Introducing the first images of the Mizuno MP-68 Iron. There has been talk on the web about about Mizuno’s next muscle back iron in its MP lineup. Pictures of prototypes have surfaced on numerous sites but the reality is that the all new Mizuno MP-68 Iron will indeed be released in Japan. The new MP-68 Blade moves away from the cut muscle design that the MP-67 had and resembles the MP-37 with the muscle back developing from the toe area. The muscle back lines and edges however are smoother on the MP-68 than the MP-37 and some in Japan have said it reminds them of the classic MP-14 with its curved muscle back and sharp toe. Mizuno has also followed suit with its 2009 design guidlines by placing the running bird logo on the sole and the model MP-68 with new MP logo in the toe corner. The 0verall head and face is very compact and coupled with the thick muscle provide the purest feel of any Mizuno grain flow forged blade.
MP-68 Custom Japan Options Coming Soon!
Of course once the MP-68 is released from Mizuno Japan all this can be customized through TSG’s Mizuno Japan customization program which includes finish and logo placement as well as some sole and top grind options. Yes it is an upcharge but imagine these combo’d together with MP-62’s and the popular custom grind request of matching topline and sole grind to have the perfect even flow in your irons.
Watch Out for early release imposters!
For the last several years pre release Mizuno head only sets have popped up far before the official release date. They look perfect to the untrained eye but when put on the scale the head weights are off and the hosel size often appears to be over or undersized. This has been the unfortunate case for many of Mizuno’s MP models in recent years but its a consistent pattern. Right now there are sets on ebay and in certain forums of possible fakes. Im sure if you contact Mizuno they will say these are not Mizuno authorized products. This confuses us because we have been under the impression for many years that Mizuno Irons were made in the Chuo factory in Japan yet the origin of these imposters are Taiwan & Hong Kong. It is my opinion that these are early production samples or defects that are discarded due to error. I have a feeling that these very pictures of the Mizuno MP-68 shown are an accurate dipiction of what the iron will look like in its retail release but that they are an unauthorized set that are not weighted as accurately or up to the quality assurance of the retail version coming soon.
The forum’s and Blog’s are lit up with buzz on what could potentially be the 2009 Taylormade Raylor Hybrid. Prototype pics are afloat on the web and mention of PGA Tour players testing it on ranges starting last week in Famingdale N.Y. Here is what Golf.com’s blog had to say about it:
“FARMINGDALE, N.Y. — Kenny Perry and Fred Funk each tried a new, unreleased prototype hybrid club as they prepared for the U.S. Open at Bethpage.
The TaylorMade Raylor has a weight screw in the low, rear area and a V-shaped leading edge. According to representatives from TaylorMade, the unique sole of the club helps it work through the rough especially well.
Perry practiced using two Raylor hybrid clubs, a 19° and a 22°, each fitted with Fujikura hybrid shafts. Funk was given a 22° Raylor and took it to an unused fairway on Bethpage’s Red Course.
TaylorMade reps didn’t know if either player would be putting the club into play during the U.S. Open, and like all other prototype pieces of equipment, there’s no guarantee that the Raylor will ever be made available to the general public”
So far it looks like it will be released to the public as they have already made it onto the USGA’s conforming list when only clubs under 13* are required to be tested.
For a couple more images please click keep reading….
Mitsubishi Rayon has announced the soon to be released Mitsubishi BASSARA GRIFFIN shaft geared toward the average to better than average golfer. TourSpecGolf has been the first to get a hold of several pieces directly from Japan and will be putting them into test mode soon.
The first thing we noticed was it’s stunning graphics, this could be the sexiest looking shaft we have seen for quite some time. It’s tribal accents and gold yellow color really demands attention without getting ridiculous. Big props to Mitsubishi for using what in our opinion are the best names of any shaft brand. It’s even better that they put a small graphic Griffin beast on it as well.
Built for the Better than Average Golfer!
So far the Bassara Griffin is designed only for taper tip .335 shafts but Mitsubishi still provides a solid batch of options for the consumer to choose from. Available anywhere from 47 grams up to 58 grams this shaft was designed to provide strong stable kick from regular flex coming in at 242 cpm’s all the way up to the Tour Strong 272cpm’s. The Torque numbers are a bit high but we have been promised by Mitsubishi Diamana that the stability and technology in this shaft will give off the impression that it’s much much tighter. I must say many other shaft OEM’s rate their X flex at 272 so this is refreshing for a Japan only shaft.
The official release date is 6/28/2009 in Japan with a retail price around 375.00 USD.
Take a look at the specs and sound off to let us know what you think:
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.