Former president of Endo and current president of S-Yard Kenji Kobayashi talks about his personal history in the Golf Industry and some of his philosophies on golf design.
Former president of Endo and current president of S-Yard Kenji Kobayashi talks about his personal history in the Golf Industry and some of his philosophies on golf design.
Dr.H is one of Tourspecgolf's most loyal customers and is the current owner of now 3 sets of Yoro Craft Mizuno irons. He appreciates the best in premium clubs and is also has great brands like Crazy and Kamui Works and Gold's Factory in his bag. Today his 3rd set of Yoro Crafted clubs were delivered to me or some quick photos and I have to say this is one of the most amazing Yoro sets produced yet. A full combo set with the MP-H4 for a 3 iron followed by MP-54 4-6 Iron and Twilight MP-4 6-PW (yes he ordered two 6 irons due to loft differences - the JDM MP-54 is strong lofted). He then topped them off with RAW MP-R4 Japan model wedges. All the clubs have his name DR.H in Mizuno Blue paintfill on them (on the hosel for MP-54 and MP-H4. The offset was also reduced in all the clubs and all the irons had a W sole grind done on them as well.
Dr.H also had a 34" Calfornia Del Mar modified by Gold's Factory going up to 20g sole weights, 3 x arc reactors in the back cavity, original Premium Zone horizontal milling on the face and 3 sight lines. A G mark on the toe and Dr.H's company logo on the toe face. All finished in Tour Teflon Black and done in Acid Green (which admittedly we had a hard time matching to the acid green brakes on his Porsche). Photos tell the whole story so I don't really need to write much more. Just Read More to see the rest of the photos! Read More
Mizuno has begun officially offering Yoro Craft options for the new MP-4 Muscle back. We've already received quite a few orders and the first set we ordered already came in as you can see in the image above in Double Nickel Bright. There are also some amazing options for the new Japan only MP R4 wedge including 11 different finishes and numerous stamping and grind options. For those of you looking for an idea of what kind of options are available for the MP-4, I created the table below. You can also take a look at some of the finishes done with previous TSG Yoro orders here.
Just click on the image below for a bigger picture and email us anytime for a quote!
Earlier this year Masakazu Abe also known as ABEX in Japan the lead shaft designer at Crazy left the company along with several top craftsmen. It has always been Abe-san's dream to form his own shaft company so he began Triple X which goes by TRPX a high performance shaft company that uses only high modulus carbon. I first dropped by their head office in Shinjuku back in July to find out the scoop behind the company and it's products. Abe-san was originally the one who Tourspecgolfer dealt with when we started dealing with Crazy a few years ago, so he was more than happy to talk about the possibility of working with TSG again.
The key behind TRPX is quality and design. Every shaft is of course designed by ABEX and made of high modulus carbon using a new design ABEX dubs HPI or high power impact (more on this later). TRPX is small so the focus is on lesser quantities with higher quality. The Factory consists of 4 craftsmen... thats right 4 people. One person doing each job in the creation of a shaft. One managing carbon prepreg, one doing hand rolling of the shafts, one doing a thorough quality control and spec check and one doing painting of the shaft.
Over the course of the summer I have met with the TRPX staff on numerous occasions both at their head office and factory to watch the shafts being made and tested as well as for some photography opportunities. It's rare with most large golf companies in Japan to get to know the staff but with TRPX being so small, we thought it would be a good idea to put some faces to the people behind Japan's newest high performance shaft company. They were all very cooperative in letting me take their photos so keep reading to learn more about TRPX and their shafts and driver!
It has admittedly been too long since we have blogged. These last months have been busier than ever and it will only get busier with many new releases on the horizon. I will try my best to blog as much as I can over the coming months to introduce all the new products for 2014.
I was at Gold's Factory in Tokyo yesterday to take care of some custom jobs we are doing for TSG customers. I decided to take the opportunity to snap some photos of the weights and inserts that Gold's Factory provides. Many times when helping a customer create their custom master piece, they are confused over all the different type of insert options that Gold's offers. Master Sasasya has created names for these inserts but when I tell a customer they can put Orbit around G in the sole and Arc Reactors in the cavity, they usually have no idea what I am talking about.
