Look at these shiny babies! Aren’t they pretty?!
I treated myself with a great new set of irons recently. A set which I was thinking about getting for years!
You might know I’m quite an Acushnet fanboy and loved my Titleist 712 AP2 for years. But then when I played less (which I think is usually the case when you get a child) I thought about trying some new irons which would fall more into the game improvement category. Jordan Spieth plays AP2s on tour and I thought weekend golfers should stick to the equipment they are supposed to use, not want they want to use.
So I moved away from my beloved Titleist irons and I believed that this was a smart move to look for something in the mass market category: Bigger head, massive sole, forgiving on all edges, graphite shaft and ready to swing the ball with less speed and still get decent distance. But distance was never an issue. Truth be told, I got fitted to the PING G400, played them for 2 years but somehow it didn’t click. Apparently they were just not for me.
If you know PING’s fitting system, you are aware of their color code system. I was recommended a Blue set, while in hindsight I strongly believe it should have been a Black for me. So already standing over the ball, it felt weird to me.
So it was about time to change something. I lacked feel around the greens, missed the forged feel of full iron shots and I also couldn’t get used to the annoying sound it produced with every shot. In other words, I wasn’t happy with them and knew we had to part ways soon.
I bought the PINGs concentrating on playability and consistency, willing to bear the ugly chunkiness of these clubs. Now it was time for something else, for something I always wanted, always strived for but didn’t go for because I believed it wasn’t for me: another set of Titleist players irons. One set I couldn’t get out of my head was Titleist’s CBs, the friendlier brother to the butter knife muscle backs MBs.
Always admiring these clubs from an esthetic standpoint, I never really considered them seriously: Small face, thin top line, thin sole, only little help around the edges and behind the small sweet spot. So it looks like it’s not for weekend golfers per se, but I wanted to give it a shot. I desperately wanted it. When I saw the mid-2019 announcement how the next generation of 620 CBs will look like in 2020, I had to buy the old 718 CBs, I just had to because they are so damn pretty. Have to admit that the weak Pound to the Euro played its part as well.
What followed after this thought was a complicated search for the right setting. I did some extensive research on shaft flexes and weight, and I want you to benefit from this process as well. So this thought process is what led to my setting:
In the AP2 I played a ProjectX 5.5 shaft with a stock Tour Velvet grip. The grip wasn’t perfect but fine. The 5.5 rifle shaft (with a 5.0 FCM) was a tad too stiff for me and ProjectX shafts generally create a more low ball flight due to their stiffer tip section. Also, the 5.5 shaft was more on the heavy side compared to the weight of the club head. With that I lacked the feel for the position of the head at the end of my shaft during the swing.
So I wanted something lighter and something that would still create a penetrating ball flight but a fraction higher than what I was used to. I had to look for another shaft manufacturer and found the perfect setup with KBS. It’s impossible to compare apples and oranges and stiff doesn’t equal stiff, but leaving all shaft section flexes aside, the KBS equivalent to the ProjectX 5.5 seems to be the KBS Tour Stiff (similar FCM: Frequency Coefficient Matching, a system based on cycle per minute (CPM) data from golf shaft oscillation tests.) This would come in a very similar shaft weight though – would certainly launch higher but wouldn’t improve the weight issue. I could go down some grams with the regular shaft or the regular+, but that wouldn’t be stiff enough for my swing characteristic. To cut a long story short, I found the perfect setup with the KBS Tour 90 Stiff.
It’s lighter than my old, lighter than regular KBS Tours, still maintain enough stiffness and create a higher ball flight with a kick in the tip section. It would loose distance due to the higher launch but would gain something back through the kick. This paired with the most beautiful forged club head on the market and the same forgiveness as in the Titleist 716 AP2, I just couldn’t go wrong.
In terms of grip I wanted to try the Golf Pride New Decade MultiCompound with its hybrid approach to cotton and rubber and I have to say it’s been great so far.
This much for setting. I had everything exclusively made for me, bought the set from 2-iron to PW and will stick to my Bob Vokey wedges, the Scotty Cameron putter and the PING G400 driver, woods and hybrid. I can say it’s a dream set come true. Maybe someday updated with the recent Titleist woods and hybrid models, but for now I’m happy with what I got from PING. I don’t use woods and hybrids much anyway—I’m more the 2-iron kind of guy.
On Sunday I took them out for the first time, had a quick range session and immediately played a tournament with them. Luckily everything felt and behaved just as expected. Happy me!