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Review: Graphite Design Tour AD GP Shafts

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Pros: The stiffest of Graphite Design’s Tour AD shafts. Compared to similar shafts, the GP is impressively smooth and stable. Available in a wide range of weights (50-80 grams) and flexes (R2-X).

Cons: Like other Tour AD shafts, the MSRP is $500.

Who it’s for: Golfers who prefer tip-stiff shafts, as well as those looking to reduce launch and spin. The highly stable design can also suit golfers who want to tighten their dispersion, particularly if their miss is a hook.

The Review

GD_Logo

At the top levels of the game, golfers are getting stronger. It’s easy to see on the PGA Tour, where the game’s brightest young stars are regularly generating club head speeds in excess of 120 mph. It’s even more noticeable at top college and junior golf events, as fields are filled with golfers who are stronger and more technically sound than ever before.

In response, golf equipment manufacturers have evolved their product lines. Especially with metal woods, it has meant lower-spinning clubheads, and to complement them, stiffer, more energy-efficient shaft designs.

Tour_AD_Rings

Graphite Design new Tour AD GP shafts are intended to suit a wide range of golfers, as they’re offered in a variety of weights (50-80 grams) and flexes (R2-X) to fit a broad scope of golfers. Compared to previous shaft models from the company, however, the GP line (which stands for “Greatest Performance”) will optimize stronger golfers, as well as those who perform best with extremely stable shafts.

Like other new Tour AD models, they’re constructed with the company’s 50T carbon-fiber material, which gives them the smooth feel for which Graphite Design’s shafts are known. In the tip section of the shaft, however, the GP shafts use Torayca’s new T1100G carbon-fiber pre-preg with NanoAlloy technology, which gives the shafts a tip stiffness that are only rivaled by the company’s Tour AD M9003 shafts.

Graphite_Design_Profiles

Graphite Design’s representatives warned me the GP shafts “may feel more on the firmer side,” and would not play like the Graphite Design shafts I used in the past. Design platforms and robot testing are one thing, but golf is played by humans — not engineering software and robots. I wanted to know exactly how different the new shaft would perform compared to Graphite Design’s most popular shaft of all time, the Tour AD-DI.

Tour_AD_1

To find out, I took the GP shaft to the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where I tested it against the Tour AD-DI in the most apples-to-apples comparison possible. Both shafts were built to my specifications, 7X (tipped 1 inch) at a finished length of 45.5 inches in a TaylorMade M1 430 (10.5 degrees set to 8.5 degrees).

The numbers below may look quite similar, but please read on, because the feedback and trajectory biases were not.

The Numbers

GraphiteDesignShafts

Tipped 1 inch, the GP was one of the stiffest shafts I have ever used, and felt considerably more stable than the Tour AD-DI that I’ve played in the past.

As you can see, I swung the GP slightly faster (0.8 mph), but the extremely stiff-tipped design caused me to release the clubhead sooner in a effort to hit a straight shot. You can see that in my Attack Angle, which increased from -1.4 degrees to 0.2 degrees. As a result of my manipulation, I also contacted my drives higher on the face with the GP, which lowered my ball speed, increased my launch angle and decreased my spin rate due to gear effect.

I talked to Graphite Design about my results, and company representatives weren’t surprised. According to their PGA Tour rep, the GP shafts are so stable that golfers are not tipping them in their drivers. Since the average tipping on Tour for a driver is 1 inch, that speaks to the GP’s robustness.

Tour_AD_GP_1

I also tried a GP 8X (tipped 1.5 inches) at 43 inches in my TaylorMade M1 fairway wood, and the shaft played entirely too stiff. My release was earlier, which caused my spin numbers to rise above appropriate levels, and my miss tended to be high and to the right. According to Graphite Design, golfers who are using GP shafts in their 3 wood are tipping them no more than 0.5 inches, and my results were typical of a shaft that was overtipped. The GP shafts have to be commended for their smooth feel, however, as well as their tight dispersion, despite my overtipping.

There’s no question that in the correct flex and tipping, the GP would have loaded and unloaded more efficiently than the AD-DI. That would have created all-around better launch conditions. Of course, results are going to vary from golfer to golfer depending on swing and style. That’s why the most important message from this review is to not try to emulate the specs of Tour player, but to be fit for the shaft that works best for your game.

Tour AD GP Flexes

Tour_AD_GP_Specs

If you’re a stronger golfer, or one who’s looking to tighten up your dispersion — especially if your miss is a hook — the GP is likely a good option for your game. And if you’re coming from another Graphite Design shaft, you’ll likely find the performance characteristics of the Tour AD GP to be noticeably, and impressively different.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. 299yards

    May 17, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    This review would have been helpful if you used the right specs (ik its obvi). Not only were you not able to load the shaft correctly, ur numbers/results throws everything off of the gp. more spin with gp than di? who would want that haha

  2. Dale Doback

    Apr 28, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    According to the bend profile of this shaft any tip trimming done actually makes the shaft tip area play softer which speaks volumes to the stoutness of the shaft that with your speed Zak, and the amount you tipped the shafts that it still played to stiff.

