Honma TR20 lineup is latest example of company's commitment to marrying high aesthetic with high tech
If you think the Honma TR20 family of clubs, which debuts two drivers and two sets of irons this week, simply continues the company’s long-standing approach to aesthetically refined craftsmanship, you’d barely be half right. Fact is, while the attention to cosmetics is unrelenting as usual with the brand that often gets attention for its gold leaf designs, these new clubs push new boundaries on the technical side, too.
Typifying that marriage of technology and aesthetics is the lineup's the multi-material, multi-adjustable TR20 drivers, which were developed with input from former world No. 1 Justin Rose in his second year as the company's lead endorser. In his first year last year, Rose immediately put in play the company's TW747 woods and irons and the new TR20 lineup will be its replacement in the Honma portfolio. pAvailable in both a 460 cubic centimeter head and the more compact 440-cubic centimeter Sakata 7 shape designed to Rose’s preferred specs (although he has begun playing already with the 460 version), the head benefits from a minimal titanium frame that gets its structure from a special carbon composite material that nearly fully encompasses the crown and sole.
The weight saved is redistributed within the head to provide more stability and a lower center of gravity, but it also makes room for three adjustable weights arranged in a triangular pattern in the sole. Those chips come as two 3-gram and a 9-gram weight in the standard offering but can accommodate other weight options, as well (6, 12 or 15 grams) for a swing weight or other player preferences. The weights can be repositioned to affect ballflight, spin, forgiveness and draw bias. Positioning the heaviest weight in the heel encourages a draw, moving it to the back increases off-center hit stability and adds dynamic loft, and placing it in the forward spot reduces spin.
The TR20 driver also features a lightweight variable thickness face that also shows a new spin with vertical channels running the width of the internal part of the face to add strength to the extra thin design. Altogether the carbon composite crown, sole and face save 36 grams.
“We save a lot of weight with the carbon crown and sole and that frees up a lot of weight to distribute in the head,” said Chris McGinley, Honma’s vice president of global product. “We all know it’s a race for discretionary weight. The more weight we can take out of the face, the crown and the sole, the more we’re able to build into this club. We think it’s a really versatile design.”
The driver lineup’s versatility is especially evident in its adjustable hosel, which was introduced in last year’s TW747 model. Unlike other rotating hosels, this design uses an inner sleeve so the spine position of the shaft is unchanged while the head rotates a full 360 degrees worth of optional loft, lie and face angle settings.
“We think this is a crucial advantage and gives us very consistent dynamic loft angle performance,” McGinley said.
The TR20 design also incorporates three different new options of the company’s Vizard shaft lineup to accommodate weights and flex profiles that work at the tour level (70 grams with a stiffer tip), the average better player level (60 grams with a soft mid-section) and the double-digit handicapper level (50 grams with a medium soft tip section for high launch and a counterbalanced weighting to enhance slower swinger’s potential for more speed).
The Honma TR20 iron lineup includes a traditional single-piece forged cavity back (TR20V) and multi-piece, fast-faced option (TR20P). The TR20P uses a forged carbon steel body (S35C) joined to an L-shaped face piece made of a high-strength steel alloy, which wraps around the leading edge and sole to create a more effective flexing face. A tungsten weight sits low in a pocket cavity within the forged steel body. That heavier mass low within the frame allows for stronger lofts for a more effective energy transfer.
The TR20V irons are forged from S20C carbon steel with a thick section low in the iron below a cavity section. The TR20V is built to model the blade size preferred by Rose but with a thicker topline and sole width.
Rose is playing a traditional blade prototype iron in the Honma TR20 lineup. The TR20B irons he is playing currently are scheduled for an introduction later this spring.
The TR20 drivers (8.5-, 9.5- and 10.5-degree lofts) will sell at $650, while the TR20P and TR20V irons will be $200 per club in graphite and $175 in steel. The TR20 drivers and irons will be available for fittings beginning in February. Products will be available at retail March 15.