FST’s Kim Braly Knows a Thing or Two About Golf Shafts
Kim Braly is “an industry guy,” meaning that he’s been there, done it with skill and distinction for a long time.
The Alabama native who now lives and works in the Scottsdale, Az. area, is the son of Dr. Joe Braly, an avid golfer, engineer and club “tinkerer” who designed such groundbreaking products as the Console Sand wedge and DynaPhase golf clubs, the latter being the first mass produced clubs made with titanium.
After taking college courses at Wake Forest University, Kim Braly returned home to work in the family business at Console Golf. Alongside his father, he began developing an affinity for club design and shaft technology. He and his father sought out the best golfers in the world to validate their designs and continue developing new products. Together, the two launched one of the first-ever Tour vans on the PGA Tour. During this time, the Bralys engineered all-new golf shaft technologies, co-authoring patents on frequency matching, and designing new products for manufacturers and Tour professionals.
In the 1980’s, the father-son duo formed a new company, Precision Shaft Corporation. Serving as vice president and production manager, Kim Braly was responsible for developing and running production for proprietary steel shafts supplied to several of the major clubhead manufacturers at the time. Through a series of buyouts in the 1990’s, Precision eventually become Royal Precision, where Kim Braly continued to work, patenting a series of lightweight steel shafts and frequency matching for graphite.
At Royal Precision, he embarked on two revolutionary stepless steel shaft designs, including the RIFLE and Project X shafts, which remain popular today among club builders and Tour pros. The products are owned and produced by True Temper Corporation, which acquired Royal Precision in the early 2000’s.
In 2007, FST co-founders Rob Cheng and David Chuang approached Kim Braly about starting a premier, high-performance line of steel golf shafts. In early 2008, Kim Braly Signature (KBS) TOUR Shafts was formed and he serves today is Director of R&D and Tour operations.
Since 2008, the KBS has quickly become the single most impactful steel shaft brand ever in a short span of time, widely adopted by top PGA Tour professionals and by the custom departments of every major manufacturer. Combining FST’s state-of-the-art manufacturing with Kim Braly’s empirical knowledge, the KBS TOUR Series offers an all-new performance options proven in independent robot testing, on the PGA Tour, and by an avid following of fans.
“It really is quite remarkable how far we have come in five years,” says Kim Braly. “At first, we didn’t have a single OEM using our shafts and now we have TaylorMade and almost every major OEM.”
He says the difference is in the details.
“I’m excited to be working at a factory where they have such knowledge of and skills at machine tooling and have refined the heat treating process. We aren’t using antiquated ways. I’m not handicapped by a manufacturer’s inability to do certain things.”
Braly, 56, is also pleased that shafts and their importance to the overall performance of the golf club have received much more recognition over the last 10 years or so.
“I think the Internet has brought so much knowledge to the average golfer. The consumer is a lot savvier now because of all the information he has. Everybody can benefit from the proper shaft, not just Tour players.”
He gives credit to his father, who is retired, for much of his success.
“Dad (now 90) was a pioneer with frequency matching of shafts and did some amazing things. I was in the back doing grunt work early on and then we had enormous success in the Japan market that really launched the company and our designs.”