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Accessory Reviews

The Big Review – Grafalloy Tour Design ProLaunch Blue and Tour Design ProLaunch Red Shafts

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One of the mainstays on the US Tour, Grafalloy pride themselves on being the manufacturer of “the #1 ultralight shaft on tour” and as part of True Temper of also being consistently the number one shaft brand on all professional tours globally.

Achieving this position is no fluke but rather the result of hard work and innovation and their latest new shafts are the Tour Concept versions of the phenomenally popular ProLaunch series. When the original ProLaunch Blue was launched it found strong support with golfers looking for a high launching wood shaft that was forgiving at lower speeds while still being not easily over-powered. Following on was the ProLaunch Red, a lower launching version of the original for those looking for a more boring trajectory. Most recently, the Prolaunch Platinum was released earlier this year as the mid launching version to complete the coverage of trajectories.

Key to the success of the original ProLaunch was the introduction of Grafalloy’s proprietary solution to balancing tip stability and torque to reduce club head lag while retaining feel; Micro-Mesh™. While this technology was also used in the ProLaunch Red, the ProLaunch Platinum not only possesses Micro-Mesh technology but also the Smart-Ply™ technology previously seen only the high end Axis shaft (shaft aficionados will recognise the Axis shaft as the one that Tiger Woods used to win the Buick Invitational in 2006 in a rare departure from his normal Diamanas). Smart-Ply is a technology designed to increase cross-sectional stability. Shafts with poor cross sectional stability undergo ovalling which causes energy loss and an inconsistent point of impact with loss of accuracy. Increasing cross sectional stability is seen as a way to increase energy transfer at impact with the result being greater distance and improved shot dispersion. Anti-ovalling technologies are of particular interest to shaft manufacturers and are becoming more commonly seen, examples of these being Triax from Fujikura (basis of the RE*AX and ROMBAX shafts) and S-CORE Technology™ from Aldila (seen in the new VooDoo shaft).

Smart-Ply consists of overlaying single direction fibres orientated in 6 specific directions (-45, -30, 0 ,30, 45, and 90 degrees to the shaft ), each orientation contributing differently to feel and performance. Grafalloy state that using this technology they can produce shafts that have over 50% more cross sectional stability when compared to shafts like the Mitsubishi WhiteBoard or the Aldila SVS Proto (forerunner of the VooDoo).

Smart-Ply Cross Section

Smart-Ply cross section

Grafalloy are sometimes unfairly branded as a ‘blue-collar’ shaft manufacturer. Having been at the top so long, they aren’t seen as having the cachet of some of the more exotic shaft manufacters despite making top grade shafts. Their relentless success in Tour shafts counts is ample evidence of the standard of their products. Grafalloy are slightly unusual in that they have a network of authorised golf equipment retailers who offer shafts that would otherwise not be available to retail . This is their Tour Concept program. This essentially gives you access to Tour quality shafts. The Tour Concept versions of the ProLaunch Blue and ProLaunch Red differ from the standard versions by the addition of the Smart-Ply technology to the existing shafts.

Technical Specs

Shaft Type Flex Length Weight Tip Size Torque
Blue 65 R,S,X 46″ 64g .335″ 3.0/2.8/2.8
Blue 75 R,S,X 46″ 75g/76g/78g .335″ 2.9

 

Shaft Type Flex Length Weight Tip Size Torque
Red 65 R,S,X 46″ 62g/64g/66g .335″ 3.0
Red 75 S,X 46″ 76g .335″ 3.2

Feel

While it is unlikely that someone would mistake these for something silky smooth like a Diamana Blueboard or a Matrix Ozik, they are not harsh feeling at all and gives plenty of that all important feedback. Both shafts feel super stable without even a hint of of stoutness and play true to flex – no vanity flexes here. It might sounds a little odd and may be completely due to the fact that I know that these shafts have the Smart-Ply Technology but they really do feel like they stay completely round (or just more so than a normal shaft) even under high load. This stability means there is no vagueness at the top or at impact and the shafts load beautifully with the Red feeling tauter than the Blue. The Blue has slightly more movement at full load and at impact but that is to be expected due to its softer tip and lower kick point. The heavier 75 versions adds some extra weight for those looking for a little more solidity in their Driver shafts or to match the weight in their fairway woods but otherwise feels very similar to the 65 version.

