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REVIEW: Graphite Design Tour AD XC Shaft

The Hits Keep Coming From Graphite Design
It may only be 2019, but the 2020 season has already begun. Graphite Design has “launched” (pun intended) a new Tour AD premium golf shaft named XC, which stands for “Xtra Carry”. Two years ago Graphite Design released the IZ “Into the Zone” shaft into the Tour AD line up, which I thought at the time was the best shaft I’ve played from GD. Then, a year later they released the VR “Vanquish all Rivals” shaft which took the place of the IZ in my driver. Again, Graphite Design has taken shaft design to another level and replaced my driver shaft with the XC. 
Aimed at getting “Xtra Carry”, the Tour AD XC is all systems go for launch. Labeled as a Low/Mid Launch and Low Spin shaft, this is the first release in the Tour AD line since the “Blue Bullet” with that designation. Graphite Design has nearly every shaft flex and weight combination you can think of. I choose the XC 6S for testing, but the possibilities are endless to find the right fit. With weight classes from 40 to 80 grams and flexes from R2 to TX, an Authorized Dealer will certainly be able to help you get the right XC in your club.

The new Tour AD XC utilizes the same TORAYCA ® T1100G carbon-fiber pre-preg with NANOALLOY ® technology as the past few Tour AD shafts. This provides the tip section of the shaft with additional shaft stability, exceptional feel and precise ball control. The Tour AD XC also utilizes brand new TORAYCA ® M40X carbon-fiber pre-preg in the Mid to Tip section of the shaft. This strength in transition from Mid to Tip helps create a Low/Mid Launch and Low Spin characteristics. Along with TORAYCA ® and NANOALLOY ® is Graphite Design’s proprietary Material Stiffness Integration (MSI) design philosophy and technology. The way each layer of material is used helps create the unmistakable feel and performance in all Graphite Design shafts. This attention to detail in production is what makes Graphite Design one of the industry leaders.

At first glance, you can tell the XC is a Tour AD, with the noticeable shaft bands near the grip. Something about this pattern reminds me of a snake stealthily ready to attack. It is by far my favorite color pattern in a Graphite Design shaft. Designed and manufactured at the Graphite Design Japan factory headquarters, the new Tour AD XC is black and silver with red accents and a matte finish. This will blend nicely with any driver combination you try. I like how the black fades into silver near the tip of the shaft and makes a better contrast rather than leaving the entire shaft one color. The new Tour AD XC also has the feel you have come to love from a Tour AD shaft. I’m sure this has to do with Graphite Design’s proprietary Material Stiffness Integration (MSI) design. You will not be disappointed in the feel if you have grown accustomed to a previous Tour AD model.

No matter the tech specs or the pictures, we all know the rubber meets the road when we tee up a ball and see how a shaft really performs. I’ve played several times with the new Tour AD XC shaft in my driver at a different course, yet a course I’ve played before. The first thing I noticed was the hangtime on the ball flight was longer. “Xtra Carry” isn’t just a catchy name for the shaft, it was a real thing for my drives. The flight isn’t any lower than I noticed before, but it appears to stay in the air longer. It’s a bit counter intuitive to see this shaft labeled as Low/Mid Launch and Low Spin, yet designed for more carry. I cannot assume to know why the XC keeps the ball in the air longer, but the last round I played was after a soaking rain the night before and I found my drives left me about one club less into the greens. My average score has dropped 1-2 shots per round since I put the XC into play and I’ve been finding nearly every fairway. I bet that’s why Graphite Design prints (Accuracy & Distance) near the tip on every shaft. Launch monitor numbers give me a small glimpse into the reason for the added distance, but seeing the same results out on the golf course says it all.

Through years of playing, testing and fitting I have learned not to get too excited when a company brings new product to market. We see claims how this will be the perfect shaft for swing x or swing z, but one thing that’s different about Graphite Design is how the product speaks for itself. Time and again, we see a Tour AD in someone’s club and we immediately know what shaft it is. If you have a Tour AD shaft in any of your clubs, then you know how good they are and why the New Tour AD XC is worth trying. For the last few years Graphite Design has released an award worthy shaft and 2020 is no exception. Find an Authorized Dealer to help you get the right Tour AD XC in your club.

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Quick Hits:
+Solid Feedback
+Great Launch and Spin Characteristics
+Very Stable Ball Flight
+Unmistakable Graphite Design Looks
+Multiple Weight and Flex Options

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