So I thought snapping some photos would help people visually identify with these weights and inserts. I will also do a post in the future about face millings and face insert options from Gold's Factory. Its important to know that every single insert used by Gold's Factory and that you see in these photos are machined from scratch by Gold's factory. Because of this, they can control quality and vary the size, weight, and colors of all the inserts they do. (as I have mentioned before as well, Gold's even machines their own tools!) Many of the weights are of course for practical purposes, ie in order to bring head weight up or shift the COG/bias of the putter. Some of these inserts are of course more for aesthetics and really help each custom job look very cool.
For those of you who own a Gold's Factory or have seen one in person, you can attest to the top notch work Master Sasaya does from perfectly cut holes on putters to perfectly machined weights and inserts that seamlessly fit them. For those who have not seen my previous posts on visits to the Factory they can see some of the machinery and staff in action in these posts:
So read on and I can go over some of the weights and inserts.
This has been a great year for Mizuno Yoro Craft and TSG with nearly 50 sets produced for TSG customers. You may have seen some of the sets featured here on the blog which look absolutely amazing. In the past month I have gotten many inquiries about the new MP-4 muscle back as well as the MP-54 cavity. I spoke to our Mizuno rep and both will be available for Yoro custom orders beginning October 18th the same day for the retail launch of the new MP clubs in Japan.
At this moment we are unsure of exact options from Yoro though we can take a guess that options for the MP-4 will be similar to the MP-69 save for stampings and logo placement. The MP-54 is a bit harder to predict as Yoro is typically more strict with the 5 series due to the type of cavity which is harder to do for certain finishes and stampings (see MP-59). The new MP-R4 wedge should have lots of options like the older MP-R12 and in case many of you did not realize, Mizuno DRIVERS are also part of the Yoro Craft program, including lie adjustment, custom finish and most top Japanese shafts.
As always with Yoro Japan Crafted orders, each set is custom quoted and you must contact us for the quote and to order. For the new models here, its best to contact us on or after October 18th so we can be sure of options and costs. So while we wait for the release here in Japan you can check out their new Yoro Craft commercial!
The new PRGR iD Nabla "TOUR" iron, I guess that's the term still Tour, meaning it's their most compact player profile forged iron in the line up. Many gloss over PRGR's irons but I can say they make them proper and keep up even in some cases surpass the big boys. We often see PRGR pushing the envelope, it's a trend we see across many of their designs but new Nable Tour iron here is subtle, it's refined and goes head to head against some of the more playeresque TSG favorites. The Nabla Tour folks, check it out..
नमस्ते (namaste) Hello India! last year we expanded operations into China and while it hasn't been easy at all it's been very good for the company and it's exposure globally. This year we are headed to India to meet with a few golf industry insiders about expanding into this fascinating country. We know it's an extremely small golf market but we also know it's got quite a sizable amount of golfers who enjoy other luxury goods and why not try our hand at introducing them to the best golf clubs in the world.
We are looking for brand partners who would like to meet with us in New Delhi this October. If you live in India or have business contacts that you think may be interested in meeting please drop me an email at email@example.com We have no expectations just yet, this is a trip to tour the country and find out it if its a viable option for the TSG business model. Thank you! Just for kicks I decided to insert an inspiring video about the story of a caddy from the slums who makes it big with the support of a kind sponsor.
Well it's time for Part 2 of Craig's whirlwind weekend here in Japan. If you read Part 1, you'll know that Craig and I spent the morning and lunch at Gold's Factory with Master Sasaya, not only figuring out to do with Craig's putters but also having Craig watch Gold's Factory at work. It was very exciting for Craig to see his own putters tweaked and worked on right before his own eyes. After lunch we parted ways with Sasaya-san and grabbed a train back to Akihabara where we switched to the Tsukuba Express train. A funny thing happened on the way to Rokucho Station where we were to be picked up by Crazy. I was joking to Craig that last year when I took Carl (mygreenaliem) to Crazy we were so busy chatting on the train we went right past Rokucho. After we boarded the train Craig and I got into deep discussions about drivers and irons and about 15 minutes later when I decided to look outside the train I realized we had missed Rokucho Station!! So we jumped off the train and hopped on the opposite track train only to find out it was also going in the opposite direction from Rokucho! Anyway to make a long story short, we eventually made it to Rokucho where our good friend Ueda-san picked us up to drive us to the Crazy Factory.
Craig is already the owner of a lot of Crazy shafts and drivers. This was his chance though to try all of Crazy's offerings as well as to get fit for iron shafts for his Crazy Muscle Backs. We decided to get fit first for a driver shaft and we pretty much had Craig try every Crazy shaft.
