions Tour wins
AP report…”Jerry Kelly played bogey-free Sunday at Warwick Hills and closed with a 4-under 68 for a two-shot victory in the Ally Challenge, his second victory this year on the PGA Tour Champions.”
  • “Kelly also won two months ago in his native Wisconsin at the American Insurance Family Championship.”
  • “He started the final round with a one-shot lead over Charles Schwab Cup leader Scott McCarron and Woody Austin. McCarron fell apart with a 75. Austin remained within one shot until a bogey on the par-4 15th, and Kelly stretched his lead to three with a birdie on the par-3 17th.”

Full piece. 

7. Tour pulls back curtain on POY voting process, says integrity is “not up for debate”
Golf.com’s Josh Berhow got in touch with the PGA Tour to discuss the…much remarked upon…2019 PGA Tour Player of the Year award given to Rory McIlroy…
  • “In a phone interview with GOLF.com, Laura Neal, the Tour’s senior vice president of communications, did not say how many players voted in 2019 but she did say that in any given year 45 to 60 percent of players participate. The Tour also provided GOLF.com with a copy of the ballot” [see in the link to “full piece”]
  • “…Neal said the ballot is delivered electronically to eligible voters – players who have played in at least 15 events. The completed ballots go directly to the Tour’s accounting firm, Grant Thornton. Employees there tabulate the votes without Tour supervision and send the results to the Tour. The process is broadly similar to how Academy Award votes are tabulated.”
  • “Feel free to debate whether the PGA Tour membership should have voted Rory or Brooks as Player of the Year,” Neal wrote in an email Friday. “What’s not up for debate is the Tour’s integrity – in this process or otherwise.”

Full piece.

8. Will Tiger pick Tiger, continued
Woods filed a captain’s blog for PGATour.com as he ponders his captains picks…
  • “While I was disappointed to not earn one of the top 8 spots, I’m hopeful to perform well at my next start in Japan. In the meantime, I’m going to rely on playing with some of the guys in Florida to stay sharp. I’ll practice hard, work on my game, and we’ll have some matches. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also always fun.”
  • “At the end of the day, the decision of who rounds out this team will ultimately be my call, but I’m going to lean heavily on the opinions of my captain’s assistants and the eight guys who have already earned a spot. My plan is to keep an open line of communication to ensure we find the four guys who best fit this team. We will be watching the fall events closely. There are so many guys who are world-class players who aren’t yet on the team like Rickie Fowler, Tony Finau, Phil Mickelson, Patrick Reed, Gary Woodland, Jordan Spieth and many more. The Fall events will also allow me to get extended looks at two young rookies, Matthew Wolff and Colin Morikawa, who both played well after turning pro late in the season.”

Full piece.

9. Niemann on Presidents Cup squad? 
From a piece by PGATour.com’s Helen Ross…

Els, who will announce his picks in early November along with U.S. Captain Tiger Woods, was well aware of what Niemann had done. The Chilean finished the automatic qualification period ranked 28th.

  • …”What a fantastic win for Joaquin at The Greenbrier,” Els told PGA TOUR officials via text message. “I’m really proud of him, and it’s a wonderful start to his season. I’m looking forward to more of his great play.”
  • Niemann may be a relative newbie as far as The Presidents Cup is concerned. But he’s clearly focused on playing for Els at Royal Melbourne in December, calling it a “dream” – not unlike his wide-ranging thoughts on Sunday morning.
  • “I know that there is a lot of good players fighting for the first spots,” Niemann said. “I know it’s going to be tough, and this win definitely helps to get a little — probably a little help to get in the first spots. But I don’t know yet.
  • “Just got to be patient and get a couple more tournaments to have good golf and hopefully get in that team.”

Full piece.

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Tour Rundown: Incredible Solheim Cup | Niemann, Garcia, Kelly

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In the northeast USA, where I live, the leaves are poised to change colors. There was a generational change in this week’s Solheim Cup where a young European team showed it could win at singles. There was a generational change in West Virginia, site of the first event of the 2019-20 PGA Tour. It wasn’t quite the dawning of the Age of Aquarius, but the second weekend of September gave us a glimpse of the exciting, young talent that inhabits all the world’s tours. And so, we are more than happy to offer a Tour Rundown for Monday, September 16th, 2019.

Solheim Cup won on home soil by Europe

Last weekend, a young USA team of amateurs left British soil with the Walker Cup, thanks to a singles-day rally. Team Europe made certain that the history did not repeat itself so promptly, albeit with a similar comeback of its own. The young European team was championed by Suzanne Pettersen but made a name for itself, Young promise in the guise of Georgia Hall, Bronte Law, Carlota Ciganda and Celine Boutier earned Sunday wins for the Blue team. Their efforts were supported by stalwarts like Pettersen and Nordqvist. The latter smoked Morgan Pressel in the day’s final match, ending it early at 4 & 3, giving Team Europe a boost in the day’s closing moments.