Performance

Tour Design ProLaunch Blue

While there is definitely a high launch, it seems to be slightly lower than the standard ProLaunch Blue. Carry is all with this shaft as the ball flies very high but with a lot of distance as the ball soars rather than floats. The increased torsional stiffness produces great distance and excellent accuracy as the shot dispersion is very much at the mercy of your swing rather than in any inconsistency of the shaft. Spin levels are somewhere in the middle as the Blue is not a low spinning shaft but neither is it super high spin either.

Tour Design ProLaunch Red

Many shafts claim to be low launch but in reality, not many are. The Red is the real deal here. With an initial low launch, the Red produces a very penetrating ball flight that really does bore through the air. The Red is very stable at impact and gives a great sense of location throughout the swing and its dispersion if anything is even better than the Blue. Even at faster speeds, this is not a shaft that will balloon on you and it’s easy to understand why so many Tour players have taken to it. The low spin characteristics can be seen by the way that drives appear unaffected by wind and by the prodigious amount of roll after landing. This combination makes the 75 version a devastating option for a middleweight fairway wood shaft.

Overall

The Micro-Mesh and Smart-Ply tech really do seem to work and does seem to make a difference, both in feel and in performance as both shafts offer high feel and great distance from two very different trajectories.

This combination of high launch with mid spin from the Tour Design ProLaunch Blue suggests that this shaft would suit a moderate speed swinger but the stability of the shaft means that it also suitable for those with faster swing speeds looking for more height and carry. For these people, the Blue should definitely be considered as it really does get the ball arcing into the blue (hmmm, I wonder if that is why it got its name) for maximum carry.

The Tour Design ProLaunch Red is a real option for those looking at an alternative to something like a Whiteboard and with its resistance to being turned over, it’s only a little away from the mythical anti-left shaft. In fact the Nationwide Tour Manager for True Temper Sports stated that “ProLaunch Red has won more tournaments and enjoyed greater usage much faster than any other shaft in recent memory”.  People have realised that ultra low spin is no longer the be all and end all for woods. If the spin is too low, the ball will simply drop out of the sky and for faster swingers the Red offers a superb balance of launch angle and spin.

All in all, these Tour Design versions offer something extra for golfers looking for something special on a specific trajectory and are great options in an ever improving Grafalloy arsenal.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. cmalloy7

    Nov 11, 2013 at 11:47 am

  2. Roy Clifford

    Oct 23, 2008 at 4:39 pm

    I have just bought a set of MD Superstrong Forged irons with the ProLaunch Blue Shafts.
    Has anyone any thoughts?

  3. Mike R

    Jul 10, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    I’ve been playing with a HiBore XLS/Aldila DVS combo since spring but wasn’t quite satisfied with my launch angle or the feel of the DVS. Read the review of the Prolaunch Blue Tour Design and decided to give it a shot. I’ve played two rounds with the Tour Design Blue and couldn’t be happier, my launch angle is up, and the feel is excellent. A silkly smooth, very active, yet extremely stable high launch shaft, should be in my driver for a long time, or at least until next season.

  4. M Anderson

    Jul 6, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    Both these shafts are available any Tour Concept dealer. You can find your nearest one here via the Tour Concept website here http://www.tttourconcept.com/tc/locator.html

  5. Stefan

    Jul 6, 2008 at 6:14 am

    Does anyone know where the pro launch red pro design shaft can be purchased from?

  6. M Anderson

    Jun 29, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    The Tour Design ProLaunch Blue would be close to a higher launching and higher torque version of the Blue but to be honest, there’s nothing around that would directly replace the Blue.

  7. Ryan Crysler

    Jun 29, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    My Titleist 905R has my trusty Graffaloy Blue shaft. How does my shaft compare to the pro launch red/tour design version?

  8. David J

    Jun 27, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Very informative and great review. I’ve debated about buying the Platinum, now I know it’s a go.

