Yesterday I was in Tokyo to visit Gold’s Factory to talk to Master Sasaya about some future putters and how things in general are going. Gold’s is very busy with a queue of jobs from all around the world and as usually many beautiful putters are being produced and modified. Instead of doing a usual long write up, I thought I would make this more of a photoblog since I snapped some photos while I was there. Pictures can tell a whole story so I will just add a few lines here and there.
Before heading over to Nakajyuku in Itabashi, I thought I would swing by Shinjuku and check out some cameras. I brought along my Fuji X-Pro1 which I use for all my photos on this blog along with a 35mm f1.4 and a 18-55mm zoom. All the photos at Gold’s are with the 35mm and the outside shots the zoom lens.
Every so often we send in a batch of new putters to have modified by Master Sasaya of Gold’s Factory. TSG is always talking about Gold’s because they really are a one of a kind company. Totally unique and you know what you will get when having anything touched by the master… Excellence, a level of quality so high and an attention to detail so critical you would expect the best.
In the TSG Online Store we will begin offering some tasteful designs on a more regular basis, The first 4 putters to be released will be 3 unique new model Scotty Cameron Sonoma’s and a Japan Only Odyssey Tour iX Black Series #2. They do cost a pretty penny but with this level of quality one can expect that. Below pictures of my favorite of the Sonoma’s. Each Sonoma has a different finish, this one in Teflon Black and replaced the scotty circles with yellow ARC reactors by Gold’s Factory.. The tilted old school mini G is milled into the nose. The two weights on the sole have been increased now 15g each instead of 10g. Finally and the most unique modification to this putter is that it’s center shaft. There are no center shaft Sonoma’s in the wild. Especially ones that have been balanced perfectly to perform better than stock. Look forward to these in the TSG Online Store soon.
Master Sasaya of Gold’s Factory is a man who appreciates the fine details in premium workmanship. A few months ago we were talking about how some high end cars have a single “Meister” defined as “a person expert in or renowned for a specific skill” who builds the engines in their high end models from start to finish. We all know that nobody can tweak or modify a putter like Master Sasaya does and he is very much in his own way a Meister. Using the word Meister he created his new line of one off, one of a kind putters under the banner Meister Absolute Crafting.
These new M.A.C. putters would use all of Gold’s Factory’s best design ideas, each be unique in its own way and have only one ever made. Master Sasaya takes each head, machined from JIS SUS303 and through hand machining, grinding, polishing, modifying and finishing create his usual beauty. He asked me what I thought about names for each putter as he wanted to give each unique putter a name, and I suggested why not pay homage to the Greek Gods? Their names as putters would sound very cool. Master Sasaya agreed and we now have the first 4 M.A.C. putters here for sale. Artemis, Prometheus, Apollo and Zeus. Only one of each will ever be made so owning one will mean owning a one of a kind M.A.C. model.
George Takei is a name that is synonymous with golf club design in the Japanese market. The former founder of Gauge Design Japan and G-Field Golf has traveled the road both high and low when it comes to golf clubs in Japan. At its peak, George had led Gauge Design into becoming the number one putter on the Japanese tour, besting the likes of Odyssey and Scotty Cameron. Gauge Design Japan and G-Field eventually dissolved as the company broke off seeing former employees of Gauge form new companies like Gold’s Factory and Romaro Sports. George however, continued to hone his design skills and passion/dream of creating the ultimate golf clubs. Several years ago, the George Spirits brand was born.
George continued on his journey to create his dream golf clubs, with the sky the limit. Top quality forged irons and wedges, premium forged and cutting edge designs for woods and of course putters. George Spirits recently released their Mono line of pin style putters the Mono1 , Mono2 and Mono3 models. Personally I am much more of a mallet type player so I was very happy to see George release the new Mono M1 putters featuring Style1 a center shafted small mallet and Style2 a double bend shaft over heel mallet. I was immediately drawn to the Style1 as I typically use a center shafted putter with more of a straight back and forth type of stroke. George Spirits as usual was of course very accommodating and sent over both models for me to try out.
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.
A very rare look into the mind and philosophy of Master Masayuki Sasaya of Gold’s Factory. In this video you will get to see some extreme face milling being done by hand. I had a lot of fun making this Video, It’s always a pleasure to spend time with Sasaya-san of Gold’s Factory. I’m Not sure what I enjoyed the most, the food, the drinks or watching him do what he does best in the GF Studio.
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.
It’s been a while since I’ve updated some of the things going on at Gold’s Factory. They sent over a few putters so I thought now would be the perfect time to do so. Stainless Beads Blast was originally a finish for SUS303 putters but now Gold’s is using the same technique, beads blasting, to overlay logos and graphics over SUS303 putters. They sent me their new “Blaster” putter to snap some pics of and it does look very nice. Custom logos and personal marks will look very cool with the white satin like beads blast. Here are more pictures and as you can see they can bead blast anywhere on the head, the neck and the sole.
Master Sasaya over at Gold’s Factory sent over one of his new prototypes, a SUS303 model with what he dubs the “Gold’s Box” an inner sound slot. A sound slot or as some refer to it, a floating face, is a slit line cut in the flange to sole right behind the face of the putter that alters the sound depending on where the ball strikes the face. Many golfers use the sound slot to “tune” their stroke and impact. Sound for many also translates into feel. A player can get accustomed to a certain sound at impact and replicate that sound each time knowing he or she has struck the sweet spot.
Some disadvantages of a sound slot are that they can collect dust and debris and are difficult to clean out – most people probably don’t clean or do anything with their slot, I know I don’t. So Sasaya-san thought wouldn’t it be cool to embed the sound slot internally in the putter with a slit in center of the flange/sole but unseen and unexposed? In the case of the inner sound slot, it is not cut all the way up through the flange and then concealed with a sole plate. However it still allows for pitch changes from different impacts on the face.