It's always interesting to meet TSG customers when they come to Japan. Many of these customers I have dealt with for years and finally seeing them face to face is always a pleasure. Craig is as hardcore a golf enthusiasts as they come and I have always known this. He appreciates quality and is very loyal to the brands that perform for him. So it was only natural when he told me a few weeks ago that he was flying in for a weekend of golf that we head out to Itabashi to visit Master Sasaya and Gold's Factory. Afterall, Craig is the proud owner of no less than 4 unique re-works done by Sasaya-san over the last 6 months alone.
I met Craig around 9:30am just outside Daimaru at Tokyo Station. Surprisingly traffic coming in from Kiminomori was very heavy for a Friday morning. Craig and I then hopped on the JR and headed out to Nakajuku in Itabashi for a morning session with the Master. Nakajuku as I have mentioned before is an older part of Tokyo with narrower streets and tightly crammed businesses and homes. It probably wasn't what Craig had expected as the home to Gold's Factory. Craig had brought along 4 more putters for modification and refinishing by Gold's and we also discussed some ideas for an all new original Gold's creation putter.
We arrived at Gold's just after 10:00am and after introductions and a quick perusal of the workshop Craig pulled out an Epon Zen, Epon i33, Gold's Factory DWD, and an older brass Hiro Matsumoto Tour putter. We stood over the putters trying to decide on the spot what to do with each one. Craig had been very happy with the suggestions I had made on previous putters so he left the finer details up to myself and Sasaya-san to decide while he let us know his thoughts on each putter, ie "The Zen feels too light, and looks too plain... the Hiro feel is not up to par with the others, the i33 got rusted in transit and needs an overhaul..." We came together on ideas for each head and Sasasya-san began pulling the shaft off the Zen and DWD putter so that he could get to work on the putters immediately since Craig was only here for a few hours.
It's been a while since we posted a wedge grind video, Mr Miyoshi-san of Yururi golf a very good friend and business parter of TSG sent me an email last week with some of his latest videos. Yururi-tube! In this blog post your going to watch that video and get a sneak peak of the next Yururi muscle back iron named the PDG. Read More to watch the video & see the prototype picture...
We posted pictures of the Concept Model Speeders back in February from the Tokyo Golf Fair, It's been months but finally more info has come to light around these and it appears at least Fujikura in Japan will be releasing these to the public. Fujikura started off as a hardcore aftermarket shaft brand but then got caught up in the OEM game aka the money game and since then has taken a step back from producing the aftermarket shafts we know they can make. In this post I'm going to go over all new Speeder models including the 474, 569, 661, & 757 shafts. Click on to Read more...
For the George Spirits fans out there a bit of good news if your looking to upgrade your wedges. The new GTSW2 was just released and it looks stunning, the wedge is made, finished, and milled in Japan featuring one of the more durable gloss black finishes I have seen in the golf market. It's geared toward the average player who wants a thin top line and what appears to be onset which is the opposite of offset where the leading edge extends beyond the neck line. These should be in the TSG pro shop shortly, more great pics after the break...
Yesterday I was in Tokyo to visit Gold's Factory to talk to Master Sasaya about some future putters and how things in general are going. Gold's is very busy with a queue of jobs from all around the world and as usually many beautiful putters are being produced and modified. Instead of doing a usual long write up, I thought I would make this more of a photoblog since I snapped some photos while I was there. Pictures can tell a whole story so I will just add a few lines here and there.
Before heading over to Nakajyuku in Itabashi, I thought I would swing by Shinjuku and check out some cameras. I brought along my Fuji X-Pro1 which I use for all my photos on this blog along with a 35mm f1.4 and a 18-55mm zoom. All the photos at Gold's are with the 35mm and the outside shots the zoom lens.
RomaRo has a lot to offer the better player their head shapes and face depth designs just seem to cater to the faster swingers and better ball strikers. TYPE-R is based on the concept that even the best golfers can appreciate increased forgiveness and that's why RomaRo has kept the playeresque profiles and square face angles yet incorporated higher MOI and optimal CG placements for a better launch + more carry and roll. Let's take a look at their latest offering the TYPE-R utility wood.
