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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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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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Whats in the Bag

Lucas Glover’s winning WITB: 2021 John Deere Classic

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Driver: Srixon Z 785 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X

3-wood: Ping G425 Max (14.5 degrees)
Shaft: TPT 14 Hi

Irons: Titleist U500 (3), Mizuno JPX919 Tour (4-PW)
Shafts: Fujikura Ventus Hybrid Blue 10 X (3), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 120 TX (3-PW)

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (52-12F, 56-10S), Vokey SM5 (60-08M)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 125 TX

Putter: Scotty Cameron Select Squareback 2

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Grips: Golf Pride Victory 2000 Full Cord

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Whats in the Bag

Rory McIlroy WITB 2021 (July)

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Rory McIlroy WITB accurate as of the abrdn Scottish Open. 

Driver: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (9 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Kuro Kage XTS 70 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Max (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White 80 TX (43.25 inches, 58 lie, D4)

Irons: TaylorMade P760 (3), TaylorMade Rors Proto (3-9)
Shafts: Project X Rifle 7.0

Wedges: TaylorMade MG (48), MG2 TW (56 and 60-11)
Shaft: Project X Rifle 6.5

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Hydro Blast

Ball: 2021 TaylorMade TP5x (#22)

Grips: Golf Pride MCC

*Photos via @sms_on_tour

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Equipment

How defending John Deere Classic champ Dylan Frittelli gained nearly 20 yards

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Editor’s Note: We filed this piece for PGATOUR.com’s Equipment Report.

Let’s begin with some trivia: Looking at the past 10 years, which PGA TOUR golfer has made the biggest distance gain year over year? “That’s an easy one,” you say. “Bryson DeChambeau.” Correct. But who’s right behind Bryson and his 19.8-yard increase in distance from 2019 to 2020?

Who picked up 18 yards off the tee from 2020 to 2021, increasing his average drive from 291 yards to 309?

Here’s a clue: He’s the defending at this week’s John Deere Classic.

While the riddle would have been much more difficult without a headline and image atop this story, it takes nothing away from Frittelli, whose driver clubhead speed is now an impressive 118.7 mph.

“If you hit it 10 yards longer, you increase your prize money by $1 million,” Frittelli said earlier this year, citing statistics. “Things like that are non-negotiable in my mind. It’s fun for me. It’s re-invigorated my game. I’m excited to hit tee shots and see how I can play holes on golf courses differently. Not going full bore, just adding a little speed training in certain situations.”

After doubling down on his fitness — “two solid years of lifting,” according to Frittelli — he wasn’t seeing his increased strength translate to a boost in distance.

“Basically July last year, I looked at my trainer and I said why am I not hitting it any longer? I’ve been doing all these power workouts, strength workouts in the gym, and I’m getting stronger for sure because I can see my PRs moving up in each exercise. I then figured out that he said to me you actually want to hit it further? I didn’t realize that. Yeah, so we switched that up had a little more speed in the workout, so instead of just power and strength, trying to lift heavy and lots of reps, went down to fewer reps and lighter weight.”

In addition, the South African has made some interesting adjustments to his driver setup. And as this is the Equipment Report, we wanted to get more information on the artillery the bomber-come-lately is employing.

We spoke with Callaway’s PGA TOUR manager, Jacob Davidson, to learn more.

GolfWRX: When did the discussion about switching to a longer driver shaft begin, and what was that process like to get him into his current setup?

JD: It started last year. His driver cracked and he put the same model with a new shaft in play at THE CJ CUP @ SHADOW CREEK. We did some more work the next week at the ZOZO CHAMPIONSHIP @ SHERWOOD, and we moved him into a Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero D head that was a little bit wider. We did a bunch of testing at that point with different shafts, tipping. He played the Mavrik Sub Zero D through the fall. Around the Farmers Insurance Open, he did some new testing with the Epic Speed and did some more testing at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and ended up putting the Callaway Epic Speed Triple Diamond LS in play for the PGA Championship with a 46-inch Mitsubishi Tensei AV White AV 65 X tipped 1.5 inches.

The head was a natural fit. His misses had been a little right. With this head, he got lower spin with a more neutral start line. It has a little weight back so it’s more forgiving. 7.6 degrees of actual loft. N-1 hosel setting.

Read the rest of the piece here. 

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