One shaft company who gets a lot of praise throughout all fitting circles for their attention to details and materials is Graphite Design. For many years now they have continued to evolve one of the most in-depth premium shaft fitting matrixes on the market.
In 2020 they are adding another into the fold, the Tour AD HD (Hyper Drive), and we at THP were able to get it in hand prior to its release for a full rundown of tech and performance.
The Graphite Design Tour AD HD shaft brings possibly the slickest aesthetic we have seen from the company, keeping the simplicity and adding gorgeous blue and white pearlescent flair. More importantly, the inclusion of MX40 into the mix with T1100G made for a shaft which kept that renowned Graphite Design feel but with a level of stability that stands out.
Tour AD Hyper Drive – Design Features
At first glance, those familiar with Graphite Design are going to want to compare the new HD model with previous releases from the company, and looking at the chart the company updates with each release (following this section), it will draw some similarities in profile to other releases. With that, I think it is important to point out that they differ from practically all other shaft companies in that they are continuously adding to their fitting matrix rather than simply modernizing old profiles. As a shaft is added, it has a fit in the spectrum they are trying to fill and that is very cool to see in todays market.
Every Graphite design shaft follows a similar naming mechanism in that it is a Tour AD (Accuracy and Distance) shaft with an accompanying two letter identifier which stands for something. Undoubtedly, most reading are familiar with the AD DI, also known in some circles as the Tiger Shaft, where the DI stands for Deep Impact. Here, the HD means Hyper Drive, and its all about energy creation with control.
The Tour AD HD utilizes two “showcase” materials, TORAYCA T1100G and TORAYCA M40X prepreg. For those unfamiliar with shaft design, materials matter, and both of these are carbon fiber materials which focus on tensile modulus (ability to resist separation) and tensile strength (maximum stress before breaking).
T1100 has become a bit of a “hot” term when it comes to shaft marketing, but the reality is, it is a very expensive material which offers super high modulus and strength with less resin to make for more weight savings. T1100 is used in the tip section of the Tour AD HD (and other GD shaft models) and it is all about increasing stability through impact without losing feel or adding weight.
The TORAYCA M40X material is maybe the bigger story here for Graphite Design. This is a new material being utilized in the mid to tip section of the Hyper Drive which bucks the previous issue of having to choose a pre-preg which was either high in modulus or strength, but not both. This material claims to be over 30% stronger than conventional fiber materials while not adding any weight to the design, which is what let Graphite Design really tune the profile to increase stability and control without losing the feel they are known for. M40X means more loading, more energy creation, and more distance without the loss of control
Rounding things out, Graphite Design uses two proprietary design features called MSI (Material Stiffness Integration) and FTT (Fast Taper Technology). MSI is the foundation to all of their shaft designs and utilizes different materials, stiffnesses, and volumes to control the amount of resin within the design (and where) to help control vibrations and generate “feel”, basically always seeking to avoid the “boardy” term you sometimes hear about with other shaft designs. The FTT is simply manipulating the shaft taper in a certain section to create the shaft profile, the HD uses the same placement as the TP running from mid-to-tip.
In all, I thought it important to run all of this down because it goes to show what Graphite Design puts into these releases and helps explain why they are a premium shaft company that has a bit of an aura about them. Materials are always top notch, quality is always among the best in the industry, and with that it makes the $500.00 price tag much more understandable.
Tour AD Hyper Drive – Performance Experience
For this review I worked with the Tour AD HD in 7X. I paired it with a TaylorMade SIM Max 9.0 and built it out to my preferred 44.75” playing length and a D4 swing weight. I worked with the Hyper Drive both on the course during rounds as well as on the Foresight GC2 in order to get a full picture of what was going on with the profile for me. I do want to throw out that as always, shaft reviews are tough because fit matters so much, so hopefully this provides a baseline for you and you will then go out and see how it fits your swing.
The 7X comes in at 76g and has a torque rating of 2.9° with a mid kick-point. As you will see in the specs below, the Hyper Drive comes in a plethora of flexes (R2, R1, SR, X, TX), weights (45 to 85 profiles), and torques (2.6° to 5.7°) so the fitting option on this design are extensive with 16 total shafts under the umbrella.
The Tour AD HD is listed as a low to low/mid spinner with a mid-launch basis, additionally, through Graphite Design’s quite cool comparison chart we see it listed as Firm in the hands and mid-section with a Firm+ tip. This is pretty comparable at first glance to the AD TP which I have previously played in 7X and compared to the new HD, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
As you’ll see in the Foresight GC2 data below, launch was not an issue and the spin rates stayed in a range that hit the low/mid label that Graphite Design put on the HD. For those that have read my shaft reviews before, you might look at the launch and peak heights with some shock, let me say 2020 has been a year of swing evolution for me so a large chunk of that comes from a positive AoA. That said, I saw enough on course and monitor compared to other shafts that I absolutely believe the AD HD 7X is a mid-range launcher as it is classified.
Given my previous experience with the Tour AD TP and IZ releases, there was a sensation of stability/stoutness that stood out more than I had experienced before. I’m going to give a large amount of credit for that to the new M40X material, but what was really mind-bending on the course was the profile keeps a flow through the swing that is right in line with that Graphite Design focus on feel, harshness was non-existent and I would not expect anything less from them. Dispersion wise, I felt like I could go after the HD and it responded the more I turned after it, sure there were some right and left variances when you look at the data but that comes back to me being a mortal and not a machine. This is one I came away believing I could take an aggressive line and the shaft was going to hold up and do its job, which is about all one could ask for.
For those curious, yes, I did compare the HD to the TP in the same weight/flex/length side by side. Again, I caution you to remember with shafts one golfers fit isn’t everyone’s, but I actually saw more spin out of the TP on average (498 RPM) which lead to a slightly higher launch angle and peak height. This was my experience, so yours might vary, but I can say without any doubt I did find the new HD to be more stable feeling, which I didn’t expect coming in. In all, it is another more than capable entry into the impressive catalog of Graphite Design.
What are your thoughts? Have you spent time with Graphite Design shafts before? Plan on seeking out the Tour AD HD when it drops? Jump in the conversation here or on the THP community and let us know!
Availability: 10/1/2020 at Graphite Design Authorized Dealers
Specs: See Chart in Article
TP: Low spin, Mid-High Launch