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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

GolfWRX Spotlight: Motocaddy M7 Remote and M5 GPS DHC electric cart review

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I have been thinking about electric golf push carts, or trollies, ever since I started playing in my league seven years ago.

Motocaddy has been making high-quality electric, and non-electric, carts since 2004 and has a couple of great options for the golfer who loves to walk. Motocaddy was nice enough to get their M7 Remote and M5 GPS DHC in my hands to try out on the course for a few weeks.

I have had a lot of people stop me to ask about the carts, and the one thing I keep telling them is that these carts are just flat out fun to use on the course.

Motocaddy M7 Remote

The M7 Remote was very easy to get set up right out of the box. All you have to do is charge the battery, install the wheels, and you are pretty much ready to go. The M7 folds up pretty small, just a little larger than the 3-wheel pushcart that I had been using for years. Getting it to the course should be no problem with just about any trunk space. Now, the one downside to an electric cart is the weight when moving it around, and both carts come in at around 35 pounds each. Even with that extra weight, I didn’t have much trouble lifting them in and out of the back of a pickup.

The M7 unfolds quickly with the flick of two levers and extends the front wheels automatically. Once unfolded, you drop in the battery, plug it in, and secure your bag. If you own a Motocaddy bag, they have developed a really nice system called EasiLock that involves two metal studs that fit into the bottom of the cart. This system also includes a molded base that prevents the bag from rotating at all, even on the roughest terrain. You can still use the M7 with almost any other golf bag as it includes elastic straps that wrap around the top and bottom of the bag.

As soon as you plug in the battery the LCD screen comes to life and you are ready to go. You can use the M7 without the remote by using the dial on the handle to control the starting, stopping, and speed. But the M7 has a remote that is activated by a simple press of the power button to get going. The remote is very simple with just five buttons to control where the M7 goes.

Getting a feel for the M7 takes no time at all and by the time you drive it from your car to the 1st tee you will be in complete, and confident, control of the cart. You simply press the “+” button to start moving forward and the cart takes off gently without any rattling of your clubs, and you can press that same button again to increase the speed. The cart will go from a slow crawl, for bumpy or tight areas, too, as fast as I could run with just a few presses of the button. The big red “stop” button in the center stops the cart immediately, and when stopped it is locked in place, even on steep hills. You don’t have to worry about remembering to set the brakes or anything because it is done automatically.

Steering is just as easy: simply press the right or left button to turn the cart. Small, quick presses will just slightly adjust the cart as it moves down the fairway while a long hold of the button can make it turn on a dime to the right or left.

Almost everyone asked me how stable the cart was and if it would tip over. I can proudly say that it has stayed upright even on some unseen bumps at maximum speed. Side hills, ruts, and even curbs are handled with ease with the help of the small rear wheel.

I really enjoy strolling down the fairway with nothing but the M7’s remote in my hand — it just makes golfing more fun!

Motocaddy M5 GPS DHC

After using the M7 and its fancy remote, I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t like not having it. But to be honest the M5 was just as fun to use, but for a different reason.

As the name suggests, the M5 has a built-in GPS with 40,000 courses preloaded into it. The screen is a good size, pretty responsive to the touch, and easy to read in direct sunlight. Having the GPS directly on the cart is great, you drive up to your ball and immediately have yardage to the front, back, and center of the green as well as bunkers and hazards. You can easily toggle between screens on the GPS and it offers a couple of different views to help navigate the hole. The M5 can also keep score and let you know shot distances right on the screen. Motocaddy even includes nice little touches like a screen protecter kit to ensure durability.

Driving the M5 is just as easy as the M7 with using the dial on the handle. And speaking of the handle, the grips have a great tacky rubber that grips well even in hot and humid conditions. To start the M5 you just press the dial down and the cart will gently start down the fairway. You can turn the dial to increase or decrease the speed — I found between 5-6 to be the most comfortable for me. But the speed can go up to a very fast pace if you are looking to set a record for fastest round of the day.

As you walk down the fairway, or rough, stopping the cart is as simple as pressing he dial again. When stopped the M5 engages a parking brake automatically so you don’t have to worry about it running down a hill without your approval. The M5 has tons of power to go up just about any hill and the Down Hill Control (DHC) keeps the speed consistent even when going down a steep decent.

