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The Adam Barr Interview: An eye-opening discussion with Miura Golf’s Renaissance Man



By Pete Pappas

GolfWRX Staff Writer

Somewhere in the historic city of Himeji, home to the ancient art of Samurai sword-making, a man is working.
In the foreground of Himeji Castle, Japan’s magnificent and most famous remaining feudal castle, a master is creating.

And as the cherry blossom season of April awakens in this Kansai region of Japan, a legend is growing.
For nearly half a century, Katsuhiro Miura has meticulously studied the golf club, and crafted the most exacting, most elegant, and most lethal weapons the golf world has arguably ever seen.

Every Miura Golf club is personally inspected by Mr. Miura’s “Hands of God” for precision balance, unique specification, and individual grace.
This is “The Miura Way.”
10,000 miles west of Japan in Orlando, Fla., Miura Golf’s other national treasure is “taking care of business.”
With exclusive dealerships already on four continents spanning more than 35 countries, Miura President Adam Barr has positioned Miura Golf on the “Bullet Train” to worldwide prominence.
And he’s just getting warmed up.
Barr attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his B.A. in English Literature. He earned his J.D. from the Duquesne University School of Law, and practiced law in Pittsburgh and Chicago for several years.
Adam was also tax and legal editor for a national corporate leader in tax and business law solutions, and after that a columnist and business editor for Golfweek Magazine.
Before becoming Miura Golf President in 2010, Barr was one of the original on-air personalities at Golf Channel who helped pioneer the infant network through unchartered territories.

Click here for more photos and discussion in the forums.

In 12 years with Golf Channel Adam became a prominent business reporter, analyst, and acclaimed tournament correspondent. He also served as host to the incredibly popular segment, “What’s In The Bag” (the forerunner to modern day WITB segments far and wide).
Barr is outspoken, discerning, and quick-witted. And his dynamic ability to get things done is making Miura Golf increasingly available to the delight and gratitude of golf enthusiasts everywhere.
We’re not going to rip the cover off the Miura secrets today (not all of them at least), but Adam will share some insights gained from his 19 years experience in the golf industry, elaborate a bit on the kinship between himself and Mr. Miura, and spotlight some things about Miura Golf you probably didn’t know (and I’m not just talking about their exciting new releases).
P.P: Adam it’s a pleasure to speak with you.
A.B: Thanks, Pete.
P.P: Let’s start at the beginning. How did you become Miura Golf President? It didn’t just happen by chance did it?
A.B: Miura called me in 2010 and asked if I wanted the job. But of course, it wasn’t that simple. I had visited Miura in Japan in 2003 when I was with Golf Channel; we were shooting a segment there for our What’s In The Bag? show. I met the family and saw the operation. I was very impressed, and I kept in touch with the company over the years. I was really honored to be considered for the post when they decided to expand.
P.P: Do you remember the first thought that went through your mind (and where were you) when it sunk in you were going to be President of Miura Golf?
A.B: I was in my office at home, and I believe I was editing video for the website I was running at the time, I remember thinking, “I won’t have to think about this for very long.” It was an easy “Yes,” knowing as much as I did about the company’s quality and reputation.
P.P: Miura craftsmanship is legendary in the golf industry. But it’s the Miura feel and performance most raved about by tour pros, competitive golfers, and even weekend warriors. What is it about the forging process that makes Miura irons so unique?

A.B: We forge differently, to be sure. Miura-san has always insisted on forging the heel-to-toe portion of the iron head on its own, then adding the hosel later in a process called spin-forging. (You can see this in our “Visit to Himeji” video.) The chief reason is that if you forge the entire head all at once, you get a pulling-up effect as the clubhead curves into the hosel — and this, Miura-san found, stretches the grain in a bad way. It increases the chance that there will be little voids that can lead to a “clanky” feel.

But Miura-san’s way — heel-to-toe portion only — compresses the grain so it’s fine, uniform, and free of any voids, bubbles, or other flaws that could interfere with what we like to call “the purity of the strike.” The most frequently used analogy is that ordinary forging might produced a structure that’s similar to a jar of marbles — they’re all close together, but there are little spaces between them. Miura forging is like a jar of sand — no spaces between the particles. It makes a huge difference in the way the club feels. And as we know, solid feel, shot after shot, is what builds confidence in a club, and confidence is what leads to satisfying shots.

