Honma T//World-X irons bring Justin Rose's utility irons to the rest of the set—all the way to the gap wedge
The Honma T//World TW-X irons got their start as a long-iron replacement club preferred by tour players as a driving iron. Now, the company is ready for the new T//World-X to serve as a replacement for all the irons you carry.
The new T//World-X set, which features a forged hollow body construction and a high-strength MS-300 maraging steel face plate, might just be another example of Justin Rose’s influence on the brand in just his first year representing the 60-year-old luxury golf equipment manufacturer headquartered in Japan.
Rose was signed to a Honma deal by former TaylorMade CEO Mark King, who was hired as a special "strategic advisor" running the Honma brand in the U.S. in late summer last year. Rose has carried at least one of the Honma utility irons as part of his set in every event he’s played this year. Rose used the TW-U iron as his 2-iron in winning the Farmers Insurance Open in January this year. The T//World-X takes much of its basic construction from the TW-U. That includes the multipiece construction with an S25C forged body and hosel for easier lie angle bending, as well as two steel weights in the back heel and toe for a lower center of gravity (CG) to promote higher launch and improved stability for better ball speed retention on off-center hits.
The hollow construction provided a classic muscleback look that according to Honma officials has resonated with a few other tour players ranked in the top 25 in the world who have put a Honma utility iron in play already this year, including Paul Casey. But the goal with expanding to a whole set was to bring the benefits of a more flexible face to the middle and even the short irons, said Chris McGinley, Honma’s vice president of product.
Those benefits seen initially in just the long irons have been extended to include the full set. That set runs from the 18-degree 3-iron through a 49-degree 11-iron or gap wedge. While the long iron lofts on the Honma utility irons have stretched to 18 degrees, the TW-X sets will be offered in two main configurations: 4- through 10-iron (pitching wedge) and 5- through 11-iron. Each iron incorporates a wide sole, but McGinley said that shape—while not typically seen in a "players" iron—is functional.
"Our goals of keeping the CG low and deep through the entire set is accomplished by keeping the sole wide and the hollow construction," he said. "Since this set started as long iron utilities, which have a much wider sole than a typical set's long iron, we had a choice to narrow the sole down as the set progressed to the shorter irons. But we decided to keep them wide to keep the CG low to provide high launch and manage spin all the way through.
"The set has a near constant sole width from long down to short. There is always some apprehension with short irons having a wider sole, particularly for a set that better players will use but they have enough camber in them to play beautifully even from tighter lies. The bounce angles are a degree or two less than typical to help manage ground contact."
The MS-300 face insert is a proprietary high-strength steel plate that unlike typical designs is not merely welded to the body piece. "What is interesting is that the face is lightly welded in place and then co-forged into a forged face frame that includes the hosel," McGinley said. "The back is forged separately then plasma welded to the front assembly."
McGinley said the T//World-X irons fall into the ever-broadening “players distance” category of irons, which provide an almost traditional look surrounding the fast-flexing face technology that’s in the past has been reserved for only elite players.
“These irons truly offer something for every level of golfer who appreciates a blade iron but wants playability,” McGinley said. “The full set can be played by low single-digit players all the way to mid- and higher handicaps.”
The T//World-X irons are the latest in the T//World TW 747 lineup of irons. Those include the T//World 747 Justin Rose Proto irons introduced earlier this year. Those classic, compact muscleback irons were built to Rose's specific desires and were shortly thereafter introduced to the U.S. market in the spring of this year. Rose signed with Honma to start this season and promptly won his first tournament with the new clubs at Torrey Pines in January.
The T//World-X irons are available for pre-order now. They will be available at select shops around the U.S. on June 17 ($175 per club in steel; $200 per club in graphite). The standard steel shaft is the Nippon Modus3 105 along with the stouter Modus3 120, while graphite availability starts with Honma’s progressively weighted Vizard.