Hannah Holden takes a closer look at what's on offer in 2021
Kim Braly Signature – KBS Shafts to you and me – launched in 2008 and quickly took the golfing world by storm. But it was a system that Braly developed with his dad in the years previous that change the shaft industry initially. They called it ‘frequency matching’.
There is no industry standard that classifies what passes as, say, a regular or stiff-flex shaft. In fact, if a player came to you with an unmarked shaft it was very hard to know how to match it.
Frequency matching is a measurement of shaft stiffness based on the oscillation in a set time period. The end of the club is clamped down before a weight is attached to the head end and then pulled down to see how much the shaft vibrates. The slower the club moves the softer it is. The faster it goes the stiffer it is.
KBS started out as a steel-only shaft brand but over the past four years they have added graphite models to their line-ups, including the Max iron shaft and the Tour Graphite Hybrid shaft.
KBS offer a shaft for every club in the bag, from your driver all the way down to your putter. Yes, that’s right, you can get a custom shaft in your putter.
Before we get to that, KBS tour representative Paul Steels joined me on the All the Gear podcast to discuss about everything shaft related, including why it’s vital to have the right golf club shafts, the pros and cons of steel and graphite shafts, why labelling shafts as “men’s” and “women’s” is nonsense, and much, much more.
All the Gear podcast with KBS tour rep Paul Steels
KBS Shafts through the bag
Now let’s run through the bag and see some key options on offer with the help of Paul, who works with the game’s biggest players and brands…
The KBS TD is the first shaft for drivers and woods in the line-up. It is a lighter but stiffer option yet it still has the feel, efficiency and optimisation of spin and launch that the KBS product line is known for. It is a mid-launch, low spin graphite shaft. I recently got fit into this for my driver and fairway wood and the increase in performance is evident.
Phil Mickelson has this in his 3-wood…
The KBS Tour Graphite Hybrid shaft is Paul’s favourite thanks to the feedback it has received on tour.
“That’s probably the one product in our line-up that created the most difference,” he explains. “Initially in testing players would just look at me in disbelief because it didn’t have a typical soft, high hybrid flight that would balloon up lose distance and go left on them, like many hybrids do for tour players, this actually flew like their irons.”
The shaft is a mid-launch, mid-spin option inspired by the KBS Tour steel iron shaft. It lets players hit more aggressive, longer and consistent shots and offers a seamless transition from the KBS iron and wedge shafts but in a graphite model.
KBS are undoubtebly best known for their irons shafts and they have such a wide array of options available.
The KBS Tour is Braly’s signature shaft and is ideal for players desiring shot versatility and mid trajectory. It maximises energy transfer for increased shot control, offers a smooth, responsive feel, and is the preferred model by several of the best golfers in the world.
Open champion Shane Lowry is one of a number of players who use the KBS Tour…
The C-Taper is another hugely popular model on tour. It is designed for players requiring a low, piercing trajectory and superior shot control. It maximises energy transfer for a crisp feel, while optimising shaft diameters in the taper and tip areas for low trajectory and spin control.
But KBS don’t just provide shafts for tour players. The KBS Max line-up is a lightweight model specifically aimed at mid- to high-handicap players. It produces a high trajectory and more spin for longer distance shots. It is perfect for golfers looking to maximise their iron performance.
Across the range KBS really do touch on every handicap and swing speed to provide a fitting option.
Into the wedges and the KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 shafts are the preferred choice for World No 1 Dustin Johnson. It has an active tip section that increases the loft of the clubhead helping to deliver a higher ball launch with more spin for stopping power and accuracy.
The KBS Hi-Rev 2.0 is the preferred shaft of World No 1 Dustin Johnson…
And rounding out the bag we have the KBS Tour One Step putter shaft. This enables the player to have more flexibility in creating pure amplified feel, along with reduction in vibrations at impact for your putts to feel more accurate and stable with varying putter head weights.
So how much difference can a custom putter shaft make to your game?
“It’s the most used club in the bag, whether you like it or not,” Paul explains. “If you’re lucky you’ll use it once per hole. A lot of people just buy a putter off the shelf, and they’ll spend good money on it too.
“If you have a 30-foot putt there will be some flex, so you have to compensate for that to get the face back to the ball which is going to cause some deflection. If you went for a really soft graphite shaft, you would be all over the shop – a 30-foot putt could be 15 feet offline. Having a stronger shaft will certainly help out.”
For more information visit the KBS shafts website.