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Graphite Design Tour AD GT: Editor Review

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Pros: Extremely smooth, and stable. The mix of blue, white and silver looks awesome.

Cons: Costs as much as most new drivers — $380.

Bottom Line: The Tour AD-GT shaft is a great extension of the Tour AD line, providing all of the smoothness Graphite Design is known for in a profile that’s slightly softer than the company’s low-launch, low-spin Tour AD BB shaft. That makes it great for players who need more spin, or as a fairway wood shaft for players who enjoy the BB in their driver.

Overview

With the addition of the GT, Graphite Design’s premium line of Tour AD Shafts now comes in four different profiles.

The company’s best-known shaft, the Tour AD DI, is the orange-and-white model that has been used for several years by Tiger Woods. The company’s next most-popular shaft, the Tour AD BB, is the company’s lowest-launching, lowest-spinning shaft.

Graphite Design’s Tour AD DJ is a slightly spinnier version of the DI. That means it’s a good fairway wood shaft for golfer’s who like the feel of the DI in their driver, and also works for golfers who don’t spin the ball enough with the DI.

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The GT has the same relationship to the BB. But while it’s slightly softer than the BB, it’s slightly stiffer than the DJ, providing a lower trajectory with less spin.

According to Graphite Design, the GT has a mid-trajectory, while maintaining an optimal amount of spin.

The GT is available in five different flexes, from R2 to X, and four different weights, from 50 to 80 grams. Like the rest of the Tour AD line, the GT sells for around $380.

The Review

I’ve been a fan of Graphite Design shafts for a very long time. Years ago, I loved the company’s “Tour AD Quattro Tech” shaft so much that no matter the driver head I was playing, that pretty green shaft would be in it.

Through the years, I’ve experimented with pretty much every high-end shaft made, from prototypes to retail, and have always come back to a Graphite Design shaft in my driver. There’s something about the feel that has always worked well for me.

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Recently I’ve been playing the Graphite Design Tour AD DI. I’ve loved everything about it and have actually had it in play for the last three years.

Although I did a little experimenting with the Tour AD DJ and BB, I always went back to the DI. It wasn’t so much the ball flight changes or spin differences between the shafts, as I found them minimal for myself. My confidence in the DI had grown so much and I had come to build so much trust in it, it was hard for me to make a complete change. Yet when the Tour AD GT came out, like the DJ and BB, I had to give it a try.

Performance

I was really pleased with the smoothness of the shaft through the impact area. It was slightly more tip stiff than the DI, but in no way had a boardy feeling. My clubmaker built it exactly to the same CPM’s that I had in my other Miura SIT 460 driver with the DI, so I was comparing apples to apple. And the differences were genuinely noticeable

I found the trajectory to be a tad lower with the GT —  about 1 degree on a launch monitor — but I was still able to get quite a bit of carry with it. What I particularly enjoyed about the GT was that no matter how hard I swung, the shaft never felt overpowered. I’ve never been one to believe the torque numbers that shaft companies specify, but according to the Graphite Design website, the GT 6X that I tested has 3.1 degrees of torque in a 46 inch shaft (I tested it at 45.5 inches).

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The past months of testing have also proven to me the workability of the GT. Although I have a Tour AD DI set up identically in a Miura SIT 460, I’ve found the ability to control my trajectory a bit more simpler in the GT over the DI.

Spin numbers have also been great with the GT — about 200 to 300 rpms lower and very consistent — and the extra yards I’ve been getting out of my driver have been extremely pleasing.

Looks and Feel

The GT has the familiar AD paint job in a lustrous blue color with white rings, and the blue fades to a silver blue towards the butt. I can’t lie, as ridiculous as it may sound, one of the features that immediately grabbed me wanting to try it was the color. I love the looks of the shaft!

Each time I use the GT I’ve been pretty astounded by the smoothness of it. I’ve tested a few other drivers currently on the market with their stock shafts but my current set up has worked so beautifully, I have no reason to even think of a new experiment.IMG_7945

The Takeaway

Graphite Design has produced another super shaft with the Tour AD GT. Its feel, workability and playability have been astounding. Even the looks of it, which initially grabbed my attention, are sweet!

