Hey all! So just an update, I think at this point only two people for this test have received their driver, @GolferChick and myself (somehow I was actually the first, receiving it on July 14th), so hopefully should start seeing stuff posted from the others soon.
Because of this, I can't/won't talk to much about the driver as I don't want to inadvertently influence any of the other reviewers. What I will say is that when I actually had it in hand, it looked even better than the pictures that were posted for the review sign-up!
Please, allow me to take this time to introduce myself a little bit, and give you (probably) more detail then you need to know about me and my game I was born in 1980.......ok, that is too far back, and waaaaaay more then you are interested in. I started golfing when I was 10 (that was when you were allowed on the course back then), and would golf occasionally with my dad. I really didn't get too into it back then, as I was always embarrassed when we would go to the course, and get paired up with another twosome. So it was kinda off and on until I was 20 and in the Air Force in Japan, this is where I met a fellow Airman who was big into golf, and started playing a lot, like a lot - a lot. Since then it has been at least a fairly regular part of my life, playing regular rounds, best ball tournaments, on Unit intramural golf teams, etc. Over the last 4-5 years though, it started to really slow down, to really only maybe 3-4 times a year (seems when I got to my last duty station, less and less people were playing, and i didn't really meet any others golfing). Well, last year I retired (right when Covid hit, geez thanks for that timing) and I decided that I wanted to golf again, even if that means just 9 holes after work (now an Army Civilian). So now I am at the course/range generally at least 3 days of the week, plus over the last few weeks have started taking lessons to try and get my game back to where it used to be (or at least close). I used to be a lower to mid-80s golfer, and now am more of an upper 80s lower 90s golfer. My swing speed before lessons was in upper-90 MPH, now in the lower 100 MPH range.
I am hitting my driver better, but still struggle with some things. First, contact.....my misses on the face are generally more towards the toe, or low on the face. My bad swing is when I forget to extend down the target line at/after impact, and instead have a more in-out-back in (arcing) downswing. This, along with my wrists getting through too quickly because of the arcing swing, leads to my usual miss, a low duck hook into Brenda's back yard (Alex Etches on YouTube anyone???).
I have been an analyst my entire career, so I really like numbers, looking at data, etc. So for this test I will be using my Mevo launch monitor, as well as my arccos sensors to assist in gathering data for comparison to my current gamer (Cobra Speedzone Extreme, with an Aldila Rouge Elite Green R-flex shaft). I also really like to tinker, so changing/trying out various shafts, playing with the loft adjustments, etc is really just tons of fun (I think that used to be my nickname) for me.
I look forward to going through this process (obviously already been in the midst of it for almost a month now), and answering any questions I can about the product. If you have questions, fire away!
UPDATE: 30 Aug 2021
Hmmm, apparently I can just keep adding to this instead up adding comments.....okalidokali then
I have kept working on my swing, and am fairly happy with where it is right now. Most recent "change" is really just shortening my swing a little, using my shoulder touching my chin as my trigger to stop my backswing and start the downswing. Otherwise, it seemed like most of my issues were with overswinging which completely destroyed my timing, balance, etc.
Well, the reviews are further delayed, right now Honma may not be able to get the other testers drivers out until mid-September Sooooo, in the meantime I will continue to add to this reivew/post.
Here is the arrival of my driver:
Who's who? Ok, not hard to tell the Taylormades....
Well, I better stop there....don't want the moderators getting mad at me for posting images too soon. I will get a video of my swing soon (hopefully in slo-mo).
Honma T//World GS Driver – Official MGS Forum Review by DechamBRO
Hi all!!! Just want to say thank you so much to Mygolfspy.com and Honma for making this review happen, and choosing me as one of the reviewers! As an analyst and tinkerer, I love getting to try out new things, analyze data, compare, etc. So, I love an experience like this.
Currently I am about a bogey a hole golfer (but hey, I totally took like 3 lessons), so shooting upper 80s to lower 90s. All my clubs, including driver, have become much more consistent over the course of this review.
I really hadn’t heard much if anything about Honma really prior to this. I believe I had seen the name before, in MGS and other blogs/forums talking about Japanese golf manufacturers… but that is about it.
For testing I will be taking the driver out to the range, and playing rounds with it. I have a Mevo personal launch monitor, so I plan on getting some actual data to post as well. To earn a spot in my bag, it needs to perform better than my current gamers (Mizuno ST200, and Cobra Speedzone). That isn’t necessarily distance, but if it gives me more confidence at address, and if it is more consistent (basically forgiving when my swing gets sloppy), then it will earn a spot.
Looks (9 out of 10 points)
The club is gorgeous. Absolutely well made. It has a great blend to me of modern as well as classic (no weird square or triangle head that will take some getting used to, if ever at all). Compared to allot of the modern drivers, the color blend of red and black is subtle, and classy. No weird neon colors or Sasquatch yellow here. Really, everything looks top of the line, nothing stands out to distract you, everything just subtle and gorgeous.
So, why the decrease of one point? Well, they may have done too well. By that, I mean that this is a 460cc club head, and yet, when I stand over it, it looks smaller than my Cobra Speedzone and Mizuno ST-200. The others, behind the ball, give me great confidence. The Honma; however, with the more compact appearance, doesn’t make me feel like I can just swing away like the others…. feels/looks like there is less room for error.
