Today I’m going to do a dive into a line shafts that seem to be forgotten despite not being particularly old, nor challenging to get a hold of. Que the bright trumpts of Triumph, in 3….2…..1…… The Aldila RIP Line! AND. THE. CROWD. GOES. WILD.
Or does it?
It doesn’t, and that’s the point of the article because really, that crowd should be very happy with the range of offerings and the price point. However, finding exotic shafts is somewhat of goal these days for many. They want the shaft rolled by hand by blind monks who regularly bath in tears of Zeus. Don’t get me wrong, I’d like that too. But sometimes it’s offering in your back yard that really is the show stopped.
What is RIP?
So, how Aldila came up with the RIP line is easy, it’s the main technology change they use in the line. RIP stands for Reverse Interlaminar Placement. Yeah. Say that 3 times fast with a marshmallow in your cheek.
What does that mean? It means that when building the shaft, they do it in the opposite order that they use to. They use to put a tight weave of graphite on the inside of the shaft and then build it out in layers from there. Here, they’ve move the layers around. The weaves on the inside that controlled torque, are both on the inside and outside of the shaft. Then the layers that create stiffness are locked in between the torque creating layers.
Blah blah blah. What does this do in real terms? You get a higher performing shaft with significantly less outliers and a more consistent feel.
History of the RIP Line
It’s true, the first version of the line, the RIP Alpha was launched yonks ago. Back in the heady days of the R9 driver we saw this not only as an after market offering but as a TP shaft choice in the R9 line. Happily, the line did not end there. Since then we’ve seen the RIP Beta, RIP Gamma, RIP Phenom and finally the RIP Phenom NL which is around a year old. You also have the RIP’d style of shafts such the RIP’d NV and the very briefly seen RIP’d VS Proto. Given all the shaft profiles, weights and flexes there should be something in the line that could help you play better golf.
Also as a note, the RIP line is often denoted by the eye colour. Where appropriate I will list the eye colour and shaft paint colour
RIP Alpha (Black paint / Red Eyes)
As it was the first, it’s fitting we should start with the RIP Alpha. Available in 60, 70 and 80 weights with flexes ranging from R to X, this shaft is, lets face it, a bit of a telephone pole. It’s a lower launching shaft with low spin. Until the release the Phenom NL it was the lowest launching and spinning shaft Aldila had. Between the low launch, low spin and low torque value, this is a shaft really built for the stronger wingers.
What’s also interesting here is that the profile of the shaft alters depending on the weight. With a lot of shafts, the overall profile is the same it’s just the weight or the flex that changes. Not so here. The 70 and 80 versions have a stiffer butt section, then quickly loses stiffness heading towards the middle. There it has a big flex jump before descending gradually towards the tip.
What this means is that for the stronger swinger who loads the shaft harder will enjoy it. The very stiff butt section means they can feel it under the hands, it feels like no matter how hard they go at it, they won’t loose it. The drop is stiffness right after that is there the shaft really picks up the loading energy. The middle section being so stiff keeps everything stable and the gradual loss of stiffness going down towards the tip lets the energy in the shaft flow evenly down to crack into the ball.
With the 60 version, one does not need to have such a strong transition from the backswing to foreswing in order to load it, yet it is stiff enough that everything remains firmly in control.
So, who’s the RIP Alpha suited to? Stronger swingers with a stronger/quicker transition who need to keep the ball down.
RIP Beta (White Paint / Green Eyes)
Next up is the RIP Beta. People can often tell this one at the glance as the white colour scheme is quite distinctive.
Simply, the RIP Beta is for those who need to launch and spin the ball more then the Alpha and don’t have quite as a strong or aggressive transition. From the butt to the mid section hump, the RIP Beta is the same shaft to the Alpha. After that hump, the RIP Beta loses stiffness down to the tip much quicker then the Alpha, all in a bid to add launch and spin to the flight.
It also should be noted that due to the same sort of low torque, stiff butt section feel, that the RIP Beta makes an excellent fairway shaft for those who use the RIP Alpha in their driver.
