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Shaft Test: Graphite Design’s new Tour AD-TP versus the famous Tour AD-DI

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With a similar profile to the company’s famous Tour AD-DI shaft, and a few new technologies for a slightly different ball flight, Graphite Design’s new Tour AD-TP shaft will surely entice a legion of high-spin golfers.

The new shafts are made for a mid launch and low spin rates, according to Graphite Design’s website, while the Tour AD-DI shafts are made for mid/high to high launch angles and low to low/mid spin rates. Certainly, they are in the same wheelhouse, but for anyone looking to create a slightly more penetrating ball flight with lower launch and lower spin, the new shaft could be their winning ticket.

Tour_AD_TP_Hero

To accomplish its performance, the AD-TP shafts are made with a faster taper rate from the lower-mid section to the tip of the shaft, and use an all-new graphite material from Toray Industries called T1100G carbon fiber pre-preg. They also use Toray’s Nanoalloy technology in the tip section, which was first introduced in Graphite Design’s Tour AD-DI. It help golfers gain more control of the club face by resisting torque. Read more about the Tour AD-TP shaft’s tech here.

Here’s the bend profile of the Tour AD-TP shafts, according to Graphite Design’s website:

GraphiteDesignTourADshafts

And here’s how the Tour AD-TP shafts stack up versus the other Tour AD shafts:

Screen Shot 2016-10-26 at 12.13.37 PM

As you can see, the Tour AD-TP (top row) compared to the Tour AD-DI (bottom row) will have a firmer mid and butt section, but will also have the familiar stiff tip section.

Personally, I’ve tested just about every new mainstream driver shaft that’s come out in the past three years, and I just haven’t been able to find something that matches my swing like the Tour AD-DI. As a golfer who fights a nasty hook and too much spin, it’s the stiffness and stability of the tip of the shaft that makes me comfortable enough to “go at it.” I’m also a Mets fan, so I like the orange color.

Tour_AD-DI_ORange

But for whatever reason, my golfing brain finds other shafts to load and unload way differently, either forcing me to flip or block drives, leading to tragic results. So although I often test the latest and greatest golf shafts for you, the GolfWRX readers, I’ve all but given up on other shafts making it into my gamer driver. Yes, other shafts have given me “more optimal” numbers in a Trackman environment, but there’s nothing optimal about feeling like you’re going to duck hook the ball off the planet with OB stakes left.

When Graphite Design announced a new shaft with a similar profile that’s made to create a slightly more penetrating trajectory, however, I’ll admit I was excited to try it. Let’s see how the numbers played out.

The Numbers

AD_TP_DI_7X

I tested my Tour AD-DI gamer shaft (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch) against a Tour AD-TP shaft (45.5 inches, untipped) and a Tour AD-TP shaft (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch) in a TaylorMade M1 460 head (10.5 degrees) set to neutral. Yes, I have a bit more swing speed in the tank than displayed below, but it’s also late October and I don’t want to have a blown out back all winter. I conducted my testing at the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland on TrackMan 4 using premium golf balls.

GDDriverShafts20162_arrows

GraphiteDesignTourADTP:DI

Magenta = Tour AD-TP (tipped 1 inch)

Observations

— Shots with the un-tipped shaft trended to the right. It felt like the face was opening on the downswing and I couldn’t turn my shots over. The data solidifies for me that performance matches my feel, and that I do indeed need a tipped shaft.

— The AD-DI shaft had the highest spin (2953 rpm), highest landing angle, most height (122.1 feet) and launched the highest (13.7 degrees).

— The AD-TP (tipped 1 inch) carried 4.9 yards shorter than the Tour AD-DI, but went 3.7 yards longer in total. This shows how much more penetrating the ball flight with a AD-TP shaft can be.

— Spin rate dropped from 2953 rpm with the Tour AD-DI (tipped 1 inch) to 2460 rpm with the AD-TP (tipped 1 inch).

— With nearly identical clubhead speed, ball speed and smash factors, it’s clear the Tour AD-TP was offering better numbers and tighter dispersion for me.

The Takeaway

Accuracy_and_Distance

The Graphite Design Tour AD-TP shaft is currently selling for $500 at retail. Based on the improvement I saw in my numbers, I would say that the new shaft is worth the value for my swing. The profile and new materials are a match for me in regards to ball flight characteristics and feel. I would describe the feel as “smooth-stiff, with a stable tip.”

Of course, it’s important to undergo a proper fitting, as you saw that the un-tipped version of the Tour AD-GP shaft was giving me fits. But, if you’re like me and struggle with high spin rates and inconsistency, the Tour AD-TP shaft may help you find more accuracy… and a bit more distance, too.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Golfandpuff

    Nov 21, 2016 at 7:20 pm

    Confidence is worth a ton…so if the shoe fits….

    Bottom line find one for a song and play it!

  2. Mike

    Oct 31, 2016 at 1:36 pm

    Andrew, the author of this review, comments about hitting duck hooks because that is his miss when he uses a shaft that doesn’t “fit” his swing style. It is the same issue I fight. The fact he has peppered the right side of the grid would be comforting for him. All in all, Andrew fits the new TP shaft pretty well.

  3. Matt

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    Some shafts get progressively weaker to the tip (Rogue, AD-DI), many increase stiffness into the tip (most other GD tour AD models, Kuro Kage) To assume all shafts need to be tipped just seems uninformed. Tipping off stiffness in a shaft like a AD-BB is just going to lower the kick point and give you a softer tip; exact opposite of tipping a AD-DI.

  4. Jack

    Oct 30, 2016 at 11:05 pm

    Wow the author tried really hard to say this is better. The chart looks pretty much the same for all three shafts as far as landing zone. Just one leftward (I’m guess more of a hook) shot skewed the oval left. Unless he’s a left hander, none of his shots were hooks, rather either push or slices. Strange for him to say that he’s fighting a hook when he didn’t hit any.

    The real difference does seem to be one offering more roll and one more carry due to launch angle changes I’m guessing due to the stiffer mid and butt sections. Worth it? The argument seems a bit thin.

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Rory McIlroy looks to be continuing his season of equipment adjustments this week at the BMW Championship.

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Photo c/o j13

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