Graphite Design Tour AD VF Shaft Review

50 Words or Less

The Graphite Design Tour AD VF shaft is a low launch, low spin shaft that wants your most aggressive swings.  Excellent dispersion.  Stout, one-piece feel.

Introduction

The Graphite Design Tour AD VF shaft is at the center of one of the happiest coincidences in recent golf equipment history.  Shortly after its introduction, this red and black shaft made its way into the bag of the golfer who made red and black his signature, Tiger Woods.  With the kind of hype that money can’t buy, the VF – which stands for Victory Force – is now available to golfers everywhere.  I tested one to see if it can help power your on course victories this season.

Looks

While Graphite Design claims that the Tour AD VF wasn’t made with Tiger in mind, it would be hard to imagine a shaft more perfectly designed for the Big Cat.  The upper is a deep, rich red that is visually stunning, especially in contrast with the jet black lower portion.  It’s a great demonstration of the fact that you don’t need gaudy graphics to be eye-catching if you pick the right colors.

Speaking of graphics, the Graphite Design Tour AD VF sticks to the script of the Tour AD shafts that have come before.  The “Graphite Design” branding is split over the color shift.  On the “logo down” side, there are simply black and red rings.  With the exception of the small “Accuracy & Distance” mark, the lower third of the shaft is free of distractions.

Feel

The Graphite Design Tour AD VF sits at the top of the Graphite Design pyramid of stiffness.  This is their stiffest profile, rating a Firm+ (butt), Stiff (mid), Very Stiff (tip) from Graphite Design.  The shaft nearest in tip stiffness is the Tour AD UB [review HERE] which rates a Stiff+.

Giving the Tour AD VF a wiggle, I felt just a hint of flex in the mid section.  During the swing, that largely went away.  This is a shaft for the player that wants a “one-piece” feel without the shaft bending or kicking noticeably.  It’s not harsh feeling, but it does demand a strong effort from you.

In the past, I’ve described some super stiff shafts as laughing at your strongest swings.  In X-flex (the correct flex for my speed), the Graphite Design Tour AD VF didn’t laugh at me, but I knew I was never going to “win.”  It was like running with a friend who is much faster than you but isn’t trying to hurt your feelings.  When I bumped up to the TX, I did feel laughed at – I don’t have the speed to make that work.

Finally, I was able to compare the Tour AD VF to the modern classic Tour AD DI [review HERE].  Both shafts are rated low spin by Graphite Design, but the AD DI feels completely different with a smooth, pronounced kick.  This is a great illustration of the fact that not all low spin shafts need to feel the same.

Performance

The calling card of the Graphite Design Tour AD VF is low launch, low spin.  Those were the first two things that I noticed when I started my testing.  Virtually every drive came out on a piercing trajectory and hit the ground running.  If you’re looking to bring down your spin or get more out of drives in a windy environment, the Tour AD VF will deliver.  For players that want low spin without the low launch, you might consider the Graphite Design Tour AD IZ [review HERE].

As I noted earlier, this is a shaft that wants to be swung aggressively, and it encourages that by keeping the dispersion tight.  What’s unique about the Tour AD VF – at least for me – is that it’s not strictly “anti-left” in the way that some low/low shafts are.  I was able to hit a soft draw or a soft cut equally well.  Where it excels is in keeping those shot shapes gentle.  Unless I made a really poor swing, I didn’t see the ball curving more than I wanted.

When I went to the Graphite Design Tour AD VF in TX flex, it felt much more “anti-left.”  Even with an aggressive swing and a strong intent, I could barely square the face, let alone get the ball to draw.  If you’re seeking a hooker-killer, the AD VF can be it, you may just need a stiffer flex.

I also ran the VF against the Tour AD DI which felt world’s different.  First, I could dial my swing down to sub-100% effort, which was refreshing after numerous all-out swings.  Also, my dispersion shifted left.  I don’t think the AD DI is particularly draw-biased, but compared to the AD VF, it felt that way to me.

The Graphite Design Tour AD VF is offered in weights ranging from 40 to 80 grams.  At the lightest weight, the Tour AD VF is available in stiff, regular, and senior flexes.  Moving up to 50 grams retains those three options and adds the X flex.  At 60 grams, there is a stiff/regular, stiff, X, and Tour X.  The 70 gram model has just stiff and X.  Finally, at 80 grams GD offers X and Tour X.

Conclusion

While I would not typically suggest that recreational players emulate Tiger Woods’s equipment decisions, the Graphite Design Tour AD VF shaft is one that you might consider.  If you’re a high spin player who wants to get into more optimal numbers, this is definitely one to try at your next fitting.

Buy the Graphite Design Tour AD VF HERE

Matt Saternus
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10 Comments

  1. What kind of numbers are you looking for when testing out a shaft? I tried the VF found your review very similar to my impressions

    • Matt Saternus

      Chris,

      I’m not sure what you mean. Are you asking what numbers I think are optimal or what metrics I’m using to evaluate the shaft?

      Best,

      Matt

  2. Just curious if there’s a certain criteria you look for in choosing a shaft that works for you

    • Matt Saternus

      Chris,

      Because of my impact dynamics, I’m able to get a lot of distance out of almost any shaft – I don’t need a shaft to reduce spin for me. Because of that, my focus is on feel and dispersion.

      Best,

      Matt

  3. I swing about 105mph but generate high spin. I might try this shaft out. Just deciding between the S and X flex. Do you recommend a certain flex at 105MPH?

    Thanks for the detailed review.

    • Matt Saternus

      Mike,

      My recommendation is always to get fit. With this shaft, I think a stiff could easily stretch to 105 MPH depending on the player’s feel preference.

      Best,

      Matt

  4. How does the VF feel in the butt section ?
    I’m a lefty swinging right handed so I pull hard with my left arm in the transition and I always had issues issue with GD shafts that I find too soft (for my swing) in the handle. Curious also to know how it compares to a Ventus Red or Blue feel wise.
    Thanks

  5. What, no price? Your articles seem to always have a price point. Must be $1k or something crazy like that.

    • Matt Saternus

      I rarely put the price in shaft reviews because not many golfers buy them online, they get them from a fitter, and prices vary. Graphite Design tends to be $350-400.

      -Matt

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