Add to this the inexhaustible patience and high standards the Miura family insists on, and you get a potent quality combination. Miura-san and his sons, Yoshitaka-san and Shinei-san, are involved with virtually every club. Yoshitaka-san often grinds clubs side by side with his father, and Shinei-san is an expert on quality forging. There is more family in the paint fill room and working on other processes. And the tolerances they insist on at every level are very tight. The weight variance in the heads, for instance, is about half a gram. That’s right, one fifty-sixth of an ounce. That’s remarkably small.
P.P: The Miura Tournament Blades have been popular for many years, and the Limited Forged Black Blades were a huge success (sold out, but returning soon by popular demand). Your newest irons are the PP-9003 and CB-501 irons (used to win The 2011 PLAYERS Championship). What are some distinguishing features of the PP-9003 and CB-501 irons?

A.B: Our entire iron line has been doing pretty robust business, but the Passing Point 9003 and the CB-501 have been the stars of the last 12 months. The Passing Point is Miura’s first forged cavity back in this size; it’s the culmination of efforts to offer a large cavity model that has big-head forgiveness without an oversize appearance. We expected a lot of higher handicappers to like it, and they did — the club, after all, has a sole that works for players who sweep at it more than hit down, and the trajectory is fairly high. What surprised us, pleasantly, is that a lot of better players like it too, either in full sets or for the longer irons as part of a combination set. We figure this is because the turf interaction is crisp for a bigger head, and the trajectory gets up but doesn’t flutter or balloon. Paired with the right shaft, the 9003 can work for a lot of different players, we have found.
That’s part of the strength of the 501s as well. Here’s a forged club with a classic at-address look and a reasonably large cavity, but with a little workability left in. The weight bar in the bottom of the cavity gets the ball up, but again, no ballooning. The sole is a little more of a classic shape, so the divot will remind many players of the forged models they played growing up. Incidentally, our CB-202 is a sister head to the 501 — similar design, just no weight bar in the cavity.
Both these models are selling well, and we expect them to remain in the line for a long time. Our clubs come out when they’re ready, and the only calendar we follow is the one in the minds of the Miura family.
P.P: Can you share a favorite Mr. Miura story (ever see him cut a golf ball in two mid air with a Tournament Blade)?

A.B: LOL, as they say. Miura-san would not want to waste a good golf ball. Seriously, though, my favorite story about him is something I have actually seen more than once. Miura-san likes to help players on the range; he’s a pretty good player himself. He also has a keen fitting eye. Well, more than just an eye. I saw him once, crouching behind a player on the target line, far enough back to be safe. He watched a few shots, then closed his eyes and didn’t move. I asked Yoshitaka-san — what is he doing? Turns out he was listening. “He can tell a lot from the sound of impact,” Yoshitaka-san said. “Both fit and swing.” I have seen him do this a number of times since. I really believe Miura-san brings every sense he can muster to the analysis of a golf club.

