Japanese Golf Clubs Manufacturers and Brands
Japanese golf clubs are similar to German cars. They have the claim of highest quality and they can call high prices which are nevertheless gladly paid. Maybe not from every golfer in the world, because golf is still not a cheap hobby and many people like to save on their equipment. But especially connoisseurs and enthusiastic players are willing to pay a little more money for Japanese golf clubs.
Honma is certainly the biggest and best known Japanese manufacturer and for good reason. For decades Honma has been supplying clubs in the best handmade quality on a large scale. It is often the case that the demand is too high and Honma does not even comply with the production. That’s the disadvantage if you don’t have a completely industrialized production in China, but produce individually in Sakata, Japan.
Honma is mainly known for the Beres series because they can also be very exclusive. A Beres iron set is available for not less than 3,000€ even in the cheapest version. It can also cost almost 50,000€ as a 5-star set. The clubs are then decorated with gold and the shafts extremely high-quality and incomparable to anything else. The Beres shafts are hand made by Honma, are very light and soft and still have very good torque values. This is exactly what makes the Beres clubs so special.
However, Honma also became known through the Tour World series, which has also featured Justin Rose as a brand ambassador since the beginning of 2019. The new Tour Worlds deliver the usual Honma quality, i.e. hand-forged soft steel irons for relatively little money. Starting from 1109€ you can already get a complete iron set of 5-PW and that with high-quality shafts without surcharges.
If you are looking for a traditional Japanese manufacturer, the first choice is certainly Miura. Miura is a relatively small forge in Japan, founded by Katsuhiro Miura. Miura started to forge golf clubs at the age of 16 and found several mistakes in the forging process at his original employer – at least in his opinion. That’s why he went into business for himself and founded Miura, one of the best-known manufacturers of high-quality forged irons. Miura does not stick with things they do not master 100% and therefore you will only find Miura irons and putters. They leave woods and drivers to others.
Only recently Miura is trying to increase its popularity in Europe and North America and is “professionalizing” marketing and sales. With Abraham Ancer the first professionals are already equipped with Miura clubs. It is the first address for all those who are looking for special, handmade, Japanese irons with tradition.
Vega Golf is certainly not familiar to everyone and not as well known as Honma or Miura. Vega is also a small Japanese forge who, unlike Miura, also makes woods and drivers. Vega is a bit cheaper than Miura but not less exclusive. Behind Vega is only no marketing so far, which is why it will probably remain an insider tip for a long time to come.
But Vega is exactly what you have to expect from a Japanese manufacturer. And we at ExactGolf like to build clubs with Vega heads. They are manufactured with extreme precision and are delivered with an accuracy of one tenth of a gram. This is crucial in order to be able to build golf clubs that fit exactly.
Mizuno is certainly the largest manufacturer of Japanese golf clubs in terms of volume and is also played most often on the Tour – at least with the irons. Mizuno still relies on the “Grain Flow” technology and forges most of the irons. For some irons, this is no longer possible due to the design and they are cast. As a rule, however, the MP irons and wedges are classically forged in Japan. Irons as “Two Piece Construction” like the Hot Metals, on the other hand, are cast and are no longer manufactured in Japan. Mizuno is also a manufacturer of driver heads, which are now definitely competitive. In terms of price, the drivers and woods are sometimes significantly lower than the big western competition. This is certainly not due to poorer quality or performance, but because Mizuno simply wants to establish itself better in this segment.
Srixon is a manufacturer that is especially known for its balls and is definitely one of the best in the world in this area. However, there is no doubt that Srixon also produces very good golf clubs, especially irons. And it still does so very traditionally in Japan. Srixon is not a manufacturer with an infinite marketing budget and accordingly has only a handful of contract players on the tour, such as Hideki Matsuyama or Shane Lawry. Since the 2021 season, Srixon also has very good drivers and woods in its portfolio, which are considered an “insider tip” by many club fitters. This means that the performance is proven, but the popularity is not there (yet).
Ryoma is still a rather unknown manufacturer who is only now trying to really gain a foothold in Europe. Ryoma serves a similar target group as Honma and tries to make life much easier for players with low to average club head speeds. Ryoma is well known for the “Maxima Driver Series” which has several innovations integrated. Ryoma breaks with traditional manufacturing methods. As far as irons are concerned, however, Ryoma is not yet established and has only recently published a “Players Iron”. However, this also impresses with its innovative structure.
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XXIO is a manufacturer that has only recently appeared on the map. It’s not a brand you absolutely have to have heard of but if you have seen Ernie Els playing in the recent past you should have seen XXIO clubs at least once. XXIO is not particularly cheap but no comparison to Honma Beres either even though the target group is similar. XXIO irons are both forged and cast and all have a certain “Game Improvement” character. It’s all about getting as much out of your swing as possible.
Although Fujimoto has been active since the 1960s, few have heard of this manufacturer. The main reason is that Fujimoto is simply a very small forge that prefers to focus on the quality of its irons rather than on marketing. Therefore it is not surprising that Fujimoto clubs are among the best in terms of quality, but can only rarely be found in European bags. Fujimoto irons cost between 240 and 340€ each and are available in chrome and black copper finishes. The latter looks very noble and is surely an eye-catcher on every course.
Kyoei is definitely a manufacturer of high quality Japanese irons and wedges, but only for a very special group of buyers. Kyoei only offers very classic clubheads, which means a blade and a rather sporty cavity back. Recently, however, a dual weighted iron has been added that has two adjustable weighting screws. Kyoei also offers unpolished clubheads that you can customize according to your own preferences – as long as you have the necessary skills.
Credits to: Exact Golf