Grafalloy Prolaunch Supercharged Drive Shafts
The Grafalloy Prolaunch Blue and Red Supercharged drive shafts are 2015 additions to the ProLaunch product line. They are $60 shafts with radial quality of 98.3% with a standard deviation of 0.6%. If you have not been reading this site and looking the radial quality numbers I will translate this for you, one word, impressive. Shaft to shaft consistency of the review sample profiles was equally impressive. I did not think a $60 shaft would get my attention. I was wrong.
If the $300 to $500 high end works of shaft art technology are not in your budget, try the Grafalloy Prolaunch Supercharged in your driver. You are going to give up some hoop stiffness and might experience some ovalizing. If that is a problem you can always get a similar design in the Project X LZ for around $350. The SuperCharged Prolaunch has a similar design to the handcrafted Project X LZ shaft, an active midsection. Does this design work for you? If you are not close to a fitter that can let you test the Project X LZ you can try a low cost test on your own with the ProLaunch Supercharged shafts.
The Blue is a higher launch design, the Red a lower launch. To my eyes they are much the same profile. The Red is heavier and stiffer. The bend point is higher. Those two properties are going to lower launch. This is not really complicated stuff to understand. Stiffer is lower for any particular golfer. Find the stiffness you feel you can load. Then, going a little softer or stiffer will move the launch up or down.
Look at the balance in this chart. These shaft are counterweighted to restore club balance when using the current generation of heavy driver heads. This is not seen at this price point.
This profile, a softer active midsection is gaining traction with the shaft companies. With this set of profiles, this particular pattern got my attention. Soft midsections are among the most popular shafts in the business. Exaggerated soft is a design I am beginning to see from a lot of shaft companies. it looks like one needs to go in my bag.
Grafalloy ProLaunch Driver Shafts
The Grafalloy Prolaunch is not a new design, it has been with us for a long time. It got a new paint job this year. As companies get better at making shafts, the quality and consistency of products gets better. What I saw in measuring a the $40 ProLaunch Blue and Red was beyond what I expected. Radial consistency was 98.9% with a 0.8% standard deviation. These shafts are round and will get no benefit from alignment. And the bend profiles were also consistent. There were no outliers in the 10 shafts I measured. That is not always the case, and it is rarely the case with a $40 shaft. I am impressed.
Beginning with this review I am introducing a new method for rating shaft stiffness. The method comes from inside one of the major club companies that has an EI measuring instrument. They use area under the EI curve to compare shaft to shaft stiffness. Frequency measured at the butt of a shaft works on shafts with the same bend profiles. When shafts have different bend profiles butt frequency does not give an accurate measurement. Have you ever heard or said, ‘this shaft plays softer (or harder) than it measures. Did it ever occur to you that you were basically saying the measurement system you were using does not work?
Using area under the EI curve takes into account every point of the shaft. The correlation with deflection measurements is incredibly high. It appears that we have stumbled on a shaft stiffness rating system that actually works.
Grafalloy rates the launch of the Blue as higher than the Red. Look at the chart above and you will see that with the same stiffness rating the Red deflects less than the Blue. The launch rating given by Grafalloy is validated. The more expensive, $80 Grafalloy Blue is also rated low launch and is validated by the deflection numbers. It has a stiffer tip, pushing the kick point up the shaft. Radial quality of the Grafalloy Blue, 99.6% with a standard deviation of 0.5%. Translation, great quality and consistency and a notification to the shaft business that quality is possible in affordable products.
Grafalloy BiMatrix Tour Prototype
Bubba Watson plays the Grafalloy BiMatrix driver shaft and won the 2012 Masters with it. When he came on tour he showed up with one painted pink. Grafalloy accommodated him and made them in pink. For those that are not ready to play with a pink driver shaft it is also available in baby blue.
This design was introduced about 10 years ago and I tried it at the time. It was black back then and I still have an original R in the shop. I profiled it a few years ago and was surprised at the profile. It looked like a high launch design. The R flex profile from the original looks like the X flex I just profiled for this review. The current R & S flex have been redesigned for the typical R or S player.