Lamkin Grips

Grafalloy Pro Launch Blue & Red Review

| March 12, 2012 | 42 Comments

INTRODUCTION
Being a tester for THP is one of the best jobs I have ever had. It is fun, it is unique, and it can be very challenging. Not challenging in the sense that it is hard to find the time to dedicate to a thorough review, but hard because at some point I will receive a piece of equipment that I will inherently underrate. I hate that it happens but if I am being honest it happened when I found out I would be testing Grafalloy’s ProLaunch Red and Blue Series of driver shafts. The ProLaunch Blue and Red Series of shafts from Graffaloy may be the most common and easy-to-find driver shafts on the planet. My predetermined mindset made it somewhat difficult to get excited about putting these shafts through their paces. What a terrible mistake I made in thinking that way!

Click on each picture for a larger image

TECHNOLOGY
One of the major differences between the ProLaunch Series of old and the ProLaunch Series of today is the application of “Speed Coat” to the shafts.

From Grafalloy:
The new ProLaunch Blue and Red shafts feature Grafalloy’s proprietary Speed Coat technology delivers even lower launch angles and spin rates than the original ProLaunch Blue and Red shafts. Its reduced weight leads to increased ball speeds for maximum distance. ProLaunch Red SC (Speed Coat) is designed for stronger swingers seeking a flatter, penetrating trajectory with reduced spin rates. ProLaunch Blue SC (Speed Coat) is the perfect choice for players seeking maximum initial launch angles with optimized spin control.

Gafalloy has developed a coating system, Speed Coat, which basically helps the golfer increase clubhead speed by eliminating weight and by adding something that reduces wind resistance and drag. We all know that lighter equates to faster, so ideally these should help the user see some increase in distance.

The ProLaunch Red and ProLaunch Blue were sent to me, uncut at 46’’ in length. I received the Stiff flex of both models and wanted to share the specs of each here:

ProLaunch Blue:

ProLaunch Red:

LOOKS
The thing that first strikes you about these shafts is that they look nothing like previous model ProLaunch Blue and Red shafts. Sure, they share the same blue and red color tone but that’s pretty much where the similarities from previous editions end. What immediately strikes you is just how nasty (and I mean a good nasty) these shafts look. They are overwhelming “charcoal” in color. A lot of that is due to the Speed Coat, but I think Grafalloy did a tremendous job in blending their logo and color scheme into the shaft. It almost has a military-esque/Super Hero look to it all combined. I know that might seem odd, but really, look closely at the overall combination of color, logo, and design and everything about it is overwhelmingly fantastic looking. Like I said, very much a hip, modernization of what we’re used to seeing out of the ProLaunch Blue and Red lines from the past.

As fantastic as these lighter, faster, and design pleasing ProLaunch’s look, the one major thing that cannot be ignored is the Speed Coat on the shaft itself. It is matte black or “charcoal” looking to me, and ironically, it almost feels as abrasive as charcoal. You feel like you can feel every bump of Speed Coating that was applied to the shaft. It’s not off putting to the user but it is very different in terms of feel compared to any other shaft I have tested to date. To be quite frank, it’s not a very pleasing texture to feel but it sure does look nice as a finish on a shaft. I also have a tough time wrapping my head around something so abrasive that touts itself as something that can “cut” through the wind to help enhance swing speed. Conventional wisdom tells me that it would create more drag, but ultimately, it’s part of my duties as a tester to find out.

TESTING
As I mentioned earlier, I received the ProLaunch Red and Blue shafts, in stiff flex to test for THP. Both shafts were delivered to me uncut at 46’’. Both shafts feature a .335 tip so I installed a tip to each shaft, butt trimmed both down to 45’’ and put my old faithful Golf Pride Tour Velvet grip on both of them. All of my testing occurred in a 9.5* Taylormade R9 driver and for the sake of testing, I leave everything set on Neutral. Each ProLaunch Series shaft was in the bag for 4 rounds of golf, 4 range sessions, and I was able to put both on the Vector in order to provide some analytics.

Before I get to analytics I do want to touch on the feel and performance of these shafts on the course. Truthfully, I rarely hit driver much during my range sessions. I will hit a few shots but I prefer to base my feedback on real “on course” conditions. I was surprised at how well both of these felt in my swing and at impact. The Red Series in stiff flex weighs in at 60grams and the Blue Series in stiff weighs in at 57 grams. Both felt incredibly stable throughout my swing, but what set me back the most was just how nicely they felt. I don’t know why, but I wasn’t expecting them to feel as soft as they did at impact for me. As expected, the Red Series definitely offered a lower ball flight, and it was considerably noticeable on the course. Both shafts are extremely reliable and consistent, and I think that may be what makes them far superior to a lot of their competition when it comes to “bang for the buck” type value. One thing I was expecting and hoping for was a decent increase in distance on the course and I just did not see that.

I think the one thing I wanted to do more than anything with these shafts was to test the actual aspect of the Speed Coat. Did the Speed Coat actually help me increase clubhead speed? To be frank, yes, it did. I was able to put both shafts to work on the Vector and I have some very interesting data to share. I want to mention that all testing occurs in Neutral settings and with a Callaway Tour i(z) golf ball.

