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Review: KBS Tour FLT Shafts

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Pros: FLT shafts use a flighted design, which helps golfers launch their long irons higher and with more spin. The FLT short-iron shafts provide a more penetrating trajectory for more control.

Cons: FLT shaft flexes correspond with weight, so golfers may not be able to match their desired shaft weight with their desired flex.

Who They’re For: Golfers who need more spin or more launch from their long irons to optimize their trajectory. Everyone from beginners to PGA Tour players can use the shafts effectively, but they’ll be most popular with golfers with moderate-to-slow swing speeds, or any golfer who generates low-spin launch conditions.

Overview

Selecting the proper iron shafts is one of the most important equipment decisions golfers make. It’s an issue of quantity. Most golfers carry about 7-8 irons in their bag, so if they choose the wrong iron shaft, they’ve made the game harder than it needs to be with half or more of their clubs.

The good news is that there’s a wider selection of quality iron shafts than there has ever been, with recent growth in models that are designed to help golfers hit their iron shots higher and farther, while still maintaining PGA Tour-quality consistency and feel.

KBS is one of the leading steel shaft manufacturers, and already offered a wide variety of models prior to its newest shaft launch. Company representatives felt KBS was lacking a product for a particular segment of golfers, however, so it developed its new FLT shafts.

KBS_FLT

FLT shafts ($31.95 each) have a flighted design, which helps certain golfers optimize the performance of each iron their bag. The long irons shafts have progressively softer tip sections, which helps golfers increase their launch angle and spin rates with those clubs. For the right golfer, the design will help them hit their iron shots farther, and stop shots on the green more quickly. In the short irons, where height and spin are easier for golfers to generate, the FLT shafts are stiffer, which creates the flatter trajectory most golfers prefer with their scoring clubs. The crossover point between the higher-launching long irons and lower-launching short irons is the 7 iron.

Like all KBS shafts, FLT models have a constant weight, which means that long iron shafts and short iron shafts will be roughly the same weight through the set. Shaft weight is dependent on flex, however, as softer-flex models are lighter than stiffer-flex models. So if you’re looking for a really heavy, regular-flex shaft or a really light, extra-stiff-flex shaft, these aren’t for you.

FLT Specs

KBS_FLT_Shaft_Specs

Keep in mind that KBS shafts do not have reinforced tip sections like many other iron shafts, which gives them a slightly higher balance point and can decrease swing weight by 1-2 points. I personally like the feel of KBS shafts and their slightly higher balance point, but some golfers won’t.

The Test

For this review, I tested the new FLT shafts head to head against KBS Tour shafts of the same flex and weight (130X) in 4 irons, 6 irons and pitching wedges. Each of the shafts were installed in Callaway’s Apex Pro ’16 irons, and were built to my specifications (standard grips, standard length, 1-degree strong lofts, 1-degree flat lie angles).

KBSTour130Shafts

I performed my testing at the Launch Pad at Carl’s Golfland in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., where I hit the 4 irons, 6 irons and pitching wedges on Trackman IV with premium golf balls. I hit 3-6 solid shots with each iron, and then removed the outliers from the final data in an attempt to compare only the most similar strikes. Results were normalized.

As you can see from the data, there was a significant difference in the flight of the 4 irons with the two different shafts, but less of a difference with the 6 irons and pitching wedges.

Apex_Pro_Test_heads

As expected, the FLT shafts caused 4 iron shots to launch higher (0.8 degrees) and with more spin (729 rpm) than the KBS Tour shafts. I’m not a low-spin player, which is one of the target audiences for this shaft, so the added launch and spin of the FLT shafts caused my 4 iron shots to fly shorter. Golfers who launch their irons too low or with too little spin, however, will likely see a distance increase when using the FLT shafts.

As I moved closer to the short end of the set, the two shafts started to perform more similarly. Theoretically, the 6 iron shots with the FLT shafts should have launched slightly higher and spun more than 6 iron shots with the KBS Tour shafts, but I actually saw a slightly lower launch angle (0.5 degrees) with the FLT. The spin was higher, though, by 211 rpm. With the pitching wedges, the results were again quite similar. The FLT launched 0.9 degrees higher, but actually spun 271 rpm less than the KBS Tour shafts.

Takeaways

KBS_Tour_KBS_FLT

Stepping back from the numbers, I was impressed with how similar the feel was between the KBS Tour and FLT shafts. Yes, I could feel that the FLT shafts were more active in the tip with the 4 irons, but they felt nearly the same in the 6 irons. By the time I got to the pitching wedges, the two shafts were indistinguishable. The KBS Tour is considered one of the better-feeling iron shafts currently available, so KBS’ ability to replicate that feel in the FLT will be a plus for the majority of interested golfers.

Looking more broadly, trends in shaft design tends to go hand-in-hand with trends in club head design, and the FLT shafts are no exception. Equipment manufacturers continue to strengthen the lofts of their distance irons; they have to in order balance the launch equation, as their faster ball speeds create a higher launch angle and more spin.