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P.P: Ready for the “front 9” quick-fire questions?
P.P: Your most memorable shot (where was it, what was it)?
A.B: Competitive: I recently set up a birdie putt on No. 15 at Keene’s Pointe, my home club, and my least favorite hole on it. I usually double bogey it. I clobbered a Miura 5-iron from 168 to 18 feet. (I missed; no worries, par was fine.)
Non-competitive: sand wedge from Great Wall of China to Inner Mongolia, 2003. Cleared wall; did not injure tourists or camera crew. Gave producer heart condition.
P.P: Best advice you received from your mom or dad?
A.B: Dad: If you get up one more time than you get knocked down, you win. Mom: Elbows off the table.
P.P: Most balls lost in one round?
A.B: This is where scientific notation could come in handy….
P.P: Favorite course played?
A.B: Sooooo hard. Royal Dornoch, Pacific Dunes, Old Course, Merion, Oakmont, Carnoustie, in no particular order. That’s as far as I can narrow it down. If I was any luckier, I’d be twins.
P.P: A person (outside of family) who influenced you most?
A.B: Again, this is difficult, because I’ve been privileged to know a lot of good people. The late Bruce Montgomery, my college choir director, was one; he was a gentleman’s gentleman. In golf, Jaime Diaz was the one who kindly advised me in 1993 to cover golf business. Steve Pike, Jim Nugent and Dave Seanor gave me my start at Golfweek. Ken Carpenter, managing editor at Golfweek back then who is also a dear friend, is a great example of what a journalist should be. Miura-san conducts himself in a way I find inspiring. My friend Jim Teague, of Skokie, Ill., is a man to be proud of. Teresa Barr, my wife, is a never-give-up competitor. Joseph Barr, my son, has an enormous heart and, for now, laughs at my jokes.
P.P: Most regrettable bet (wager) you’ve made on the golf course?
A.B: People like me shouldn’t play golf. With people. For money. (That said, how much do you have on you, and I get four a side, right?)
P.P: Someone you’d like to golf with (but haven’t yet)?
A.B: Sandy Tatum. Tom Watson. Annika Sorenstam. Greg Maddux. Bryn Terfel (Welsh opera singer).
P.P: Ever swing a club inside your house and break something?
A.B: Ohhhh my goodness, yes. Most notable was in our Chicago house…a low chandelier. It was frosted glass, and it broke into something like six jillion pieces.
P.P: Haha, Adam Barr making it rain!
P.P: Adam Barr: “What’s In The Bag?”
A.B: Driver: Miura Precious Edition 10.5, but only for a few more days. Once I get done doing some video work on it, I can put in my bag our new driver, the SIT-460, also 10.5 degrees, with a stiff-flex Fujikura Speeder Motore shaft. Just had it fitted by Chip Usher, our dealer in Savannah. We determined that I’m really between flexes, and that the Motore is perfect for me. I see a lot of short grass in my future.
Hybrids: Miura MG in HB3 and HB4 models. I had a couple of these from stock to use for video work, but the shafts were wrong. Chip is putting me into Fujis in these too.
Irons: Miura CB-501s, 5-PW. Loooooove these irons. The flight is magnificent for me. Until now, I have been playing them with True Temper M80s, which are of course light, and also out of production. Since I have been doing yoga twice a week, I have gotten a lot stronger, and as a result the lighter shafts aren’t quite right (although when I got them, they were perfect. David Butler, our fitter in Half Moon Bay, Calif., did them for me). Now I will go with Nippon 1050s, because I need something heavier and I like the feel of those shafts.
Wedges: Miura of course. 51-degree Y-Grind; I like the beveled trailing edge. Full swing on this one is 85 yards, and higher than your real estate taxes. Lands and sticks. Gap is the famous K-Grind, 56 degrees. Most useful wedge in golf, hands down. Lob is 59-degree C-Grind; its bounce is 15 degrees, but I can adjust my hands forward and pick the ball off of tight lines.
Putter: Miura KM-006. Hefty; feels like a dream. No putter has ever been in my bag this long.
P.P: Hybrids have become increasingly popular alternatives for long irons and even fairway woods. I believe Miura originally entered the hybrid market with the MU Precious Edition utility clubs? How are the MG hybrids different than the MU hybrids, and why would someone choose an MG hybrid over other manufacturers?

A.B: The MUs served a lot of golfers very well. The MG is best seen as an enhancement, a maturing of our hybrid design based on what we learned from experience and golfer feedback with the MU.
If you look at the heads side-by-side, you’ll see some subtle shaping changes in the MG. The reason is the same as it would be for any designer: we simply learned over time how to improve the aerodynamics of the specialized wing that is a golf club head. Beyond that, look at the MG’s sole: that “Circle Cut” design, which the Miuras came up with during prototyping, improved travel through the turf, which is really important with a hybrid — let’s face it, you’re going to use it in everything from a tight fairway lie to gnarly cabbage, and everything in between.

