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

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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.
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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.
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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, adambarrgolf.com. 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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

Click here for more photos and discussion in the forums.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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…..
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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.
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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

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Jason

    Apr 25, 2012 at 8:32 pm

    Rick,
    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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2021 Callaway Epic Speed Launch Day Report: Everything you need to know about the new equipment from Callaway

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It’s the official launch day of the all-new Callaway Epic Speed line of metal woods, which includes both driver and fairway wood models—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic LS. To summarize the newest releases, Callaway engineers are taking their artificial intelligence as far as they ever have by using it to optimize both the face and body of the driver to deliver forgiveness and distance increasing ball speed across the face like never before.

If are looking for in-depth information, on the ins and outs of the new designs and the technology that makes them possible, check out our full launch pieces below.

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown lighter with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.

Perspectives from the GolfWRX forums

  • bcflyguy1 – I’ve also found the Max head to be excellent when lofted down and weight pushed to the toe; becomes surprisingly neutral when configured as such. Obviously can see where many will prefer the more muted sound/feel and compact footprint of the Speed head or may need the greater fade bias from the Max LS and its Trip Diamond-ish shaping. However, the Max offers a VERY rare combination of tons or horsepower but with sufficient traction control to keep even me from figuratively wrapping it around a light pole.
  • noodle3873 – Just got back from hitting balls. My local Pro was breaking in his Epic LS 9° against his Mavrik SZ TD 9°. Both heads were built/hotmelted to the same weight. He was using GC Quad and brand new Srixon range balls (not ideal but numbers are like for like). On average he was getting more launch, more ball speed and a couple more yards out of the LS.
  • mtp –  I hit the whole lineup today. Not a fitting.  Just trying them out. Was using the HZRDUS Smoke Green. LS was best for me. Prefer the shape, sound and feel over my current Sim Max.
  • zeke66 – This thing is a beast. Hit it with a Paderson ballistic tp. I was swinging awful with all 3 drivers I was hitting including gamer, and wouldn’t leave the hitting bay until I started hitting it better. So I grabbed the Max Ls 9.0 and worked through it. Average ball speed was around 177 low 120’s with spin around 2100-2200, launch 12-15. When you catch one on the screws… it goes as good as anything I think.

More from the GolfWRX forums

GolfWRX’s resident equipment tester, Brian Knudson of the Club Junkie podcast, had this to say

Epic Max driver: A lot of draw bias, but easy to launch high and takes some right side out even with a neutral weight. Sound and feel are improved over Mavrik, much more muted and solid feeling. Center strikes are hot, and even misses carry some good ball speed.

Epic Speed driver: The best looking of the Epic drivers. Offers the most penetrating flight. Seems to be pretty low spin and easy to work the ball in either direction. Misses don’t stay online as well with more curvature. It is long and going to be a really good option for skilled players.

Epic Max LS driver: Very forgiving and offering a straighter flight than Max. Slightly lower trajectory as well. Toe misses hold their line better than the other two. Shots low on the face don’t get up as high as expected but still carry. Misses off-center still have good carry distance

Here’s what the biggest YouTube testers and reviews have to say on the newest Callaway Apex line

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From the Twitterverse

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Equipment

Best utility iron of 2021 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 2021 utility irons. WRXer ‘Krod10359’ kicks off the thread, saying:

“Just want to know your opinion on what new utility iron you have hit this year. Looks like a lot of solid offerings out right now from Ping, Srixon and Callaway. Let me hear what you have to say about these clubs.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

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.

  • hypergolf: “This…(photo above)”
  • TigerInTheWoods: “Sim Udi is a beauty. Launches a bit higher and is a bit more forgiving than the P790 UDI which was really the benchmark for this kind of club.”
  • craz-e: “Hard to go past the Srixon for performance and value. The current offerings from Titleist (u500 & u501) and Mizuno (HMB) are also great options and worth trying.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “The new Callaway one is pretty good.”

Entire Thread: “Best utility iron of 2021”

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Equipment

2021 Callaway Epic driver: Epic Speed, Epic Max & Epic LS drivers

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Callaway Golf introduces new Epic driver lineup for 2021—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers—giving us the best of everything.