    May try a Prolaunch with the smart-play technology as well.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: The QOD Electric Caddy

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If you want an electric golf caddy that doesn’t require that you wear a sensor or carry a remote — one that will be reliable and allow you to focus on your game, and not your cart — then the Australian-manufactured QOD is worth checking out.

The QOD (an acronym for Quality of Design and a nod to its four wheels) is powered by a 14.4-volt lithium battery, good for 36 holes or more on a single charge. It has nine different speeds (with the fastest settings moving closer to jogging velocity) so the QOD can handle your ideal pace, whether that be a casual stroll or a more rapid clip around the course.

The QOD is also built to last. Its injection-molded, aircraft-grade aluminum frame has no welded joints. Steel bolts and locking teeth take care of the hinging points. The battery and frame are both guaranteed for three full years. If you need a new battery after the three-year window, the folks at QOD will replace it at cost.

Its front-wheel suspension gives the QOD a smooth ride down the fairway, and the trolley is easy to navigate with a gentle nudge here and there. The QOD is always in free-wheel mode, so it is smooth and easy to maneuver manually in tight spaces and around the green.

The caddy also features three timed interval modes for situations where you might wish to send it up ahead on its own: when helping a friend find a lost ball or when you will be exiting on the far side of the green after putting, for example. The clip below includes a look at the caddy in timed mode.

When folded, the QOD measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall.

Another area where the QOD excels is in its small size and portability. When folded, it measures a mere 17-inches wide, 15-inches deep and 12-inches tall, making it the smallest electric caddy on the market.

Folks Down Under have been enjoying the QOD for some time, but it wasn’t until a few years ago when Malachi McGlone was looking for a way to continue walking the course without putting undue strain on an injured wrist that the QOD found U.S. fairways. After first becoming a satisfied customer, McGlone convinced CEO Collin Hiss, who developed the product and oversees its production in Australia, to allow him to distribute and service the QOD here in the states.

The QOD has no self-balancing gyroscope, bluetooth sensor or remote control. Bells and whistles just aren’t its thing — though it does have a USB port for cell phone charging that can come in handy. However, if you are looking for a no-fuss workhorse to move your bag down the fairway, the QOD should be on your radar.

The 2018 model has begun shipping and will be on sale at $1,299 for a limited time. It normally retails at $1,499.

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Accessory Reviews

Review: FlightScope Mevo

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In 100 Words

The Mevo is a useful practice tool for amateur golfers and represents a step forward from previous offerings on the market. It allows golfers to practice indoors or outdoors and provides club speed, ball speed, smash factor, launch angle, spin rate, carry distance and flight time.

It also has a video capture mode that will overlay swing videos with the swing data of a specific swing. It is limited in its capabilities and its accuracy, though, which golfers should expect at this price point. All in all, it’s well worth the $499 price tag if you understand what you’re getting.

The Full Review

The FlightScope Mevo is a launch monitor powered by 3D Doppler radar. With a retail price of $499, it is obviously aimed to reach the end consumer as opposed to PGA professionals and club fitters.

The Mevo device itself is tiny. Like, really tiny. It measures 3.5-inches wide, 2.8-inches tall and 1.2-inches deep. In terms of everyday products, it’s roughly the size of an Altoids tin. It’s very easy to find room for it in your golf bag, and the vast majority of people at the range you may be practicing at won’t even notice it’s there. Apart from the Mevo itself, in the box you get a quick start guide, a charging cable, a carrying pouch, and some metallic stickers… more on those later. It has a rechargeable internal battery that reaches a full charge in about two hours and lasts for about four hours when fully charged.

As far as software goes, the Mevo pairs with the Mevo Golf app on your iOS or Android device. The app is free to download and does not require any subscription fees (unless you want to store and view videos of your swing online as opposed to using the memory on your device). The app is very easy to use even for those who aren’t tech savvy. Make sure you’re using the most current version of the firmware for the best results, though (I did experience some glitches at first until I did so). The settings menu does have an option to manually force firmware writing, but updates should happen automatically when you start using the device.

