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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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Equipment

Blade vs. mallet: What style putters do the top-50 players in the world use? (2022 update)

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Four years ago, I wrote an article where I analyzed the putters that the top-50 players in the world were using, and the top-50 players in strokes gained: putting. I wanted to find out whether more mallet-style putters, or blade-style putters, were being used by the world’s best.

In 2018, I found that 44 percent of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings were using mallet style putters, and 56 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet putters.

Flash forward to 2022, and it would seem that more and more top golfers are switching into mallet putters – Scottie Scheffler, for example, just switched into a mallet putter after using a blade-style putter throughout his career.

What are the actual numbers, though? Are more top PGA Tour players really using mallet putters these days, or is the shift overblown?

I wanted to find out.

For my research, I simply went through the most recent GolfWRX WITB photos, and the most recent photos on Getty Images, to figure out what style putter each player in the Top-50 in the OWGR is using, as well as each Top-50 player in strokes gained: putting on the PGA Tour for the 2021-22 season.

Below are the results:

Top-50 in OWGR: Blade or Mallet?

Mallet putter users, 62 percent (31 out of 50)

Rory McIlroy’s TaylorMade Spider Tour mallet putter

Rory McIlroy (No. 1: TaylorMade Spider Tour Hydroblast)

Scottie Scheffler (No. 2: Scotty Cameron T-5.5 Proto)

Patrick Cantlay (No. 4: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Jon Rahm (N0. 5: Odyssey Rossie S White Hot OG)

Xander Schauffele (No. 6: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red)

Will Zalatoris (No. 7: Scotty Cameron Circle T Phantom X T-11 Proto)

Justin Thomas (No. 8: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto Tour-Only custom)

Viktor Hovland (No. 11: Ping PLD DS 72)

Sam Burns (No. 12: Odyssey O-Works 7S)

Billy Horschel (No. 16: Ping PLD Sigma 2 Tyne 4)

Cameron Young (No. 17: Scotty Cameron T5 prototype)

Max Homa (No. 18: Scotty Cameron Phantom X T5.5 Prototype)

Sungjae Im (No. 20: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 Prototype)

Shane Lowry: (No. 21: Odyssey DFX 2-ball)

Abraham Ancer (No. 23: Odyssey White Hot No. 5 Stroke Lab)

Keegan Bradley (No. 25: Odyssey Versa Jailbird)

Sepp Straka (No. 27: Odyssey Tuttle Stroke Lab)

Tyrrell Hatton (No. 28: Ping Vault Oslo)

Kevin Kisner (No. 29: Odyssey 2-Ball 11)

Dustin Johnson (No. 30: TaylorMade Spider GT Black)

Corey Conners (No. 31: Ping PLD Prototype)

Tom Hoge (No. 32: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

K.H. Lee (No. 33: Odyssey Works Versa 2-ball)

Adam Scott (No. 34: L.A.B. Golf Mezz.1 prototype)

Aaron Wise (No. 36: TaylorMade Ghost)

Brian Harman (No. 37: TaylorMade OS CB)

Daniel Berger (No. 43: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

Jason Kokrak (No. 44: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38)

Harold Varner III (No. 46: Odyssey White Hot OG 7S)

Seamus Power (No. 48: Ping PLD3 Mallet)

Harris English (No. 49: Ping Scottsdale Hohum)

Blade putter users, 38 percent (19 out of 50)

Tom Kim’s new custom Scotty Cameron blade-style putter

Cameron Smith (No. 3: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Collin Morikawa (No. 9: TaylorMade TP Soto)

Matt Fitzpatrick (No. 10: Bettinardi DASS Prototype)

Jordan Spieth (No. 13: Scotty Cameron 009 tour prototype)

Tony Finau (No. 14: Ping PLD Prototype)

Joohyung “Tom” Kim (No. 15: Scotty Cameron TourType GSS Prototype)

Hideki Matsuyama (No. 19: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS)

Joaquin Niemann (No. 22: Prototype Ping PLD Anser)

Tommy Fleetwood (No. 24: TaylorMade TP Juno)

Ryan Fox (No. 26: Ping Anser 2D)

Thomas Pieters (No. 35: Scotty Cameron Squareback Select 2 Tour Only)

Talor Gooch (No. 38: Odyssey Tri-Hot Two)

Brooks Koepka (No. 39: Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP2)

Kevin Na (No. 40: Odyssey Toulon Madison)

Kurt Kitayama (No. 41: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype)

Louis Oosthuizen (No. 42: Ping Vault 2.0 Voss)

Mito Pereira (No. 45: Ping Vault 2.0 Dale Anser Stealth)

Paul Casey (No. 47: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Alex Noren (No. 50: Odyssey O-Works 1W)

Top-50 in Strokes Gained: Putting

Mallet users: 70 percent (35 of 50 players)

Kelly Kraft’s custom Odyssey Versa 1-Ball Red prototype mallet

Lucas Herbert (No. 1: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

Denny McCarthy (No. 2: Scotty Cameron GoLo N7)

Tyrrell Hatton (No. 4: Ping Vault Oslo)

Beau Hossler (No. 5: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten)

