This year at the Japan Golf Fair it was a big year for Taylormade & Adams Golf. This was the official relaunch of Adams in Japan, Adams sponsored Tom Watson was on hand and so was the newly signed Jumbo Ozaki . As far as Japan Only gear Taylormade had newly released Gloire models completing the Gloire series, everything from the new Gloire reserve driver to fairways, utilities, irons, balls, bags, and accessories.
For those who have never heard of or seen the Gloire driver before last year it was Taylormade’s best selling Japan Only product. Many pro’s and amateurs gamed it in competitive play. It’s the only forged titanium driver Taylormade has in it’s line up and this year they really stepped into the unknown by utilizing a 70 layer graphite composite and thermostat urethane face. Multi Layer Flex face known as Limitless Technology.. Thats right the face isn’t made of Titanium! Taylormade says this tech has been 10 years in the making. They continue to push the envelope. So why did Taylormade use what is essentially plastic for their latest driver face? They wanted to create a bigger face and Titanium had it’s limitations. By using the Multi Layer Flex face It allowed them to increase the distance + forgiveness and create a whopping 30% larger hitting zone.
Romaro Sports had a very strong 2012 and they looked to ride that momentum right into 2013 by adding new clubs and accessories to an already awesome lineup. Last year saw all new drivers and woods as well as Pro Forged blades and the Ray H for better players. The Ray V Forged iron which were from late 2011 were still among the most popular irons for improving players and better players looking for forgiveness. Romaro though which has traditionally been a company focused on the athlete and better golfer decided it was time to tweak the Ray V Forged iron to make even more forgiving yet more appealing visually.
The took an already great design forged from S20C steel and featuring an undercut cavity with TPU insert, the sharpened off the shape of the cavity back creating a straighter top line and sharper toe but increased the forgiveness by changing the internal pocket cavity and weighting. The increased MOI and larger sweet spot equal less distance lost on miss hits and an overall more attractive package. The back cavity has a new V pattern which enhances feel at impact on the sweet spot. Romaro decided to release the improved V Forged as the TypeR which is the name of the new performance lineup aimed at the average golfer.
TourStage Golf presented a solid line up at the 2013 Japan Golf Fair this year. The designs were oh so clean and modern each and everyone of the new X-Drive series products from irons to woods I could easily see land in my bag in 2013, thats how good it was. Let’s dive right in and take a look out our favorites this year from TourStage.
Above we have the all new 909 X-Blade. It’s important to know that this is a limited edition model and only 2000 sets have been produced, so if you like what you see you don’t have very long to order it from the TSG Proshop. The new TourStage X-Blade MB really reminds me of the old TourStage MR-23 U.S Spec blade except with a cleaner setup and added forgiveness. The entire head is plated in a beautiful brushed satin finish it really is stunning in person even these fantastic pictures just don’t do it justice. Forged by Endo of S20C it’s one of the most beautifully designed blades perhaps ever.
Remember Roddio? The promising shaft co owned by Globeride formerly known as Daiwa, well it’s split from ONOFF and is now doing it’s own thing. It’s a subsidiary of Globeride just not in the ONOFF stable any longer. I used to love their shafts to pieces, I remember them as being very finicky to install for example the head weight + desired CPM would determine how many millimeters you must tip the shaft and yes even in drivers. When installed properly the results were fantastic but when installed the same way most shafts would be ( straight in no tipping for a driver ) The results were a high spin, high launch, whippy mess.
Some good news? well Roddio’s are now designed to be installed like every other shaft on the market. Even better news is they are coming back from Limbo and this time making some very interesting woods & pretty cool irons. Check it out…
There are two model types of the same design, one is produced by Miura while the other one Chiba-san from the old school company Zodia. Both have the same design but it’s the way the design is executed that’s pretty interesting. The Miura version is much smoother and more rounded while Chiba-san’s is very grainy sort of like the raw look the yururi flatback features. I really don’t know who actually forged these or if they are made from Spin Welded Hosels ( I hope not ) but it’s still a cool concept to be able to compare two renditions of the same design. I think Miura wins over the Zodia but you be the judge…
Golf enthusiasts are always surprised by the number of brands and products available from Japan whenever they visit Tourspecgolf.com for the first time. The USA has the largest population of golfers by a long shot yet the Japanese golf market is more than twice the size of the US Market when it comes to dollars (yen in Japan of course). Its the size of the Japanese market that allows for a vortex of brands to exist and the strength of he market that allows for a higher tier of premium and boutique brands which add to the already huge selection of clubs available to Japanese consumers. Even top US manufacturers like Taylormade, Titleist, Callaway and others all recognize the buying power of the Japanese consumer and continue to churn out high end Japan Market only products that compete with Japanese brands. What this equals is choice for the consumer as evidence by a selection over over 100 driver models from no less than 40 brands.
While the Japanese consumer is obviously willing to spend as witnessed by club prices triple and even quadruple other markets, they are demanding consumers who want only the best for their yen. The competition is fierce among brands, so in most cases no expense is spared when it comes to design, materials and manufacturing which is very much reflected in the prices. This no holds barred type of manufacturing is what gives birth to these premium lines as well as premium brands here in Japan. One of Japan’s top premium brands that most outside of these borders probably have yet to learn about is S-Yard Golf.
