Here we have it a GTI exclusive from the 2009 Tokyo Golf Show featuring Honma Golf’s new line up. Take note of the shaft wrapping exhibit they provided to guests, I must say we love it when companies show their pre production raw product and manufacturing process.
Honma product is manufactured in the suburbs of Sakata in Yamagata prefecture on a 500,000 square meter site spread out in the foothills of Chokai Mountain. All Honma product is ” MADE IN JAPAN” at Sakata Studio’s. Honma Golf employs over 400 craftsmen skilled in a variety of high tech processes. No corners are cut or work hurried to make their products.
To learn more about Honma’s full product line up and information on availability please follow this link TSG ProShop
Over at TSG we have been contemplating carrying Quadra Composite Techno or more frequently referred to as Quadra in Japan for some time now.
For those of you who do not know Quadra, they are a very high end graphite and carbon shaft maker who have long been involved in the golf shaft and carbon sheets business.
Quadra as you can tell by their name, means 4 and they were the first brand to create the quad axis weave used in many shafts from many different brands today including Axiv, Honma and Graphite Design today.
They produce such high quality carbon that they actually supply carbon sheets to some of the top brands including Honma’s ARMRQ which also feature the 4 axis weave in their shafts.
Quadra has spent the last few years growing and developing their own shaft line and what many people outside of Japan may not know is that Quadra is actually frequently in the top 4 brands in sales in Japan battling the likes of Graphite Design, Mitsubishi and Fujikura.
TSG will start by carrying their all new Fire Express model. A full carbon sheet 80t shaft (80t is the highest grade of carbon/graphite available on the retail market anywhere). The Fire Express uses 2 sections of 4 axis weave using high elastic 80t carbon sheets utilizing nano technology to create a low spin super stable shaft with little to no twisting and perfect return at impact. The higher the quality carbon the tighter the dispersion due to its consistent rebound and flex. Higher grade carbon also contains more glass materials rather than rubber also contributing to the quality and the feel of this strong shaft. The Fire Express is for the better player whose who wants low spin creating maximum carry paired with tight dispersion and control.
Now the best part, the price. While most shafts with 50t or higher grade carbon can cost even up to 1000.00 and over. Quadra is able to keep costs lower since they are the producers of these high end carbon sheets in the first place. MSRP on these 80t shafts is 600.00 each. TSG will have them priced at 459.00 so look for them soon in our pro shop!
Geotech Golf Japan just recently announced the soon to be released SP Model Driver geared toward all player types. The new SP is produced with an all titanium body featuring a Tri-colinear structure. You are probobly saying what exactly is Tri-colinear, well it’s when the screw weight, head center of gravity adn the faces sweet spot are all positioned in a straight line.
Could be Geotech’s Best to Date!
The new Geotech SP Driver is Designed fully in 3D auto CAD and is produced with high quality materials from fit to finish. The Standard 4 gram screw can be changed if you own the Geotech Weight Wrench. The head itself comes in a gloss black finish with the sole plate and face in brushed satin finish for a durable and stealth look to it.
The Spec’s we want!
Available in 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 lofts at a standard head weight of 194 grams ( of course adjustable if you own the weights and wrench ) this driver set’s up compact for a full 460cc volume. Most of you are probobly wondering by now what’s the face angle like? Well the 8.5 is half a degree open, the 9.5 square faced, the 10.5 half a degree closed and the 11.5 a full degree closed. The lie angles start at 59* for the 8.5 working itself up a half degree to the 11.5 which sits at a 60.5* lie.
Living in Chiba and very close to the Geotech Head office, I sometimes get the chance to drop by and visit the staff there to find out about new clubs (coming in June!), pick up demos and just to see how things are going. Many of you have come to know Geotech through the Tourspecgolf.com site as a company that provides very good performance value component clubs. I thought I would give a bit more background on Geotech.
Geotech Golf currently has a staff of around 50 people and are the leading mail order/internet component sales company in Japan. They base their main headquarters in the heart of Chiba City, just a 5 minute drive from Chiba JR Station. The head office consists of two buildings Geotech 1 and Geotech 2. Building 1 is where the sales take place as well as the work shop and administrative offices. Their internet operations also work out of Building 1 with a daily staff of 8 or so people dedicated just to taking orders and answering questions! Building 2 is the warehouse stocked with clubs, shafts, grips and parts. Its amazing how well they organize it and I will definitely take some pics of the warehouse next time.
