Pros: Incredible feel all the way through the bag. These irons offer considerable forgiveness on mishits, and their slightly stronger lofts generate plenty of distance for a better-player forged iron.
Cons: Some will find the price point ($150 per club) too high to consider.
Bottom Line: The entire TW737 line boasts impressive specs and looks. The TW737-Vs, with their slightly larger shape and stronger lofts, could be perfect for the player ready to move from game-improvement irons to better players irons or for those those looking for more forgiveness in a forged set.
Many GolfWRX Members will already be familiar with Honma Golf, known for its intricately crafted clubs and as one of the most prestigious, fastest-growing golf brands in the world. For others, this review will be the first time they’ve heard of Honma, or seen their iconic “mole in a hole” cloisonné and wondered, “What’s that?”
That is about to change. Honma, a mainstay in the Japanese Domestic Market for almost 60 years, is making a major push to become a household name in the U.S. and Europe. This year marks the company’s first entry into national “Hot List” competitions, and you can now find and test some of their products, such as the TW737 irons, in big-box golf stores like the PGA Superstore.
While Honma has traditionally been associated with extremely high-end clubs — even gold-plated at times — the Tour World line is priced similarly with other forged irons from domestic manufacturers. Tour World also happens to be the line played by their tour pros like Hideto Tanihara, who has the TW737-Vs in his bag.
There are three unique models in the Tour World 737 line, each with slight variations in loft and head shape that are designed to fit the specific needs of forged-iron users. Each model includes Honma’s unified face progression and center of gravity design, which essentially allows for slight changes in sole width, face thickness, and head size based on loft, while keeping the same offset. The design is great in and of itself, and it also makes it easier to play a Tour World combo set.
The entire TW737 iron line is forged from S25C steel using Honma’s proprietary high strength W-Forging, a two-stage forging process that mixes hot and cold forging. According to the company, the process creates more density in the club face, especially high on the face. The extra strength is said to increase ball speed and forgiveness.
The TW737-Vn is made particularly for better golfers who like the shape and workability of a blade, but want a little more forgiveness.
The TW737-V has a small cavity-back head, but adds a little more forgiveness and distance than the Vn.
The TW737-Vs, the model I tested, has a slightly larger head and strongest lofts, making it the longest and most forgiving of the three forged irons in the TW737 lineup.
TW737-Vs irons are available now in 3-11 ($150 per club). A variety of stock shafts are available and include the NS Pro 950GH, Dynamic Gold AMT, Modus3 Tour, and Vizard 160. Honma has a retailer search on its site to help you find nearby golf stores where you can check out these clubs for yourself. Of course, custom shaft and grip options are available.
My set of TW737-Vs
I decided on the TW737-Vs because I wanted the extra performance and forgiveness. Honma built a 3-11 iron set, standard length, 0.5-degrees upright with Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound grips and two wraps of tape.
Having played cast, game-improvement irons my entire golfing life, I was anxious to see how these clubs would look at address, feel at impact and most importantly, how they would perform for my swing. In recent years, I have been using a forged Vega wedge, also an iconic Japanese brand. I love the feel, so I was excited for these.
You might be wondering, “Why test against a cast club and not compare Honma to Honma or Honma to Miura?” One reason is that like many of you, I’m precisely who Honma is looking to attract — a US-based consumer who has been playing mostly domestic clubs.
Take it one step further, I’ve also been looking to put forged clubs in the bag and make the move to the better-player iron category, but I was hesitant for a variety of reasons. I mentioned to a few other golfer that I was reviewing this set and their reaction was the same. Are they blades? Are they small? Are they hard to hit? All responses were followed by, “I don’t think I’d be ready for forged clubs.”
After testing I can tell you the irons are not too small, not too hard to hit, and stack up to anything else I’ve tested.
I like to start testing outside before getting on a launch monitor so I can focus purely on what I’m seeing and feeling. And with these clubs, my expectations were high, very high.
I started with the 11-iron because… how often do you get to hit a club stamped with an 11? I’ve always taken a significant divot with my wedges, but my first swing resulted in a solid, crisp shot with a thinner divot. Everything about the shot felt perfect. This happened to be a center strike and impact felt like almost nothing at all… in a good way. The sound was solid and strong, but the first real feeing I registered was slicing through the turf.
