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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.

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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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pga tour

Andrew “Beef” Johnston WITB 2017

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Equipment is accurate as of the 2017 RSM Classic (11/14/17).

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 70TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F3 (15 Degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei Orange 80TX

Hybrids: Titleist 816 H2 (19 Degrees)
Shafts: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage 90HY TX

Driving Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB 2 & 3 Iron (17 & 20 Degrees)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Irons: Titleist 718 MB (3-9)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 Tour Issue

Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 (46-10F, 50-08F, 54-10S)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Super Rat I GSS Inlay
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Pistol

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Newport 2
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Cord Pistol

Putter: Scotty Cameron Circle T Super Rat II GSS Inlay
Grip: Scotty Cameron Standard Cord Pistol

WITB Notes: Beef was testing a variety of putters ahead of The RSM Classic. We will update this post when his choice is confirmed. 

Related:

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about Beef’s clubs. 

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Equipment

The hottest blade irons in golf right now

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As we’ve written before, the decision to put a new driver in the bag is usually obvious. Better numbers at testing, perceptibly longer distance, and as long as your bank account allows, you have your new gamer.

The iron switch, however, is a trickier beast. Comfort with the variety of shots one needs to hit is key. Confidence from one’s long irons through the higher lofts is critical. Thus, even the greatest enthusiasm for a new iron release isn’t always followed by a mass exodus to gaming said irons. This is doubly true at the professional level, where the tools are critical to a player’s livelihood.

That said, the combination of forum chatter, GolfWRX member enthusiasm, and what we’re spotting in our WITB photos from tour stops are a reliable indicator of the hottest irons in the game.

And judging by the response to our recent Instagram post, we’re confident that these four models are the hottest blade irons in golf right now.

Callaway Apex MB

Buzz built steadily for the Apex MB iron when we first spotted them in Tour players’ bags at the beginning of 2017. The irons are the product of direct feedback from the company’s Tour staffers, according to Luke Williams, Director of Product and Brand Management at Callaway. Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel, these irons have the shortest blade lengths, the thinnest soles and the smallest overall heads in the vast line of Callaway irons. They’re designed for maximum workability, and for tour-desired turf interaction.

Related: Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons

Mizuno MP-18

The pioneers of Grain-Flow Forging, Mizuno went back to its roots with the MP-18 iron model. A throwback to the great muscle backs in the company’s history, Mizuno was shooting for the look of an iron that could have been forged a century ago. Shorter blade length, cambered top line, sharp, compact wedges, all combined with the most minimal badging make the MP-18 an instant classic that set the GolfWRX forums afire.

Related: Mizuno brings the MP family closer together

TaylorMade P730

TaylorMade’s P730, particularly in its prototype incarnations, made quite a splash on the PGA Tour. Building on the heritage of the TP-MB irons, P730 was developed in collaboration with the very best players in the world. The 1025 carbon steel irons irons feature a smaller profile and crisper lines than the MB series irons. The combination of the clean look and a deep rear groove have players drooling. Discussing working with Dustin Johnson and Justin Rose to design the P730, TM’s Senior Director of Irons, Tomo Bystedt said, “What these players need is a very low-inertia club that they can [manipulate] easily, almost like a surgeon’s scalpel.” Behold the scalpel.

Related: Taylormade expands forged offerings with P730 and P790

Titleist 718 MB

“For the purist there is no substitute for a one-piece, muscle back iron. The 718 MB is the modern choice for those desiring a traditional forged look and feel,” says Titleist in the 718 MB marketing materials.

It’s hard to argue with that statement from the “appearance of a classic forged iron” standpoint. Purists appreciate that the 718 MB maintains Titleist’s traditional lofts (the 6-iron is 31 degrees, the pitching-wedge is 47 degrees), thin top-line, minimal offset, and limited badging. In short, if it ain’t broke…

Related: Titleist’s 718 irons offer endless possibilities.

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Whats in the Bag

Austin Cook’s Winning WITB: The 2017 RSM Classic

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Driver: Ping G400 LST (8.5 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution TX-Flex

3 Wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 Degrees)
Shaft: Fujifuke Motore Speeder VC 7.2 TX-Flex

Hybrid: Ping G400 3 Hybrid (19 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91X

Hybrid: Ping G400 4 Hybrid (22 Degrees)
Shaft: Matrix Ozik Altus Tour H8 91 X

Irons: Ping S55 Orange Dot (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour S-Flex

Wedges: Ping Glide 2.0 SS (50-12, 56-12), Ping Glide 2.0 WS (60)
Shaft: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 Tour Issue

Putter: Ping Sigma G Tyne 
Grip: SuperStroke Mid-Slim 2.0

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

5095fce33e880406a172796becbc64f8 6900daf1b0d2a2751ffa5557ac3865f7 2340677acd0b3c6d0f53ae8fa46c2024 80f602716821fd9518f148951913c9c0 4df372aac347ad61f031f519a1fd1edb 48039d9dfced6272ba047b51e6265d03 6fecf1d551cb1559587f1f17392ba7c8 0519679f5fdaaae2ffbaf2d97c0def72 5445ea5d9987cddfda04efba5d2f1efd

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