Anyone who’s played and liked Graphite Design shafts in the past will immediately find a familiar smoothness in the GT, however, it’s bumped up a few notches. The GT is a true tribute to the Graphite Design ideals of never letting a shaft hit the market that doesn’t excel in feel.

If you get a chance to try a friend’s driver with a GT or if your clubmaker stocks them, do yourself a favor and give it a swing. I highly recommend it as one of the best new shafts of the year.

Build Specs for Graphite Design Tour AD GT 6X

Club head: Miura SIT Driver (9 degrees, D3 swing weight)

Cut weight: 67.5 grams

Length: 45.5 inches (Installed untipped)

CPM: 268

Installed at Aloha Golf Center, Graphite Design specialist in the State of Hawaii.

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Reid's been an avid golfer for more than 40 years. During that time, he's amassed quite a putter collection and has become one of GolfWRX's leading equipment nuts. Reid tries all the latest equipment in hopes of finding the latest and greatest of them all to add to his bag. He was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii where the courses are green and the golf is great!

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Apparel Reviews

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit: 2018 U.S. Open

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Brooks Koepka played like he dressed on Sunday at Shinnecock Hills for the final round of the U.S. Open; his outfit was athletic, well put together, boring with a bit of flash (those shoes!!), and most importantly, it got the job done.

See the golf clubs and shafts Brooks used to win.

A great representative of the new age of golf, Koepka has the frame of a baseball player, and he’s not afraid to accentuate it with tight-fitting polos and an athletic look. For Sunday, he chose a white-on-gray-on-gray look that was understated, but clean — just like his scorecard. He really made the Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE shoes, with hits of electric orange, the star. Check out the details on his full outfit below.

Brooks Koepka’s Winning Outfit

  • Hat: Nike AeroBill Classic99
  • Shirt: Nike Zonal Cooling polo
  • Belt: Nike Stretch Woven
  • Pants: Nike Flex
  • Shoes: Nike Golf Tour Premiere PE
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Apparel Reviews

Dustin Johnson’s Winning Outfit: 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic

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Dustin Johnson won the 2018 FedEx St. Jude Classic by 6 shots — and he holed out on the 72nd hole for eagle as the cherry on top.

You can check out the clubs he used to win here, but this article is all about his outfit.

Per usual, DJ went with the white-on-navy-on-navy-navy look that he wears often, especially on winning Sundays. Also, according to Adidas, it’s the first time that a Primeknit shoe has won on the PGA Tour, so there’s that.

Let’s dive into his full outfit…

Dustin’s Winning Outfit

  • Hat: TaylorMade New Era Tour 9Fifty (White)
  • Polo: Ultimate365 Heather Polo (Collegiate Navy)
  • Belt: 3-Stripes Perforated Reversible
  • Pants: Ultimate365 Flat Front (Navy)
  • Shoes: Tour 360Knit (Grey/Real Purple)
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Apparel Reviews

Modern classics: Catching up with Holderness & Bourne

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If you haven’t heard of Holderness & Bourne, well, for one thing, you’ve missed a couple of our gift guides. We’ve lauded the Rye, New York-based apparel manufacturer on more than one occasion for making some of the best polos in the business.

H&B, not surprisingly the product of two men named (Alex) Holderness and (John) Bourne, is quickly establishing a reputation for classic styles in tailored fits using modern materials. In addition to both performance and cotton polos, Holderness & Bourne makes sweaters, vests, bags, and other accessories.

I spoke with Alex Holderness about the company’s growth and what’s next.

BA: We first spoke a couple of years ago, but things have really taken off since then. Tell me about the growth.

AH: It’s been a great few years for us. We’ve basically tripled the past few years. We’re now stocking more than 150 clubs around the country and some great clubs abroad as well. We’re seeing traction for the brand; we’re seeing momentum. A lot of people like the concept of the brand, which is classic style with a more modern approach to fabrics and fit…and it’s working, so we’re trying to grow carefully based on that.

BA: What did establishing traction look like for you?

AH: It’s been steady all along. There wasn’t a point where the tide turned and things started to get good when they weren’t good before. But it is tough to get traction in green grass, and we feel very fortunate that we were based in New York…early in the history of the brand, we landed Winged Foot…Greenwich Country Club and a few others in the area really early on…So we were very lucky…because traction in green grass for brands like us is driven by perception, so if you can align yourself as a brand with the better clubs and public facilities around the country it can be very favorable. A lot of times, it results in people…calling us, because they’ve heard it [our apparel] did very well at Winged Foot or some other club. So that’s our general approach to green grass.