Two versions of the new Type R UT exist one polished chrome and satin finished as well as a black IP model (not shown) which I think looks the better of the two. As you can see from the above picture the face still maintains a good depth. I'd consider it mid. This makes it perform in the rough as well as off the Tee making a pretty versatile utility. The launch is mid/high just what I like in a UT. Choose the graphite option if your hunting distance and height, go with the NS hybrid option if you want a lower more controlled result. Click Read More for more pics and early impressions.
When it comes to choosing a a forged iron with all around performance, there are so many models to choose from. Brands in Japan all have at least one model that targets a wide range of golfers with premium forged feel plus ease of use. These type of irons appeal to not only improving golfers but even better golfers looking for some extra forgiveness. Average golfers eye these models as their chance to play a nice forged cavity back that can bring their game to the next level. Year in and year out models like the ONOFF Forged, Titleist VG3 Forged, Yamaha V Forged, XXIO Forged have really done well in that overlapping target range.
As an average and improving golfer who appreciates not only quality forged irons but also design and the technology put into clubs today, I am always on the search every season for those forged irons that do everything well. Too many times these days do I have golfers email me and tell me they have an 18 handicap and are wanting a set of blades. Golf is not an easy game, choosing the right clubs to fit each player can help a player improve and make the game much more enjoyable. Choosing a club that is beyond the level of a golfer can make the game down right frustrating. As much as I would love to play a sexy set of blades and I understand the concept of a "challenge", I also have to face the fact that I need as much forgiveness and distance I can get as a slower swinger and improving golfer. Many get enamored by the pure feel and design of a muscle back and its promises of great control and workability. These promises are true as long as you can strike the iron well. Many cavity backs today can also provide premium forged feel but with features that help mere mortals make great shots.
I've gone through all the usual suspects before, gaming the ONOFF Forged and Titleist VG3 as well as the Yamaha V Forged (2011 model) for extended periods of time. These 3 irons may very well be the benchmark of an average sized forged cavity back that appeals to both sides of the skills spectrum. I decided this year it was time to buck the trend and try something not so mainstream. Golf enthusiast boutique brand Romaro Sports has been growing as an increasingly popular brand here at TSG and is in fact one of the leading component brands in Japan. We have long felt their products are under appreciated and very underrated. Back in February we visited Romaro at the Japan Golf Fair where they showcased their new Type R lineup. The Type R currently includes Fairway Woods, a Utility and a set of forged irons (Type R drivers are also slated for later this summer!). Romaro has always been know as a brand with a focus on the athlete and better golfer so with the introduction of this Type R line, came a new appeal to those who wanted more forgiving clubs with an emphasis on easy launch and big distance. The woods now featured new forged variable cup Ti face and a deeper and lower CG thanks to the use of the HX weight. This helps get the ball in the air and produce a higher but stronger trajectory than the previous Ray FW and UT. What really stood out to me though was the new Ray V Forged Type R iron. I loved they way it looked and the improvements Romaro had made so I waited for months before deciding on this years irons in my bag so I could get my hands on the Type R.
RomaRo in Japan is well known for producing quality products using only the best materials combined with outstanding design. The company survived the long global recession while maintaining market share in Japan as a top 5 component brand but just recently numbers were announced showing a big jump to tie for first place. These numbers don't take into consideration the sales of the newly released TYPE-R so to say the least now is a very exciting time for the company.
The Type-R is spot on. The entire series is based on making clubs that look good to the better player yet pack more forgiveness and RomaRo also claims that not only are the Type R's easier to hit but they also have a more penetrating trajectory equalling more carry & roll in the woods. In this post I wanted to highlight a product we first hit back in February but has just been released recently. The Ray SX I-S Sole.
So what is the I-S Sole? It's a multi bounce design so the heel area features a higher bounce that blends into a lower bounce in the sole center. This eliminates the phenomenon of the floating leading edge that we sometime see in some wedges. The IS sole also helps keep the face from opening up while the club rests in your hands. In the real world after spending some good time with the wedge I can say that it delivers in most areas with ease. I've always liked RomaRo wedges but my only gripe was how firm they felt at impact. We recently saw them soften things up a good bit with their Alcobaca wedge and now with the Ray series they have done the same. Big news after the Break...
