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Did Justin Rose confirm his switch to Honma?

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Our Oct. 26 Forum Thread of the Day centered around Justin Rose’s potential defection from TaylorMade and move to Japanese luxury club brand Honma. Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura, the Morning Read, the Irish Times, and the Sun Times, have all added fuel to that fire.

And on the subject of fire, asked about the potential change following his Turkish Airlines Open win, Rose said

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

Speculation had been rampant in the GolfWRX forums for weeks, with several members with connections to the company indicating they’d heard Rose would soon be a Honma man. For example, mallrat said: “A teaching pro at our club is on staff with Honma and told me the same thing on Weds.”

Beyond the Englishman’s seeming admission that the rumor is true, his agent, Mark Steinberg is mum. Likewise, neither TaylorMade nor Honma has commented.

Suspicion as to why Rose, a long-time TaylorMade staffer and the No. 1 golfer in the world, would defect to a Japanese luxury brand with little presence on the PGA Tour centers around Mark King. The former TaylorMade president and CEO joined Honma as a consultant in August.

Per Golf Digest’s Mike Stachura,

“King, who was CEO at TaylorMade from 1999-2013, stood by Rose in his early professional days when he missed the first 21 cuts of his career and posted a stroke average of 75.18 in his 1999 European Tour season.”

Stachura also indicated King has brought several former TaylorMade staffers to the company. With TaylorMade from 1994 to 2014, King said in August that the company would be looking to establish a presence on the PGA Tour and debut new products in 2019 (per Golf Inc.).

Under the guidance of Chinese businessman Liu Jianguo, Honma, now publicly traded on the Hong Kong stock exchange, has seen sales growth over the past four years amid a reworked business model. The brand now looks to expand into the United States and establish a foothold in the luxury equipment space, which is presently dominated by the likes of XXIO and PXG.

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16 Comments

16 Comments

  1. Cameron Halkett

    Nov 20, 2018 at 10:13 pm

    I’m just reading Honma’s H1 Results. Within page 20 of their presentation they list that a “TOP PGA player as a global brand ambassador”.

    I would say that almost confirms it.

  2. Doug McManus

    Nov 9, 2018 at 11:12 pm

    They are great clubs, very nice quality. The Honma Tour World 737 driver is longer than the Callaway Rogue. I can’t say enough good things about the clubs, if you have the money and want the best buy a set!

  3. ogo

    Nov 9, 2018 at 12:14 am

    BREAKING NEWS***** http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kuFf8cCQlg
    Hailstorm in New South Wales, Australia, hailstones the size of GOLF BALLS!!!
    Those Aussies really take their golf seriously !!!! 😮

  4. Tom

    Nov 8, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    Where did my previous post go?

  5. G-head

    Nov 8, 2018 at 12:48 pm

    Honma… Honma… Honmaaaaaa (Beres)

  6. Dave r

    Nov 8, 2018 at 11:50 am

    I always believed you got what you paid for, and the same is still true . Buying off the rack will get you nothing to buy properly you need to be fitted properly. The shaft is what makes a club work, thinking you are buying what the pros are hitting is nothing but b.s. Not one player on tour is playing so called STOCK . And it would be nieve to think so . Even weekend golfers would benefit from paying for a fitting . A good fitting pro can do it in 1/2 hour with all the proper fitting material out there today.

  7. Richard Tucker

    Nov 7, 2018 at 1:56 pm

    Very smart move by Honma. Anyone who has played their irons will know just how good they are I have for 25 years. They are the next step up from Mizuno and very much on par with PXG. I would imagine it would be a iron only contract as I cant see him changing drivers or putters anytime soon,

  8. Travis

    Nov 7, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I dig it. I wouldn’t mind seeing more brands in play and popular in the US.

  9. TONEY P

    Nov 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    Players will endorse anything for enough money. And any true golfer knows, you can’t buy a golf swing no matter what your clubs cost.

  10. Clint

    Nov 7, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    “Luxury” clubs are a joke and a waste of money. They are literally just a status symbol because the performance doesn’t merit the exorbitant price tags. I could probably argue that with most golf equipment though. The need for the “latest and greatest” in golf is really unnecessary since equipment performance improvements happen so slowly.

    • Jed

      Nov 7, 2018 at 1:35 pm

      The Asians that buy them don’t really care how they hit them. $$$ is king to them.