RIP Gamma (Black Paint / Yellow Eyes)
With the RIP Gamma, we have a RIP Alpha clone that’s counter balanced. IE it has more weight towards the hands, then the tip of the shaft. This was introduced along with many of the adjustable drivers because the adjustable driver heads are flat out heavier then the ones that aren’t. This becomes an issue when you’re trying to fit a strong swinger. Add a heavier driver head to a heavier then average shaft weight to lets say a mid size grip and we end up with a behemoth of a driver rolling in with a crazy D8 swing weight. Some people may love a sledgehammer like that, but a great many will not.
Having a counter balanced version of the shaft lets one dial that swing back with the same parts and the same length to a more passable D4 (example, don’t quote me as each build will be different).
So if you’re someone who doesn’t like to feel the head as much AND you’re a stronger swinger, this really would be a great option to look at. Aldila was ahead of the curve here as well. This shaft has been around for many of years but it’s really only now that we’re seeing a lot of counter balanced offerings coming into the market place.
RIP Phenom (Grey Paint / one Red Eye)
Like the other shafts in the line, the RIP Phenom starts with the RIP Alpha profile and alters it. In the Phenom’s case, it’s smoothed out. There’s less abrupt changes in stiffness between the hinge/bend points in the shaft. What this really means is that it’s easier to load and feels significantly less harsh.
What we end up with, is a shaft that slots between the RIP Alpha and RIP Beta in terms of launch and spin, sort of a mid/low flight and mid/low spin. However with the smoothness of the profile and the increased torque it has, players who enjoy something like a Blueboard are going to find they enjoy this shaft quite a bit more then any of the other RIP offerings.
One other things to note with the RIP Phenom: It’s the only offering in the RIP line that has a 50g offering. That opens it up to a golfer who doesn’t have a lot of swing speed, but still swings reasonably hard and needs something stable to keep them online. Or someone who just wants a smooth shaft that unloads nicely, kicks evenly with a controlled flight. Actually, in the 50g weight, you’ll find that the Phenom’s profile looks a lot like the KBS Tour shaft and functions with the same whip coil feeling.
RIP Phenom NL (Red paint / one Red Eye)
This one is really easy. If the RIP Alpha didn’t feel stiff and stable enough and still launched and spun a touch to high, here’s your shaft. Before you run out and nab one, lets clarify even more who this is for. This is Dustin Johnson’s typical driver shaft of choice. So if you swing as strong and as hard as he does (and yes, there are certainly some of you out there), get this a go because there’s a good chance you’ll love it.
If on the other hand you found the RIP Alpha not to you’re liking, well, this one isn’t going to help anything.
RIP’d NV (Green Paint / Green eyes)
Well, as you would expect from the name, the RIP’d NV is based off of the NV profile rather then the RIP Alpha profile. However, unlike the standard NV, it borrows something from the RIP Alpha which is the stiffer mid section. The original NV could be though to have a slightly softer mid section, but the RIP’d NV is entirely the opposite. It has a stable butt section down to a big bump in stiffness in the mid section for stability and then softens down until the last few inches where the stiffness picks up again.
Though I’ve put it with the RIP’s because it shares the technology, the performance stands out from them. Launch and spin will be very akin to the RIP Phenom but it gets there in a different manner and for a different swinger. One with not as quick of a transition, but perhaps more overall power along with a slightly later release.
So we’ve run through the line and know more or less, which shaft is good for what type of golfer. But why did I want to dig up this line and really high light it? Simples. Everyone is looking to get more for less these days. Better performance, better quality at a lesser price. Well, as the RIP line has been out for some time and the new wave is coming (which we’ll be running through the wringer in short order), the prices have come down. So if one of these shafts fit you, chances are you can not only get one that performs to the highest performance standard but do so at an incredibly good price.
So my challenge to you is to give your local Aldila fitter half an hour of your time. I suspect you’ll really enjoy the results.
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