KBS MAX Graphite Iron Shaft Review

50 Words or Less

The KBS MAX graphite iron shaft expands the weight offerings of the Max family.  High launch and high spin to help players maximize their carry distances.


One of my favorite things about KBS is their relentlessness in expanding their product line to fit every golfer.  Not too long ago, they released the KBS Max, a lightweight steel shaft with high launch and spin.  For 2019, they’re growing the Max family with KBS Max Graphite to help golfers who want that same performance profile with even less weight.


The KBS MAX Graphite has a little more flair than your typical steel shaft but doesn’t go overboard.  There’s a sharp black and white contrast between the upper and lower sections of the shaft.  KBS’s trademark red logo pops against the white background.


With the heavy emphasis on high launch and light weight, I expected the KBS MAX Graphite to feel like a noodle.  Though it’s not going to be confused with the C-Taper, I was surprised by how stable the MAX Graphite felt.  There is a pronounced kick low in the shaft, but the shaft doesn’t feel loose or twisty around impact.


One of the major benefits of the KBS MAX Graphite shaft family is the variety of weights available.  This shaft comes in 45, 55, 65, 75, and 85 grams.  While it’s just a starting point for fitting, KBS is prescriptive about what swing speed matches each weight.  If you’re under 50 MPH with your 6I, KBS recommends the 45 gram version.  This steps up in roughly 9 MPH increments until the 78-85 MPH swinger is fit into the 85 gram KBS MAX Graphite.

KBS also emphasizes that these are high launching, high spinning shafts.  Those are characteristics that typically aren’t promoted by shaft manufacturers, but I think you’ll see more of it in the coming years.  The reason is that iron lofts are getting so strong.  When a new 5I has the loft of yesteryear’s 3I, the shaft needs to produce the launch and spin to maximize distance.

For me, the 85 gram MAX Graphite did exactly what it claimed to do: launched the ball high and far.  As someone with a fairly low ball flight, the added launch and spin added distance in the mid and long irons.  The negative for me is that the difference in weight between the MAX Graphite and my gamer C-Taper Lite (review HERE) was too dramatic to get consistent results.  I expect that I could acclimate over a longer period of time, but, at this moment, my swing works better with a heavier shaft.


If modern iron lofts have rendered your mid and long irons useless, consider the KBS MAX Graphite shaft as a way to bring them back into play.  The added launch and spin can provide more carry distance, and the light weight may help you regain swing speed.

Matt Saternus
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  1. Chuck nielsen

    I thought high launch and low spin was better for getting the distance with more roll

    • Matt Saternus


      It’s a matter of fit and where you define “high” and “low.” This shaft is designed for higher launch and spin to offset A) slower swing speeds and B) modern iron design. It is very possible to have too little spin to optimize carry distance.



    • Larry Castagnoli

      Thats with a driver…not irons

  2. Thanks for the review Matt. I’m thinking or ordering a set of the new P790s, and would like a higher launch shaft to give me a steeper descent angle. Currently gaming Titleist TMBs with steelfiber 110s fit by Clubchampion, 7i carry is 160. My fitter actually put me in a heavier weight graphite to get my ball flight up, as I’m pretty shallow. Based off all the iron shafts you’ve tested, does any one stand out as really elevating launch…would your favorite be c taper lite (I’ve also gamed these), kbs max or another? Thank you!

    • Matt Saternus


      For me, nothing has beaten the C-Taper Lite. The MAX Graphite is definitely on the leading edge in terms of high launch if you are smooth enough to deal with the light weight. The True Temper Elevate is pretty solid going back to a mid-weight. You also can’t ignore Nippon. The 950GH – neo or standard – is excellent.



  3. Hi Matt,

    I play TGI 80 in 5-PW but struggle with 4i launch. Any thoughts on trying this shaft in my 4i for a little more height?

    • Matt Saternus


      No reason that it’s not worth a try, but I wouldn’t expect a dramatic change – maybe a degree or so.



      • Brendan Monahan


        I play Taylormade P790 with fujikura vista pro 50 shaft right now but interested how you think the KBS max graphite would be another option?


        • Matt Saternus


          If you’re unhappy with the way your current set up performs, my best advice is to get a fitting. Buying to try, especially with iron shafts, is a very expensive process.



  4. What’s difference between KBS MAX 55 senior and Mitsubishi MMT senior iron shaft

  5. Matt, how do these shafts compare to the Recoil 460? I have been playing the Recoil for about a year am I’m fairly satisfied with them but always looking for something with a little tighter dispersion. Thanks.

    • Matt Saternus


      I haven’t spent enough time with any of the Recoil shafts to give a very good comparison.



  6. Michael Gainey

    I play p790 with dynamic gold 105 regular shafts . I’m looking to change to a bit higher launch .my 7, 6,5,4, irons are just to low . What can you suggest.

  7. Rajesh Kumar

    Matt nice review. What other shafts would come closest to KBS max in terms of launch and spin ? For e.g is one were using a KBS max 75 gm what other shaft could match that playability factors.

    • Matt Saternus


      You might consider the Nippon NS Pro shafts. The best thing would be to get a fitting and try a variety of shafts to find the one that delivers the best results.


  8. Raymond Tancredi

    Hello Matt
    I think this would be the perfect shaft for my swing. I hope the Tip is .355 to fit Ping G410 Irons.
    My Swing Speed with my drive is 75 to 80 mph. My fitting is -1 Length -3 Flat.
    Any recomendations.

    • Matt Saternus


      My advice is always to get a fitting to find the best shaft. “Buy to try” ends up being a much more expensive and frustrating process.


  9. Burton davidson

    Hi Matt , is the kbs 45 g max a good fit for my forged irons ( 588 cb ) ? I just turned 87 . My swing speed is slow and smooth and I carry a7i about 135 y in the air .

    • Matt Saternus


      The only way to know for sure is to test them in a fitting. On paper that seems very reasonable, but lots of reasonable ideas fall apart in the real world.



  10. Ken Heinemann

    Aloha Matt, love your writings. Excellent work always! I’m looking for the lightest weight KBS shaft for my Taylor Made stealth 2 4 HD. Is the MAX GRAPHITE IRON 45g good for a low swing speed senior?

    • Matt Saternus


      Thank you!
      If you’re looking for something light that can help add some speed, the 45 gram KBS is a fine choice.



  11. John Guillama

    Matt I haveT300 Titleist irons noticing that my shots are going left have graphite design 75 G regular should I go with KBS 85 Max stiff

    • Matt Saternus


      You’re talking about changing flex, weight, and shaft model. That might work, it might not, but it’s way too many changes for anyone to make an educated guess about how it will turn out. My best advice is always to get fit before making a change to your bag.


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