Tech talk: How to get the right shafts in your irons
We spoke to Kim Braly, head of R&D at KBS Shafts who explained why the right shaft iron shafts are so important and why you need to get fitted properly.
Does everyone need to get fitted for their irons or just better players?
“There’s so many things that go on during the swing and it happens so quickly that there are things that we are doing to manipulate the golf club that we don’t even know what we are doing.
“An accomplished golfer is more able to perform those manipulations and is more aware of those manipulations.
“A lot of people say things like ‘I’m not good enough to get fitted’ – well I think that the player who doesn’t have the ability to know exactly how they are manipulating the golf club has more to gain from being fit.”
How will a player notice if their iron shafts are too stiff and heavy?
“For a right-handed player, they are going to tend to miss to the right-hand side. They’re definitely not going to get the height out of it that they would like.
“Quite frankly the golf club is not going to feel very nice, it’s going to be hard work. If a shaft is too stiff it generally feels awful.
“A softer shaft will feel much better generally for most people.”
What about for faster swingers? What will they see with shaft that is too light and weak?
“Generally speaking it will be the opposite. The player with a shaft that is too weak for them is going to hit the ball too high and spin the ball too much and miss to the left side.”
Are there any other tell-tale signs of the wrong iron shaft?
“It is a combination of a lot of things. For a player that plays fairly regularly are swinging the golf club constantly enough to have a pattern.
“Those who play once every two years won’t. If a golfer wants to be better they need to get product that is right got them, they need to have golf clubs that are the right length, with the right lies, the right stiffness in the shaft in order to be able to square the club at impact – that’s what the shaft does – it allows the club to be squared at impact, which is pretty important in golf!
How has the iron-fitting process changed over the years?
“My father invented frequency matching (measuring and defining the flex of a golf shaft through electronic calibration) 40-something years ago.
“I’ve been working for a very long time with different stiffnesses and being able to identify specifically what the stiffness of the shafts are, working with players of all ability levels and observing what happens when players hit with shafts that are too stiff or too weak and observing ball flight and spin.
“Before we had launch monitors – everything was done on the range and done by sight. With the advent of the launch monitor it has allowed us to understand better what is going on in terms of what happens after the ball has been struck.”
How do KBS shafts differ from others on the market?
“What makes the KBS line unique is the noticeable difference in the transfer of energy. This is partly accomplished through the unique design of KBS shafts; each shaft has an equal deduction in stiffness throughout the length of the shaft. Once the shaft is loaded, there is nothing to disrupt the transfer of energy through impact.”