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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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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

Apparel review: Justin Rose Collection @ Bonobos

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Bonobos? Bonnaroo? What do they have in common, besides being fun words to pronounce that belong to today’s generations? That’s a question for another story. We’re here to tell you about the latest addition to our curated polo collection, the Performance Golf Polo from the Justin Rose collection. It comes from Bonobos, so kick back to this 2020 Bonnaroo mixtape and read up on white anchors.

Professional golfer, Justin Rose, photographed for his Spring 2021 Bonobos capsule collection.

Bonobos has been working to reinvigorate its golf category that launched in 2011 and bring a fresh face and new thinking to their golf mix. The brand has been eyeing pro-golfer Justin Rose for some time, especially as he’s risen in the game and his style on and off course aligned with the brand’s aesthetic, it was a natural fit. Bonobos made the official partnership in 2019 and since then, Justin has worn Bonobos on the course during his tours, and in his everyday life, by choice.

In March 2021, the brand launched the Justin Rose Golf Collection, its first co-designed golf line with Justin consisting of an assortment of printed performance polos, pants, and shorts that are versatile for casual days on the course, to playing 18-holes and to the clubhouse afterward.

My fit arrived promptly, and I couldn’t help but throw it over my head and shoulders, and strut around the house. No matter the time of year nor the weather outside, a golf polo always works in the indoor arena. I had considered the slim fit, but opted for the standard. It was reassuring to realize that either one would have draped well over my torso. Plenty of room from shoulders to ribs to belly, both static and active. First box, checked.

The next task was no less arduous: wear the shirt in the out-and-about. A brisk day arrived, so I tucked a long-sleeved shirt beneath my polo, and went about my daily business, aka teaching. My students perked up when I entered the hall, and asked immediately about the anchors. “Ya know, just a new polo,” I replied. The company logo was apparent on my sleeve, so no need to ask about its origin. I’ve worn polos in the past that did not interface well with a shirt beneath. When you play golf in the wee morning hours or the evening gloaming, or the shoulder seasons of spring and fall, you often need to trick out your fit with another layer. The Bonobos Performance Golf Polo was comfortable beyond words on this day, and the collaboration with the long sleeve was a success. Second box, checked.

At this point, a little transparency will help matters. I looked good in this shirt, but when I read the added description about the model 40-inch chest, six feet two inches tall, size medium slim fit), I couldn’t help but feel a bit…inadequate? Then I looked in the mirror again, smiled, and winked, and I still looked good.

The final checkpoint was my new, Bryson-esque golf swing pitted against the Bonobos PGP. Having played golf with a gentle, consistent, non-violent swing since I picked up a club, I made the decision that 2021 would be the year that I would tear the cover off the ball. Why wait for a better time than the present, am I right? Swing after swing at the dome produced a variety of shot traces (Bryson wasn’t built in a day, after all), and my body still loved my second skin. Box three, checked.

In addition to the White Anchor pattern, something I would call the small-repeat, Bonobos offers five other patterns for purchase in this shirt model. Two floral patterns (Red Tropical and Teal & Pink) fall under the large-repeat style. The Green Sailboat Geo fills the entire top with a small-repeat, making it hard on the eyes for me. The Blue Lighthouses pattern is a medium-repeat; not as large as the Florals, but more sizable than the anchors, sailboats, and the last pattern (on a dark-blue shirt) the Navy Golf Bags small-repeat. Three white backgrounds, one blue, one red, one teal. That’s a pretty nice lineup from which to select a few new coller-poppers.

End of the day: Two happy shoulders (out of two) for the affordable ($69 retail) Bonobos Performance Golf Polo. If you’ll excuse me, I’m off to check out the rest of their virtual Guideshop. Peace!

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Equipment

GolfWRX Spotlight: Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro hybrid

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Hybrids, for many of us, are one of the clubs that don’t get replaced very often. Once we find one that we can confidently hit in pressure situations, it stays in the bag for as long as possible.

I am exactly one of those players as my hybrid has been in the bag since 2015 and has the paint chips and embedded dirt to prove it. That club has been my crutch to lean on when I couldn’t hit anything else straight off the tee, needed to hit the green on a long par 3, or go for the green in two on a par 5.

I wasn’t really looking for a new one when the Exotics EXS Pro showed up at my door, but the shape grabbed my attention, and I had to give it a try.

Tour Edge just announced the Exotics EXS Pro line of woods and they are “from the tour van” with tour-inspired shapes and performance. You can read the whole launch story we did HERE and also read about the new fairway woods.

The EXS Pro hybrid is smaller and has a deeper face than its EXS 220 sibling, giving it a look that better players look for. The shape is initially what got me, as it isn’t a tiny hybrid like we have seen with some other “tour” versions, but it isn’t too large either. The head is also a little more rounded overall, without a sharp toe or other lines. As I am one to hit my hybrid off the tee a good amount, the deep face was welcome—while it isn’t so deep that you can’t hit it off a tight fairway lie. The moveable weights in the sole allow you to adjust the head in order to make it an “anti-left” club that many better players fear.

On the course, I really felt comfortable with the EXS Pro right away. The first shot came off the face feeling hot thanks to the Beta Ti Face that is brazed onto the stainless steel body. The ball speed is really fast and the shot shape was flatter than my previous hybrid setup. If you are a high ball hitter and have a hard time with hybrids, the EXS Pro should be on your shortlist of new ones to try. Better players are going to love being able to flight the ball for windy conditions. Distance is of course fantastic, but it is repeatable and consistent.

The EXS Pro is a little longer than my previous hybrid, but still fitting into the distance that I require. Tour Edge didn’t just make the club longer to add distance, the lofts are pretty standard as the 19-degree I have is only 40.25” long and has a lie angle of 57.25 degrees. Dialing in the EXS Pro should be no problem since they make six lofts between 16 to 22 degrees to fit your gapping needs.

Over the past two weeks, I have found that this EXS Pro does remove the left side of the course. Tour Edge claims it is an anti-left hybrid, and so far I have found that to be nothing short of the truth. Shots are slightly fade biased with the heavier weight in the toe, but you can still easily turn it over and hit it straight. Tight lies or fairly deep rough are no problem with the compact shape and Slipstream sole, making it versatile all over the course. I

like the deeper face for hitting if off the tee and shots where the ball is sitting up in the rough. That deep face just gives me a little more confidence that if I get a little steep with my swing I will still be able to save a decent shot.

My only real complaint is that the EXS Pro’s Slipstream sole collects some dirt, and you have to grab a tee to clean it out, but really nothing that should stop anyone from putting this in their bag.

Overall The Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro is an anti-left hybrid that is built for better players. What is might not have in total forgiveness it makes up for in lower launch, great distance, and its fade bias. If you have been struggling to find a hybrid to fit your game, the Tour Edge Exotics EXS Pro could be your answer.

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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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