That feeling continued even with the long irons. Hitting a 3 or 4-iron around the middle provided plenty of feedback, but the more pure the strike, the less feeling there was. The ball flight appeared to be slightly lower than my current set, with a straight-to-draw flight and similar distances. Working the ball both ways was not a problem.
On the course, I struggled with distance control at first. This was my own fault for not dialing in the distances, especially with the stronger lofts in the 7-iron and shorter clubs. My expectation was that these clubs would not fly as far as my current clubs, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The exceptional feel continued. Truly effortless power on center strikes. The ball just jumped off the face and provided plenty of feedback and forgiveness. My divots from fairway lies were thinner than normal, which I don’t mind at all. These clubs cut through the rough nicely as well.
My favorite moment came at an island-green par-3, No. 16 at BridgeMill Athletic Club. I had 160 yards to the pin, with 150 yards covering the water and 175 yards to the water at the back of the green. With my old set, it would have been a smooth 8-iron (a full 9-iron is a reliable 145 yard carry). For me, the TW737-Vs 9-iron is essentially an 8.5-iron, so I went with 9-iron and played to the center with a little draw. I hit one of the most solid shots of the day, and it landed just a few feet away from the pin. Trusting a 9-iron would be enough… now that was fun.
Launch Monitor Data
My expectation going into launch monitor testing was that I’d see a flatter trajectory, lower peak height, similar distance and spin, and a decent amount of help on mishits. I tested the TW737-Vs on SkyTrak against my TaylorMade RSi 2’s using Bridgestone Tour B330 balls. I rotated clubs every 5 shots and went through multiple rounds with each club.
The launch monitor data backed up what I was seeing on the course. For the short and mid irons, the Honmas generated slightly more distance (not less as I expected prior to testing). The 9-iron had the biggest gap, but the TW737-Vs is also 2 degrees stronger.
Spin was lower, but I was also seeing slightly more draw bias to my shots. While the spin looks a little low, on the course I had no issues stopping the ball on approach shots. With the long irons, my flatter trajectory always forces me to play for a little roll, so that won’t change.
I’ve never been a high ball hitter. My swing produces a lower flight and I’m sticking with it. Not surprisingly, my launch angle and peak height with the TW737-Vs was slightly lower across the board.
Ball speed on heel and toe side of center dropped about 2 mph on average, but the shots were very playable. With the 3 and 4-irons, toe shots generated quite a bit more left spin, but heel shots didn’t really impact the flight.
For shots higher on the face, I was very surprised and happy to see a minimal loss of distance. All in all, these clubs are very playable and forgiving on shots that miss the dead center of the clubface.
Looks and Feel
Feel is subjective, but I love the way these clubs feel. There is a nice weight through the swing. The W-Forging process has created a strong face that fires balls off like little rockets. Some other irons have a spring-like feel at impact, but with these, center shots just seemed to melt into my hands.
I spent a lot of time using powder spray on the face to see the exact impact location. With other irons I’ve tested, it is easy to know if I hit the extreme toe or heel side. But with the TW737-Vs, I was able to feel if I was half a ball to the heel or toe side. Same with being low on the face or a few grooves high. Both better players and mid-handicap golfers looking to improve will appreciate the feedback these clubs provide.
As for looks, “These are beautifully simple” was my first thought when I saw them in person. The lines are clean and sharp in some areas and smooth and rounded in others. The head, while definitely smaller than what I’m used to, doesn’t feel or look too small. I don’t have any confidence issues looking down at the ball.
Each of the TW737 models have the same minimal amount of offset, creating a relatively straight edge from the shaft out to the toe. I find it easier to set up and align clubs with less offset, so I like this a lot. I wouldn’t call the top line thin, but it isn’t thick either. Overall, I just really like how these irons look at address.
The mass low and right in the middle of the face conveys a sense of power, and the designers left plenty of material on the toe and heel to help minimize mishits. The half-mirror finish on the face and top line cuts down the glare at address. I would rather see the half-mirror finish replace the rough finish on the back — it’s just a personal preference — but the third texture does provide another dimension to the look of the club.
Honma might not be the first name most Americans think of when they think of forged irons. That is going to change… not just because Honma will be spending more money to reach golfers in North America, but because the company’s Tour World line is both beautifully crafted and packed with performance.
If you’re in the market for forged players irons, make sure the TW737 is on the list of clubs to hit.