HONMA GOLF

An insider’s look at one of the world’s best golf manufacturers

BY MARK PAZDUR, PUBLISHER

CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA: Japan’s manufacturing prowess is the envy of the world. Corporations here and abroad have spent fortunes adopting Six Sigma, a business management system inspired by Toyota Motor Corp’s legendary approach to just in time manufacturing. Companies justify the investment to make them leaner and more nimble and follow the doctrine: tomorrow, we have to build better products than we built yesterday.

Honma Golf, founded inside a small Yokohama, Japan, workshop in 1959, has a long history of producing premium golf equipment. Its team of 360 craftsman share a common goal of producing some of the world’s finest and most visually stunning clubs.

Drafting off of a legacy of making the finest persimmon woods and forged blades in the past, today each product touches 100 different employee’s hands and takes six months to develop. From start to finish, all research, design, testing, and manufacturing is performed in-house.

Regrouped and Reenergized

While Honma Golf is considered one of the top brands for premium golf equipment across Asia and around the world, its success in the United States has been more muted. Truthfully, the name has remained somewhat of an enigma to many Americans. Those who do recognize the brand generally equate it with golf clubs sold at a price point that only a Wall Street banker could afford.

“In today’s world, it’s easy to just look at a segment of what we do at the absolute top end of the market with our 5-Star products that run $60,000. We offer so much more,” said Cameron Jacobs, PGA Master Fitter at Honma Golf. “If you take a step back, Honma is like two brands in one. Our BERES line delivers easy to swing ultra-premium luxury products for players with moderate swing speeds, while our Tour World line offers the very best premium-performance products designed for the better player.

“We have a growing base of loyal players who understand the craftsmanship and exotic materials that go into these great products, so our mission is to spread the word, and I think you’ll start to see that,” continued Jacobs. “Compared to most U.S. golf companies, many of our products aren’t tied to Tour usage or sponsored athletes because a product like BERES isn’t engineered for the Tour, it’s engineered to help players who are looking for lightweight products that are easier to swing.

“The misnomer is that the products we make are going to set you back a bunch, but if you look at the quality you get inside our 2-Star and 3-Star families, it’s no surprise that those lines are the backbone of our company. What makes us different with BERES is we aren’t just taking a club that’s designed for the Tour and installing a down-market shaft for the masses. Every single part of that club is built to make the game easier to play for the vast majority of golfers out there, most of who don’t crack 90-95 mph, so everything is engineered for their needs.

“Normally with stock shafts you might only get a few options, but inside our ARMRQ MX shaft (all are hand-rolled in our Sakata, Japan factory) we have a huge range of customization for both men and women,” stated Jacobs. “They are also lighter, making it easier to square the clubface at impact and draw the ball.”

“One of the coolest things I’ve watched is just how well we take care of the needs of the women’s golf market. We purpose-built both heads and shafts inside of the BERES line specifically to help women launch shots higher and farther. It’s not just a coat of paint, so it’s not surprising when we see our sales split roughly 50/50 between women’s and men’s, it’s something we are very proud of.

“I like to say that we can’t stop father time, but we can slow him down. Today’s senior is a totally different athlete than a generation ago,” reported Jacobs. “I’ve fit plenty of 65-year-old golfers who are in better shape than 45-year-olds. They are getting fit and playing deep into their 80s and 90s. The end result is becoming a better athlete, but you still likely don’t have the swing speed you did so that’s where Honma Golf shines to help restore the distance you may have lost.”

For more information, please visit HonmaGolf.com.