On Wednesday at the 2022 Cadence Bank Houston Open, GolfWRX caught up with Kim Braly, Director of R&D for KBS Golf Shafts, to learn about the new KBS Tour “prototype” steel iron shafts that we spotted this week at Memorial Park Golf Course in Houston .
Here’s what Braly had to say about the new steel iron shafts…
GolfWRX’s Andrew Tursky: So what’s this new KBS Tour prototype iron shaft all about? What is it, and what’s different about it?
KBS Tour’s Kim Braly: This is the KBS Tour. When we initially came out with this line of shafts 12 years ago, the number one complaint, or reason why people didn’t go into it – they love the way it felt and everything – but a number of players felt it went a little too high and spun a little too much. Not a ton, but just a little bit. This was something I was going to go back and fix back then, but I’m all about fitting, and I had a lot more weights in order to get the program where I wanted it before I started going back and doing a 2.0. I wanted to complete the entire line.
I’m all about fitting, so I wanted that to be done, and then go back and do the 2.0s.
This is the first 2.0 of our products. This is the KBS Tour. The specific reason was to make it go a little bit lower, spin a little bit less, and by putting a larger butt section on it, that’s what you get. Stiffness brings stability in a lot of cases – in history, almost all cases – and it is a little bit stiffer.
The top area of the shaft is obviously not going to bend as much, which will decrease the spin and also the launch.
Are there different flexes, different weights?
KB: Yes. This is a Tour shaft at the moment. It’ll be 120, 125 and 130 grams. We don’t see any reason to go lower than 120 right now. There’s options for that player to lower the flight and spin. This is a shaft that’s a Tour shaft. It’s for strong players. The public doesn’t need this, for the most part. There’s a percentage out there, but it’s very low.
I like having something for everybody, and it does fill an area in terms of flight, launch and stiffness that we don’t have otherwise. Eventually, it may become part of our line, but at the moment it’s a Tour shaft.
Is there anyone out here testing it so far, or committed to switching into it?
KB: The target here [on Tour] is very, very large. Anyone playing an X100 would be a target here, so there’s a large number of people that would fit into this shaft.
It’s a 2.0 in our KBS Tour line, and the reasons why I did it was the feedback that we had when we initially came out, having so much success with it, but there were a number of players, like I said, a little too high and too much spin, but they love the way it feels. That’s what we addressed here.
Can you compare it to an X100, or a Project X?
KB: It’s a different profile. The X100, that shaft has been around since the late 40’s. You know, a lot of people play great golf with it, but in terms of technology and everything, that shaft was designed for the ease of manufacturing. But anyway, I don’t have anything that really compares to that, but I do have shafts the same stiffness, but they’re different profiles.
I do things specifically for the individual that will end up using this, or the category of player. We have products that do fall in that category, but in no way was that product part of the design process, in terms of we’re going to take anything from that product. We don’t do that. But like I said, we have a 130-gram shaft, and it is similar in the overall stiffness. Our shafts tend to be stiffer in terms of deflection, or CPM, than the others because of our step pattern and how each section is presented to the one above it. What that does is it allows it to swing and feel a lot smoother. People say soft, but it’s really smooth. That allows them to swing a stiffer shaft, which is good, especially for guys out here, because in terms of dispersion, it brings the dispersion pattern in tighter. But it still feels good enough that it gets in their bag. I try to get shafts for the guys out here into the stiffest shaft possible, where it still feels comfortable, because that limits the dispersion.
In general, what do most amateurs get wrong with their iron shafts?
KB: Well, men use shafts that are too stiff, no question. The ladies are easier in terms of fitting. They don’t have the preconceived notion that “I’m an S-stiff,” or “I’m an X-stiff.” They don’t care, they just want to get the ball in the air. It’s still the same thing; men tend to think they need a stiffer shaft than they do, and there’s absolutely nothing worse for you. You can’t work with a shaft that’s too stiff for you to load. If you can’t load the thing, you’re better off missing on the low side than you are on the high side. You want to load it. And if you’re loading it too much, that’s probably better than not loading it at all.
What’s the standard miss you see when your shaft is too stiff with your irons?
KB: It goes right.
We’re all about fitting. If the 125 is too stiff? Try the 120! That’s what it’s all about. Again, I said it 5 times, we’re about fitting. There’s something for you in our line.
Check out what GolfWRX members are saying about the new KBS Tour shafts in our forums