In 1988 Geotech began as the Japanese wing of Dynamic Precision Industry Corporation and the first mail order golf sales service in Japan. Dynamic is still one of the largest golf club manufacturers in the world and one of the oldest in Asia dating back to 1972 and known to have supplied heads to companies like Taylormade, Wilson and other big OEM’s over the years so without doubt the quality is high. Dynamic handles some of Geotech’s woods while many of the irons and wedges are now forged and finished in Japan.
In 1990 Geotech began making appearances at the Japan Golf Fair to gain more exposure. By 1996 they became independent of Dynamic Precision and called themselves Dynamic Golf. In 1999 they began internet sales to compliment their mail order sales. By 2000 they decided it was time for a name change and renamed themselves as Geotech Golf Components. In 2004 Geotech established their own Titanium crafting division and the following year began wholesaling and building up retail partners in the Japanese market which significantly increased Geotech’s popularity and demand, eventually growing to the number one component brand in Japan.
Geotech now prides themselves in golf club design including metal woods, irons, wedges as well as putters. They have their own shafts and the ability to design and make shafts as well as their own grip line Chaucer. They consistently get good reviews from many of the major golf publications in Japan and top reviewers for high quality heads and great performance at a great price. TSG and GTI are glad to partner with a company like Geotech and to be able to work with their staff who are all nice people and dedicated golf enthusiasts!
So after Mizuno released those new custom black prototype wedges that were sold out instantly, we had to get our hands on some. Tourspecgolfer who reported the release of these wedges was able to track down a couple of sets for Tourspecgolf. Each set comes with a 52 and 58 wedge with DG Wedge Flex shafts and a nice glossy black box with Mizuno in Gold lettering.
Silver or Gold?
There are two models, Silver and Gold, Silver for the MP-T Prototype and Gold for the MP-R Prototype. For those who are not familiar with Mizuno wedges, The T is for teardrop shape and the R is for round shape. Both are premium forged wedges from Mizuno Chuo factory in Japan and hand grinded and finished by Mizuno’s top craftsman in very limited numbers.
These wedges are the ultimate in feel and control packaged in a clean look with an amazingly versatile multi grind sole. Both wedges have extensive grinds including heel and toe relief to prevent any kind of digging and a focus on pure contact. As with any advanced multi sole grind it is difficult to measure the exact bounce as the bounce varies depending on the spot of the sole and how the wedge is orientated. Both grinds feature a bounce of 6 on the 52* and 14 on the 58* at their highest measured points. The 58* will especially excel in softer sand and the 52* as an all around wedge in any lie.
As of this posting Tourspecgolf has 1 set of each model. With their limited availability and high demand, there is no telling if we can get more!
Today I’m going to take a closer look at what’s in the bag of ONOFF Pro Shingo Katayama. Katayama has long been one of the top Japanese players on tour here in Japan. Last year Katayama won his 25th tournament automatically qualifying him for a lifetime exemption on the Japanese tour. He’s now up to 26 wins and counting ranking him 7th on the all time list in Japan. He turned pro in 1995 and began playing full time on tour in 1997. He has topped the Japanese money list 5 times including last year and is currently 4th on the all time career list at just over 14 million dollars in winnings.
Not a big player by any means at 5’6″ or 168cm tall, Katayama who has been called Cowboy Shingo because of the cowboy style hat he frequently wears relies on his creative play and deft touch around the greens. He is in no way a long hitter but accurate and controlled. Katayama was one of the first players during his days as the number one Nike Pro in Japan to proclaim that he needed all the forgiveness he could get and did not hesitate to play a 10.5* loft driver (which was rare at the time among men pros) and over sized irons with graphite shafts. In the past few years Katayama could be seen in many Nike ads, sometimes even along side world number 1 Tiger Woods promoting the latest in Nike gear.
This off season signaled a humongous change as Katayama parted ways with Nike, his clubs, shoes, clothing and ball sponsor. He was signed instead by several Japanese brands including ONOFF from Daiwa Golf for his clubs and bag, Dance With Dragon for his clothing, Asics for his shoes and Titleist for his golf balls. Even while transitioning to a new bag of gear he played confidently on his way to a 4th place finish at the Masters last month, tying the best finish ever by a Japanese golfer at the Masters.