Moving through the menus, beginning sessions, editing shots (good for adding notes on things like strike location or wind) are all very easy. Video mode did give me fits the first time I used it, though, as it was impossible to maintain my connection between my phone and the Mevo while having the phone in the right location to capture video properly. The only way I could achieve this was by setting the Mevo as far back from strike location as the device would allow. Just something to keep in mind if you find you’re having troubles with video mode.

Screenshot of video capture mode with the FlightScope Mevo

Using the Mevo

When setting up the Mevo, it needs to be placed between 4-7 feet behind the golf ball, level with the playing surface and pointed down the target line. The distance you place the Mevo behind the ball does need to be entered into the settings menu before starting your session. While we’re on that subject, before hitting balls, you do need to select between indoor, outdoor, and pitching (ball flight less than 20 yards) modes, input your altitude and select video or data mode depending on if you want to pair your data with videos of each swing or just see the data by itself. You can also edit the available clubs to be monitored, as you will have to tell the Mevo which club you’re using at any point in time to get the best results. Once you get that far, you’re pretty much off to the races.

Testing the Mevo

I tested the FlightScope Mevo with Brad Bachand at Man O’ War Golf Center in Lexington, Kentucky. Brad is a member of the PGA and has received numerous awards for golf instruction and club fitting. I wanted to put the Mevo against the best device FlightScope has to offer and, luckily, Brad does use his $15,000 FlightScope X3 daily. We had both the FlightScope Mevo and Brad’s FlightScope X3 set up simultaneously, so the numbers gathered from the two devices were generated from the exact same strikes. Brad also set up the two devices and did all of the ball striking just to maximize our chances for success.

The day of our outdoor session was roughly 22 degrees Fahrenheit. There was some wind on that day (mostly right to left), but it wasn’t a major factor. Our setup is pictured below.

Outdoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our outdoor testing are shown below. The testing was conducted with range balls, and we did use the metallic stickers. The range balls used across all the testing were all consistently the same brand. Man O’ War buys all new range balls once a year and these had been used all throughout 2017.  The 2018 batch had not yet been purchased at the time that testing was conducted.

Raw outdoor data captured with range balls including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

You’ll notice some peculiar data in the sand wedge spin category. To be honest, I don’t fully know what contributed to the X3 measuring such low values. While the Mevo’s sand wedge spin numbers seem more believable, you could visibly see that the X3 was much more accurate on carry distance. Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our outdoor session when separated out for each club. As previously mentioned, though, take sand wedge spin with a grain of salt.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (outdoor testing).

The first thing we noticed was that the Mevo displays its numbers while the golf ball is still in midair, so it was clear that it wasn’t watching the golf ball the entire time like the X3. According to the Mevo website, carry distance, height and flight time are all calculated while club speed, ball speed, launch angle and spin rate are measured. As for the accuracy of the measured parameters, the Mevo’s strength is ball speed. The accuracy of the other measured ball parameters (launch angle and spin rate) is questionable depending on certain factors (quality of strike, moisture on the clubface and ball, quality of ball, etc). I would say it ranges between “good” or “very good” and “disappointing” with most strikes being categorized as “just okay.”

As for the calculated parameters of carry distance, height and time, those vary a decent amount. Obviously, when the measurements of the three inputs become less accurate, the three outputs will become less accurate as a result. Furthermore, according to FlightScope, the Mevo’s calculations are not accounting for things like temperature, humidity, and wind. The company has also stated, though, that future updates will likely adjust for these parameters by using location services through the app.

Now, let’s talk about those metallic stickers. According to the quick start guide, the Mevo needs a sticker on every golf ball you hit, and before you hit each ball, the ball needs to be placed such that the sticker is facing the target. It goes without saying that it doesn’t sound like a whole lot of fun to spend time putting those stickers on every ball, let alone balls that will never come back to you if you’re at a public driving range. Obviously, people are going to want to avoid using the stickers if they can, so do they really matter? Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls with and without the use of the stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you use the metallic stickers and when you don’t

The FlightScope website says that the metallic stickers “are needed in order for the Mevo to accurately measure ball spin.” We observed pretty much the same as shown in the table above. The website also states they are working on alternative solutions to stickers (possibly a metallic sharpie), which I think is wise.