It's been a great first 6 months of 2013 for S-Yard golf, with the releases of the T.388 driver, Bold Wedge, XV Driver and now the XV fairway woods. At TSG we have seen the FW segment really dominated by the Ryoma fairway woods and PRGR egg Spoon plus a splattering of other brands like Royal Collection, Yamaha, ONOFF, Romaro and Tourstage rounding up the popular choices. The new XV Fairway wood from S-Yard aims to leave its mark firmly in the midst of all these great fairway woods thanks to Kobayashi-san's vision of how the XV FW will compliment the XV Driver. For those of you who read the introduction and review of the XV Driver here, you will obviously see the resemblance between the driver and fairway wood.
The new XV Fairway wood could pass for a mini XV Driver based on its aesthetics. However the XV is designed to focus on performance as a fairway wood and not a driver replacement (though I'm sure some players could use it as such). Kobayashi-san knows that less and less people seem to be using fairway woods these days so he sought to create a club that would not only satisfy the better player but still be reasonably easy to use. While the head sizes of the 3W and 5W are actually considered to be on the large side at 190cc and 175cc respectively, again through Kobayashi-san's carefully thought out designs, the heads in no way appear that large. The slightly larger volumes allow for more flexibility in CG placement as well as increased MOI. Kobayashi-san focused on the head shape of the XV to compliment and be just as eye pleasing as the driver. He also decided on slightly flatter lie angles which will appeal to the better player (57* for the 15* and 57.5* for the 18*).
It's been a while since I did a Gold's Factory update but the truth is Master Sasaya is busier than ever. Since last year, Gold's Factory has been featured in many top golf publications here in Japan especially the very highly respected Choice magazine. Late last year he even did a joint interview at Gold's Factory for the magazine along with John K Solheim president of Ping Golf Japan (grandson of Ping founding father Karsten) talking about the evolution of putters. Since then Gold's Factory has been featured several times for their wedges and putters. More pics later in post!
Besides creating some awesome one of a kind putters like his Meister Absolute Crafting series (MAC) he is busy as ever with modifications of putters from all different types of brands. Back in the November update I showed his modification of customer Craig's Hiro Matusmoto and original Private Stock "2. You can see those putters here. Craig was so happy with those putters he decided to send a couple more in for refinishing and modifications. Craig forwarded me a Yamada Kendo and an 85029 Copper series putter. Both putters were in great condition and the copper finish was actually quite nice but Craig asked me to come up with some mods and new finishes for the two heads. Here is what they looked like when I first received them:
After getting a brief idea from Craig on what he envisioned I sent the putters to Gold's and gave them instructions to overhaul both putters. Here are the finished products!
Sandwiched between the release of the Limited 388 driver and Ryoma's new D-1 Maxima the S-Yard XV has been somewhat lost in the mix. Thats a shame because its up there with the best of them. We first laid eyes on these back in Feb and were actually more excited about this release than the 388. After more than 10 rounds, launch monitor sessions, and different shafts i'm feeling comfortable enough to review it.
currently in the bag... I'm using many different drivers, the XV with Crazy Boron in stiff flex is one of them. I started off with the stock shaft it was stiffer than the 388's stock by about 5 cpms. Then the Crazy Black Tour 65 in stiff was next, perfect for a stronger player just not me, my fades grew and I had a very hard time staying straight or getting it to turn over. Tatsuro our club tester was uber consistent with the crazy, long and straight even on the most windy of days. After the Crazy the DI-6 in stiff was installed and worked wonderfully. It was a temporary shaft installed while I waited for more Borons to arrive. The DI-6 is a superb shaft in this head. And now the Crazy Boron, now this is a shaft you can feel yet it doesn't spray the ball everywhere like other shafts that you can feel. Many TSG'ers are now playing the Boron, it seems to fit a wider range of golfers than other crazy shafts. Read on to see the rest of the review...
Another set of awesome MP-64's from Mizuno's Yoro Craft arrived this weekend. Twilight finished with matching MP R12 Wedges for Chin. Beautiful mysterious look with no paintfill.