Katayama’s fashion and gear gain as much attention as his creative play so here is a break down of his official bag as of last weeks Tsurya Open and my take on the clubs of course!
Katayama is playing the 2009 ONOFF Red Driver 9* with Roddio Prototype at 46.75″ 272.7cpm and 310.3g. He has opted for the more forgiving Red Driver over the athlete model ONOFF Plus Driver. He has also gone to a lower loft and considerably longer overall driver length. The Roddio will launch higher for max carry so paired with the 9* loft, Katayama appears to have found the right combination of launch, carry and run with these specs. The ONOFF Red is considered the average golfer model in Japan and provides a ton of forgiveness which Katayama likes.
Katayama’s 3 wood is another super forgiving club. The PRGR Egg PX-03 is a composite style fairway wood with a high MOI scoop back crown that is very very easy to hit. I bag this same club in my setup and for the sole reason – forgivness. It is easy to launch long and far and has a lot of leeway on mis hits. Katayama is playing the 15*. This is his go to club in narrow fairways and when he needs control down the middle, or to reach those ultra long par 5’s in two.
An ONOFF Fairway Arms Plus 5 wood occupies Katayama’s bag. This 18* club features a square to open face and is made more for control. The Plus however only has a semi-deep face so still provides forgivness that Katayama likes. Also unlike typical all steel fairway woods that are used by most pros the ONOFF Plus features a maraging face which provides great feel. (the Egg 3W he uses I might add uses a Titanium face).
Another sign of forgiveness in the bag is Katayama’s use of a 21* 7 Wood. This is the last remaining Nike club in his bag. He likes to use the Sasquatch2 instead of a 3 iron as it gives him an easy to hit club that still provides a super soft landing.
Katayama is carrying a Cleveland HiBore 4i UT that he has been using for quite some time. In other words he does not carry a 3 or 4 iron! Once again forgiveness is the focus for his bag.
ONOFF Plus Forged irons 5-9 iron are Katayama’s choice irons. They are definitely more compact than his old Nike OS irons but the ONOFF Plus do provide great feel and balanceｄ forgiveness. He is still experimenting with shafts on his irons now but it seems he may be playing either his black Graphite Design Prototypes or moving on to Roddio iron shafts.
Katayama is carrying 3 wedges, all three are signature prototypes from ONOFF based on the Labospec 247 series. A 46* 53* and 59* occupy his bag with the 46* taking the place of his pitching wedge.
A Taylormade Rossa Spider ASGI+ makes his putts for him and he now uses the Titleist Pro V1x 2009 ball. As I mentioned above, all his clothes are the very stylish Dance with Dragon and his Asics prototype shoes which are not yet available retail have drawn much interest from golfing enthusiasts worldwide.
So there you have it a look into Shingo Katayama’s current bag. A very nice JDM bag with a strong emphasis on forgiveness. One can never have enough forgiveness and we should never forget that!
Great news for the many fans of Dance with Dragon and Gold’s Factory!
Dance with Dragon putters which are hand crafted by Master Sasaya at Gold’s Factory are now available at Tourspecgolf!
Previously only available to the Japanese Market, Tourspecgolf will now be bringing DWD putters to the world. The first three models available are Missile, Rocks and Lucky. All three have a White chrome finish with Black Paintfill and accents. All three models can be matched with different head shapes including the Anser No2 (Missile in the picture), a Private Stock No.1 (Rocks in the picture) and a GF01B (previously a GF01A as shown in the pictures with Rocks but that head is finished production).
Customers can choose the length as well as grip color to compliment their putter.
Last month’s Alba Tross View golf magazine covers the best selling gear so far in Japan for the first 3 months of the year. You will recognize many of the brands and models here including a mix of Japanese market and US market clubs (yes they sell these in Japan as well since we get the best of both worlds here).