Christiaan Bezuidenhout (No. 6: Odyssey White Hot OG #7)

Kelly Kraft (No. 7: Odyssey Versa 1-ball Red Prototype)

Kevin Kisner (No. 9: Odyssey 2-ball 11)

Sam Burns (No. 10: Odyssey O-Works 7S)

Martin Trainer (No. 12: Scotty Cameron Circle T Prototype Phantom T12)

Chesson Hadley (No. 13: Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball)

Mackenzie Hughes (No. 14: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C)

Rory McIlroy (No. 16: TaylorMade Spider Tour Hydroblast)

Ian Poulter (No. 17: Scotty Cameron T-11 Proto)

Justin Rose (No. 20: Axis1 Rose Prototype)

Billy Horschel (No. 21: Ping PLD Sigma 2 Tyne 4)

Matthew Wolff (No. 23: TaylorMade GT Notchback)

Adam Long (No. 24: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Viktor Hovland (No. 25: Ping PLD DS 72)

Max Homa (No. 27: Scotty Cameron Phantom X T5.5 Prototype)

Patrick Cantlay (T28: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Jon Rahm (T28: Odyssey Rossie S White Hot OG)

Wyndham Clark (No. 31: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Xander Schauffele (No. 32: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red)

Vince Whaley (No. 33: Odyssey White Hot OG #7)

Rory Sabbatini (No. 34: Scotty Cameron Flowback Prototype)

Austin Cook (T35: Ping Sigma G Tyne)

Sungjae Im (No. 37: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 Prototype)

Andrew Putnam (No. 38: Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Rossie)

Sepp Straka (No. 39: Odyssey Tuttle Stroke Lab)

Seamus Power (No. 40: Ping PLD3 Mallet)

J.T. Poston (T41: Scotty Cameron GoLo 5 Black Tour Prototype)

Adam Scott (T41: L.A.B. Golf Mezz.1 prototype)

Troy Merritt (No. 43: Yes! C-Groove Mollie Tour)

Jason Kokrak (T46: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38)

Mark Hubbard (No. 50: Odyssey Metal X Milled #9HT)

Blade users: 30 percent (15 of 50)

Matthew Fitzpatrick’s custom Bettinardi blade-style putter

Brendon Todd (No. 3: Sik Pro C-Series)

Cameron Smith (No. 8: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Matt Kuchar (No. 11: Bettinardi Tour Department SS28 DASS)

Marc Leishman (No. 15: Odyssey Versa #6)

Alex Noren (No. 18: Odyssey O-Works 1W)

Maverick McNealy (No. 19: Toulon Stanford MM Custom)

Matt Fitzpatrick (No. 22: Bettinardi DASS Prototype)

Tommy Fleetwood (No. 26: TaylorMade TP Juno)

Patrick Rodgers (No. 30: Odyssey Toulon San Diego)

Seung-Yul Noh (T35: Scotty Cameron Select Prototype)

Scott Stallings (No. 44: Scotty Cameron Newport 2.6 Prototype)

Brooks Koepka (No. 45: Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP2)

Justin Lower (T46: PXG Prototype)

Richy Werenski (No. 48: Scotty Cameron Circle T Prototype)

Patrick Reed (No. 49: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3)

Conclusion

In 2018, 44 percent of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings were using mallet style putters, and 56 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet putters.

In 2022, 62 percent of the top-50 players in the OWGR use mallet style putters, and 70 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet style putters.

What do you think this means?

To me, it means that each golfer should try as many putters as possible – under the supervision of a professional fitter or local club professional – and find the best possible putter to fit their stroke style and preferences.

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Putter Reviews

REVIEW: Ping’s new PLD (Putting Lab Design) putters for 2022

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Not every golfer has access to custom-built golf putters like PGA Tour players do, but with Ping’s new PLD (Putting Lab Design) program, they can get pretty darn close.

Through the newly launched website, pingpld.com, golfers will have access to precision milled putters like the ones seen on Tour, and they can even customize their own putter with a Tour-level fitting experience either online or in person.

There’s three essential levels to the new PLD program: PLD Custom, PLD Limited and PLD Milled. Each of the levels comes with different putter options at differing price points.

“The PLD program allows us to bring golfers more of what we do best – design and build the highest-performing custom putters in the game,” said Ping President John K. Solheim, in a press release. “It offers nearly endless possibilities. Golfers can craft their own custom design through PLD Custom, choose the proven performance of a PLD Milled model or add to their putter collection by acquiring a PLD Limited. It gives golfers a chance to play what the pros play and own a piece of Ping history.”

“We established the PLD name several years ago as an extension of the PING Putting Lab,
where we’ve been fitting some of the top players in the world for more than 20 years,” said
Solheim. “Until now, access to the master fitters who deliver these custom putter experiences has been limited to the best players in the game. We can now bring golfers what they’ve been asking for either through a virtual or in-person experience.”

Below, we go further in-depth on each of the three options within the PLD program.

Ping PLD Milled

PGA Tour players such as Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson use Ping PLD precision milled putters, and now consumers will have access to those Tour-proven putters.

