The new face of Honma

New launches, a new boss, more pres­ence on Tour... This Ja­panese brand has some big plans to rein­vent it­self for 2019

Today's Golfer (UK) - - FIRST TEE -

Honma are best known in the West for mak­ing bling, gold-plated driv­ers and irons which come with the sort of price tags only dot­com whizz-kids or Rus­sian oli­garchs can afford. Yet they ac­tu­ally have a long his­tory of pro­duc­ing beau­ti­ful and af­ford­able forged irons, which can be traced all the way back to 1959.

The Ja­panese brand re­cently hired for­mer Tay­lor­made CEO Mark King to make Honma as pop­u­lar in the West as it is in Asia, and he has some am­bi­tious plans to get some se­ri­ous tour vis­i­bil­ity in 2019.

Ru­mour has it they’re in the process of re­cruit­ing a top-10 Tour pro, so it comes as lit­tle sur­prise they’ve launched a brand-new Tworld747 range (part of the brand’s Tour World range) for 2019 – and minus any mas­sive price tags or gold de­tail­ing.

There’s a gen­uine tech story be­hind the new driver, which has a £559 RRP and comes in 455cc and 460cc sizes. A clever ad­justable hosel al­lows the head to turn and dial in loft and shot shape pref­er­ence with­out ro­tat­ing the shaft’s spine, just like other ad­justable driv­ers on sale. Es­sen­tially it means the shaft’s spine is “pured” to any of the head set-ups. Honma say it im­proves ball flight, dis­tance and dis­per­sion.

There is, of course, match­ing fair­ways (from £309) and hy­brids (from £269) to ac­com­pany the driver, but we reckon it’s the two new irons which will have the big­gest im­pact. Honma say the two Tworld747 mod­els (from £969 for a set of six irons) let golfers ex­pe­ri­ence “artistry and premium per­for­mance” at a more af­ford­able price.

A new “P” iron of­fers for­give­ness, with strong lofts and fast ball speeds, while the new Vx Forged is much more of a play­ers’ iron, with 10g of tung­sten to aid for­give­ness and a shorter blade length to cater to a bet­ter player’s eye. They’re just the sort of irons that would look at home in any top player’s tour bag. Who that might be is worth keep­ing an eye on...

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