What you need to know: Honma T//World 757 drivers, fairway woods, hybrids
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Honma’s lineup of better avid players woods explores a new slot technology for increasing ball speed and launch angle, while also expanding the adjustability in its driver lineup so high speed players who need lower spin and moderate speed players who need slice correction can both find what they need.
PRICE: $850 for Type S and Type D drivers; $500 for fairway woods; $250 for hybrids.
THE DEEP DIVE: Metalwoods that feature a slot or channel built into the front part of the sole are a proven commodity for generating improved clubhead speed from better face deflection. The slot or channel creates more give in the face at impact, and the result is not only better overall speed but, in particular, gains lower on the face, which is generally less springy. The problem with making that front part of the sole flexible enough to contribute effectively to the flexing of the face, that channel must be ultra thin. An ultra-thin titanium channel presents durability problems.
Honma’s engineers wanted those speed benefits in its new metalwoods lineup targeting avid and elite players, the T//World 757 series, which joins the latest Beres models introduced earlier this year. But they also wanted the rigorous structure and durability the company’s craftsmanship is known for. Their solution was to develop a new approach to slot designs that uses more than just titanium. It’s that same lightweight, ultra-strong element that’s making its way into crowns and soles and even faces of some competitors’ models. If carbon composite can be used in other applications where lightness and strength are crucial, why not in this tiny but fully stressed area in the sole?
That’s why the two drivers feature a new channel where the titanium is extra thin but it’s supported by a layer of carbon composite. That reduces the mass in the whole structure of the channel by five grams, which can be redistributed to a new combination of movable weights in the sole.
The two drivers in the lineup—Type S and Type D—both use interchangeable sole weights, but each in a different way. The more compact Type S (450 cubic centimeters in volume) makes room for centered but front and rear weights. A heavy weight in the front port helps to reduce spin, while placing it in the back will help to increase launch and forgiveness. On the larger Type D (460cc), the weight ports are angled with one in the rear heel and a second in the front toe. The rear heel position adds an element of draw bias to the weighting, while the front toe helps boost ball speed. That CG is naturally lower due to the more rearward sloping crown and a rear keel that sits lower to the ground to make the Type D the more forgiving of the two drivers.
The Type D and Type S drivers also share a weight-saving and center-of-gravity lowering carbon composite crown. Each also benefits from a titanium face insert that’s made more flexible through vertical ribs milled into the back of the face. Like is customary with the attention to detail in the Honma design process, the head shapes aren't conceived exclusively through computers. Rather, the lead club craftsman or "takumi" at Honma's headquarters in Sakata, Japan, start the process with precisely carved persimmon heads where every curve is then mirrored through computer assisted design.
The T//World 757 woods lineup also includes fairway woods and hybrids that feature a channel in the front part of the sole to improve the way the face gives at impact. The composition of the crown differs depending on the lofts on the fairway woods. The 3-wood utilizes a carbon composite crown to lower the center of gravity, while the 5- and 7-wood use thin steel design that varies in thicknesses to improve the way the crown contributes to the springiness of the face. A central weight pad on the inside of the sole is optimized for position and to lower the center of gravity further. On the 3-wood and 3-hybrid, the high-strength Carpenter 455 steel alloy is utilized in a wraparound cupface design, while the higher lofts in fairway woods and hybrids use the same Carpenter 455 as a face insert. All the fairway woods and hybrids us a similar vertical ribbed pattern to further build initial ball speed.
The Honma T//World 757 Type S and Type D drivers are currently retailing for $720 (9, 10.5 degrees). Each includes the company’s distinctive adjustable hosel that allows the loft to change without the shaft rotating so the spine always stays in the 6 o’clock position for a more consistent performance. The T//World 757 fairway woods (15, 18, 21 degrees; $415) and hybrids (18, 21, 24, 27 degrees; $350).