By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider
KBS had three marquee names — Adam Scott, Justin Rose and Phil Mickelson — using the company's iron shafts in 2013. Even more impressive was the fact that all three players used different KBS shaft models to win three of the season's four major championships.
Scott won the Masters using KBS's Tour shaft — a mid-launch, low-mid spin shaft — in his Titleist 712U utility iron and 710 MB irons, while Rose used the low launch, low spin C-Taper in his TaylorMade RocketBladez Tour and Tour Preferred MB irons.
Phil Mickelson had two different KBS shafts in his irons — KBS's Tour V1 in his Callaway X Forged 4-iron, and a Tour V2 prototype shaft in his 5-PW. In development and testing since 2012, the Tour V2 shaft (it was renamed the Tour-V in September) was similar to the company's popular Tour shaft in feel and trajectory (low-mid trajectory and spin). The difference between the two shafts was that the V2 came in a lightweight package that ranged between 100g-120g depending on flex.
Mickelson started using a Tour-only 125g version in 2012 at the Shell Houston Open and won three times last season, including the Open Championship, with the new shaft model.
Odyssey Versa putter gains following: Odyssey's Versa putter was one of the most talked about putters on TOUR last season. Used by Phil Mickelson, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, Jim Furyk, Keegan Bradley and Dustin Johnson during the year, the putter gained an instant following for its distinctive alignment system.
The alternating black and white lines on the putter head accentuated the face angle at address and allowed players to tell if the putter head was open or closed through the stroke and at impact.
Even more impressive was the versatility of the design. A handful of players had the black and white paint scheme added to their current putter, including Keegan Bradley and Ernie Els. Bradley had the Versa design added to his Odyssey WhiteHot XG Sabertooth at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, while Ernie Els tried out a custom Versa White Hot XG #7 belly putter at the Northern Trust Open.
Tiger Woods goes back to Diamana shaft: Tiger Woods turned back the clock at the THE PLAYERS Championship when he showed up for his Tuesday practice session with a Mitsubishi Diamana White Board 73X shaft in his Nike VR Tour driver.
Woods used the shaft with much success several years back before switching to a Graphite Design AD DI-6X prior to his return to competitive golf at the 2010 Masters.
With the White Board in his driver, Woods went on to win THE PLAYERS Championship and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. The shaft stayed in bag until the Northwestern Mutual World Challenge, where Woods put Mitsubishi Diamana's Blue Board 103X shaft — the same shaft he had been using in his fairway woods — in his new Nike's VRS Covert 2.0 prototype driver.
Woods said he made the switch to the heavier shaft because it gave him better feel of the club at impact.
Piretti in the spotlight: Henrik Stenson's dream season put a little-known putter manufacturer from Spring, Texas, on the map. The Swede's FedExCup-Race to Dubai double, which earned him more than $13 million, was accomplished using a Piretti Cottonwood II prototype — a putter that was co-designed by Stenson and founder Mike Johnson, and had less toe hang and a longer neck than the Piretti Cottonwood II PN.
True Temper's Project X prototype shaft: True Temper unveiled a new PX prototype driver shaft at the FedEx St. Jude Classic at TPC Southwind that featured a higher launch and moderately higher spin rate than the original Project X and Project X Black graphite driver shafts.
The shaft also included a weave pattern in the middle of the shaft that was significantly softer than previous Project X graphite models and acted as a loading zone on the downswing.
True Temper rolled out additional PX prototype shapes throughout the season, including a 6.5 prototype that Marcus Fraser used in his TaylorMade SLDR driver at the PGA Championship.
The company also unveiled the industry's first "progressive" iron shaft called DG Pro. The shaft featured Progressive Technology, which made the long irons easier to hit and the short irons more accurate.
DG Pro was created over 12-plus months following a significant increase in feedback from players who were unable to achieve the desired ball flight with longer irons (3-4 iron).