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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

  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

Blade vs. mallet: What style putters do the top-50 players in the world use? (2022 update)

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Four years ago, I wrote an article where I analyzed the putters that the top-50 players in the world were using, and the top-50 players in strokes gained: putting. I wanted to find out whether more mallet-style putters, or blade-style putters, were being used by the world’s best.

In 2018, I found that 44 percent of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings were using mallet style putters, and 56 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet putters.

Flash forward to 2022, and it would seem that more and more top golfers are switching into mallet putters – Scottie Scheffler, for example, just switched into a mallet putter after using a blade-style putter throughout his career.

What are the actual numbers, though? Are more top PGA Tour players really using mallet putters these days, or is the shift overblown?

I wanted to find out.

For my research, I simply went through the most recent GolfWRX WITB photos, and the most recent photos on Getty Images, to figure out what style putter each player in the Top-50 in the OWGR is using, as well as each Top-50 player in strokes gained: putting on the PGA Tour for the 2021-22 season.

Below are the results:

Top-50 in OWGR: Blade or Mallet?

Mallet putter users, 62 percent (31 out of 50)

Rory McIlroy’s TaylorMade Spider Tour mallet putter

Rory McIlroy (No. 1: TaylorMade Spider Tour Hydroblast)

Scottie Scheffler (No. 2: Scotty Cameron T-5.5 Proto)

Patrick Cantlay (No. 4: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Jon Rahm (N0. 5: Odyssey Rossie S White Hot OG)

Xander Schauffele (No. 6: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red)

Will Zalatoris (No. 7: Scotty Cameron Circle T Phantom X T-11 Proto)

Justin Thomas (No. 8: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto Tour-Only custom)

Viktor Hovland (No. 11: Ping PLD DS 72)

Sam Burns (No. 12: Odyssey O-Works 7S)

Billy Horschel (No. 16: Ping PLD Sigma 2 Tyne 4)

Cameron Young (No. 17: Scotty Cameron T5 prototype)

Max Homa (No. 18: Scotty Cameron Phantom X T5.5 Prototype)

Sungjae Im (No. 20: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 Prototype)

Shane Lowry: (No. 21: Odyssey DFX 2-ball)

Abraham Ancer (No. 23: Odyssey White Hot No. 5 Stroke Lab)

Keegan Bradley (No. 25: Odyssey Versa Jailbird)

Sepp Straka (No. 27: Odyssey Tuttle Stroke Lab)

Tyrrell Hatton (No. 28: Ping Vault Oslo)

Kevin Kisner (No. 29: Odyssey 2-Ball 11)

Dustin Johnson (No. 30: TaylorMade Spider GT Black)

Corey Conners (No. 31: Ping PLD Prototype)

Tom Hoge (No. 32: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

K.H. Lee (No. 33: Odyssey Works Versa 2-ball)

Adam Scott (No. 34: L.A.B. Golf Mezz.1 prototype)

Aaron Wise (No. 36: TaylorMade Ghost)

Brian Harman (No. 37: TaylorMade OS CB)

Daniel Berger (No. 43: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

Jason Kokrak (No. 44: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38)

Harold Varner III (No. 46: Odyssey White Hot OG 7S)

Seamus Power (No. 48: Ping PLD3 Mallet)

Harris English (No. 49: Ping Scottsdale Hohum)

Blade putter users, 38 percent (19 out of 50)

Tom Kim’s new custom Scotty Cameron blade-style putter

Cameron Smith (No. 3: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Collin Morikawa (No. 9: TaylorMade TP Soto)

Matt Fitzpatrick (No. 10: Bettinardi DASS Prototype)

Jordan Spieth (No. 13: Scotty Cameron 009 tour prototype)

Tony Finau (No. 14: Ping PLD Prototype)

Joohyung “Tom” Kim (No. 15: Scotty Cameron TourType GSS Prototype)

Hideki Matsuyama (No. 19: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 GSS)

Joaquin Niemann (No. 22: Prototype Ping PLD Anser)

Tommy Fleetwood (No. 24: TaylorMade TP Juno)

