Japanese golf brand Honma is a giant in the Far East, but until recently it has been a relative unknown in the UK. Their reputation is for hand-crafting exquisite, ultra-high performance golf clubs which only the super-rich can afford, so they have always seemed out of reach for 99% of golfers.
The reason for these high prices is largely misunderstood. A team of ‘takumi’ master craftsmen in northern Japan hand-make every clubhead and every shaft, and over 100 pairs of hands touch every club during the build. At ‘5 Star’ level you get ultra-advanced shafts and 24K Gold and Pt1000 Platinum detailing. Sets sell to royalty and heads of state at £70,000 and beyond, and orders of over £200,000 for multiple sets are not uncommon.
In 2013 the firm launched the Tour World range, offering mid-to-low handicap Western golfers a chance to get into Honma at lower prices by choosing steel-shafted irons, along with the customary graphite options. Starting at £1,130 per set, with woods starting at £400, Honma hand-built quality was suddenly more accessible. Tour World was the brand’s biggest hit in the UK for decades.
Now, 2015’s next-generation Honma Tour World 2 TW727 clubs have just reached the UK at the same price points. In the Midlands, iPlayGolfUK near Milton Keynes is one of the few UK stockists, so we asked Director of Golf Danny Poulter to review the new clubs for us, and to tell us why he feels golfers the world over pay a premium price for Honma golf equipment.
You can say the same about the new Tour World 2 TW727 range as you can about the rest of Honma – you pay for quality, pure and simple.
A friend of mine, who has worked on the European Tour for 30 years, and recently looked at my own Tour world irons in detail. When he weighed the clubheads he found, to his astonishment, that every single clubhead was perfectly matched, and exactly the correct weight. Right through the set. No need to put tip weights in the shaft – every head was 100% pure. This is unheard of, and something he had never experienced in 30 years on Tour. And when he looked at the shafts in my woods, he found the same thing. Every kickpoint was absolutely spot-on. Honma’s build consistency is simply world-class.
With Tour World 2, Honma has ticked every box. There are four Driver heads, four Fairways, four Hybrids and four Iron heads. I’d say the range is best suited for golfers with a handicap of 16 or better – if yours is higher I’d recommend the Honma Beres S-03 woods and IS-03 irons.
The signature characteristics of Honma Tour World 2 are feedback and feel off the club. They’re among the best clubs on the market for this. Generally the ball also comes off the clubface a bit hotter than you’re used to.
There’s a 460cc and two 455cc Drivers, all superb, but the matt black 430cc Driver is a real player’s club – it has a real smash-factor, a deeper than normal face, and is one of the lowest-spinning drivers out there. Matched with Honma’s VIZARD graphite shaft, which they developed especially for Tour World, you’ll find new levels of performance. Sound-wise you can’t tell a Honma driver particularly by the noise it makes: nobody likes to hear a cannon go off, and the new Honmas sound pleasant and powerful.
Like with all Honmas we recommend an intensive custom-fit to ensure that you buy the right driver.
I haven’t hit the Fairways or Hybrids yet, but I have tested all four Irons and again they are quality redefined.