Since the M5 has so much power, and it is a little heavy, I thought steering would be a little bit of a challenge. It wasn’t, at all. Guiding the M5 took very little effort and slight adjustments going down the fairway were very easy. Really tight turns took a slight bit more effort as the torque can want to go forward a little more than turn. Again, once you get the M5 from the car to the first tee, you will be a master at driving it.

Overall, Motocaddy has created two great carts that provide additional enjoyment to walking your favorite 9 or 18. Having the ability to walk without carrying or pushing your bag, clubs, and whatever else goes with you. I like them so much that it is going to be hard to get the M7’s remote out of my hands when I go play!

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Accessory Reviews

GolfWRX Spotlight: Crossrope weighted jump rope & app

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An 18-hole round of golf averages out to just under five miles of walking, which on its own is a good workout. Once you throw in some potential uphill trekking you get some serious cardio too, but if you all looking for a quick workout between rounds of golf look no further than Crossrope.

Crossrope – The details

Crossrope is a system of the weighted jump rope that allows you to quickly switch the weight of the ropes you are using to boost your workout—they range from 1/4 lbs all the way up to 2 lbs depending on the kit you start out with. There is an accompanying app that helps you go through multiple workout routines and is available free, or you can upgrade to the entire library of workout routines along with more workout tracking options.

This is NOT your middle school jump rope

The handles are heavy duty and feature precision bearings to allow the rope to move smoothly around as you go through a routine. They are also ergonomic and fit into your hand naturally, which making gripping easy, something that is really nice when you’re swinging a 2 lbs coated steel cable around. The handles also come with a fast clip system to make changing cables depending on your selected workout easier too.

The ropes themselves are made from braided steel and are almost impossible to tangle, allowing them to be easily transported and stored when not in use. All in you are getting a premium piece of workout equipment that is effective and easy to store—hard to same the same thing about a treadmill.

When it comes to a workout, skipping rope is one of the most effective cardio workouts you can do, and with Crossrope, you can get both cardio and low impact weight training when using the heaviest ropes, and follow along with the guided workouts.

As someone that hadn’t used a jump rope in over a decade, starting out lighter was a nice way to ease in before moving up, and I was pleasantly surprised how easy and fun some of the workouts in the app were. If you are looking for a fun way to add something to your workouts, or you just want to try something new to get you into golf course walking shape, this could be right up your alley. To learn more check out crossrope.com

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Athalonz EnVe—The best golf shoes you’ve never heard of

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One of the coolest parts of being in this part of the golfing world is being able to shed light on smaller companies that typically get overshadowed by their bigger corporate brothers.

So, this post is about one of those products that is definitely competitive against top golf shoe companies, and it’s made by a company called Athalonz, which is based out west in Arizona. Typically known for its innovative baseball cleats and insole packages, Athlonz newest addition takes the patented design to the world of golf with the EnVe golf shoe.

These have started appearing on the world long drive circuit due to the amount of traction they get, allowing players to swing harder. So for the last few months, I have gotten to wear them and see if they are as good as the company claims.

Athalonz EnVe: Living up to claims

The main selling points of these shoes are focused on two things

  1. Design that delivers more power and stability
  2. Custom comfort that lasts all day

These are somewhat difficult to combine into one shoe, and though they are on the heavier side, Athlonz are completely worth it for the benefits. It is obvious that they made strides to hit each box on the list for a great shoe. The patented design has been adapted from their baseball cleat and introduces a spikeless golf shoe with a circular design that allows the player to gain traction through the golf swing. This gives a player the chance to swing harder and faster without losing their footing. They also offer insole packages that help with correct bodyweight placement to help add an extra layer of consistency.

Secondly, it’s very noticeable that there was plenty of thought given to comfort with a roomy toe and custom insoles to fit your style. Additionally, ankle padding helps to provide more stability and comfort.

On another note, they have a good sense of style with a more classic, casual take. In addition to the pictured white/brown color, there’s a black/grey colorway as well.

After multiple months of wear in all types of conditions, these shoes have performed great for me with all the traction I need and while feeling great throughout the round.

Verdict

I am a person who tends to support smaller companies when I can if they make good products. Any support for them goes a long way—especially in the golf business. Since these shoes will set you back about $150, I wanted to be sure they are worth it for the money and they absolutely are. Seriously, for anyone looking to boost their shoe game and help alleviate aching feet and ankles, give these a shot.

 

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