  3. 2Short

    Jan 24, 2016 at 4:59 am

    Surprised it didn’t get 5 stars, or at least 4.5

  4. JJ

    Jan 24, 2016 at 4:47 am

    what about dispersion Zak? Thats the whole point of a shaft as stiff as this!

    • Zak Kozuchowski

      Jan 24, 2016 at 10:22 am

      The dispersion was very extremely tight, JJ. It’s the most stable shaft I’ve ever tested from GD.

  5. Chirpmaster

    Jan 23, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Epic FAIL! Way to turn $1000 in shafts into tomato stakes.

  6. matt

    Jan 23, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    A good review would have been completely stock vs stock, then perhaps throwing in numbers from your current tipped gamer. The only thing I can take away is don’t heavily tip a brand new shaft you’ve never tried before.

  7. emb

    Jan 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    the reason tour players aren’t tipping this shaft isn’t because its too stiff, its because the profile of this shaft makes it play softer when tipped due to an increasingly stiff tip section. When tipped you are removing a piece of the stiffest portion of the shaft. It’s been recommended by club builders to only tip this shaft when trying to make it play softer.

    • OP

      Feb 12, 2016 at 3:33 pm

      That is total BS emb. Don’t listen to those guys okay. GD and many of the new shaftmakers who are copying the innovation of experienced materials experts, make a prolonged tip section so the shafts are more versatile and can be used in all woods. Understand, anytime you tip a tapered shaft (and they are all tapered, even fishing rods) it gets stiffer–PERIOD. Even if you tipped past the prolonged tip section and got into the taper where the walls get thinner, the hoop strength makes it get stiffer. Tipping shafts has never been an exact science so go at it incrementally–remember you can’t put any tip back. lol

      • Dale Doback

        Apr 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm

        emb is correct. try looking looking at the shaft bend profile before commenting

  8. SouthbayZ

    Jan 22, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    You’re one of those people that salts their food before even trying it, aren’t ya?

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Apparel Reviews

On the course? Off the course? Adidas’ new adicross line has you covered

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Furthering golfwear’s trend toward the more casual and versatile in a big way, Adidas today unveiled a new line extension: Adicross.

Urban inspired. Decidedly non-traditional. The Adicross line (styled “adicross”) leverages Adidas’ clothing and footwear styles from other arenas and reimagines them for wear on the fairway. Available December 1, the line brings Anorak jackets, henleys, hoodies, joggers, and even an Oxford to the golf course.

And before you clutch your saddle shoes in terror, remember, this is a line extension targeting a particular segment of the golfing population, not a total change of course for the entire Adidas Golf brand. If you’re wondering who represents the segment in question, think Erik Anders Lang: filmmaker, irrepressible golf enthusiast, and host of Skratch TV’s Adventures in Golf.

Lang hosted a launch event in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District warehouse space where he sat down with Adidas execs and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for a chat about the new line. He praised the performance aspects of the five-pocket pant and the footwear styles, in particular.

As for golf’s top-ranked player, regarding the Adicross line, DJ told us the line is much more in keeping with stuff he’d actually wear than the baggy shirts and khakis that were the uniform of golf when he started out on tour.

“This is a line that I’ll wear all the time,” Johnson said. “I can wear it to the course and then go meet some buddies for lunch, and I’m not a walking poster for golf.”

From the Stretch-Woven Oxford, to the jogger pant, to the Adicross Bounce footwear, every item Dustin Johnson wears in picture below is intended for both on- and off-course wear.

“Adicross is the lifestyle brand that golfers everywhere have been waiting for,” said the world No. 1. “This is something that I’ll wear when I’m traveling to a tournament, practicing at home, or even headed to the gym.”

The aforementioned versatility of the Adicross line is very much a function of the materials: No-show sweat wicking technology, nylon-spandex blends (featured in the five-pocket pant and short), Primeknit (featured in Icon Polo and Jacket). These are clothes that are ready to wear to the office, but stretch, are light enough, and offer enough comfort to play 18 holes in.

“We wanted to challenge ourselves to design a line that would aid in helping athletes in their game, their life and in their world,” said Chad Alasantro, senior designer, men’s apparel at adidas Golf. “adicross is a perfect blend of hidden technology, fused with a creative aesthetic.”

 

The Adicross line also boldly brings street-inspired footwear to the golf course, retooling Adidas’ ultrapopular Bounce design to support the foot and grip the turf during the golf swing (and resist water during dew-sweeping early morning rounds)

“Adicross was designed as a result of the feedback we were hearing from our core consumer,” said Dylan Moore, Creative Director, Adidas Golf. “Like everyone else, golfers live in a complex, busy world with many diverse interests. They expect more from less and demand performance out of what they wear.”