Then there’s the actual size of the MG head. The face is purposely engineered to be the same size, top to bottom, as the diameter of a golf ball — so the face “covers” the back of the ball at address. This promotes a lot of confidence; you never feel as if you’re going to slide under the ball. The look says solid. On a long shot, that’s what you want.
And of course, as a hybrid, the flight is nice and high and lands soft and holds.
P.P: People who try Miura clubs instantly become Miura devotees. So it surprises me to not see Miura commercials on television, advertisements in magazines, and player endorsements (pay to play) on Tour. These traditional methods of generating and increasing brand awareness work effectively for other OEMs. Why isn’t Miura doing the same thing?
A.B: It’s simply not the best way to spend our marketing resources. We aren’t as big as some of the companies whose names you commonly see in advertising or on players’ visors, so it doesn’t make sense economically for us to get into that kind of marketing. But even if we could, I don’t think we would. We prefer what has become a non-traditional approach to golf club marketing, one that relies on trial and education — as you said in your question, people love them once they try them. So that’s what our focus has been, increasing trial. That takes some time, patience, and ingenuity. So far, so good — we added 56 dealers in the U.S. alone last year. We may one day branch out into advertising in small ways, but never with the magnitude you see from some of the bigger companies.
As for player endorsements, when a player does use our clubs to excel, improve and win — and many have — it’s the purest endorsement there is, free of any doubt that pay-for-play might involve.
P.P: There’s an expression, “price is what you pay, value is what you get,” and someone looking at Miura Golf is going to pay more than they’d pay for other OEM clubs. Can you talk about the value a person receives with their new Miura club?
A.B: The value is the focus here. I never apologize for our pricing because the value lives up to it. What you get with Miura is, first and foremost, the finest clubs made from the finest materials, patiently crafted and never mass-produced, by the world’s finest clubmaker and designer and the two sons he educated. You also get a lifelong partner in your game: the authorized Miura dealer/fitter, who is always ready with advice, follow-up club care, and resources for any equipment question.
P.P: The Miura dealership network is expanding literally all over the world. However the selection process is demanding and dealerships are very exclusive. Why does Miura operate through an exclusive dealership network rather than through the bigger retail establishments (wouldn’t these create greater brand awareness for Miura)?
A.B: We actually do have a few outlets that qualify under the “big box store” definition, such as selected Edwin Watts and Golftowns. But they are there because they live up to the same standards as the smaller, storefront-style dealer/fitters. That kind of outlet makes up the majority of our distribution network because it is best suited for the crucial custom element of what Miura provides. (The same is true for the big boxers mentioned above, each of who has a Miura “evangelist” in the store to do fittings and provide all the services a non-big-box dealer offers.)
The key aspect of the dealer/fitter network is that each one is a person — an individual who flat-out LOVES golf equipment, fitting, and helping golfers. This is someone you can go back to as your game grows and changes. That’s why we endorse the personal approach, whatever the size of the building — it fits with the personal way in which our clubs are made.
P.P: The Series 1957 K-Grind wedge is Miura’s latest addition to the wedge family and features a fluted sole design that looks to be as versatile as it is groundbreaking. Does the K-Grind wedge benefit a particular type of player? Why would someone choose the K-Grind wedge over the Miura (Yoshitaka) Y-Grind wedge?

A.B: To this day, I remain amazed at how versatile that K-Grind is. I can do anything with it. So can a lot of other people, so to answer your first question, it’s not for any particular kind of player; anyone can use it with great benefit. I don’t think the K eliminates another choice — I never see it as, say, an “instead of” choice versus a Y or a C. Rather, I think it’s an essential part of any wedge arsenal. Whether you carry three or four, having this one in the bag just broadens your short game options and takes a lot of nervousness out of bunker shots. That trailing edge/sole design gives a lot of confidence that the club is going to get through whatever is in its way with minimal loss of speed and force.
P.P: Taking the turn into the “back 9”.
A.B: Wait; I wanna get a hot dog.
P.P: Grab me a Snickers.
P.P: OK, which tradition do you enjoy most, amateurs playing in The Masters, the U.S. Open finishing on Fathers Day, or PGA Club Professionals competing in the PGA Championship?
A.B: Difficult. U.S. Open/Fathers Day by a hair, because I’m a dad (my son is 11), and I love U.S. Open Sunday.
P.P: A nickname people probably don’t know you have?
A.B: There’s a REASON they don’t know….
P.P: Will Tiger win a major in 2012?
A.B: Oboy. My No. 1 rule while at Golf Channel was to never underestimate him. That said, it looks unlikely.
P.P: If you weren’t Miura Golf President, and weren’t doing anything in the golf industry at all, and not working in the legal profession either, what would you be doing?
A.B: There are two ways to answer this question, and they both have to do with likelihood. More likely: I would be a poorly dressed, deadline-stressed newspaper reporter. (Actually, that’s redundant. All I had to say was newspaper reporter. My friends who are newspaper reporters will read this, curse me, and note the truth of it.)
Less likely: I would be an opera singer. Yes, you read that right.
P.P: Who’s more annoying to play with, guys who don’t rake sand or replace divots, or guys who hunt and hunt and hunt for lost balls?
A.B: Overhunters. Take your medicine. Although non-rakers usually get reclassified in the dork column.
P.P: Haha I get the feeling you can talk trash with the best of them.
P.P: A favorite PGA Tour broadcast moment?
A.B: Not involving me: “YES SIR!”
Involving me: At the John Deere Classic some years back, I was doing my first player interview gig for Golf Channel on the live broadcast. CBS had the weekend, so their production team handled the Thursday/Friday broadcasts as well. Lance Barrow, the great producer who scares the crap out of reporters with his high standards, was in charge. The show was easy for him and his crew; they had done so many. Lance was joking around with his hole reporters (McCord, Feherty, etc.), and at one point he said in our headphones, “The only ones doing any kind of good job today are Peter [Oosterhuis] and Adam!” Not strictly a broadcast moment, but I liked it anyway.