Another thing we thought would be worth testing is the impact of different golf balls. Below is a table of data showing the percent difference between the Mevo’s data and the X3’s data of what we collected outdoors with a driver and range balls as compared to Pro V1’s. All of this data was collected using the metallic stickers.

Table showing how the percent difference of each parameter changes between Mevo and X3 when you switch from range balls to Pro V1’s

As shown above, the data gets much closer virtually across the board when you use better quality golf balls. Just something else to keep in mind when using the Mevo.

Indoor testing requires 8 feet of ball flight (impact zone to hitting net), which was no problem for us. Our setup is pictured below. All of the indoor testing was conducted with Titleist Pro V1 golf balls using the metallic stickers.

Indoor testing setup with FlightScope X3 (foreground) and Mevo

The results of our indoor session are shown below.

Raw indoor data captured with Pro V1’s including metallic stickers. Mevo data (blue) and X3 data (orange) were both generated from the same exact shots.

Below is a quick summary of the percent differences between each of the parameters as presented by the Mevo and the X3 in our indoor session when separated out for each club.

Table showing the percent difference of each parameter between Mevo and X3 grouped by club (indoor testing)

On the whole, the data got much closer together between the two devices in our indoor session. I would think a lot of that can be attributed to the use of quality golf balls and to removing outdoor factors like wind and temperature (tying into my previous comment above).

As far as overall observations between all sessions, the most striking thing was that the Mevo consistently gets more accurate when you hit really good, straight shots. When you hit bad shots, or if you hit a fade or a draw, it gets less and less accurate.

The last parameter to address is club speed, which came in around 5 percent different on average between the Mevo and X3 based on all of the shots recorded. The Mevo was most accurate with the driver at 2.1 percent different from the X3 over all strikes and it was the least accurate with sand wedge by far. Obviously, smash factor accuracy will follow club speed for the most part since ball speed is quite accurate. Over every shot we observed, the percent difference on ball speed was 1.2 percent on average between the Mevo and the X3. Again, the Mevo was least accurate with sand wedges. If I remove all sand wedge shots from the data, the average percent difference changes from 1.2 percent to 0.7 percent, which is very, very respectable.

When it comes to the different clubs used, the Mevo was by far most accurate with mid irons. I confirmed this with on-course testing on a relatively flat 170-yard par-3 as well. Carry distances in that case were within 1-2 yards on most shots (mostly related to quality of strike). With the driver, the Mevo was reasonably close, but I would also describe it as generous. It almost always missed by telling me that launch angle was higher, spin rate was lower and carry distance was farther than the X3. Generally speaking, the Mevo overestimated our driver carries by about 5 percent. Lastly, the Mevo really did not like sand wedges at all. Especially considering those shots were short enough that you could visibly see how far off the Mevo was with its carry distance. Being 10 yards off on a 90 yard shot was disappointing.

Conclusion

The Mevo is a really good product if you understand what you’re getting when you buy it. Although the data isn’t good enough for a PGA professional, it’s still a useful tool that gives amateurs reasonable feedback while practicing. It’s also a fair amount more accurate than similar products in its price range, and I think it could become even better with firmware updates as Flightscope improves upon its product.

This is a much welcomed and very promising step forward in consumer launch monitors, and the Mevo is definitely worth a look if you’re in the market for one.

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Accessory Reviews

Choose Your Tartan: Enter now to win a Sunfish Tartan headcover

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Sunfish, well known for its stylish headcover designs, is offering up free Tartan-style headcovers to five GolfWRX Members. All you have to do to apply is become a GolfWRX member, if you’re not already, and then reply in the forum thread with your favorite the Tartan pattern.

TartanPatternsSunfish

The five winners will receive a free headcover in the pattern that they select. Winners will be selected on Friday, so don’t wait.

Click here to enter into the giveaway and pick your favorite style.

Reminder: Commenting on this post WILL NOT enter you into the giveaway.

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