While the improvements to iron design have allowed golfers to hit their mid and short irons farther, many golfers continue to struggle to hit their long irons high enough or consistently enough for them to be effective. And based on my testing results, it’s clear that the FLT shafts can make long irons more playable for certain golfers, and maybe even keep long irons in a golfer’s bag that might otherwise be kicked out for higher-flying hybrids or fairway woods.

As always, I recommend that golfers get properly fit for iron shafts, which means visiting a reputable club fitter in your area. So if you’re in the market for new irons or iron shafts, you can get started by going through KBS’ Online Fit System, which upon completion lists KBS-certified dealers in your area.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. 300 Yard Pro

    Jun 27, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    KBS are yesterdays news.

  2. Canadian Smizzle

    Jun 26, 2016 at 10:11 am

    I use a set of flighted shafts (project x). And i love them. Definetely helps my 4i get up more. I always hit a low ball so i like the extra launch and spin.

  3. Jim

    Jun 26, 2016 at 7:52 am

    So basically the same what a joke.

    • Scotty Johnson

      Jun 26, 2016 at 9:02 am

      How is it a joke? Seems logical….updated version of the old rifle flighted…..instead of decending weight it’s constant weight. With KBS signature feel a stability and step pattern…And I’m sure the bent tip jokes will be coming at some point. But I’ve enjoyed the set I have especially with my PXG irons.

      • Jim

        Jun 27, 2016 at 7:12 am

        Look at the real life numbers for the 6 iron and pw.6 iron was meant to go higher and pw lower but both didnt.
        Thats why its a joke.

        • Scotty Johnson

          Jun 27, 2016 at 11:31 am

          From the description it’s designed for people who have issues launching the ball with longer irons and lower with the shorter irons. Obviously the writer isn’t the target audience and stated that. So your ignorance is the joke and why it’s important to get fit. Instead of being a know it all like yourself.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: Eminent Golf’s Conic putting trainer

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The golf world is full of training aids. From the simple to the silly, there are no shortage of tools and machines being thought up to (hopefully) help golfers improve their games. It’s not very often you come across something that really has the potential to help improve consistency and “ingrain” a feeling (or “feels” as the pros say) into a part of the game that so many struggle with.

This is the Conic putting aid.

Before we go any further, let me be very up front: this is NOT a training aid intended or designed to be an impulse purchase during early morning reruns on Golf Channel. The Conic costs $1,350.00…but for good reason. It’s designed, manufactured, and built right here in the USA, milled from solid pieces of steel and aluminum. The entire system is built to last and to be a true lifelong training tool. The likelihood of this thing ending up the in a dusty corner of your garage is slim to none. Even the carrying case is something to behold.

On my first try, it took about 5-7 minutes to set up (I went full “dad-building-Ikea-furniture mode” and initially ignored the entire instruction manual. That’s on me), but after the first setup, getting this thing from the case to on the green took just a few minutes after that. It’s 100 percent NOT a “warm up before my tee-time, and throw it in my golf bag” style of training aid because of its size, but if you are headed to the green for a real “session” this is an indispensable tool.

So what does it actually do?

The Conic is designed to get you into the perfect putting setup and help you learn to make a repeatable motion built for your stroke and body type. This is not a one-size-fits-all training aid. It also works for both right and left0handed golfers.

So how does it do all of this:

  • The Conic has five adjustable plane angles for different size arcs: 85,80,75,70,65. This makes sure you get set up based on putter type and your optimal stance. The goal is to have you get more consistent with your stroke not some arbitrary “ideal stroke model”
  • The trainer controls the X, Y, Z axis of the putter head: Lie, Loft & Face Angle. Each one of these variables can make or break a putt (first putting pun in the bag), and so by being able to control those helps improve repeatability when on the course
  • It puts you into the same position time after time to help develop the feeling of a correctly made putting stroke. As much as people might say it, muscles DO NOT have memory — your brain does. The Conic helps develop motion patterns which again lead to helping you be more consistent on the greens
  • There is a built-in detachable arm that helps the golfer visualize both the target line and line the putter head up perpendicular to the target — a great tool for those that struggle with direction.
  • The putter arm can also be controlled to help maintain a specific stroke length — little stops get inserted into the slide and create instant feedback when you take the putter back too far.

So does it work?

Heck yeah it does! Although not meant for extremely long putts, you can use the Conic 1.0 easily on anything inside 20 feet, and it really helps with the 6-10 footers. With all of the adjustability, it’s also easy to switch between putter models that you might have.

My personal theory with putting and alignment is quite simple:  “Every putt is a straight putt. Just get it rolling and let gravity and speed take care of the rest.” The moment the ball leaves your putter face, your job is now over, and what the Conic does is allow you to work on, in a very structured way, hitting putts on line. My favorite use for the Conic was on roughly 7-9″ putts where you just set up, make the right stroke for speed, and watch the ball work its way into the cup.