It was left to Pettersen, on the cusp of retirement, to knock down a 10-feet birdie putt on the final hole, outlasting the USA’s Marina Alex by 1-up and securing a Solheim Cup in her farewell appearance. Team golf isn’t always brilliant, but the Presidents Cup in December, and the Ryders and Curtises of 2020 would do well to emulate the spirit of Solheim Cup Gleneagles.

Niemann fulfills promise with first Tour title

The thing with prodigies is, they feel like they’ve been here forever. The trouble with golf prodigies is, if they don’t win enough, they never win enough as professionals. Joaquin Niemann won the 2018 Latin America Championship. That’s a big event, as it earned him invitations to the Masters, U.S. and Open championships of that year. He was the No. 1-ranked golfer as an amateur, but that was the only big win he ever had. Let’s be honest, it wasn’t an NCAA title, nor a USGA Junior, nor an Amateur championship from the isles nor the USA. Niemann looked good and played well, but he never threatened to win anything else, until Sunday.

Niemann turned pro after that 2018 Masters, giving up the chance to play in the twin Open championships. This week, he worked his way around the Greenbrier Resort’s Old White course like the conductor of a train, or a symphony. The young Chilean held a towo-shot advantage with 18 holes to play, but ceded the top spot to Tom Hoge after front-nine struggles. On the inward half, he was the Niemann of old (or should that be, of young?), posting six birdies for 31 and 64 on the day.

Hoge could not keep pace, and settled for second spot at 15 under, six shots behind the winner. Early in the week, the news belonged to Kevin Chappell, who posted 59 in round two. Curiously, the Californian never visited the 60s all week, with three rounds in the 70s, and a place in the middle of the pack. From on high, looking down, stood a young golfer, beginning to fulfill his promise.

Kelly locks up midwest for locals in Michigan

There have been a few events of note in the upper midwest of the USA on this season’s PGA Tour Champions. Jerry Kelly won the AFI in Wisconsin in June, and was followed by friendly rival Steve Stricker at the Senior Open in Indiana. In sort of a rubber match resolution, Kelly came back this week to claim the Ally Challenge in Michigan, posting a two-stroke victory over Woody Austin. Even if Stricker had entered this week, he would have been pressed to keep up with his fellow cheesehead.

Kelly was that little-bit better than everyone else during every round, this week. Beginning round three a shot off the pace, Scott McCarron inexplicably faded again, adding wood to the suggestion that he will never become the clutch player that his physical talents deserve. His 75 dropped him to a tie for 15th. Kelly never wavered, posting four birdies on the day for 68. His only bogey of the week came on Thursday’s ninth hole, and it was more than offset by a run of five consecutive birdies, mid-day Friday. With the victory, his second of the year, Kelly jumped into second spot on the season-long Schwab Cup list, just behind McCarron.

Garcia rehearses alphabet in march to KLM win

In the late 2000s, the Spanish Royal Academy eliminated the LL from its alphabet. That news was lost on golfers, until this week’s KLM Open in Holland. Sergio Garcia, clearly not worried about a KLLLM disparity, won by one slim stroke over Nicolai Hojgaard.

Absent this week from the Spaniard’s performance were the phlegm-filled, earthworm-seeking histrionics that have spotted an otherwise-memorable career. Garcia’s game was on, with birdies at 15 and 16 affording a cushion for a 17th-hole bogey. In fact, Garcia made seven birdies on the day, most of any, on the week, for the Iberian. The unheralded Hojgaar, hailing from Denmark, was in control most of the day. His late bogey, at the 16th, brought him to 4 over on the week for the antipenultimate hole. If he looks back with any regret on the week, it would certainly focus on the wee par 4.

Fishburn secures elevation at Canada Life Championship

At week’s opening, Patrick Fishburn held a tenuous grasp of the fifth and final hockey sweater, symbolic of a Korn Ferry Tour card for 2020. By Sunday evening, the young man from the USA had secured not only a promotion to the next level of tour success but all the confidence that comes with a clutch victory. On Fishburn’s heels in the Order of Merit, just $1,000 back, was Hayden Buckley. Just outside but with some hope, was David Pastore. Buckley faded this week, finishing mid-pack, but Pastore was electric. He posted constantly-improving scores of 68-66-65-63, concluding the week a solid 18 under par. He beat everyone in the field … everyone but Fishburn.

The young alum from BYU never strayed from the mid-60s, posting a pair of 64 over the weekend to outdistance the field with a 21-under par for a total. The title was Fishburn’s first of the year, and certainly must have provided the sort of assurance that beating the field brings. With the victory, Fishburn, Lorens Chan and Jake Knapp of the USA joined Canada’s Taylor Pendrith and France’s Paul Barjon in the elite group of five to receive life-altering tour sweaters and membership in the penultimate stage of tour success.

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