S-Yard which was formerly under the Seiko umbrella but is now independent, has been producing premium forged golf clubs for 20 years. Back in 1993 S-yard produced the world’s first all forged Titanium driver called the T.301 which they produced at the Endo factory. The T.301 was designed by Kenji Kobayashi, who not only went on to become the president of Endo manufacturing, the worlds largest and highest quality forging house, but also one of the most respected and revered figures in the Japanese golf industry over the last 20 years. Mr. Kobayashi’s designs, and knowledge of golf club manufacturing as well as the creation of the T.301 Forged driver led many in the industry to refer to him as the “father of forged Titanium drivers”. In 2001 he officially became the president of Endo manufacturing where he also took over the reigns of Endo’s private brand Epon Golf. Many golf enthusiasts will be familiar with many of his Epon designs including the Technica and Technity series, as well as more recently the AF line all the way up to the ZERO driver and Z:EN putter.
Roll the clock back 7+ years ago and Japan was still the premier source for non conforming hi COR drivers with pretty much every single brand in Japan having at least one non conforming head in their lineup. Some Japanese brands had heads with COR as high as 0.90, well over the legal limit of 0.83 COR. As 2006 came to a close most major mainstream Japanese brands decided that going forward, all their drivers would conform to USGA and R&A rules meaning hi COR heads became suddenly scarce and hard to find. Fast forward to the present and 2012 saw a resurgence of non conforming Hi Cor drivers. With many brands maxed out at 460cc and the 0.83 COR limit, brands decided that recreational golfers who wanted more distance were willing to pay for hi COR drivers and didn’t care if they were conforming or not since many recreational golfers don’t play in tournaments or competitions.
While a driver’s performance and distance can be attributed to many things, including, materials, design and the ultimately the ability to hit the sweet spot consistently (a big sweet spot helps too), a higher COR can be a quick way to more distance. COR stands for the Coefficient of Restitution and measures the elasticity of the collision between the ball and face at impact. The higher the number or higher the COR the more elastic the collision is. With all things being equal there has always been the debate as to how much impact COR actually has on distance. Some say for a 100mph swing, every 0.01 in COR can result in an additional 4+ yards. As swing speeds increase, that gain also increases. I want to stress again though that the COR of a driver is only one aspect of creating distance and even though there were many great Hi COR drivers back in the mid 2000’s, in my opinion, most conforming drivers today would probably out distance those non conforming drivers of old thanks to better materials, designs and bigger sweet spots and in many cases longer length shafts but we will get into that later.
Help get access to JDM clubs and demos at your local golf shop and get a FREE Epon, Romaro, Ryoma or Crazy Driver in return! As you all know Tourspecgolf is the leading retailer of Japan Market Golf Clubs outside of Japan. Not only is TSG pround to make Japan Domestic Market golf clubs accessible to golfers around the world, we strive to to spread awareness and accessibility to JDM by introducing and marketing brands that would be otherwise unknown outside of Japan.
As some of you may know we have begun focusing on a distribution network in North America (though we are also looking at possibilities in Europe and Middle East). We have been slowly building a team of premium and quality shops who share similar views and understand the benefits of Japan market golf clubs. TSG is currently an official distributor for the following Brands:
In recent years, the annual new product announcement for Yamaha has become a huge event at TSG. Yamaha’s enthusiast following is indeed a large one overseas, thanks to wonderful designs, great Endo forged feel, and typically awesome performance. This year Yamaha was very careful ahead of the official November 12th announcement at preventing leaks of info and images of the new clubs so as to keep everyone in suspense. I started a forum thread on the pre order of the Yamaha clubs based on speculation of their designs back on October 13th and it has been a very popular thread with our members.
Finally today Yamaha rewarded our patience with their official product announcement. The good news is the products look great and they released an unexpected surprise in the adjustable Remix driver. The bad news is as it is every year, that the limited Tour Model irons which are sold out every year before launch, will probably be sold out again in the next week or so. Luckily many customers took a leap of faith and ordered even before knowing what they looked like!
In the next few days as we digest all the new designs an specs on the new models, we will be adding the products officially to the pro shop for pre orders. We will also be posting more up to date info on each model as well as promo videos and impressions. In the meantime here is a brief overview of what was announced – you can also visit the forum topic and join in the discussion.
Tourspecgolf was invited to the ONOFF 2013 New Collection launch so I headed out yesterday to Shibuya to check out all the new gear for the new year. Every year they hold their launch event Ebisu/Daikanyama area which is just south of Shibuya.
While Shibuya is a constantly busy and buzzing area of Japan packed with color, lights, fashion and people, Daikanyama is more old fashioned and along with Ebisu an eclectic mix of different levels of dense residential tightly mixed with new developments and classy boutiques and trendy bars and eateries.
Last year Taylormade Japan decided to create a new Japan only line called Gloire which would compete in the premium segment of the Japanese golf market. The Gloire featured Taylormade’s only forged driver which turned out to be one hot selling and popular club. A forged fairway wood and maraging high performance iron rounded out the lineup.
Yesteday, TM announced new additions to the Gloire lineup including the Gloire Reserve driver, Taylormade’s most premium distance driver ever, the Gloire Forged Iron, an advanced soft feeling multi piece forged iron, and a new all titanium utility for max launch and distance. We will have demos coming in soon so I will go into each clubs technology in more detail when they arrive. The driver looks to be amazing and TM touts it as the biggest sweet spot they have ever produced on a driver thanks to the multi layer face. The new products launch in early December. In the mean time, here are some preview pics!