Graphite Design Tour AD HD Key Takeaways
- The Graphite Design Tour AD HD is the evolution of the Tour AD MT.
- It has a mid-launch/low-spin profile.
- Street price is $379 and it’s available now.
The Graphite Design Tour AD HD represents the 2020 extension of its premium Tour AD lineup. In case you were wondering, the HD stands for Hyper Drive, which presumably speaks to the speed story we’ll get to in just a bit.
The Graphite Design Tour AD HD can reasonably be described as a modernization of the Tour AD MT profile. It shouldn’t be considered a replacement.
As I’ve said with every Graphite Design release I’ve covered, the company prefers to extend the line rather than replace models. Graphite Design likes to keep the catalog intact for fitters who have grown comfortable with certain designs knowing it can take a couple of years for a new shaft to catch on.
It’s also true that while the profile of the Tour AD HD is similar to the AD MT, there’s likely enough differentiation between the two that the older model may perform better for some golfers.
Tour AD HD – What’s New
As we’ve come to expect from Graphite Design, what’s new with the Tour AD HD boils down to slight tweaks in the profile made possible by the inclusion of TORAYCA M40X graphite prepreg in the mid and tip sections of the shaft. Graphite Design first used the material in last season’s Tour AD XC and it’s reasonable to assume it will be a staple of Graphite Design shafts moving forward.
In an effort to avoid the quagmire of a deeper material discussion, the simple-ish version is that M40X offers a rare combination of high-tensile modulus and high-tensile strength.
Finer technical points aside, Graphite Design says the material allows them to better tune stiffness without increasing weight. The payoff for the golfer is increased loading of shaft and ultimately more speed at impact.
Combine that with T1100G in the tip section and, according to Graphite Design, you get stability without loss of feel.
It should go without saying that your actual mileage may vary based on how well the shaft fits your swing.
Graphite Design Tour AD HD Options
Like other AD shafts, the Tour AD HD is designed and manufactured in Japan. The company describes the AD HD as having a mid-launch, low-spin profile. As is typical for Graphite Design, it is available in a broad range of weights and flexes – everything from a 40-gram R2 (senior flex) to an 80-gram TX (Tour X-stiff).
Graphite Design Tour AD HD Cosmetics
It’s one thing to say the cosmetics of the shaft don’t impact performance; it’s quite another to say they don’t matter. We all like what we like and may lean towards one shaft over another because of it. That’s just how it is.
So, with that said, the new colorway is probably my favorite of the Tour AD line (though I liked the Tour AD VR as well). Unless you’re a Duke fan or you plan on pairing it with an electric green Callaway Epic, there’s nothing not to like graphically. It’s aqua (maybe teal) on white. I’d describe it as frosted matte. Graphite Design calls it matte clearcoat. Semantics aside, I’d say it’s definitely not glossy but not flat, either.
Tour AD HD Data – Powered by COOL CLUBS S3
Not only does S3 give us standardized quantitative information about the shaft(s) being reviewed but the data we share will provide you with a much better sense of how those shafts compare with similarly spec’d offerings on the market.
Keep in mind there’s no agreed-upon industry standard to define each section of the shaft so it’s not uncommon for S3 classifications to differ from manufacturer stated-specs. S3 data allows for uniform comparisons across manufacturers.
For this comparison, we wanted to see how the new Tour AD HD differs from last season’s Tour AD XC as well as the best-selling shaft in the Graphite Design lineup, the Tour AD IZ. For this comparison, we looked at stiff flex models in the 60-gram range.
Tour AD HD Launch Characteristics
The dark gray line represents the S3 database average for stiff flex shafts in the 60- to 70-gram weight range. The light gray line represents a neutral profile, is effectively the baseline for a mid-launch profile.
With launch characteristics that place it nearly on the neutral line, within the S3 database, the Tour AD HD is classified as a MID launch shaft.
The following chart compares the stiffness of the Graphite Design Tour AD HD in the butt, mid and tip sections to the S3 database average of stiff flex shafts in the 60- to 70-gram range.
As the zone chart shows, profile differences between Graphite Design shafts are often minimal. Performance is, to an extent, driven by subtle differences, primarily in the butt and tip sections.
The Tour AD HD is notable for a butt section that’s just stiffer than both the AD IZ and AD XC and a tip section that’s ever-so-slightly softer than the XC. As we’ve come to expect from Graphite Design, midsection stiffness is similar.
The following chart compares the balance point of the Graphite Design Tour AD IZ to the S3 database average of stiff flex shafts in the 60- 70-gram range.
The Tour AD HD has a lower than average balance point. This tells us that the shaft should not be considered counterbalanced. As you may recall from our Golf Geeks Story on Shaft Performance, a higher balance point allows for more head weight without drastically impacting the swingweight. For golfers seeking more distance (admittedly often at the expense of accuracy), this allows drivers to be built to longer playing lengths.
Conversely, I suppose it’s reasonable to describe non-counterbalanced shafts as more conventional.
Tour AD HD Swing Speed Recommendations
The chart below provides swing speed recommendations for the entire Tour AD HD lineup.
Note that these recommendations are based on the full range of Cool Clubs‘ building and fitting capabilities, including factors such as tipping and build length which can cause a shaft to play either softer or stiffer.
To simplify things a bit, you may wish to narrow these ranges. The sweet spot from a fitting perspective begins 25 percent from the slow end of the range. As a general rule, players with faster tempos, particularly in transition, may fit into a stiff flex while smoother swingers often fit into a softer flex.
Finally, we looked in S3 for shafts with similar specifications across key parameters (profile, weight, torque, etc.). Not surprisingly, the most similar shafts in the database include the Tour AD BB, Tour AD GT and Tour AD XC. This isn’t particularly surprising, though it’s worth repeating that differences within the Tour AD line tend to be subtle but appreciable.
Graphite Design Tour AD HD Availability and Pricing
The Graphite Design Tour AD HD shaft is available now through fitters and Graphite Design resellers. MSRP is $500, though the actual street price should be less than $380.
For more information, visit ProsChoiceGolfShafts.com.