Click here for more photos and discussion in the forums.
P.P: The Japanese government considered moving the nation’s capital from Tokyo to picturesque Himeji after the 1923 Great Kanto earthquake (the most powerful ever recorded until the 2011 Tohoku earthquake). The one year anniversary of the 2011 quake recently passed. How are Mr. Miura and his family doing?

A.B: The family is fine, thank you. Himeji is about 400 miles (crow fly) from the Sendai region, where the quake and tsunami hit hardest. So there were no ill effects physically on the Kansai region (where Himeji is, in Hyogo Prefecture), and no significant business interruptions — except many of our retail partners in the northeast part of the country closed and may not reopen. Understandably, all of Japan felt it would be inappropriate to play golf in the first months after the disaster. So business there was down.
The company has weathered that shock, for the most part. But for the Miura family, the effects are greater than economic. They are most concerned about friends and colleagues in the northeast who are struggling. The family shares in the quiet patriotism typical of the Japanese, and hopes for better times. It may well be that Miura-san has helped directly, but that is a personal matter with him. It is not common for charitable efforts to be publicized in Japan.
P.P: You always refer to Mr. Miura as “Miura-san.” Is that a sign of respect or friendship?
A.B: Both. It’s the typical form of address in Japan to show respect, even among close friends. Miura-san is my senior, my employer, and yes, my friend. It feels natural to call him that way. He also extends to me the same courtesy, although neither of us would dream of demanding it.
P.P: Would you share a few of your favorite books?
A.B: Wow. How much time do you have? I’m all over the map. Many many many. Golf in the Kingdom (golf’s special affinity for self-discovery), Jane Eyre (fantastically constructed novel), anything by spy master John Le Carre, the Aubrey-Maturin seafaring novels of Patrick O’Brian (Master & Commander, etc.), all of Dickens, most of John O’Hara….and on and on.
P.P: Mr. Miura has made clubs played by some of the most prestigious names in golf including Retief Goosen (44 professional wins), Nick Price (50 professional wins), and Tiger Woods (99 professional wins), and he’s been trusted to make clubs for notable manufacturers such as Nike, TaylorMade, and Titleist. Multiple major championships have been won with iron heads made by Mr. Miura including the U.S. Open and The Masters. And Miura Golf is represented on all major tours including the PGA, European, Champions, and LPGA Tours. Yet you rarely if ever hear about these things. Why is that?
A.B: Many of the clubs you mention were made when Miura-san did contract forging for other manufacturers. It was a good business, but his dream was to have his masterworks bear his own name — hence the Miura you see today. As for the contract forged clubs, we don’t discuss them publicly because we don’t want to inadvertently embarrass players or former clients who may now have endorsement relationships with someone else.
P.P: Technology in the golf industry sometimes seems to be more about marketing hocus pocus than about real design and equipment improvement. Where do you think the next big (and real) equipment breakthrough will come from (and care to reveal any secret Miura projects in that regard)?
A.B: Well, I make it a habit not to comment on the competition. So you’ll have to ask them what they are planning. But one thing I can say about Miura is that we are not “breakthrough-centric.” Sure, there’s a chance we will come up with a design that revolutionizes the game, and we would be proud to do so. But our main mission is making the most high-quality, useful and satisfying (add beautiful) golf clubs we can, whether that uses existing technology, an improvement over an earlier model, or a full-blown innovation. Quality first, breakthrough if necessary.
P.P: Speaking of new releases (and you mentioned you’ll have this in your own bag soon) the Miura SIT-460 driver just became available this month. How is that different from the Miura Precious Edition driver? Can we expect other new releases this year or early next year (when will the new Miura Giken 2012 Staff Bag be available in the U.S.)?

A.B: The primary difference with the SIT-460 is that it’s 70 cc bigger than the Precious Edition — but it doesn’t look it. So you get all the distance and forgiveness benefits of a max-size driver in a compact shape. The tall face is part of that; it plays off what we learned about tall faces with hybrids. But the height, plus some careful shaping, enabled us to make a 460 cc driver that looks more like 440. No flanges, no “floppiness.” Just a solid, confidence-inspiring look.
Other releases: KM-007 milled mallet putter later this spring (it had a limited release last year; this will be a wider release), new wedges (details secret). Tour bags are on the way for early summer.