Mizuno MP-64 4-PW
Remove Grain Flow Forged
own name: CHIN
No paintfill for logos, numbers, name
Increase FP 0.5mm (less offset)
W Sole Grind
Nippon V90 Stiff
Iomic Sticky 1.8 Red
0.5" LONGER D3
Mizuno MP R12 52 56 60 (3 Wedges)
Remove Grain Flow Forged
own name: CHIN
No paintfill for logos, numbers, name
Increase FP 0.5mm (less offset)
Nippon V90 Stiff
Iomic Sticky 1.8 Red
0.5" LONGER D3/D4
Two and a half years ago when we first introduced Ryoma Golf's D-1 driver here at Tourspecgolf, we honestly didn't know what to expect. We had seen the accolades it had received in Japan as a superior distance driver with unparalleled forgiveness but it was at a price point that we really thought would scare of many potential buyers. Fast forward to today and the Ryoma D-1 became TSG's best selling driver ever with steady and unmatched sales through 2011 and 2012. While there is certainly no such thing as a driver that performs for every single person, the Ryoma D-1 certainly comes close.
Towards the end of 2012, we began hearing rumors that Ryoma was working on a successor to the D-1 driver. We could not help but wonder how anyone could improve on the D-1. Many customers proclaimed it as the holy grail, longer than any driver they had ever hit with unmatched ease of use. Nevertheless, we quietly waited with unwavering excitement and growing expectations.
We found out a few months ago Ryoma had developed a new D-1 Maxima driver and confirmed its existence when we saw a pre production model at the Japan Golf Fair in February. Ryoma eventually announced a late April release initially in the domestic Japanese market where it has gained a cult like status.
While creating the Maxima, Ryoma decided to create some basic points as a premise for its design and truth be told, these points are all pretty obvious and what we would like in every driver. The Maxima would not only produce big carry or not only produce big run, but an optimal amount of both for maximum driving distance. Every player is different and distance will vary for every player so the Maxima works to improve every golfers game by minimizing left and right ball movement as well as eliminating ballooning of shots by reducing back spin and side spin. Noting that many drivers today reach too high an apex in their ball flight causing the ball to drop rapidly with too much back spin and no run, Ryoma focused on optimal spin for carry and a trajectory apex which would allow a powerful descent angle resulting in great run. Ryoma also understood that with different specs and different shafts, the proportion of carry and run will of course be different with every player but this could be overlooked by making a head that simply produces as much initial ball speeds as possible for every individual player.
With S-Yard coming out with many new Endo forged players drivers a lot of customers have been asking what Mr. Kobayashi has in terms of players irons... We know that a new advanced muscle could be in the works as well as a new semi game improvement iron called the XV Forged. So what would an S-Yard fan looking for a players CB choose? The GT Type S of course. It's forged by Endo of S20C with heavy perimeter weighting and a nice compact appearance from above, I mean what else is there to ask for? I've been able to put these into play for a short period and they are soft and considerably forgiving for it's size.
This is an iron that pictures don't do justice. In hand it's simply stunning with a brushed satin finish except for the chrome back face with bead blast accents. When standing above all you see is lovely satin from neck to face. In regards to it's size it's pretty compact. Smaller than mid sized thats for sure. This is a tried and true design for Mr. Kobayashi and you can see his DNA everywhere. If you like what your seeing we have more pictures from all angles after you click "Read More" below...
A few weeks back I posted imagery of the new X-Drive 709 450cc driver, We received a few inquiries from customers on the fence between the two heads so I've decided to make a post sharing what a players may notice if they had the two side by side.
We've been testing both of these drivers for over a month now and can say comfortably that these perform in all areas from feel to spin as well as forgiveness, and trajectory. You can't go wrong with either one, both equals so it really only depends on what's most important to you. If it's setup and look go with the 430, if you need confidence the 450 is an obvious choice. They are both almost equally forgiving it just depends on where your misses are.
It's obvious they are both closely related and this includes it's shape from most angles, it would be hard to tell the two apart if they weren't side by side. In the image above It shows how the 450 on the right has an elongated appearance most apparent from this angle. The 450 extends back further not only heel side like the red lines show but also toe side making for a more rounded look.
When it comes to performance the first major difference is shot shape, the larger head was easier to draw while the smaller easier to fade. This is because the 430 has neutral internal weighting to promote a straight ball flight while the 450cc has a small draw bias within. The trajectory in the 450 should be a little higher than the 430 on paper but we didn't notice a big difference in the real. I'll also note that both drivers were built to the same loft, swing weight, length, and featured the new Graphite Design Tour AD GT-7 in Stiff flex. Click Read More to continue the comparison...