Number one spot is occupied by Yamaha’s Inpres X 4.6D RPM driver. This makes a lot of sense to me as the Yamaha has traditionally done well among the largerst golfing group in Japan, the “average” golfer. The most common bad shot for the average golfer is of course the slice and the Yamaha Inpres 4.6D is here to help battle that slice. With multi X in face design for super forgiveness and feel, the driver is also geared towards a draw with its weight and face orientation. The RPM tag highlights the drivers low spin. So you get a forgiving, great feeling and low spin big carry driver that is made to go straight. Its now wonder it is the best selling driver in Japan not only now but also in previous years.
Number 2 is MacGregor Japan’s MacTec NV-R Type 1 Blue driver. I’d have to say MacTec has a bigger following in Japan than anywhere else in the rest of the world. MacTec continues to release its most advanced and up to date clubs in the Japanese market only. The NV-R Type 1 is one of two models simultaneously released by MacTec leading into 2009. The Type 1 Blue is again aimed at the average golfer with forgiveness and performance in mind. The Type II Red is a more traditional shaped driver aimed at the better player looking for more workability. The Type II Red is in 9th spot. Another key factor for the
Number 3 is Yamaha again with it’s Inpres X 4.6D Type S RPM. Forgiving like the standard model which holds first place, the difference is the Type S is made more for control and neutral to fade bias.
Number 4 is XXIO’s Revo driver. Last year’s XXIO driver was the Golf Digest Longest Driver winner. They made the Revo even more user friendly by increasing MOI and making the head even bigger and shallower with a very deep and low center of gravity for crazy forgiveness and carry.
Number 5 is the Titleist D903 which in Japan is also available with many of Japan’s top upgrade shafts.
Number 6 is Tourstage’s new X-drive GR Driver. This 450cc driver is aimed at the better player but is forgiving enough for the mid handicapper to play. Sold feel, low spin and a very pleasing shape make this a winner.
A few newer drivers are also making waves. Released much later than the top 10 above, they are current hot pics that are sure to be in the 2nd quarter best sellers. The new Callaway Legacy Aero, high MOI, low spin and i-Mix availability plus the Taylormade Japan R9 Max 460cc Flight Control Technology Driver and the new Yonex NanoV Nextage are selling like hotcakes this month!
These results are really big evidence of the buying power of the average golfer for which most of these drivers match. They make up nearly 75% of Japanese golfers which is why many products will target this group.
Since the R9 Max launched here in Japan I’ve gotten tons of questions and inquiries about the Flight Control Technology sleeve that allows for the adjustments on the new R9 and R9 Max drivers. In order to make sure the sleeves are interchangable between models, including US models we decided to pick up US spec R9 driver for comparison.
First we pulled off some sleeves to check the sizes and determined that stock shafted FCT sleeves are 0.350″ diameter and TP and upgrade shafted FCT Sleeves are 0.335″.
We then began interchanging the sleevees into different heads and are happy to report that the R9 Max FCT sleeve does fit in a US model R9 and the R9 FCT sleeve does fit in the Japan model R9.
We also contacted TM here in Japan to nudge them a bit to see if they would be selling FCT sleeves which of course they said they would not be. Not to worry though as there appear to be lots of sleeves available online and on various auction sites. One member at TSG already has 5 different shafts for his R9 driver. This is definitely every enthusiasts dream!
Mizuno Japan has already sold out of a very limited and exclusive run of Custom Grind Black Mizuno Wedges.
The wedges are officially named “Jypers 2 letter press” featured in two grind variations. People are calling them 2 letter press silver stamp and gold stamp wedges. They are forged of S25C in Japan at Mizuno’s Chuo factory.The silver stamp model features a triple flat sole and is based off of a prototype Model T series while the gold model features a special quad flat sole and is based off of a prototype R series wedge.
Both models are finished using a flat black dye and share the new running bird emblem. The only other text besides that is on the neck where it says MIZUNO with no paintfill. They also use dots to signify loft.
Sold as a 2 wedge set in a fancy box lined with velvet both the silver and gold stamps are only available in 52 & 58* lofts with Dynamic Gold Wedge Flex Shafts and Tour Velvet Rubber Round 60’s.
Sorry these are Already Sold Out…:(
The only source to find these beauties was on TourSpecGolf.com, Its unfortunate but they have already sold before they could even be listed in their ProShop. Many times TSG’s most rare and desired products never make it to the photoshoot going directly from Japan to the VIP’s doorstep.
Follow the Jump to see images of the Silver Stamp and information on both models. Continue Reading