P.P: New wedges? Secret details?? Hmm!!! OK on that note let’s wrap this one up Adam. People are tremendously more familiar with Miura Golf today than they were a mere 18 months ago before you became President. Can you talk about specific positive steps Miura has taken to become better known? And going forward what you might do differently having the benefit of hindsight? Basically I’d like to get inside your mind and see the evolution of President Adam Barr. You are the information gateway to Miura Golf.
A.B: What you have seen in our efforts to be better known and get more people to try Miura is just the beginning. We’re looking at all kinds of ways — can’t share the specifics yet — of getting people to think of Miura when they think of the world’s best golf clubs. My personal evolution isn’t really germane, except as it relates to that mission of message-plus-trial. We work as a team toward that, because we know that once people try Miura, they want it.
P.P: Adam it’s been a pleasure and a lot of fun as well. But I have to mention before I let you go, I know you’re a die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan and with me being a die-hard Cleveland Browns fan, well, that just about makes us the Hatfields and McCoys. So in the words of one of Pittsburgh’s legendary sons Jack Lambert, “If you can’t take it, you shouldn’t play!”
If your six-time Super Bowl winners knock off my Browns in the first meeting of the upcoming 2012 season, I’ll send you a box of freshly made pierogi from Cleveland’s most famous and world renown pierogi restaurant Sokolowski’s (or a Cleveland restaurant of your choice). Cleveland is as famous for its pierogi as Pittsburgh is (even if we don’t have the Pirates “pierogi race”).
But if my Browns emerge victorious (as I completely expect they will), you send me the same, but from Pittsburgh’s most famous pierogi restaurant (and for the record I will accept a batch of your wife’s homemade pierogi as I understand she makes a mean cuisine).
Do we have an agreement Mr. President?

A.B: Crap. I’m boxed in. Can’t refuse. But do you know what my wife is going to extract from me as a price for this if the Browns get lucky? No, I don’t imagine you do…..
P.P: Here we go Brownies, here we go! Haha. Adam thanks for everything. It’s been an exciting time for Miura Golf since you became President and the road ahead looks even brighter. Continued success to you and Mr. Miura and everyone at Miura Golf.
A.B: Thanks, Pete.
If a golden age in forged iron making is upon us the dawning might be attributable to a legendary swordsmith named Miura and enlightened president named Barr. Miura & Barr: Forge & Fire.
Mr. Miura relentlessly challenges himself to make a better, finer club. One that’s ornate, but practical. One that’s traditional in strength, but distinctly innovative. His pursuit is perfection.
And with each sunrise Adam Barr’s dedication and enthusiasm to openly demonstrate the excellence of Miura Golf is equally impressive. His conviction is tenacious.
Put one of Miura’s extraordinary weapons in your hands and you’ll undoubtedly want to call it your own. But maybe more importantly you’ll understand in that instant what Miura-san and Barr-san have known all along better than anyone.

Your Miura swords will never fail you in battle.

Click here for more photos and discussion in the forums.

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Pete is a journalist, commentator, and interviewer covering the PGA Tour, new equipment releases, and the latest golf fashions. Pete's also a radio and television personality who's appeared multiple times on ESPN radio, and Fox Sports All Bets Are Off. And when he's not running down a story, he's at the range working on his game. Above all else, Pete's the proud son of a courageous mom who battled pancreatic cancer much longer than anyone expected. You can follow Pete on twitter @PGAPappas



  1. Jason

    Apr 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    I just demo’d a set of pp 9003’s at my local golf fitters, after which I purchased an entire iron set 4-W, and let me tell you, you CAN feel the difference! They are amazing, and there is nothing else like them in my opinion. I didn’t know a thing about miura clubs prior to trying them so I had no preconceived thoughts of them. They are a thing of beauty 🙂
    If nothing else, everybody deserves the chance to at least hit a ball with them some time in their life

  2. Rick Rappaport

    Apr 24, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Very informative. I guess I didn’t even know anything about Miura before I read this interview, and as one who doesn’t have cable tv I hardly knew much about Adam Barr either.

    Now I know that I don’t want to die before I own a set of Miura clubs. Their look alone is a thing of beauty. Now I don’t know if my current Adams CB2 clubs–on close examination– resembles interlocking steel marbles or is void free like Miura is supposed to be, and I’m not sure I could feel that difference. Still, like us all I’m attracted to beauty and that is enough for me.

