We’ve talked before about Graphite Design’s habit of expanding its popular Tour AD shaft lineup each season. Like most in the shaft biz, Graphite Design habitually leverages new materials and new technologies to tweak its profiles and ultimately create more options for golfers.
What’s perhaps interesting about Graphite Design is that it rarely iterates to the degree that requires it to tombstone a perfectly good (and popular) product. That’s the case with its recently released Tour AD IZ. While in many respects the IZ can be thought of as an update to the more than a decade-old Tour AD DI, it’s not a direct replacement. The original orange shaft in the Tour AD lineup isn’t going anywhere.
The AD DI is often used by golfers and even some Graphite Design competitors, as a baseline for describing relative shaft performance, and that’s certainly appropriate here. According to Graphite Design, the Tour AD IZ falls somewhere between the higher launching DI and the lower launching Tour AD TP, though its profile and performance are more similar to the former.
If you’re looking for a general frame of reference, compared with the AD, Graphite Design says the IZ is ever so slightly stiffer in the tip and mid sections and bit softer in the butt section.
These are subtle, but appreciable differences, which is exactly what we’d expect from the AD lineup.
For those concerned with materials, the Tour AD IZ blends 50t premium graphite along with sections (most notably in the tip) of strategically placed TORAYCA T1100G to provide a stable shaft that the company says offers great feel.
With actual weights range from 46g (IZ 4) to 83g (IZ 8) and several flexes available at each of those weights, Graphite Design has run the count of individual Tour IZ shafts up to 14. Of particular note are the 40g version (available in lite, regular and stiff), and the 50g, which marks the first time a Tour AD shaft is available in a 50 X.
TOUR AD IZ Data Powered by Cool Clubs S3
S3 TECHNOLOGIES UTILIZES THE MOST ADVANCED SHAFT TESTING TECHNOLOGY IN THE INDUSTRY. THE SHAFT SIMULATION SYSTEM (S3), WHICH WAS DEVELOPED IN 2013, IS A FULLY-AUTOMATED, ALL-IN-ONE SHAFT PROFILING MACHINE. IN A MATTER OF MINUTES, THE S3 DETERMINES THE FOLLOWING SHAFT SPECS: (STRAIGHTNESS, CONSISTENCY PROFILE, EI PROFILE, CPM ANALYSIS, AND TORQUE). WHILE SOME OF THE AFOREMENTIONED SPECS CAN BE OBTAINED FROM SHAFT MANUFACTURERS, A LACK OF INDUSTRY STANDARDS PREVENTS THAT DATA BEING USED FOR ACCURATE APPLES-TO-APPLES COMPARISONS. S3 TECHNOLOGIES SOLVES THIS CHALLENGE BY TESTING ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS IN-HOUSE USING THE S3. THIS GIVES S3 TECHNOLOGIES A UNIQUE AND IN-DEPTH UNDERSTANDING OF THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE INDUSTRY'S SHAFTS.
Not only does S3 give us standardized quantitative information about the shaft(s) being reviewed, 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.
Tour AD IZ Launch Characteristics
The dark gray line represents the S3 database average for stiff flex shafts in the 60-70g weight range. The light gray line represents a neutral profile, is effectively the baseline for a mid-launch profile.
Based on S3 measurements the Tour AD IZ is classified as a Mid-High launch shaft.
The following chart compares the stiffness of the Graphite Design Tour AD IZ in the butt, mid, and tip sections to the S3 database average of stiff flex shafts in the 60-70g range.
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 60-70g range.
The Tour AD IZ has a higher than average balance point. 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.
Swing Speed Recommendations
The chart below provides swing speed recommendations for the entire Tour AD IZ 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% 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.
Advice From the Cool Clubs Fitting Team
The new Tour AD IZ Wood shaft is offered in 5 different weight classes (40, 50, 60, 70, and 80), a variety of flexes (from light to X-Stiff), and two bend profiles. These characteristics are designed to help find the right fit for a player based on speed, tempo, and what kind of ball flight they need help producing.
The Tour AD IZ wood shaft will help produce higher launch angles than normal and lower spin (for 4 of the 5 weight classes: IZ-5, -6, -7, and -8). With the shaft having a firmer grip section, a slightly softer mid section, and back to a moderate tip section, this helps load the shaft for efficient energy transfer and higher shots, all while controlling the flight with lower spin rates. The torques on the IZ-6, -7, and -8 are slightly lower than the average of most driver shafts on the market which enhances the stability for those who swing the club a little faster. For players with swing speeds between 95 and 115 mph and a moderate to slightly quicker tempo the IZ-6 shaft will work well. However, if the player has an early release they might want a shaft with a slightly stiffer butt to tip ratio.
For players who swing about 90 to 105 mph and average tempo, the IZ-5 is a great shaft to enhance launch if the player needs to hit the ball higher. Relative to other shafts on the market in the same category and swinging at the same speed the IZ-5 will launch the ball higher without excessively increasing the spin.
The lighter weight Tour AD IZ-4 has a slightly different bend profile than the heavier IZ shafts. Lighter shafts are typically composed of less material which dictates a different profile, and consequently, they will perform differently than their heavier counterparts. While still stable these lighter weight shafts cannot bring spin and launch down like a heavier shaft. The IZ-4 is softer in both the butt and tip sections producing slightly more spin. It launches the ball higher than other shafts in its category and combined with the spin the ball stays in the air longer which works well for those swing speeds requiring a lighter weight shaft as in the 82 to 90 mph range with an easy tempo.
If you need help with height on your driver or fairway woods but don’t want to sacrifice shaft stability, ball control, and feel go test the new Tour AD IZ shaft and get “Into The Zone”!
Information is based on test results of the S flex IZ shafts from Cool Club’s S3 Shaft Explorer with over 2500+ shaft profiles for comparison.
As we mentioned in an earlier post, this is a completely new way for us to review golf shafts. Let us know what you like, what you don't like, and what suggestions you have for future S3-Powered reviews.
Also, if there's a shaft you'd like to see us review next, please let us know.