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Patrick Reed’s irons and playing golf club detective

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As golf writers with a specialty in golf club technology and an understanding of how the industry and supply chains work, it’s usually not overly difficult for us to draw some conclusions as to where particular clubs might come from. The reason being that as far as top-end quality components go, there are only so many places that have the capability to produce them—especially when it comes to creating thin cast/forged titanium woods or forged irons.

When a new club shows up, this puts us in the position of reading between the lines, closely comparing pictures, club designs, and even fonts, in an attempt to connect the dots.

One of the first examples of this in 2019 was Francesco Molinari’s custom Callaway irons—obviously different from the standard Apex MB model. Francesco even divulged some information about their Japanese roots in an interview with Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall “These [Apex MB] forged blades are made, I think, in Japan, so they’re slightly different from the standard muscle back.” I took a deep dive on these in a piece that can be found here. 

OEM Oversight

Don’t think for a second it’s only equipment junkies on the outside doing research to learn more about their favorite clubs or trying to track down prototype information—OEMs and equipment manufacturers do it too; they even have teams dedicated to the task.

One of the best examples of this is a group of engineers located in Titleist HQ in Fairhaven Massachusetts. Their primary role is to monitor their supply chain, but the other key part of their role is to keep up to date on what other overseas manufacturers are doing with their balls, including the “white label” balls being sold under various brands—a hot topic that has been discussed many times over. The reason this is key for Titleist/Acushnet is they are both designers and patent holders when it comes to golf ball IP (intellectual property), and Acushnet also owns its manufacturing, something only the largest companies can afford to do.

The “Patrick Reed Signature” Irons

Photo By: Royce Thompson (PGA Tour)

This brings us to Patrick Reed’s new “signature” irons, spotted earlier this week at the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas. Patrick has been quiet on the subject beyond a few details including that he’s been working on them for over a year with a small Japanese company, and we would be hearing more at the beginning of January. First reported by PGA Tour’s Andrew Tursky, thanks to some digging on the USGA Conforming List, the irons are Manufactured by Emery JPN Co.

Here’s where the detective work kicks in: I went beyond the USGA’s list and starting searching for Emery JPN Co. online and came back mostly empty-handed until I had an idea. The USGA isn’t the only governing body to have conforming lists so I went to the R&A, and BINGO!

A quick search for Emery resulted in them being the parent company for a number of quality component OEMs including GrindWorks.jp , SAQRA , and Patrick Reed.

Just like with golf balls, phones or computers, smaller companies don’t own their manufacturing and instead rely on creating a design to then be built by a much large facility. With phones, that means Foxconn, with golf balls that means a few large companies in Taiwan and China, and for forged irons, that generally leads to Endo—one of the largest forging companies in the world—they even have they own in house brand, Epon. Considering that GrindWorks irons are known to be forged at Endo, I would be happy to draw a straight line to the Patrick Reed irons also being forged there too.

Until we have further details this is still speculation, but to see what other are saying in the GolfWRX forums check out the discussion here: GolfWRX Forums: Patrick Reed with new Irons

 

 

 

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Ryan Barath is a club-fitter & master club builder with more than 17 years of experience working with golfers of all skill levels, including PGA Tour players. He is the former Build Shop Manager & Social Media Coordinator for Modern Golf. He now works independently from his home shop and is a member of advisory panels to a select number of golf equipment manufacturers. You can find Ryan on Twitter and Instagram where he's always willing to chat golf, and share his passion for club building, course architecture and wedge grinding.

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Pingback: TOUR REPORT: John Daly’s bizarre irons, Tiger’s surprising equipment changes – GolfWRX

  2. john

    Dec 24, 2019 at 7:36 am

    Like the man himself, they should probably be a lot chunkier.

  3. jgpl001

    Dec 16, 2019 at 4:10 pm

    These look a little cheap and 1970’s to me

    No drooling here..

  4. Randy Copeland

    Dec 12, 2019 at 7:43 pm

    Muira’s made for Nike with Far Par stamped on them for sure no doubt.

  5. lance

    Dec 10, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Shovel back > muscle back

  6. Tyler Durden

    Dec 9, 2019 at 12:48 pm

    This iron is specially ground in the back to make scooping sand or other impediments easier to sweep away

  7. Caroline

    Dec 7, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    all the big OEM golf companies are in the business to make money and many to satisfy stock holders…it is very simple you make the best equipment you can with the highest margin you can. And when you sit down with that pencil to figure out how to make a good margin finding someone to make your product is always a consideration…

  8. ewfnick

    Dec 7, 2019 at 4:50 am

    Wondered what the fuss was about and just seen what he did, nothing worse than a cheat, if he was playing in any of the groups I play with he would have caught a smack in the gob

  9. Elvis Pwessley

    Dec 7, 2019 at 12:34 am

    Awww….my whittle comment got deweated!

  10. Pricilla Presley

    Dec 7, 2019 at 12:19 am

    Uh oh, can he be the new douche Kooch replacement? I never liked his rolled shoulders and that smug look on his mug or that silly skip step as he pulls his ball out of the cup. Just an all around douche!

  11. Dyson Bochambeau

    Dec 6, 2019 at 8:51 pm

    I hear his clubs give you improved lies

  12. Brandon

    Dec 6, 2019 at 7:36 pm

    Fake news. Patrick Reed forged these himself using nothing but the finest American carbon steel and good old fashioned determination. He just had to move a little sand first in his backyard foundry so he could swing his sledge hammer better.

  13. Clint

    Dec 6, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    These look like they have just enough sole to push some sand away from your ball in the bunker.

    • Rory

      Dec 6, 2019 at 7:08 pm

      No such thing as bad publicity, but I’m betting that’s not the first close up they wanted…..

  14. Hdtvman

    Dec 6, 2019 at 2:49 pm

    Nice work, Lt. Columbia. What I like about Reed, like Tiger, he’s there to win, not chasing the money from major manufacturer’s. I’m sure he could name his price with any of them, but he plays what he likes and what works best for him.

  15. Hoganben

    Dec 6, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    Almost all forged irons look the same so may as well have one or two companies make them and they all look the same because one or two companies make them. Ps….I could design Tiger’s new irons…his irons are always the same with just a different brand name on them!!

  16. Geoffrey Holland

    Dec 6, 2019 at 1:48 pm

    The loost art of proofreading strikes again.

    “the irons are Manufactured by Emory JPN Co.

    Here’s where the detective work kicks in: I went beyond the USGA’s list and starting searching for Emery JPN Co.”

  17. Gary

    Dec 6, 2019 at 11:51 am

    As soon as I saw them I thought Epon. The shape and finishing just looks like what I’m used to seeing from Epon.

    Also if you connect the dots you’ll probably find that Endo forges the blanks that Artisan uses. That’s probably where the connection started.

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