Earlier this month, Eddie Pepperell claimed his second European Tour title of the season at the British Masters, going wire-to-wire at Walton Heath after putting new shafts in his irons at the start of the week.
When a tour player is on a good run of form, it can take a lot to convince them to make an equipment change. With Eddie Pepperell having the best season of his career, and having recently switched to a new set of JPX919 Tour irons, Mizuno’s tour technician, Matt McIsaac, knew it wasn’t the right time to talk shafts.
“Eddie is very much a feel player, so if he likes what he’s playing and is in good form, it’s poor timing to discuss a change of shaft," he explained. "Any small change can take getting used to, even if the Trackman says it’s an improvement. Eddie put the 919 Tour heads straight into play because he preferred the thinner topline and we decided that should be the last change until the off-season.”
That was the plan, at least.
“Eddie needed a 6-iron shaft in Scotland [during the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship] after the Mizuno workshop had left and had to raid a local shop, ‘Auchterlonies’, for an emergency replacement. All that was available at short notice was the KBS C Taper, which he used in his 6-iron – and hit all his best shots with.”
On the Monday of the British Masters, Mizuno had a filming session booked with Pepperell to demonstrate its Shaft Optimizer fitting tool. McIsaac took Pepperell through Mizuno’s DNA swing diagnostic process and, by coincidence, it recommended the KBS C Taper - the same shaft Pepperell had picked up in St Andrews!
One new set of JPX919 Tour irons, with KBS C Taper shafts later and Pepperell was the winner of the British Masters.
The hero of the story, according to Mizuno’s McIsaac, is not the KBS C Taper itself (Pepperell had previously been using the KBS S Taper). He said: “There’s a ‘best fit’ shaft for everyone. For Eddie, it was the KBS C Taper. For someone else, it will be the S Taper. Wait for the moment when you’re open to improvement, throw away your preconceptions and try the Optimizer. It doesn’t know if you’re male, female a tour winner or a 24 handicapper. It just measures your move and finds the best shaft for it.”
• Eddie Pepperell plays Mizuno JPX919 Tour irons (3-9) with KBS C-Taper 130 X shafts, Mizuno T7 wedges: 46°, 50°, 56° & 60°, and a Mizuno MP-18 MMC Fli-Hi #2.