Ryan Fox (No. 26: Ping Anser 2D)

Thomas Pieters (No. 35: Scotty Cameron Squareback Select 2 Tour Only)

Talor Gooch (No. 38: Odyssey Tri-Hot Two)

Brooks Koepka (No. 39: Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP2)

Kevin Na (No. 40: Odyssey Toulon Madison)

Kurt Kitayama (No. 41: Scotty Cameron Newport prototype)

Louis Oosthuizen (No. 42: Ping Vault 2.0 Voss)

Mito Pereira (No. 45: Ping Vault 2.0 Dale Anser Stealth)

Paul Casey (No. 47: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Alex Noren (No. 50: Odyssey O-Works 1W)

Top-50 in Strokes Gained: Putting

Mallet users: 70 percent (35 of 50 players)

Kelly Kraft’s custom Odyssey Versa 1-Ball Red prototype mallet

Lucas Herbert (No. 1: TaylorMade Spider X Hydroblast)

Denny McCarthy (No. 2: Scotty Cameron GoLo N7)

Tyrrell Hatton (No. 4: Ping Vault Oslo)

Beau Hossler (No. 5: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten)

Christiaan Bezuidenhout (No. 6: Odyssey White Hot OG #7)

Kelly Kraft (No. 7: Odyssey Versa 1-ball Red Prototype)

Kevin Kisner (No. 9: Odyssey 2-ball 11)

Sam Burns (No. 10: Odyssey O-Works 7S)

Martin Trainer (No. 12: Scotty Cameron Circle T Prototype Phantom T12)

Chesson Hadley (No. 13: Odyssey White Hot OG 2-Ball)

Mackenzie Hughes (No. 14: Ping Scottsdale TR Piper C)

Rory McIlroy (No. 16: TaylorMade Spider Tour Hydroblast)

Ian Poulter (No. 17: Scotty Cameron T-11 Proto)

Justin Rose (No. 20: Axis1 Rose Prototype)

Billy Horschel (No. 21: Ping PLD Sigma 2 Tyne 4)

Matthew Wolff (No. 23: TaylorMade GT Notchback)

Adam Long (No. 24: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Viktor Hovland (No. 25: Ping PLD DS 72)

Max Homa (No. 27: Scotty Cameron Phantom X T5.5 Prototype)

Patrick Cantlay (T28: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Jon Rahm (T28: Odyssey Rossie S White Hot OG)

Wyndham Clark (No. 31: Scotty Cameron T5 Proto)

Xander Schauffele (No. 32: Odyssey O-Works #7 CH Red)

Vince Whaley (No. 33: Odyssey White Hot OG #7)

Rory Sabbatini (No. 34: Scotty Cameron Flowback Prototype)

Austin Cook (T35: Ping Sigma G Tyne)

Sungjae Im (No. 37: Scotty Cameron Flowback 5 Prototype)

Andrew Putnam (No. 38: Odyssey Stroke Lab Black Rossie)

Sepp Straka (No. 39: Odyssey Tuttle Stroke Lab)

Seamus Power (No. 40: Ping PLD3 Mallet)

J.T. Poston (T41: Scotty Cameron GoLo 5 Black Tour Prototype)

Adam Scott (T41: L.A.B. Golf Mezz.1 prototype)

Troy Merritt (No. 43: Yes! C-Groove Mollie Tour)

Jason Kokrak (T46: Bettinardi Studio Stock 38)

Mark Hubbard (No. 50: Odyssey Metal X Milled #9HT)

Blade users: 30 percent (15 of 50)

Matthew Fitzpatrick’s custom Bettinardi blade-style putter

Brendon Todd (No. 3: Sik Pro C-Series)

Cameron Smith (No. 8: Scotty Cameron 009M Prototype)

Matt Kuchar (No. 11: Bettinardi Tour Department SS28 DASS)

Marc Leishman (No. 15: Odyssey Versa #6)

Alex Noren (No. 18: Odyssey O-Works 1W)