Each of the heads (Anser, Anser 2, DS72 and Prime Tyne 4) are machine milled from forged 303 stainless steel. Ping offers a breakdown of the specs for each available model, which will sell for $485 each:

Anser

Slight Arc
350g
Matte Black finish
Ping black graphite shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Anser 2

Slight Arc
350g
Satin finish
Chrome stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

DS72

Straight Stroke
365g
Satin finish
Chrome stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 2°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Prime Tyne 4

Aerospace grade, machined aluminum hosel
Strong Arc
360g
Matte Black finish
Matte-black stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

“The PLD Milled is an exciting addition to our putter line,” said John K. Solheim. “We’ve
identified a couple of our most popular models from the past and some newer designs that have attracted a lot of attention in the last couple of years. We’ve given the new putters a very clean, premium look to emphasize the precision process they undergo before they are ready for play. As we collaborate on new designs with our engineers and tour staff through the PLD program, we’ll add new models to bring golfers the latest in tour-proven performance on the putting green.”

Ping PLD Limited

Ping’s PLD Limited will feature periodic limited-edition releases consisting of either putters that are played on Tour, or iconic designs from history. According to Ping, these putters are mostly targeted toward collectors, so they will have serialized numbers and will not be available for custom modifications.

For its first release ($790), Ping developed a 2022 version of the original Ping Anser, celebrating the 55th Anniversary of receiving the original Anser Patent on March 21, 1967.

“A lot of time has passed since the invention of the Anser putter,” said John A. Solheim, Ping’s Chairman & CEO and the youngest son of Karsten Solheim, who designed the original putter. “We think it’s important to remind the golf industry and some of the younger golfers that the iconic design they see with other brands’ name on it was created by Karsten in his garage in the mid-1960s. I was fortunate to be at his side building the first Ansers, and continued to do so for many years. It’s time Karsten gets the credit he deserves for inventing the Anser putter.”

Ping PLD Custom

The highest level in the Ping PLD program feature the PLD Custom putters, where golfers can customize their own designs with either the help of a Ping Master fitter in person, or virtually through the PLD program online. To help golfers find their perfect putter, they will use the PLD iPing putting app, and a Ping Master fitter will analyze the player’s data to recommend a putter.

Then, golfers can fully customize the putter to their liking, with ability to change head model, Tungsten weighting, face milling, finish, alignment aids, stampings and paint fill. Ping’s Master Fitters will also help golfers get the correct length, lie angle and loft for their stroke and biometrics.

The putters themselves will sell for $1,290, and a $200 non-refundable payment is required to schedule and participate in a PLD Custom Fitting, whether it’s virtually or in person.

Personally, I received a Ping PLD Custom Fitting in-person at the company’s indoor facility in Phoenix, Arizona. After identifying my stroke flaws (of which there many) using Ping’s iPing putting app, I tried out a slew of different head options and we made head adjustments along the way to figure out what truly works. Here were my final specs:

Head model: Ping Anser
Finish: Patina
Weight: 350 grams
Alignment line/dot: None
Stamping: “T” on the hosel
Length: 35.5 inches
Shaft: Chrome Stepless Steel
Grip: PP58 Black Midsize

What blew me away most was how impactful length and lie angle can be on comfort at address and stroke pattern. Even minor changes felt drastic. Also, the depth of face milling can truly change both feel and sound; I never realized how much.

Another point of note: Switching up alignment lines obviously can affect aim, but for me, they also influenced my stroke itself due to the visual changes. I highly suggest going through a full putter fitting to determine what specifications you prefer for yourself.

Check out the photos below of the putter that was designed for me through my work with a Ping Master Fitter:

Ping PLD putters are available for pre-order today, and head over to Ping’s PLD website to book your own fitting here.

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Reviews

Giveaway, member testing roundup: Cobra LTDx Driver giveaway + more!

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Our forum faithful are well acquainted with the incredible giveaways going on in the realm of threads and comments, but we want to make sure front page readers are able to get in on these unique opportunities.

Check out a roundup of our current giveaways and review opportunities below!

GIVEAWAY: Cobra LTDx Driver

Cobra Golf is bringing real firepower to their driver line this year with three brand new King LTDx drivers! We are giving 3 lucky members that chance to win a King LTDx driver of their choice, including custom options! Enter now for your chance to win!

Enter here.


MEMBER TESTING: SQAIRZ Speed Golf Shoes

SQAIRZ has been making some extremely advanced and highly engineered shoes for a few years now. The Sqairz Speed is a new shoe model aimed at providing you with improved performance of your golf swing, unique to any other golf shoe on the market. The Speed is lighter weight for those who love to walk and we are looking for 5 members to test out these new shoes! Apply now for your chance to be a tester!

Enter here.


GolfWRX GIVEAWAY: Cobra RADSPEED Driver

GolfWRX is giving away a Cobra RADSPEED 9* head with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Blue RDX 60g 6.0 (Stiff) shaft. Headcover included!

Enter here.


The reviews are coming in…

10 GolfWRXers received early access and are testing L.A.B. Golf’s new MEZZ.1 Putter.

Three GolfWRX members are testing Callaway’s Apex UW Fairway Wood.

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