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Tech Talk: Mickelson’s KBS Tour V2 shafts

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Phil Mickelson was vocal in post-round interviews last week about the importance of his change to Callaway’s new Razr Fit Extreme driver, which he said allowed him to be more confident off the tee in his record-setting performance at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. But a look at Mickelson’s stats for the week shows that his iron play was more important to his 28-under total at TPC Scottsdale than his tee shots.

Mickelson ranked T11 in driving distance, averaging 298.8 yards off the tee — about 10 yards more than his 2013 season average. He was also 55th in the field driving accuracy, hitting the fairway 57.14 percent of the time — about 5 percent better than his season average.

However, Mickelson led the field by hitting 87.5 percent of greens in regulation at TPC Scottsdale, a staggering 14 percent better than his season average. He also birdied nine of the 16 par-3 holes, which led to a 9-under score on those holes that was nine shots better than the field average.

Callaway went out of its way to inform golfers that Mickelson’s 9.5-degree Razr Fit Xtreme driver head (adjusted to an open position for an actual loft of 8.1 degrees) is the same one available to consumers at retail. But what consumers will not be able to buy any time soon are Mickelson’s “KBS Tour V2” iron shafts, which he used in his Callaway Razr X Muscleback 4 iron through pitching wedge and Callaway JAWS 52-, 60- and 64-degree wedges.

KBS Tour

The prototype shafts are stiffer in the tip section of the shaft (the part closest to the club head) than the x-flex version of the KBS Tour shafts, which is achieved by making the diameter of the shaft larger in that area. The change gave Mickelson the more penetrating, lower-spinning trajectory that he wanted. The shafts are also five grams lighter, which according to KBS Marketing Director Eric Hubble, gave Mickelson back some of the feel that is lost with a stiff-tip iron shaft.

Just how picky is Lefty with his equipment? Last March at the WGC-Cadillac Championship, Mickelson put the original version of the KBS Tour V2 iron shafts in play in his 5 iron through pitching wedge. In May, KBS lead designer Kim Braly was still working with Mickelson during practice rounds at The Players Championship to tweak the construction of each individual short iron shaft. The tweaking lasted until last summer, which is when Braly and Mickelson finally ended their revision process.

Click here to see what else was in Mickelson’s bag at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. benseattle

    Feb 7, 2013 at 2:31 pm

    <>

    Sorta blows a hole in the concept from a few amateurs that “I must have a head from the tour van!” don’t it?

  2. adrien

    Feb 5, 2013 at 10:26 am

    correction, heavier wedge SHAFTS are useless?

  3. adrien

    Feb 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

    same shaft in all irons including the wedges? so heavier wedge irons are useless?

  4. Patrick Smith

    Feb 5, 2013 at 9:15 am

    well that blows….why not release them? I’m sure they would be a good seller. Zak – what do you think of the KBS c-tapers? I think they may be the best KBS shafts out there right now.

  5. Zak Kozuchowski

    Feb 4, 2013 at 3:52 pm

    KBS says there are currently no plans to release the V2 version of the KBS Tour shafts.

  6. Brian Cass

    Feb 4, 2013 at 3:44 pm

    KBS Tour V2 won’t be available until mid 2013?

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Equipment

Wilson’s new FG Tour V6 RAW irons (yes, they will rust)

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Wilson came out with its FG Tour V6 irons in 2016, but these new Raw versions have a different look… and with time, they’ll have a VERY different look.

The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish (which won’t rust).

In addition to the rusting effect, the irons are different because they have a copper badge in the cavity that will eventually match the color of the golf club over time. Here’s a graphic mock-up of how the Raw irons may look overtime.

Like the original releases, the irons have tungsten weights and mass behind the impact area for a “forged feel” and “improved feedback,” according to the company.

The FG Tour V6 Raw irons are a custom option on Wilson.com, and are available through Wilson’s premium partner accounts as of today, Tuesday, June 19. According to Wilson, the Raw irons “are a very limited production run,” so only a certain amount of sets will even be built.

 

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Equipment

Chief Engineer Chris Voshall on Mizuno’s approach to the Tour and some of the most insightful pros

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Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall chatted with Johnny Wunder on the latest episode of the Gear Dive.

Voshall offers innumerable interesting anecdotes–particularly interesting is the development of the JPX 900 iron for Brooks Koepka and Voshall’s discussion of his work with other Tour talents.

In the excerpt below, however, Voshall discusses Mizuno’s approach to Tour players and further, whose feedback has proven particularly valuable.

“We’re not making them something special. If they’re coming to us, it’s because the product is that good…They come to us instead of us having to go to them…that’s one of the really exciting things.”

Voshall indicated that players on Tour play essentially the same Mizuno products that are available at retail.

“If the Tour van is out of inventory, they can reach out to us…and we’ll get them more heads. There’s nothing unique about what they’re playing, which I think speaks to the customer…you can almost not trust marketing around the whole world these days, but for us to say ‘there’s nothing different’…that’s something we really hang our hat on.”

With respect to excellent testers on Tour, Voshall sang Luke Donald’s praises, as well as Jhonny Vegas and Brian Gay.

“I love working with Luke. Luke, especially when you’re talking irons…turf interaction, that’s the thing he’s looking for. So with Luke, you’ve really got to speak to him about how it feels, how it enter, how it exits [the turf] and how that’s causing the ball to launch. You could give him the exact same head with a slightly different sole grind, and he will love or hate one versus the other. He’s really cool to work with on that front.”

“Jhonny Vegas…he’s raw power. He goes at it. He wants to slam the club into the ground as hard as he can and see where it goes. He very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as Luke, who’s very much an artist out there, trying to work it, trying to do different things.”

“One of my favorite guys to work with, even though he’s not on staff anymore, is Brian Gay. He knows his game. He knows equipment. Speaking to the fact that he’s been out on Tour as long as he has and has the wins he has with the length he hits the ball, it shows that he does not miss a shot. And he knows everything…when he makes a comment on a club, that’s the one that I take most serious.”

For the rest of Voshall’s insights and perspective, give the full podcast a listen below.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: Srixon Z-785 driver, Z-U85 utility irons

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We recently spotted new Srixon Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons, which are likely future replacements for Srixon’s Z-765 driver and Z-U65 utility irons. Srixon is staying hush on the tech details at the moment but did allow us to take photos of the new equipment.

Released in 2016, the Z-765 driver was a smaller-profile, lower-launching counterpart offering to the Z-565 driver, so it could be possible that there is also a Z-585 driver, counter to the Z-785 driver that we spotted. Also, it appears the Z-U85 utility irons come in at least 5 different lofts: 2-6 irons.

See more photos below, and check out discussion on the Z-785 drivers and Z-U85 utility irons.

Srixon Z-785

See more photos and discussion about the driver

Srixon Z-U85

 

See more photos and discussion about the irons

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