S-Yard drivers have been a hot topic at Tourspecgolf since we re-introduced the brand back in December and wrote about how respected Japanese golf club design guru Kenji Kobayashi was now heading up the company. His first official release as the CEO of S-Yard was of course the very popular T.388 forged driver. Last week I introduced the new XV Forged driver also designed by Mr. Kobayashi and a lot of customers and forum members started asking me how the XV fit into the S-Yard line and how does it compare to the already legendary T.388?
I thought I would take the opportunity to make a comparison between S-Yard's 3 most current models, the newest XV, the T.388 from December and last years XT driver. Of the 3 drivers, the XT may very well be the least known from S-Yard. It was designed by Mr. Kobayashi BUT while he was still the chief designer and President of Endo Manufacturing. The XT wields all of Endo's top materials and manufacturing processes. It is available in two flavors, the XT and the XT Hi-Cor. The 8 piece forged XT features a two piece face which is designed to increase ball speeds by transferring the maximum possible energy at impact. The XT Hi-Cor model is a 7 piece head and the only difference is the face which is a single piece forged face made thinner and hotter thus non conforming and with more spring effect closer to 0.88 COR and 270CT. On Friday night, our sales rep from S-Yard, Min gave me a call to let me know there would be an S-Yard demo day, about 15 minutes from my house at Honda Golf Center. So on Saturday I headed over with the intention of comparing the XV and T.388.
I met Min at Honda Golf Center which has 150 mats with auto tee up and is 250 yards to the back net. Min had all of S-Yard's latest clubs on hand for patrons of the driving range to demo at the range. I decided to have Min hit the clubs for me as his swing and playing level are a good match for both the T.388 and XV. The only problem was that he carries the ball around 270-280, hitting halfway up the net so we did not get to assess the run. However we hit plenty of balls to be able to get sound and feel impressions as well as ball flight and tee height and forgiveness.
Another great looking head has arrived to TSG. This time it's got me more excited than usual because of something as small as the face material used. In this case it's Cold Forged Japanese DAT55G which is in my opinion one of the best. I'm a big fan of VL Ti which is a technology Endo uses for high end drivers but I see Japan made DAT55G as it's equal. So why wouldn't more companies use it? For a couple of reasons that make a lot of sense and the first is price. It's expensive and the next is how hard it is to get. It's made in Japan and not a commonly used material for golf club manufacturing.
Who else has used DAT55? Crazy and J-Beam off the top of my head and we know how people absolutely love those woods, then there is the still current but ever popular GT-460 aka Crazy CRZ 460 still to this day the most loved Crazy driver by the average player. The feel of DAT55G is something else, It's very soft yet not as hollow feeling as one would expect. It's the true meaning of metallic sponge.
Ok Enough with the materials, the new GT Mono Forged Driver features a more shallow face than the GT-450, It's designed to promote stable launch and low spin. All three lofts have a square face angle 9.5, 10.5 and 12* lofts which is very different as one would expect a closed face on the higher lofts. You can find these available in the TSG ProShop and for more pictures please click "Read More" below...
A couple of weeks ago the all new S-Yard BOLD Wedge began shipping to TSG customers, In the last week first reactions have been coming in with an overwhelmingly positive response. The most common response has been about the amount of spin it produces, some customers are saying it spins more than any non conforming wedge they have ever hit. I've had the Bold in rotation for a bit over two weeks now and am very comfortable sharing my own opinion along with the opinions of some of our members.
If you haven't heard yet, Kenji Kobayashi former president of ENDO and the man who designed every Epon golf club since their inception has taken charge as President of S-Yard Golf. For those who don't know who Mr. K is, he is one of the greatest golf club designers. This is quite exciting as his roster of past designs is unrivaled from driver to irons and putters. In this blog post we will take a closer look at the performance of his most favorite design yet. The S-Yard Bold Wedge.
Click Read More to check out the review & high res imagery...
Kenji Kobayashi, Chief Designer and CEO of S-Yard golf continues to follow his passion for designing beautiful golf clubs that perform as good as they look. Following the successful releases of the T.388 Driver and the Bold Wedge, S-Yard has released Mr. Kobayashi's latest driver, the XV. Mr. Kobayashi realized as great as the T.388 is, with 388cc head and shallow face (meaning low teeing of the ball) is not for everyone. So with that in mind he sought to create a driver that would be sold side by side with the T.388 and encompass the same premium quality and design with top notch performance as its smaller sibling. The XV, a premium Endo forged 450cc driver was released this week to huge fanfare in Japan, especially among those who clamored for a premium Kobayashi design but were not confident enough to play the T.388. I was lucky enough to be one of the first to get the new XV driver so today I will share my initial impressions on the clubs design and performance here on the blog.