When it comes to a hot face, Callaway Golf has been at the top of the heap since its introduction of Jailbreak Technology back in 2017. In simplest terms, Jailbreak allowed Callaway to vertically stiffen the face, which allows the face to absorb a ton of energy and release it right back into the golf ball.

When Epic hit the market, it was instantly the driver of that year due to its ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but most importantly for Callaway, it gave the company a strong foundation to build from for models to come.

In 2020, with the help of artificial intelligence, Callaway engineers were able push that idea a bit further with the successful Mavrik line. This time, artificial intelligence took Jailbreak and found ways to make it even more efficient with the addition of the Flash Face.

Now, in 2021, using every piece of tech at its disposal, Callaway officially launches the new 2021 Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers.

The new AI-designed, carbon-loaded, MOI machines are the culmination of now four iterations of Jailbreak technology, and in my opinion, Callaway has its fastest but more importantly—most golf-course friendly—driver ever.

Let’s dive in…

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver, Cyclone Aero Shaping

In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness not only vertically across the face but east and west as well. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway driver, face on

“Spin robustness” is another key term in the 2021 Callaway campaign. What this means for us is giving players spin where we need it (i.e. off the heel spin stays down, off the toe spin stays up, out of the middle the ball goes forever).

Another key aspect to notice across the line is the enhanced composite crown. The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver has a triaxial carbon crown that covers even more real estate allowing Callaway to redistribute 16 grams of discretionary weight. The larger carbon surface area also innately created a way for Callaway R&D to make the Epic Speed a bit more draw friendly without having to add external weight to the heel.

Callaway Epic Speed driver, address

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

Sole view of the new Callaway Epic Max driver

Yes, the new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Sliding weight

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Address

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Incorporating the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and Jailbreak technology, Callaway has created a new more forgiving profile in a players driver.

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.
Like Epic Max, LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
Inspired by the Triple Diamond tour heads of the past, Callaway decided to go away from cranking spin down to oblivion and offer a driver that was actually closer to what the tour leans towards. Yes, they love a low spin head, but not too low spin. The Triple Diamond heads were basically a Sub Zero shape in a higher MOI profile. If you go through our tour photos, you will see more Triple Diamonds than anything. Obliterating launch and spin sounds good for Trackman, but it’s hard to play that way on the golf course all the time.

Initial Tour Reaction

I had a chance to chat with  Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the early response and this is what he had to say.

JW: In early testing, what is the first thing players are seeing with Speed and LS?

JD: Early feedback from the tour guys has been a noticeable difference in an increase in ball speed across the face but more importantly the dispersion has tightened down range. Many guys have also quickly fallen in love with the sound of the new metal woods.

JW: What most excited you with the new line?

JD: We knew early on with this product launch that we had an exceptional driver. To start- the look of the heads and the shaping allows the clubs to sit beautifully at the address position. From there the overall feel and sound matches exactly what tour guys prefer. The guys we have worked with have converted into the new woods extremely quickly with very positive feedback. For us, we are excited to have some great starting lines, a competitive ball speed advantage, and an increase in forgiveness.

We are constantly studying what makes world class drivers of the golf ball world class. After much research, we determined the ideal spin/ degree of launch and worked closely with our R&D team to reach these numbers. We were absolutely amazed to see what they came back to us with. Using AI they were able to figure out how to increase the MOI in this line of drivers while also focusing on more ball speed. It truly is remarkable the new frontier of technology we are using in our drivers to help our players play their best golf.

Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Epic Flash (acoustics), and Mavrik was solid but didn’t blow me away. This new 2021 Callaway Epic line of drivers is exactly what players want: a golf club that is playable all while providing the distance and performance we have gotten used to over the past few years. It’s a new trend in the market that I’m loving. Drivers are becoming golf course friendly again. We tried to kill spin—when ultimately it was our best friend in the long run.

Specs

At Retail: 2/18

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees (Epic Speed) 9, 10.5 degrees(Epic Max & Epic Max LS)

Price: $529.99

Stock Shaft Offerings

  • Epic Speed Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g – S)
  • Epic MAX Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g -S)
  • Epic MAX LS: Mitsubishi MMT (60g – S,X. 70g – S,X)
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