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The Graphite Design Tour AD HD shaft has a smooth feel with a pleasant kick in the mid/tip. Boring flight with mid launch.
As the husband of a school psychologist, the name “Tour AD HD” gives me a laugh every time that I see it. But in the case of the latest from Graphite Design, the HD stands for Hyper Drive. With sci-fi images of light speed drives dancing through my head, I took this new offering to the range to see what it could do.
Check out the new Graphite Design Tour AD UB HERE
When I first got the info on the Tour AD HD, I thought, “We’re going to have a problem.” I am a proud Duke grad, and I do not do light blue. Thankfully, despite what it looks like in the photos, the Tour AD HD is not powder puff blue, it’s a few shades darker with a pronounced sparkle to it.
The graphics on the Tour AD HD are classic Graphite Design. There’s modest branding near the grip with wraparound rings of black and blue. There’s a small “Accuracy and Distance” logo at the tip, but otherwise the shaft is totally distraction-free near the ball.
Graphite Design has been a trend setter in sharing exactly how each of their shafts bends. They break each model down into “Butt,” “Mid,” and “Tip” and give it a rating from Very Stiff to Soft. In the past, my sense of each shaft has aligned with this chart, but the Tour AD HD has proven to be a small exception.
Per Graphite Design, the Tour AD HD is, from butt to tip, Firm, Firm, Firm+ (Firm is in the middle of the Graphite Design spectrum). This indicates that the shaft is stiffest in the tip section. While I would agree that the shaft has a medium-stiffness overall, I sensed the most kick in the mid/tip. This is a good example of how feel is subjective and that players will feel differently about a shaft based on their swing.
Graphite Design bills the Tour AD HD as being “Mid Launch, Mid/Low Spin” which matches the results I saw on both the launch monitor and on the course. The ball came off the face in my normal window with an extremely strong flight. Given the kick that I felt, I was expecting slightly higher spin, but every drive bored through the wind unaffected.
Something I enjoyed about hitting the Tour AD HD was the way it responded to more aggressive swings. When I made an easy swing, the shaft gave a light kick and sent the ball straight down the middle. If I gave 110%, the shaft kicked harder and produced a tight draw. I never felt like I was overpowering the shaft, rather I had the ability to hit two different shots just by changing my effort.
One of the big advancements in premium shafts over the last few years is the way softer profiles can handle mishits. Thanks to advanced materials like Graphite Design’s TORAYCA carbon fiber, shafts can have a smooth feel and also keep poor strikes on line. I was very impressed by how the Tour AD HD produced respectable results from poor swings. It took a truly awful effort to produce big slices or hooks.
The Graphite Design Tour AD HD is available in weights ranging from 40 to 80 grams. At 40 grams, R2, R1, and Stiff are the available flexes. Everything from R2 to X is offered at 50 grams. In the 60 gram range, Graphite Design offers the Stiff/Regular, Stiff, X, and Tour X. The 70 gram family has S, X, and TX. Finally, the heaviest versions, 80 grams, are available in only stiff and X.
Every year, Graphite Design finds a way to add a new, interesting profile to one of the largest, most complete shaft families in golf. The Tour AD HD blends a smooth feel with low spin and impressive stability in a way that will win over plenty of players.