    Pete, I admire your preparation for this interview; it wouldn’t have been nearly as successful without it.

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Wunder: Titleist TSi driver first impressions



Three things I want to address before I kick this off.

  1. “Better, best” will not be addressed. It’s never about that these days only what works for me or you.
  2. I’m not adding TrackMan data to this for one simple reason: It doesn’t matter to me for a first impression. I can get lost in the data and ultimately it confuses my ability to just enjoy the sound feel and look of the driver. Obviously, the fitting was on TrackMan, but in the past, successful drivers for me started with the emotional part. Simply, do I like the thing? Can I look at it? Can I trust it? Can I hit shots with it? That’s it.
  3. When I say “spin this” and “spin that,” it’s always addressing a positive aspect.

On Tuesday of this week, I had the good fortune of visiting the Titleist Performance Institute (TPI in Oceanside, California) to do my TSi metal woods fitting. Won’t get too far into that, but essentially it’s golf heaven in every sense of the word. Like TaylorMade’s Kingdom or Callaway’s ECPC, TPI it’s a gearhead paradise.

Titleist Master Fitter Joey Saewitz (@thejoeysaewitz on IG) was my fitter and after hitting a few balls to warm up, we dug into my gamer driver that I adore.

Current Gamer Spec

TaylorMade SIM (9 degrees @ 8.5). Fujikura Ventus Black 6X (no tipping) 45 inches, D4, GolfPride BCT 58R

I have been constantly messing with my driver between new shafts, lofts, lie, etc. Since I’ve been playing a bit more this month, I’ve had the chance to work on my swing and the driver has been the last thing to come around. I’m working on decreasing dynamic loft through the bag and have not adjusted my driver to match. The point is, I’m hitting the driver solid but have lost a ton of height and spin to keep it in the air.

I’m saying this now because for key metrics I was at a deficiency because of the craftsman not his tools. The SIM I was fit into was/is excellent. So, as you read on, keep in mind that I knew that numbers-wise apples to apples my setup was vulnerable to getting beat out due to my tinkering.


My average numbers these days are are 105-108 mph swing speed, 155-160 mph ball speed, 14-degree launch, and 1,800-2,000 spin. At 43-years-old, when I’m hitting it solid I get a lot out of my driver. IF I’m swinging well, at my low spin, off days can be nauseating with the driver.


TSi3: If two of my favorite drivers 975D and R7 Superquad TP had a baby, the TSi3 would be it. Its flawless appearance-wise. The heel section gives it an onset look that the faders will love and the top line toe section is a bit rounded off to give it an open look without having to crank it open. Not the first time we have heard that but nonetheless, Titleist nailed it.

The face has a cool matte finish that I can’t get into yet, but it frames a white ball excellently.

TSi2: Like the TS2, it has that high-MOI shape, although I will say the top line and transitions are a bit softer on the eye. It’s a driver that looks like it just wants to go high and far. If I wanted to hit something as hard as I could that’s the shape I would look for.

Side note—the black shafts in the TSi3 are almost too cool to even look at—the closest thing to a Darth Vader golf club I have ever seen.


This is where they really figured it out. Titleist drivers in the past to my ear sounded good but not great. There was always an essence of ting that I couldn’t fall in love with. The TSi series fixed that in totality, like all the great drivers on the market in 2020 it has that hammerhead thud that I adore. When you crunch it, you literally hear crunch. At impact, however, it has a more compressiony (is that a word?) feel than its competitors. The comparison would be a one-piece forged feel vs a hollow body players iron. Both feel excellent but there is a difference. You can feel the ball squeeze into the face which I think most will notice and respond well to.

PERFORMANCE—Not going to compare it to my gamer as it’s not fair, I gear headed my gamer to the point of lunacy. I will only comment on what the TSi series did while testing.

TSi3: The biggest standout here was usable spin. I am not a high-spin player by any stretch, so if I can find a driver that gets me 2,100-2,200 consistently when I flush it, it’s a contender. For a player at my speed to sneak it out there with the big hitters, I have to launch it at 14 at 1,700 spin, and hope I’m aimed correctly. What I found with the TSi was I was getting that performance at 2,100-2,200, and if anything only giving up 2-3 yards all while doing it 5/10 times as opposed to 2/10.

