By Mike Stachura
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The latest woods and irons from the Japan-based luxury golf manufacturer are geared to the game-improvement mainstream market with a particular focus on correcting mis-hits and a relatively conventional pricing. The woods feature both heel-weighting to fight a slice and a sole slot that gets wider toward the toe to enhance how a mis-hit off the toe will curve back toward the center line. The irons feature a similar toe-biased slot construction aimed at improving the typical mis-hit caused by the average golfer’s over-the-top, outside-to-in off-center strike.
THE DEEP DIVE: Honma’s reputation in golf equipment straddles that line between painstaking craftsmanship in its better-player woods and forged irons, ultra-game-improvement through superlight pursuits and a sort of conspicuous glamour in its big-ticket Beres designs trimmed with actual gold. The Japan-based brand now in its sixth decade is set to debut the new T//World GS woods and irons, which seem to be searching for the middle of the market with a distinct, practical approach to shapes, technologies and pricing, all largely mixing game-improvement with skill-enhancement.
“Everything about the new GS line shouts speed, consistency and confidence,” said Brad Holder, Honma’s vice president of marketing.
In other words, just what most average golfers are looking for. The T//World GS line’s shared technologies are rooted in the soles of the driver, fairway woods, hybrids and irons. A slot cut in the sole of each club skews wider toward the toe end to bring more potential flexing and even shot correction to an area of the face where the typical golfer’s mis-hit occurs. On the woods, the wider slot aims to enhance the gear effect to help toe shots more effectively curve back toward the center line. The slot’s presence also improves flexing low on the face throughout the line. Hence, the “GS” in the new line’s nomenclature, which stands for “Gain Speed.”
Individually, there are additional elements in each club category to push the idea of speed. The T//World GS driver uses a radial-shaped, variable thickness pattern to improve off-center ball speed, with particular gains seen for impacts low on the face, a spot where average golfers often have their mis-hits. The driver also looks to improve the average golfer’s typical slice miss with a tungsten weight in the sole that’s pushed toward the heel, as well. Even the crown graphic is heel-biased to encourage average golfers to return the clubface to square at impact.
The deep weight also provides extra stability on off-center hits, as well. The same effect of heel-biased internal weighting is seen on both the fairway woods and hybrids. Altogether, the woods and in particular the driver, have a greater CG angle (more draw bias) than in the company’s previous game-improvement line, the XP-1.
On the T//World GS irons, the variable width slots on the 4- through 7-iron get an extra ball speed boost from an L-shaped face insert that wraps around the sole to produce more of a hinging action. The sole portion of the insert, which is made of high-strength AM-355P steel, includes the slot for better deflection at impact. A six-gram tungsten weight within the back shell of the cavity aims to push the center of gravity farther back and lower to improve the moment of inertia (stability on off-center hits), increase launch and reduce spin. The short irons opt for an undercut cavity design for better all-over face compliance.
All the heads feature the option of the Honma-designed Speedtuned graphite shaft at 55 grams. It’s designed for increased launch. The T//World GS line also comes in a women’s version that offers higher lofts and a yellow trim, compared to standard red.
The driver is available in three primary lofts (9.5, 10.5, and 11.5 degrees, plus 12.5 degrees in women’s), and features the company’s adjustable mechanism within the head that allows loft, lie and face angle changes without changing the orientation of the shaft. The fairway woods are available in four lofts (15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees), while the hybrids come in four lofts (18, 21, 24 and 27 degrees). The irons are available in 4- through 11-iron (the 10-iron is a 42-degree pitching wedge and the 11-iron is a 47-degree gap wedge), and sand wedge (56 degrees).