We’re not snobs about it by any means. It’s not like we have some grand strategy to only stock the top 100 clubs. But we care a lot about making premium products and being a premium brand. As a results of that, we are a natural fit for higher-end facilities, whether they’re public or private. We’re not going to ever be the cheapest brand in the shop, and we’re not going to be on clearance for 70 percent off…we’re very careful about what we’re building, and as a result of that, having these relationships with facilities around the country has been really helpful for us…and it’s helped us generate momentum in terms of getting inbound inquiries.

But it has taken a while. We’re four years into this thing, and it’s a day-by-day, year-by-year process..It’s not like we went out and raised $5 million in investor capital. We didn’t go out and try to be an overnight success…and get into every club. We only raised a small amount of capital, and we’re trying to kind of bootstrap: make great product, sell it, then use those proceeds to broaden our assortment. We want to add additional categories and get into more clubs every year, but it takes time.

BA: Can you talk a bit about your core consumer and how you’re appealing to him in ways that maybe other brands weren’t?

AH: My business partner John and I are both guys in our late 30s, married with kids and all that, but young enough to want a cleaner, more modern fit without sacrificing the classic look. We just knew that the combination of fit and style that we had in mind would resonate with plenty of guys, because we started out looking at this whole thing from the customer’s perspective. We also wanted to put some real soul into the brand, creating something very authentic within golf, because we didn’t always feel we were getting that as customers buying golf apparel in the past.

BA: Can you talk a little bit about the balance between e-commerce sales and green grass?

AH: Green grass has been the focus for us so far, but it’s a nice overall split. I think these days any relatively new brand needs to have a website where their customers can reach them directly, but for us the relationships we have with the clubs and public facilities that stock our brand are certainly just as important. Those places are the real stewards of the game and golf culture, and our brand has proven to be a strong fit for them.

BA: You’ve been pretty selective in your marketing and messaging…can you talk about that?

AH: We’re just kind of old school about it. We don’t care to shout about the brand or pay a bunch of money for marketing and PR. Our thinking has always been that if we focus on designing and manufacturing excellent products and get them into the right people’s hands, the brand will grow nicely as people tell their friends about the brand. We also put a huge emphasis on customer service for that same reason. We want people to have an excellent experience with us, even if that involves solving a problem for them, and that approach has been a good one so far.

BA: Talk about Roberto Castro wearing your wares, as it were…

AH: We are really proud to have Roberto onboard as a brand ambassador, and he’s become a great friend of ours as well. He found out about us a couple years ago by reading a piece about new golf brands on the blog Red Clay Soul, and reached out. We weren’t looking to sponsor tour players, but we got to know him and realized that he is the perfect guy to have out there representing the brand. He’s a big family guy, humble and low-key, and he just let’s his game do the talking, all of which we admire. And the guy has got tons of game. He made it into the field at the U.S. Open again this year, so we’re headed out to Shinnecock next week to cheer him on.

BA: Speaking of the Tour, apparel is in an interesting and dynamic place, isn’t it?

AH: Definitely. We think it’s great that there are a number of new brands out there pushing things forward, and it’s not a winner-take-all market. Things are certainly competitive, but brands both within and beyond golf are becoming more niche, which helps customers find the ones that specifically work for them. We don’t really pay a lot of attention to the apparel game on tour specifically, to be honest. We care just as much what’s going on out on the mid-am scene, where a lot of guys who obviously aren’t getting paid choose to wear our stuff simply because they like it better.

BA: Beyond deliberate growth, what’s on the horizon for H&B?

AH: We’re now stocking more than 150 pro shops around the country (and abroad – Sunningdale in England and Toronto Golf Club up in Canada have picked up the line), so we are excited about that momentum. For 2019, we’ve got big plans to expand our apparel collection, with a broader range of shirt fabrics and styles, some very cool layering pieces, and more premium accessories such as belts, hats, and bags. As designers, we really feel like we’re just getting started.

BA: Thanks, Alex.

You can find Holderness & Bourne on the web here.

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