ProLaunch Blue SC Shaft

  • Clubhead Speed Avg = 113 mph
  • Launch Angle Avg = 16.3*
  • Backspin Avg = 3275 rpm’s
  • Ball Speed Avg = 153 mph

ProLaunch Red SC Shaft

  • Clubhead Speed Avg = 112 mph
  • Launch Angle Avg = 14.9*
  • Backspin Avg = 2901 rpm’s
  • Ball Speed Avg = 155 mph

Now, what I found the most fascinating thing from all of this is that the shaft does exactly what Graffaloy proclaims: it increases clubhead speed. That is great news! However, what I did not see was that clubhead speed transferring to ball speed. In fact, I saw a slight decrease in ball speed with both ProLaunch Series shafts compared to a lot of shafts I’ve tested prior to these. And ultimately, I think this is a lot of the reason why I wasn’t seeing any noticeable distance gains on the golf course.

CONCLUSION
In the end, Graffaloy has presented the golfing public with a revamped ProLaunch Blue and Red Series of shafts. Revamped in the looks department, and revamped in the technological arena. However, one thing that remained a constant is that these can be purchased very economically. What surprised me the most was just how much I liked both of these shafts. Obviously, one worked much better for me but I could easily game either one in a heartbeat. I am extremely thankful that I had the opportunity to give these a test drive because in the end, these shafts did something that I wasn’t expecting them to at the beginning, and that was to win me over!

If you are interested in more information about the ProLaunch Blue and Red shafts from Graffaloy please visit their website at, www.graffaloy.com. If you are interested in trying out either of these shafts for yourself, please contact our friends at Blind9 Golf, www.blind9golf.com .

Thanks for reading!
-TC

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Comments (42)

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  1. DawgDaddy says:

    Wow, they do look different from the previous models. I am interested in the Blue as I am using it in my irons now and love it. The speed coat is an interesting addition. Great review TC.

  2. Ddec says:

    Nice review Lucas. The original pl blue is and old trusted shaft for me. The speed coating sounds interesting. I do like the upgraded looks as well.

  3. Cookie says:

    TC – outstanding write up, my friend. I appreciate how you opened up with some honesty about your original thoughts of these shafts which you have previously shared on the forum.

    I have only played the original PL blue, but like you, I think these look pretty sharp and a lower launch offering sounds pretty good to me when compared to the original. Good job pointing out the texture, that is something not many of us even consider when looking at shafts.

    Thanks for the numbers that you got with each of these and the ball speed findings. These sound like a solid shaft that is very affordable – definitely affordable enough to test out for someone in the market. Again, great job TC!

  4. ddxu says:

    Thanks for the review Lucas and THP. Im curious to see if any other OEMs go with the textured shafts too. Nice innovation for a shaft that retails at $80 for the driver. Hopefully I can give these a test during the THP Demo Day.

  5. GrantD says:

    Great review Lucas. I have gamed one of the older versions of the Grafalloy shafts and loved it. I think I might have to test one of this out in the future.

  6. DevRickus says:

    Great review Lucas. I have the older version Pro Launch blues in my irons right now and love them. I am contemplating the speed coat blues for my hybrid right now. Love these shafts. Glad to see the have increased the technology and look of these but kept the price economical.

  7. INgolfer says:

    Great review! I have overlooked these shafts before but definitely will not overlook them any more. I will definitely give them a swing this spring!

  8. Ryan H. says:

    This was a real good one, Luke. The ball speed not carrying over is certainly interesting, though it sounds like there is something to be said for consistency and value when it comes to products like this. Looks like they still can be a good option without investing a ton of money.

  9. Paulo says:

    Nice review TC, enjoyed reading through this. I like how you were honest with your preconceptions, and it’s always great when a product can win you over like this.

    Sounds like the new generation of Prolaunch shafts are another solid offering, and at the price are a nice option! I really like the new look.

  10. Griff says:

    First thing that jumped out at me was your ball speed is the same as mine, but your SS is almost 15 MPH faster.

  11. hanks says:

    solid review buddy….I like when equipment ‘suprises’ us and makes us regret understimating it.

  12. ole gray says:

    You do excellent work TC. It looks like the blue might be in my future for sure!

  13. D_in_la says:

    Great review TC. So the preconception was exactly what? That the shafts were so popular on oem’d equipment they were poor shaft?

  14. Yoccos says:

    Great review TC. Love when you can include numbers with these shafts. Surprising to me the speed coat worked but also disappointed it didn’t translate to ball speed. Maybe a stiffer flex for you would help with that?

  15. damaikis says:

    Great review TC. I love reading your writing. Very well-written and thorough review. I wonder why those shafts increased club head speed but not ball speed? Very interesting to say the least. Awesome job as always!

  16. TripleBogieTim says:

    Nice write up TC, I have been playing the older PL Blue series in my Adams A12OS hybrids/irons the addition of the speed coat is interesting and does change the look as compared the ones I have now

  17. Sharkwrestler says:

    Good read TC. I sit here trying to figure out how the rough texture provides more speed. This is for sure an eye opener to newer technology quite surprising.

