Honma, the luxury golf brand that’s been well-known in Asia for nearly 60 years, launched two new lines this week with simple messages (light weight, high launch) and, as expected, big-ticket price tags.
The two new Honma lines, which include drivers, fairway woods, hybrids and irons, are the Beres 06 and the BeZeal 535, both of which feature selling prices well above the U.S. golf market averages. In simple terms, the BeZeal 535 line is aimed at average golfers who need a little more draw bias, forgiveness and high launch and features what the company calls “the longest and easiest to hit product the company has ever produced.” Meanwhile, the Beres 06 is Honma’s ultra-premium priced model with slightly lighter weights, more advanced materials and more intricate constructions, as well as prices that can reach upwards of $1,800 for a driver and $8,000 for a six-piece set of irons. Those price tags can depend on—literally—how much platinum and 24-karat gold is included in the final finish (including ferrules and grip caps) and the seniority of the craftsman making your clubs.
The BeZeal 535 line is led by a driver with a grooved sole designed to improve off-center hit performance. The channel in the sole is wider and deeper in both heel and toe to provide greater flex and less ball speed loss compared to its predecessor, the BeZeal 525. A 7-gram weight in the heel aims to counteract slice tendencies, while the revised shape lowers the center of gravity compared to the 525 for higher launch.
Both the 535 fairway woods and hybrids include versions of the sole channel design, as well. The driver features a 6-4 titanium face and 811 titanium body, while the fairway woods and hybrids feature a high-strength steel face.
The BeZeal 535 irons also employ a series of cuts or channels in the body to improve flexibility. There are slits in the heel, toe and internal channels in the center of the sole of the undercut cavity and underneath the topline, as well. Internal tungsten heel and toe weights (three and six grams, respectively) are designed to lower the center of gravity and provide off-center hit stability, while the alloy titanium face insert is thinner than in the 525 irons (2.4 millimeters thick) for more flexibility. The set features stronger lofts, including a 19.5-degree 4-iron and a 36.5-degree 9-iron.
A key component in all Honma products is the company’s lightweight graphite shafts. The Vizard BeZeal shafts weigh less than 50 grams on the driver and compared to the shafts on the 525 series are designed for higher launch with a more flexible tip section and a slightly stiffer section under the grip. As an option, the irons are also available with a Nippon NS Pro 950 steel shaft.
Pricing on the BeZeal 535 series: driver, $605 (9.5, 10.5 degrees); fairway wood, $325 (15, 18, 21 degrees); hybrid, $260 (19, 22, 25 degrees); irons ($200/$160 per club in graphite/steel).
The Beres 06 line’s focus on lighter weight starts with the S-06 driver that checks in at a total weight in the 280-gram range, or about 10 percent lighter than many typical drivers in the U.S. market. It features a similar but wider and deeper sole channel compared to the BeZeal 535 driver, and then extends the channel to flare around the heel and toe sections.
Compared to the previous Beres S-05 driver, there’s a shallower crown height but larger face area. The 811 titanium body frames a Ti5N titanium alloy face that was previously used in Honma’s tour-staff preferred Tour World TW737 drivers. The fairway woods, which incorporate a similar sole channel, and the hybrids, which use a 12-gram weight in the sole to provide more draw bias, feature high-strength steel face inserts in a cast stainless steel body.
The Beres IS-06 irons expand on the L-face design ideas seen on the IS-05 irons. The maraging steel face wraps under the sole in an L-shape with the sole portion extending farther than in past models. Like the IS-05 irons, three internal channels are cut into the sole flange of the L-face insert to provide more face flexing. The variable thickness face features a 2.4-millimeter thick lower-central section and a 2.1-millimeter thick upper section.
Honma’s ARMRQ-X shafts, specifically developed for the Beres 06 line, start as light as 38.5 grams (L-flex) and include iron shafts that get progressively heavier from the longer to the shorter irons (49 grams to 55 grams).
Starting prices on the Beres 06 line (at the two-star level, prices increase up to the five-star, 24-karat gold level): driver, $900 (9.5, 10.5 degrees); fairway wood, $450 (15, 18, 21 degrees); hybrid, $450 (19, 22, 25, 28 degrees); irons ($350 per club). The big-ticket four-star versions can reach more than $1,800 for the driver and .