For those who do not know Mr. Kobayashi, back in 1993 S-yard produced the world's first all forged Titanium driver called the T.301 which they produced at the Endo factory. The T.301 was designed by Kenji Kobayashi, who not only went on to become the president of Endo manufacturing, the worlds largest and highest quality forging house, but also one of the most respected and revered figures in the Japanese golf industry over the last 20 years. Mr. Kobayashi's designs, and knowledge of golf club manufacturing as well as the creation of the T.301 Forged driver led many in the industry to refer to him as the "father of forged Titanium drivers".
In 2001 he officially became the president of Endo manufacturing where he also took over the reigns of Endo's private brand Epon Golf. Many golf enthusiasts will be familiar with many of his Epon designs including the Technica and Technity series, as well as more recently the AF line all the way up to the ZERO driver and Z:EN putter as well as his influence on many top global golf brands which produced their clubs at Endo under the design eye of Mr. Kobayashi. Fast forward to the summer of 2011. Mr. Kobayashi decided it was time to retire as the president of Endo and open up some free time to enjoy the recreational side of golf after 40 yeas of being involved in the business side of golf. His retirement did not last long as S-Yard came calling as they knew Mr. Kobayashi would be the man to lead their brand back to and beyond the same lofty heights of success it had before. Early 2012, Mr. Kobayashi became the president of S-Yard in charge of the direction of the company as well as golf club design and earlier this year he began his dream lineup by releasing the T.388 driver and Bold wedge.
Miura Giken Japan's 2000 series irons have always been considered the most balanced of all Miura models. While the compact 1000 series squarely aimed at the single digit player and athlete golfer, and the Passing Point series allowing the average and weekend golfer to play forgiving Miura irons, the 2000 series sits right in between in fact overlapping both target audiences. By being the best all around series in the Miura line, it also takes the title of being the most popular line. The new CB-2007 encompasses all of the previous 2000 series model strengths and takes it to a new design level. We've seen the 2000 series advance technically away from the simple traditionalist designs to heads focused on CG placement, flowing and symmetrical shapes across the sets to increased MOI and a focus on bringing all around play to a a new meaning.
Miura sent over their new CB-2007 for me to check out and I have to say it follows in the footsteps of the new CB-1007 cavity back and MB5000WC wedge in that it is very good looking. It has all the usual Miura stampings which are probably more words than the iron needs on the back face but this is something we have all probably gotten used to. If they could have only moved W.D.D. Accurate Forged to the neck and not put "Fast & Strong", the iron would be even more visually appealing but oh well, I've given up on lecturing JDM brands about cluttering their iron heads with too much stampings. The first thing one notices is of course the, almost like hooks in the back of the cavity. This is what Miura dubs the new W-Power bridge. In Japan, W is commonly used for DOUBLE in case you didn't figure it out. The two hooks or swooshes or bridges as Miura calls them, total 7 extra grams in weight and not only bring the CG tad higher in the head but also create a variable thickness face which enhances feel and supposedly creates a larger sweet spot. Read More
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|Just received my clubs from USPS yesterday. Truly the culmination of esthetic...|
|Dr H | December 6, 2013|
|Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post. I like to write a little...|
|直営 ミュール 超安 | December 3, 2013|
|I will be in Tokyo around 21-22 Dec 2013. How can I buy Ryoma Maxima type G...|
|Tarn B | December 3, 2013|
|do you have any shafts that will fit the Taylormade R1 driver ?|
|rick | December 1, 2013|
|Yes Twilight is a mirror finish and completely reflective. DR.H is the same...|
|gocchin | November 26, 2013|
|Thanks Tario. I thought the Twilight was a reflective finish? The pictures of...|
|Alan | November 25, 2013|
|Satin is no reflective and you can see the grain. In this case, it may seem...|
|gocchin | November 25, 2013|
|Sorry Ajay they both sold right away. That is usually the case for one off...|
|gocchin | November 25, 2013|
|I just got Yururi Tour wedges (56 and 60 deg) heads and can’t...|
|Paul francia | November 22, 2013|
|Now I see the face and man of the brand. Very interesting interview....|
|BogeyGolfer | November 21, 2013|