This is an expensive tool — even PGA Tour pros that are using them paid in full. But like I said before, you get what you pay for with the Conic. Another feature is it can be used inside and out as long as you have a “green” or a nice piece of carpet to roll some putts. Beyond the players who spare no expense on clubs and fittings this seems like a bit of a no brainer – roughly the cost of three nice putters gets you something that will work for you, as long as you want to work with it.

I believe that one of the biggest markets for the Conic currently is for teachers to help students ingrain the feeling of making a solid stroke and increase consistency at setup. The cost is still the biggest factor that will detract people from purchasing this, but for the golfers looking for the ultimate putting aid, the Conic trainer could be your answer to those missed three-footers.

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Accessory Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Uther Supply golf towels

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Product: Uther Supply golf towels

Pitch: Via Uther: “Uther cart towels use the highest quality material and construction which have been tested to perform season after season…Uther’s unique blend of moisturize wicking, soft microfiber is 3x more absorbent than cotton and 5x more durable…Waffle pattern to easily remove even the most stubborn dirt in club grooves and golf ball dimples…Uther is the creator of the fashionable golf towel. Features unique sublimated prints and designs that make a fun accessory for both men and women golf bags.”

Our take on Uther Supply golf towels

Most golfers have a “logo” towel hanging on their bag today. Typically you’ll see the name of a course the golfer has visited, or an OEM name. Uther Supply towels, however, are different. Uther (pronounced “other”) Supply Founder Dan Erdman described his inspiration for this unique line of golf towels in an interview with GolfWRX a few years back:

“When you work in the back shop and storage facility, you handle a lot of golf bags. I just noticed rows and rows of bags that all look the same and I thought it made a lot of sense to inject some personality into it. You know, people go crazy for how all the pros personalize their wedges and their bags. They buy towels and bag tags from courses like TPC Sawgrass and Pebble Beach to personalize their stuff, but in the end it all kind of blends together… I thought we could really add something to the marketplace.”

They have certainly succeeded in creating a new type of towel in the marketplace. We used them over several rounds of golf, in various conditions to put them to the test.

Meant to be shown off, Uther golf towel designs are creative and clever, with some of the most popular being the “Happy Gilmore inspired” Cart Towel and “90s coffee cup” Tour Towel. There of course, are many others to choose from.

Of course, let’s not forget that the primary function of a towel is to clean your golf equipment. That might seem easy but we at WRX have ordered some custom towels from other manufacturers in the past and were disappointed in the performance. Uther’s towels, however, succeed in both form and function. They’re stylish, but they also are an excellent functional towel. You’re like to be impressed at how light they are as well. These aren’t bath towels, but rather high-quality microfiber blends that Uther says are 3x more absorbent than cotton.

As far as cons, if we’re nitpicking, you may need to find a larger carabiner clip for some golf bags if you want to hang your towel in a more prominent place. These are made to show off, after all.

Prices range from $28-$35 USD and are available for purchase at uthersupply.com, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Golf Galaxy in the US and Golf Town in Canada.

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Apparel Reviews

WRX Spotlight: Air Jordan ADG golf shoes

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Product: Air Jordan ADG golf shoes (available at Dick’s and Golf Galaxy). 

Pitch: Via Jordan: “Jump up the leaderboard in the Nike Men’s Air Jordan ADG Golf Shoes. Famed for its incredible comfort and lightweight feel, the ADG features a Zoom Air unit for responsive cushioning and an integrated lacing system for a secure, supportive fit. The Integrated Traction pattern offers you enhanced grip on every terrain and the signature Jumpman logos give you extra style on the course.”

Our take on Air Jordan ADG golf shoes

Confined to the feet of Keegan Bradley for years, the iconic sneaker brand seems to have proof of concept in the golf space, as evidenced by the growing roster of tour players (Pat Perez, Harold Varner III), and numerous retail offerings.

We got to test one of said retail offerings: the just-released spikeless Air Jordan ADG. Now, the Jordan style may not be for every golfer (can’t imagine them catching on in Tuesday morning senior leagues across the nation), but if you like the look of Js on the court or street, you’ll love the look of these. Indeed, you’ll probably love the look of all Jordan offerings for the fairway, as the company has done an excellent job of bringing its aesthetic to golf, rather than the opposite (if that makes sense…tacking the Jumpman logo on a pair of saddle shoes was never going to work).

So, appearance wise, the elephant print leather upper and other signature brand elements look great (and the translucent sole is an awesome touch). However, when it comes to golf shoes, particularly of the spikeless variety, we’re always concerned about stability during the swing (both in terms of contact with the ground and within the shoe internally) and appropriate support/comfort for the five-plus mile trek that is a round of golf.

On both of the aforementioned fronts, these shoes are superb. You can feel the comfort and support the instant your heel hits the Jumpan Golf logo on the insole, and the shoes do everything you’d ask a spikeless shoe to do on course. Highly recommended; we look forward to seeing what his Airness’ cordwainers come up with next.

A look at the white colorway, via Jordan, below. 

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