Maverick McNealy (No. 19: Toulon Stanford MM Custom)

Matt Fitzpatrick (No. 22: Bettinardi DASS Prototype)

Tommy Fleetwood (No. 26: TaylorMade TP Juno)

Patrick Rodgers (No. 30: Odyssey Toulon San Diego)

Seung-Yul Noh (T35: Scotty Cameron Select Prototype)

Scott Stallings (No. 44: Scotty Cameron Newport 2.6 Prototype)

Brooks Koepka (No. 45: Scotty Cameron Teryllium TNP2)

Justin Lower (T46: PXG Prototype)

Richy Werenski (No. 48: Scotty Cameron Circle T Prototype)

Patrick Reed (No. 49: Odyssey White Hot Pro #3)

Conclusion

In 2018, 44 percent of the top-50 players in the Official World Golf Rankings were using mallet style putters, and 56 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet putters.

In 2022, 62 percent of the top-50 players in the OWGR use mallet style putters, and 70 percent of the top-50 in strokes gained: putting were using mallet style putters.

What do you think this means?

To me, it means that each golfer should try as many putters as possible – under the supervision of a professional fitter or local club professional – and find the best possible putter to fit their stroke style and preferences.

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Putter Reviews

REVIEW: Ping’s new PLD (Putting Lab Design) putters for 2022

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Not every golfer has access to custom-built golf putters like PGA Tour players do, but with Ping’s new PLD (Putting Lab Design) program, they can get pretty darn close.

Through the newly launched website, pingpld.com, golfers will have access to precision milled putters like the ones seen on Tour, and they can even customize their own putter with a Tour-level fitting experience either online or in person.

There’s three essential levels to the new PLD program: PLD Custom, PLD Limited and PLD Milled. Each of the levels comes with different putter options at differing price points.

“The PLD program allows us to bring golfers more of what we do best – design and build the highest-performing custom putters in the game,” said Ping President John K. Solheim, in a press release. “It offers nearly endless possibilities. Golfers can craft their own custom design through PLD Custom, choose the proven performance of a PLD Milled model or add to their putter collection by acquiring a PLD Limited. It gives golfers a chance to play what the pros play and own a piece of Ping history.”

“We established the PLD name several years ago as an extension of the PING Putting Lab,
where we’ve been fitting some of the top players in the world for more than 20 years,” said
Solheim. “Until now, access to the master fitters who deliver these custom putter experiences has been limited to the best players in the game. We can now bring golfers what they’ve been asking for either through a virtual or in-person experience.”

Below, we go further in-depth on each of the three options within the PLD program.

Ping PLD Milled

PGA Tour players such as Viktor Hovland, Tony Finau and Bubba Watson use Ping PLD precision milled putters, and now consumers will have access to those Tour-proven putters.

Each of the heads (Anser, Anser 2, DS72 and Prime Tyne 4) are machine milled from forged 303 stainless steel. Ping offers a breakdown of the specs for each available model, which will sell for $485 each:

Anser

Slight Arc
350g
Matte Black finish
Ping black graphite shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Anser 2

Slight Arc
350g
Satin finish
Chrome stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

DS72

Straight Stroke
365g
Satin finish
Chrome stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 2°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

Prime Tyne 4

Aerospace grade, machined aluminum hosel
Strong Arc
360g
Matte Black finish
Matte-black stepless steel shaft
Lie Angle: 20° +/- 4°
Loft: 3° +3°/- 2°

“The PLD Milled is an exciting addition to our putter line,” said John K. Solheim. “We’ve
identified a couple of our most popular models from the past and some newer designs that have attracted a lot of attention in the last couple of years. We’ve given the new putters a very clean, premium look to emphasize the precision process they undergo before they are ready for play. As we collaborate on new designs with our engineers and tour staff through the PLD program, we’ll add new models to bring golfers the latest in tour-proven performance on the putting green.”

Ping PLD Limited

Ping’s PLD Limited will feature periodic limited-edition releases consisting of either putters that are played on Tour, or iconic designs from history. According to Ping, these putters are mostly targeted toward collectors, so they will have serialized numbers and will not be available for custom modifications.

