Aldila Tour Green Shaft
Aldila has been making graphite golf shafts for as long as I can remember, and has been one of the industry leaders for decades. Aldila is actually an Italian word that means “the next life” or “above and beyond” depending on the context. As manufacturing processes and materials continue to improve, golf shafts have become more and more precise and consistent. As of this writing, Aldila was leading the shaft count on the PGA Tour for more than 30 straight events.
The Aldila Rogue shaft is currently the most popular shaft on the tour, and while we didn’t get to test out the Rogue, we got our hands on its little brother – the Aldila Tour Green shaft for some play testing recently. The Tour Green shaft is a constant taper wood shaft that is designed to launch the ball on a mid-low trajectory with tight dispersion and a smooth, consistent release. Featuring their Micro Laminate Technology, the Aldila Tour Green will be more consistent from shaft to shaft than competitors.
Testing the Aldila Tour Green
We fitted the Tour Green in two clubs for testing. The first is an Adams Super LS driver (9.5 degrees) and the other is a TaylorMade SLDR Mini Driver with 14 degrees of loft. Our professional club builder Glen Belden fitted the shafts according to the manufacturer specifications and we saw a marked improvement in performance over the stock shafts in both test clubs.
In the Adams driver, the stock Fujikura Kuro Kage 60X shaft simply wasn’t stiff enough or consistent enough for the strong swinger that it belongs to. The Aldila Tour Green 65X shaft was able to bring down spin rates and the launch angle, eliminating the ballooning ball flight that sometimes plagued the golfer with the stock shaft. The owner also had to dial the adjustable face to the open position to counteract the tendency for the shaft to release early and hit the ball left. Once we got the Tour Green in there however, we set the club face back to square and the owner’s tee shots because more controllable and consistent. The Tour Green 65X did its job by bringing the trajectory down and the release is more predictable, leading to increased accuracy.
The next test subject was my TaylorMade SLDR Mini driver (14 degrees), fitted with the stock Fujikura Speeder 57S shaft. Since I play a heavier extra-stiff shaft, the 57 stiff was obviously inadequate for my 110+ mph swing speeds. Like the Adams Driver, I found the stock shaft to be wildly inconsistent at producing a repeatable ball. This was mostly due to the Fuji shaft not being stiff enough, but also because most OEM shafts are not ready for prime time. (See my footnote about this later.) I fitted the Aldila Tour Green 75X to the SLDR Mini and instantly transformed it. The Tour Green shaft turned the SLDR Mini Driver into a strong 3 wood that launched the ball on a high trajectory with low spin. The ball carries forever with this club, and the Tour Green shaft makes sure that the ball won’t balloon too high or with too much spin. The heavier weight of the Tour Green 75 shaft is perfect for fairway woods.
There isn’t much to say about the Aldila Tour Green shaft other than it simply performs as advertised. It gives the golfer a lower launch and lower spin for stronger players, without feeling “boardy” or too heavy. The Tour Green also has a sister shaft called the Tour Blue that has a slightly softer tip section for a higher ball flight. Both shafts are available through national retailers and custom club fitters for around $249. If you want to upgrade to the latest tour-proven technology and breathe new life into that 2 year-old driver, spending $249 for a new shaft will probably be a better investment than plunking down $400+ on yet another new driver making promises it can’t keep.
Footnote on OEM Shafts
In my experience of testing dozens of clubs every year since the mid 90s, I’ve learned that most stock OEM shafts are garbage to be perfectly honest. While the brand names are familiar, the shafts are mass produced and along the line the quality control process is scrapped to cut costs. I don’t mean to pick on the big guys, but my club builder has several 50 gallon drums full of OEM shafts from Callaway & TaylorMade that were pulled from clubs to be replaced with shafts that are properly fit to the player. Most of the shafts that are pulled from these clubs show huge variations in stiffness, weight and frequency readings, which explains why Joe Golfer can hit his buddy’s identical driver great, but his performs awful. It’s hard to know if the club you buy will have a good shaft nowadays, but you can give yourself a better chance of success by staying away from the stock “off the shelf” shaft when buying a new driver or fairway wood. Instead, go to the local golf shop and get fitted for the right shaft by a qualified fitting specialist, then order the driver with that shaft as a custom option. It may cost a bit more, but you’ll be more likely to get the right fit and get the most out of your investment.
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