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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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Accessory Reviews

Talking with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish…and a look at the insane headcover they made GolfWRX

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We last talked with Alonzo Guess of Sunfish in November of 2017 after the Nashville-based company launched a custom headcover and accessory builder on its website.

The company has been producing custom headcovers, yardage books, and other accessories since 2013 when it entered the market with its signature wool headcovers.

We wanted to see what was up, and Guess was kind enough not only to answer a few questions, but to design a pretty incredible GolfWRX driver cover using some raw assets we sent over.

BA: What’s new at Sunfish since we last talked? 

AG: 2018 was a great year for innovation at Sunfish. We worked hard to develop new design and construction techniques, and it has been really exciting combining these new creative elements into one of a kind headcovers and accessories. 2018 was our eighth year in business, but it was probably the most significant in terms of innovation. We’re excited to see where we can go from here!

BA: Looking at your websites, I know one of the new things you developed is something you call Photoflux. What exactly is Photoflux?

AG: Photoflux is our proprietary high-resolution printing process, that gives us the ability to apply to our products anything from photos to complex patterns to intricate logos. The level of resolution and detail is truly unmatched, and can’t be achieved with embroidery. We apply it to our leather and Duraleather products, even our hand-made copper ball markers and divot tools! Those are really exciting, because we can make custom copper ball markers with full color logos, on demand

BA: How the heck did you come up Photoflux?

AG: A customer ordered a scorecard holder with his family photo to be embroidered on each side. We made the piece and weren’t happy at all with the result. The embroidery process couldn’t do justice to the photographs. It was clear that there were certain limitations to embroidery, and we were motivated to overcome them. After months of trial and error, long hours and strenuous testing against sun, rain, and wear, we developed the current process.

BA: What are ways the Photoflux process can be used?

AG: Photoflux is perfect for applying photos, but can also be used for intricate logos or family crests. Really any graphic element can be expressed accurately using Photoflux, including shading. Recently we’ve had fun developing custom patterns such as tiger fur and using them as stripes on headcovers. The sky’s the limit!

Photoflux is best in concert with other design techniques, such as embroidery, laser engraving, and precision cutting and sewing. The featured piece (shown in this feature) incorporates Photoflux, precision cutting and sewing, laser engraving and embroidery. The result is as much artwork as it is a functional golf accessory.

BA: What are the limitations of the technology…what products can you apply Photoflux to?

AG: It’s great for leather and Duraleather headcovers, putter covers, scorecard and yardage book holders, alignment stick covers, cash covers, valuables pouches, wine bags, barrel style tartan headcovers…and even copper ball markers and divot tools!

BA: Tell me about this headcover you made for GolfWRX. I suggested the use of a graffiti wall, a GolfWRX logo, and skeleton hand holding up one finger to denote one club/driver, and you really went to town!

AG: So for the headcover you have, we used Photoflux to apply the graffiti wall image to the top of the cover (did you notice the ‘GolfWRX’ spraypaint in there? We threw that in there for you as an Easter egg!). On top of that, we embroidered the skeleton hand. For the stripe, we laser cut the outline of a typical urban skyline, and laser engraved the chain-link fence pattern over the top, than sewed that down. The bottom portion is a Photoflux image of GolfWRX that you sent over.

With so many new ways to decorate and manipulate the materials, we’re really excited about combining it all for our fans and customers to create really unique products. We feel the sky is the limit, and we hope this headcover illustrates that.

 

 

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Equipment

New XXIO Prime woods, hybrids, and irons aim for lightweight power

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XXIO’s latest club offerings, XXIO Prime, looks to offer easy distance and easy accuracy for the moderate swing speed golfer, according to the company.

XXIO Prime woods

xxio-prime

XXIO Prime Woods feature a new re-designed hosel structure, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the driver shaft, which is designed to help moderate swing speed golfers to close the clubface through impact.

Forged from Super-TIX PLUS Titanium, the new cup face includes a sweet spot that is noticeably larger than previous designs, which aims to increase distance performance significantly. The Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face is thinner, lighter and stronger than previous additions, creating a maximum COR across the face, which aims to increase ball speed and distance.

According to Chuck Thiry, Vice President of XXIO USA

“The speed increases, higher launch angles, and draw bias of the new Prime will show immediate results from swing one. It’s legit lightweight power for the players that absolutely need it the most.”

Featured in the XXIO prime woods is the SP-1000 shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin, which creates a strong but lightweight club. Along with the lightness in the shaft, XXIO has made weight savings in the grip and club head, which aims to produce woods that are both fast and easy to swing.

The XXIO Prime woods feature an expanded toe and narrowed heel, a tungsten-nickel inner weight that is low and deep, a lighter hosel repositioned closer to the center of the face, and reduced stiffness at the tip of the shaft, all with the aim of offering golfers with maximum forgiveness from their woods.

The XXIO Prime woods will be available from March 1 and will cost $579,99.

XXIO Prime hybrids and irons

The new XXIO Prime hybrids feature an expanded COR and a lower center of gravity, which is designed to increase distance and ball speed while delivering a straighter ball flight.

The hybrids from XXIO contain a Forged Maraging Steel Cup Face which includes a large sweet spot which aims to increase distance performance.

Just as with the woods, the XXIO irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium Cup Face, though along with this, they also contain a CNC milled speed groove, which significantly increases the COR, creating a larger sweet spot, designed to provide greater distance, ball speed and accuracy.

Both the hybrids and irons include the SP-1000 Shaft, with TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NANOALLOY resin. The hybrids and irons also feature weight savings in the grip and club head, with the aim of increasing swing speed.

With an expanded toe and narrowed heel, plus a crown step that moves weight low and deep, XXIO claim that this is their most forgiving suite of Prime hybrids. While with two high-density tungsten nickel sole weights and an overall profile that is 3mm shorter than the previous model, the company also claims to have created their most forgiving irons yet.

Speaking on the new XXIO Prime series, Chuck Thiry stated

“XXIO Prime is, quite frankly, the most unique and beneficial product ever available to moderate swing speed players. Period. People might think that is marketing hype, but they simply haven’t hit Prime yet.”

Both the XXIO Prime hybrids and irons will hit retail stores on March 1. The Prime hybrids will cost $379.99, while a single graphite iron will be available for $259.99.

 

 

 

 

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Equipment

SPOTTED: 2019 Mitsubishi shafts

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The Diamana shaft line from Mitsubishi Chemical is probably one of the most iconic in the sport. Released in 2005, Blueboard, Whiteboard, and Redboard, were the first generation of shafts.

Photos of the full fourth generation Diamana lineup, offering new materials and technology, along with new names, have surfaced in the GolfWRX forums. Like previous generations, each color shaft offers different ball flight and spin characteristics.

“RF” is the highest launching and spinning in the Diamana line, offering high launch and mid spin, while the “BF” is the mid-launch and mid/low-spin model. Finally, the “DF” is mid/low-launching and the lowest-spinning shaft in the lineup.

All of the fourth generation Diamana shafts use updated technologies and materials that you would expect from a premium lineup. DIALEAD pitch fiber is helps reduce shaft deformation, while still producing exceptional energy transfer.

Each shaft contains MR70 carbon fiber that is 20 percent stronger than conventional materials and Boron fiber for its compression strength and shaft reinforcement. ION plating has been done before in the Diamana line, in vacuum chambers — silver alloy ions are bonded to the shaft to give it a chrome-like finish that can’t be replicated by paint.

See what GolfWRX Members are saying in the forums.

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