What does all that jibberish add up to? Consistency and something I can play with. Is it longer than my gamer? I have no idea, but we will find out. What I know is I hit a bunch of really good shots with TSi3, and after I got going with it, it was point and shoot. Stable? Yes. Long? Yes. Forgiving? Yes. Playable? Yes.

TSi2: To be honest I only hit a few with the Tsi2 as its not my genre of music. What I can say is it feels apples to apples with the Tsi3, launches higher with a bit more spin, and goes really straight. No shocker there. The high MOI category has a bunch of contenders, and in my opinion, it’s a head weight game. Heavy is always better for stability.

The setup I landed on

I was fit into the (D4 SureFit setting 9 degrees @ 9.75, flat) however after testing a bit at home on course and range, I landed on the D1 setting, which I like. For whatever reason, I can play Tsi3 at 8.25 and still maintain height spin and it flew about five yards further.

Final setup

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees @8.25, D1 SureFit, 44.5 inches, D4 swing weight)

Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Black 6 X (tipped 1)

Overall, the TSi Series drivers will be VERY popular but not for the reasons you would think. It’s playable, you can hit shots with it, that’s the mark of a GREAT golf club. It’s not all ball speeds and carry anymore in my opinion. This is a driver I can go out and play well with, that’s huge for a hack like me. In my experience, I can’t say that about a lot of drivers I’ve tried to make work in the last four to five years. That’s just me. Lots of great drivers every year but I’m a hard case and finding one that’s just right is a challenge.

Ultimately, for me, the best driver on the market is SIM hands down because it performs in the hitting bay and even better on the course—my hunch is Titleist has something that will do the same.

It’s a beautiful driver that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.


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GolfWRX Classifieds (9/25/20): Titleist U510, XXIO Red, Tour issue M5 head



At GolfWRX, we love golf equipment plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment for the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball, it even allows us to share another thing – the equipment itself.

One of the best ways to enjoy equipment is to experiment and whether you are looking to buy-sell-or trade (as the name suggests) you can find almost anything in the GolfWRX BST Forum. From one-off custom Scotty Cameron Circle T putters, to iron sets, wedges, and barely hit drivers, you can find it all in our constantly updated marketplace.

These are some of the latest cool finds from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

Member Yenmaster – TaylorMade M5 driver head

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it 100 times—if you already have a shaft that you love, buying a driver head is the best way to upgrade and save a few bucks along the way. Is it time for you to trade up?

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: M5 Driver head

Member dansrixon – XXIO X Red Driver

This listing is littered with really cool and rare drivers and fairway woods from Cleveland, Srixon, and XXIO, including the XXIO Red driver looking for a new home.

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: XXIO Driver

Member kkennedy – Titleist U510 1-iron

The new U500 series utilities are the fastest and most forgiving Titleist have ever made, so if you are looking for a club to keep the ball out of the wind—here you go!

To see the full listing and additional pictures check out the link here: Titleist 1 Iron

Remember that you can always browse the GolfWRX Classifieds any time here in our forums: GolfWRX Classifieds

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Whats in the Bag

WITB GolfWRX Members Edition: Rkelso1984



Recently we put out the call for our members to submit their WITBs in our forum to be featured on the GolfWRX front page. Since then, our members have been responding in numbers!

Now it’s time to take a look at the bag of Rkelso1984.

*Full details on the submission process can be found here, and you can submit your WITB in this forum thread.*

Member: Rkelso1984


Driver: Callaway Mavrik Max (10.5 degrees, set to 9.25 degrees)
Shaft: Oban Devotion-6 04 Flex 65g

3-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (15 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

5-wood: Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero (18 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rouge 130MSI 70s

Hybrid: Titleist TS2 (19 degrees, set to 20.5 degrees)
Shaft: Project X Evenflow 6.0S 90g HY

Irons: Mizuno JPX 919 HMP (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s

Wedges:  Mizuno JPX 919 (50 degrees), Callaway Jaws (54, 58 degrees)
Shafts: KBS C-Taper lite 110s, KBS Hi-Rev 125s

Putter: Ping Heppler Ketsch (34″)

Putter Grip: Golf Pride Tour SNSR Contour Pro 140cc

Golf Ball: Taylormade TP5x PIX

Grips: SuperStroke TX1 Mid + 1 Wrap

Get submitting your WITB in our forum as we’ll be publishing more and more of them on our front page over the coming days and weeks.

Feel free to make it your own too by including some thoughts on your setup, your age, handicap, etc. Anything you feel is relevant!

Share your WITBs here.

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