  18. Puttin4Bird says:

    Excellent review TC. I wish more shaft OEMs would offer their products economically like Grafalloy has done with these shafts. A lot of people wish they could get aftermarket shafts but when they can cost as much as the driver it’s hard for many. Great numbers too!

  19. TheDue says:

    Nice job TC. Great looking shaft at a great price point. Very informative about the speed increase yet no increase in ball speed.

  20. Freddie Kong says:

    Very complete review TC, I have been a fan of the Graf. Blue for many years and used to game it. But I was kind of shocked to see a lower ball speed with the swing speed you put up, as you stated. What was the side spin like?

  21. Smallville says:

    Interesting review, TC. I also am curious about the swing speed/ball speed numbers. Strange you would go higher on one and lower on the other.

  22. War Eagle says:

    Great review TC, interesting stats you were seeing with the ball speed. Thanks for providing another info packed review!

  23. 9-Iron Man says:

    Great review TC. I’d probably be the same way you were going into this test. How could a “cheap” shaft compare to premium ones? As it seems pretty darn well! Great write up.

  24. biggsy says:

    TC, great job on the review and you hadd some real nice numbers with the Red. I’ll have to check out these shafts and you can’t beat the price point on them. Well done!

  25. FrankA says:

    Nice honest review there. Next you know you’ll be gaming Cobra.

  26. Nate says:

    Thanks TC! Good to see Graf still bringing something to the table!

  27. One-T says:

    Great writeup bro, having seen these in person I can say that they do look better than in pics.

  28. tomahawk18 says:

    Nice job TC. Interesting that the head speed was higher, ball speed lower.

  29. Dr. Teeth says:

    Great review TC! It is interesting to see you smash factor decrease with these shafts. They look solid and all of the numbers look pretty good, right up until you see the ball speed numbers.

  30. MSB256 says:

    Nice review TC! And nice to see Graffaloy going with a modern cosmetic design and trying to an improve somewhat of a classic shaft.

  31. Great Review TC. I used to play graffaloy and might have to switch back now. These look good and they have always been known for quality shafts.

  32. Parker says:

    In simple terms, the surface roughness of the coating is acting akin to the dimples on a golf ball. By perturbing the airflow going past the shaft during the downswing, the coating is allowing the airflow to remain attached to the surface of the shaft for a longer period of time, which in turn reduces the drag profile of the shaft and allows it to be swung faster.

    I could get into some specific fluid mechanics jargon, but unless you’re an engineer it’s not even remotely worth anyone’s time. Hopefully that creates a clear idea of what’s going on.

  33. Xreb says:

    @Parker

    Dimples in a golf ball to move the separation point and reduce the wake region is different from doing the same on a driver shaft. The components that contribute to drag are your driver head , driver shaft and driver grip. However drag contribution from your grip and shaft are negligible compared to the drag from your driver head. Or in other words your speed is bounded by the drag component from your driver head. I doubt shaft drag would have any impact on your swing speed. IMHO a smaller cc head has a higher chance of drag reduction than the shaft.

  34. Dirtydawg67 says:

    Nice review Lucas.

  35. Coolbreeze says:

    Great review TC, I used to game one of the older model Prolaunch reds and it sounds like they have greatly improved upon it. I thought the whole review was very in depth and full of info as usual.

  36. Parker says:

    @Xreb

    Completely agree — but I’m just pointing out that the wake separation narrowing is almost certainly the rationale behind the pebbling of the shaft coating in the ‘speedcoat’ technology. Basically I was trying to regurgitate what I’d imagine a press release would say. I can’t think of any other explanation that makes sense. Maybe I’m missing something?

    I absolutely back you in that the clubhead provides by far the greatest impetus for drag compared to basically negligible shaft/grip drag. However, that doesn’t stop Speedcoat technology from being a nice sounding marketing blurb.

  37. Xreb says:

    @Parker

    ^ Pretty much sums up everything I had in mind….

  38. royalwulff says:

    Great write up there TC! What kind of ball flight were you getting from the blue?

  39. big bear says:

    Looking forward to testing the new prolaunch shafts. Have use them in several drivers and 3 woods in the past. Another great article THP..

  40. XXX says:

    @Parker / @Xreb

    Your point was proved when I bought the ADAMS Speedline Fast 12 Driver OEM
    fitted with Graffalloy Blue Speedcoat technology incorporating Aerodynamics
    technology head.. The Driver’s head produced less lag due to its airfoil shape.. It gave me 20 yards
    more on average. Hence, it can be clearly said that the Head design affects drag more than
    the shaft. ( or maybe both head and shaft ?? )

  41. Trey-W says:

    Is the feel of Red the same as the old the PL Red?

  42. Bigdogtak says:

    Great review!
    I just bought this shaft for my big bertha alpha because I didn’t get the consistent ball flight, control and distantance I was looking for! Let me say this I am pounding the ball over 300 right know! Straight down the middle ! I have even had a few over 320 or more wow! This shaft is a monster and just to show you I even bought a myasaki dromos in a stiff not even close! Way to loose in the tip so I’m going to have it tipped an inch to see if that will help. The price is great for the quality that you get! Boom

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