    • Mbwa Kali Sana

      Nov 7, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      HONMA isn’t just a”LUXURY BRAND ” .Their irons are far better than competition ,if you choose their 4 Star or 5 Star shafts .
      I own a full set of HONMA clubs since 10 years :these were manufactured in JAPAN with much more care than the AMERICAN brands
      Their woods ,in contrast, are not better than the big “AMERICAN “(Made in CHINA !!!)woods

      • CaoNiMa

        Nov 7, 2018 at 10:35 pm

        Idiots will believe anything.
        Mizuno irons are far better and real players know.
        Just because you paid more money for something doesn’t make it better.
        It’s sad that the name of Honma has been raped to this extent. It’s owned by the Chinese. Honma no longer is the same company it was when it was the best at making persimmon woods. None of the original owners or designers are there. That’s why their new stuff look like everything else, instead of looking special like they used to.
        Now it’s just a joke.

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Equipment

Bargain Challenge 2: Putting together a $500 set of clubs for a mid-handicapper

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Last week, I posted about what clubs you can get with $500. I built a set that I would use myself to show that even golfers with particular specs can find what they want for a decent price. Overall the feedback on the post was good, but I did want to follow up since one of the commenters put me up to a challenge. See below.

Well alright James, challenge accepted.

Challenge: A set of mid-handicap clubs with stiff shafts for less than $500.

Driver

Since I was going to be building a set of a mid-handicapper, my goal was to find a driver that got solid distance, but was also forgiving. I found this R9 460 in 10.5 degrees for $65. While the paint has seen better days, this should perform exactly how we want it to. Plus it is adjustable.

Wood

The 3-wood search stumped me for a bit. I couldn’t figure out what I wanted to go with. I knew I didn’t want a strong three wood and I knew I needed something with forgiveness. After some searching I found a Ping K15 16 degree with a stiff shaft. While the loft is higher, I have found that many higher handicap amateurs can find good use out of a higher lofted 3-wood. On top of that, the K15 is an incredibly easy to hit and forgiving head.

Hybrid

I knew what most mid-handicappers would have a hard time hitting a 2 or 3-iron, so my mind immediately went to a 3-iron hybrid. After some searching, I stumbled on this Ping Rapture V2 with a stiff shaft. Historically, the Raptures have been really easy to hit which makes this a great addition to the bag.

Irons

I had the hardest time in this entire process finding irons. There were just too many to choose from. You had great player irons like the Ping S57 and you also had the super game improvement Adams irons. To find something slightly more in the middle, but still easy to hit, I went with the 2012 TaylorMade CBs. A great year for TaylorMade irons and easy to hit with the irons only going down to the 4. This is where someone can have some fun with their choices if they want.

Wedges

Wedge shopping was still hard this time around. Since the PW in the iron set was strong, I knew I needed a stronger gap wedge. I found a Callaway X-Jaws 50-degree for $24. Really, the entire point of the 50 is to have another iron and bridge the gap to the sand wedge. Speaking of the sand wedge, I went with the 56-degree Ping Gorge SS wedge. It has good grooves and will get the job done around the greens. For the lob wedge, I went with the Cleveland RTX 2.0 60 degree: A really solid wedge with good groves to give you the zip you need around the greens.

Putter

And finally, I went with another great blade putter for $55. Honestly, there were a lot of different options in the range from mallets to blades, so don’t be afraid to search around.

Total

In summary, anyone and any skill level and swing speed can find something in the used market. In fact, it was even easier to find clubs in stiff than X-stiff because most X-stiff clubs are custom and are in less demand making, them more rare and expensive than stiff clubs. Take a look, you never know what you may find.

Related: Bargain Challenge: Putting together a set of clubs for $500

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Forum Thread of the Day: “What’s the best budget wedge?”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from bamagator, who asks fellow GolfWRX members what wedges they feel offer the best bang for your buck. As always, our members display their diverse taste, however, Maltby wedges prove to be a particularly popular choice.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • BIG STU: “Depending on the fine line of how you really want to do it and the budget Maltby is a good bet. Their stuff is as good of quality as any. If you are able to build your own clubs, you can do the shafts, and grips like you want them. You can also mix bounces and even style of heads within the set.”
  • Orlandogolfguru: “Rock bottom t7 for 69. Dicks – gg rtx 3 for 69. Or Maltby for like 39. I have all of them and can’t decide which I like best. They are all great, depends in the shape you like really. Can’t go wrong.”
  • Lefty431: “Don’t sleep on Wilson FG tour pmp wedges…  especially tour grind!  They seem to be readily available and super affordable!!”
  • kiw1982: “Wilson PMP. You are welcome.”

Entire Thread: “Best Budget Wedge”

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Equipment

In-hand photos of prototype Ping “Blueprint” irons

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Our Johnny Wunder paid a visit to Ping HQ in Phoenix, and in addition to getting to step inside to company’s legendary gold putter vault, The Gear Dive host got an exclusive in-hand look at Ping’s new prototype Blueprint irons.

While we can’t provide any additional details at present, we do have these photos of a 6-iron for your viewing pleasure.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying about the irons in the forums. 

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