For its first release ($790), Ping developed a 2022 version of the original Ping Anser, celebrating the 55th Anniversary of receiving the original Anser Patent on March 21, 1967.

“A lot of time has passed since the invention of the Anser putter,” said John A. Solheim, Ping’s Chairman & CEO and the youngest son of Karsten Solheim, who designed the original putter. “We think it’s important to remind the golf industry and some of the younger golfers that the iconic design they see with other brands’ name on it was created by Karsten in his garage in the mid-1960s. I was fortunate to be at his side building the first Ansers, and continued to do so for many years. It’s time Karsten gets the credit he deserves for inventing the Anser putter.”

Ping PLD Custom

The highest level in the Ping PLD program feature the PLD Custom putters, where golfers can customize their own designs with either the help of a Ping Master fitter in person, or virtually through the PLD program online. To help golfers find their perfect putter, they will use the PLD iPing putting app, and a Ping Master fitter will analyze the player’s data to recommend a putter.

Then, golfers can fully customize the putter to their liking, with ability to change head model, Tungsten weighting, face milling, finish, alignment aids, stampings and paint fill. Ping’s Master Fitters will also help golfers get the correct length, lie angle and loft for their stroke and biometrics.

The putters themselves will sell for $1,290, and a $200 non-refundable payment is required to schedule and participate in a PLD Custom Fitting, whether it’s virtually or in person.

Personally, I received a Ping PLD Custom Fitting in-person at the company’s indoor facility in Phoenix, Arizona. After identifying my stroke flaws (of which there many) using Ping’s iPing putting app, I tried out a slew of different head options and we made head adjustments along the way to figure out what truly works. Here were my final specs:

Head model: Ping Anser
Finish: Patina
Weight: 350 grams
Alignment line/dot: None
Stamping: “T” on the hosel
Length: 35.5 inches
Shaft: Chrome Stepless Steel
Grip: PP58 Black Midsize

What blew me away most was how impactful length and lie angle can be on comfort at address and stroke pattern. Even minor changes felt drastic. Also, the depth of face milling can truly change both feel and sound; I never realized how much.

Another point of note: Switching up alignment lines obviously can affect aim, but for me, they also influenced my stroke itself due to the visual changes. I highly suggest going through a full putter fitting to determine what specifications you prefer for yourself.

Check out the photos below of the putter that was designed for me through my work with a Ping Master Fitter:

Ping PLD putters are available for pre-order today, and head over to Ping’s PLD website to book your own fitting here.

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Reviews

Giveaway, member testing roundup: Cobra LTDx Driver giveaway + more!

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Our forum faithful are well acquainted with the incredible giveaways going on in the realm of threads and comments, but we want to make sure front page readers are able to get in on these unique opportunities.

Check out a roundup of our current giveaways and review opportunities below!

GIVEAWAY: Cobra LTDx Driver

Cobra Golf is bringing real firepower to their driver line this year with three brand new King LTDx drivers! We are giving 3 lucky members that chance to win a King LTDx driver of their choice, including custom options! Enter now for your chance to win!

Enter here.


MEMBER TESTING: SQAIRZ Speed Golf Shoes

SQAIRZ has been making some extremely advanced and highly engineered shoes for a few years now. The Sqairz Speed is a new shoe model aimed at providing you with improved performance of your golf swing, unique to any other golf shoe on the market. The Speed is lighter weight for those who love to walk and we are looking for 5 members to test out these new shoes! Apply now for your chance to be a tester!

Enter here.


GolfWRX GIVEAWAY: Cobra RADSPEED Driver

GolfWRX is giving away a Cobra RADSPEED 9* head with a Project X HZRDUS Smoke Blue RDX 60g 6.0 (Stiff) shaft. Headcover included!

Enter here.


The reviews are coming in…

10 GolfWRXers received early access and are testing L.A.B. Golf’s new MEZZ.1 Putter.

Three GolfWRX members are testing Callaway’s Apex UW Fairway Wood.

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