The centerpiece Bounce features an ergonomic fit, offset wrapped saddle with multiple eyelet rows for customizable lacing, and a non-marking adiwear rubber spikeless outsole that features 181 strategically-placed lugs for a green-friendly grip.

The Bounce will be released in January, and additional styles will follow in February.

Regarding said “additional styles,” you can spot a few in this promo video. 

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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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Equipment

Member Reviews: Callaway Steelhead XR Fairway Woods

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One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. In this Testing Thread, we selected six members to test a Callaway Steelhead XR fairway wood built to their specs.

CallawaySteelheadXRwoods-1021x580

The Steelhead XR has a club face made of steel for that familiar Steelhead feel. The crowns are made from J-36 carbon fiber to lower center of gravity and move it more forward; that will help it produce lower spin like the original designs that sold 2.3 million units. According to Callaway, the crowns weigh just 6 grams — that’s 20 grams lighter than Callaway’s XR ’16 fairway wood crowns.

Full Tech Story: Callaway upgrades a classic, introduces Steelhead XR fairway woods

The Steelhead XR fairways also have a Hyper Speed Face Cup that produces more ball speed across the face, and Speed Step technology, or the raised portions on the crown, that were first introduced in Callaway XR ’16 metalwoods. They improve aerodynamics to help golfers produce higher swing speeds.

Each member completed a detailed analysis and rating of the club. You can see the full reviews here. Below, we pull quotes from the reviews to give you a feel for what this choice group of WRXers had to say. The responses have been minimally edited for brevity and style. Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!

lutomrSC

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR (13.5 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“I like almost everything about how this club looks. The color combination of the dark blue against the steel face gives a nice contract. I really like how the carbon fiber looks under the blue paint.”

“At times the ball appeared to have a little too much spin and would tend to climb to a height that would be above my current gamer off the tee. It would tend to go further because of the stronger loft, however, usually about 5-7 yards. Perhaps a different shaft could help the spin, but it would need testing. The Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65 Graphite X-flex is a great stock option. It has a good feel and a weight that I prefer, and I think it can keep up with higher swing speeds without issue.”

SDickenson642

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)
  • Shaft Tested: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Blue 65X

“The appearance of the Steelhead is amazing. The shape is perfect for my eye, as I prefer a smaller profile down by the ball in fairway woods. The face is pretty deep compared to my [Cobra] Fly-Z+ I’ve been playing for three years now. The sound is amazing off the head. I never had the privilege of playing the original Steelhead fairways, but it does remind me of the original woods I played as a kid, which I think where Tommy Armour 845’s.”

“With the deeper face of the Steelhead XR, I thought I would have issues launching the ball from the deck on par 5s, but I did not see any issue. Turf interaction with the Steelhead was great. I was able to try multiple lies from the fairway, rough, and even a bunker. From the fairway I could easily control it and actually get the ball up in the air enough and with enough spin to hold greens.”

MillerLowLife

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“The top of this club looks awesome at address. I really liked the look of the crown that is a dark blue and shows the carbon fiber underneath. That, coupled with the silver steel face, makes it easy to frame the ball. This is a steel club so the sound and feel will be a sharper metal sound that’s accustomed to the old Steelheads. Has great swing weight and feel. Felt really easy to hit this in the tee box, fairway, or rough.”

“I really enjoyed the versatility of the 4+ with the shorter playing length, heavier swing weight, and flatter lie angle. For me, it felt like a bomber off the tee box, but it was still something I could use to get me out of less-than-ideal lies outside of the fairway —  something I wouldn’t think about with my current gamer.”

Hackster

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 4+ (16 degrees)

“This club is all business. Longer than my 3-wood, flies higher and able to work the ball left and right. On the tee, the ball jumps forward when it hits fairway. Does not lose much distance on off-center hits.”

“Long off the fairway, just put on cruise control and fire away. I struggle in the rough with any fairway wood, so not much to compare to — that’s what hybrids are for. Love this club. Had concerns where it would fit in the bag, but easily able to replace my 14.5-degree 3-wood with the 4+. Much more versatile than my current 3-wood and longer.”

drifliboy

  • Club Tested: Callaway Steelhead XR 3+ (13.5 degrees)

“This club with the lower loft of the 3+ worked well for me off the tee. It was close to my driver on distance. It seemed to launch quickly and then maintain its height. It did not balloon for me. It also really seemed to want to go straight, a couple of times shots almost seemed to correct a little in the air, particularly if I had pushed it. This club at this loft is pretty much a driver replacement for me.”

“If you are looking for a very classy fairway wood that is solid, long, with some forgiveness and doesn’t look like it was developed by a “mad” scientist, this club should be on your short list. It works well off the tee and turf. Please test and get fitted for the right loft and flex. I think this club provides most golfers with very good options that should be considered if they are looking to upgrade any of their woods.”

Discussion: Read the full responses here.

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