Now, I believe this is a personal preference item, as I know that there are quite a few who prefer the compact classic look…. but hey, I am the one doing the review
This, unfortunately, for me was perhaps the biggest downside of this driver. Personally, I did not like either. First, the feel.... The club's weight, swing weight/balance all felt great, so no issues there. The shaft felt whippier to me than any of my other stiff flex shafts, this could be because of the lower kick point for higher ball flight, or that the shaft is 55 grams (I am used to around 65), or a combination of the two.
Then the feel off the face....it felt harder/more solid than what I am used to with the drivers that I have used.... which makes it difficult to describe. I don't want to say that it felt bad necessarily, but that it definitely felt harder at impact. My Cobra Speedzone Extreme and my buddies Ping G410 felt considerably softer at impact as well as.... I dunno.... more springy of the face as well (yeah, I'm gonna go with that).
Finally, the sound, which they say at least affects your perception of feel (much like smell affects taste). This was much louder than my Cobra, Mizuno, or my friend's Ping....much higher pitch as well. enough so that my son, and even a stranger danger at the range commented on. In my son’s words, it sounds like when two empty glass coke bottles cling together. It is definitely noticeable, I even hit one at an open range (not covered) that left my right ear ringing…. like it actually hurt. The Cobra almost sounded silent after hitting the Honma.
With all of that, I really did not like the overall feel and sound of the Honma, which really brought its grade down for me.
Taste (?? out of 10 points)
Now for taste…. wait, I don’t see that on the scorecard……hmmmm, must be an oversight by the MGS moderators. Ah well, “Das Schmeckt Gut!”
Basic Characteristics (18 out of 20 points)
Hey, this is where I get to talk about stuff like adjustability! This feature, to be honest, I initially struggled with. Why? Well because it is different than literally everything else out there. You get a torque wrench (c’mon, we are all used to that), but also a little sleeve thing that goes over the wrench, and turns freely around the wrench, so that you can turn the washer, and therefore set it to where you want it before re-tightening.
Now, it took me a minute to learn, that really, the easiest way to do this is to simply loosen it a little bit, then use the sleeve to adjust, then retighten the screw. After I learned this, it was much easier then trying to use them both together.
The issue I have, is that (as you can see from the instructions), you can make adjustments +- .5 degrees, and this adjusts the face angle (F.A.) as well…. but on the club, itself, there are no hash marks. So, while you have 360 degrees available to adjust the club, on the club itself you have no reference points……so here’s to hoping…. Hence, the loss of 1 point here.
On Course/LM Performance (20 out of 30 points)
So, as you can see above, when it comes to the basic numbers, the Honma stacks up well against everything else. The Honma averaged 244 yards, as did the hodgepodge (Cobra, TaylorMade M1/M2, Mizuno ST200) ….to some degree this comes to the basic limits on driver (COR, mass, etc.).
My issue with the Honma, came down to the fact that it is more draw biased. As a player whose typical miss it to the left (the dreaded low duck hook), the Honma made it worse. Even lowering the loft, and therefore opening the face, my miss hits were even more left.
Did I gain speed? Yeah, looks that way. But, again, if I lose it all left out of bounds, in the woods, etc. Have I really gained anything?
When my swing was great though, man, this thing flew. It really does have a high, long ball flight, with a little draw when hit with a nice slight in to out swing path…. but again, for me, I really had to focus up. If I did this, it was great…. but again, I REALLY HAD TO FOCUS, there was no simply swinging away for me. It simply isn’t a good club for someone who typically misses left, or very very left.
Miscellaneous (8 out of 10 points)
So…. this is tough. Two others still haven’t received their clubs….and Honma seems to have to some degree ghosted the MGS staff…. I understand COVID has caused issues….and then Honma was robbed (seriously, they lost a TON of product) …. but two of the testers literally received a golf club box from Honma with nothing but the headcover and wrench……I don’t think I have ever seen that before.
Speaking of the headcover, it is a really good quality…. like nice and thick for the padding underneath the leather…. again, nothing less than top quality on this product.
Technology wise, it has some stuff, and lacks some others (much like many other clubs on the market). speedpocket thing under the face, yes. Adjustable hosel, yes. Carbon fiber crown, no. Rear weight, yes. Face tech that helps keep ball speed on mishits, yes. I would compare the tech very closely with the Mizuno ST200, except that the weight is set for a draw bias, as opposed to straight back.
Oooooohhhhhhhh, look……. plastic!
Play It or Trade It (15 out of 20 points)
Is this going in my bag……. no. As I have pointed out, while it is a great high-quality club, it just isn’t a better option for my swing than my Cobra or my Mizuno. The main reason for this is that I don’t have the confidence I do standing over it as I do with the others (it looks smaller, therefore appears less forgiving, and you can’t mess with someone’s confidence like that), the sound is just too much for me to deal with, and the weighting makes my standard miss worse (as opposed to someone who generally hits a fade or a slice). So, this won’t be in my bag. It will; however, go in my 15-year-old son’s bag. He is just learning, and works well for him. He needs the help getting the ball more airborne, and definitely needs help with losing the ball to the right. Yet it gives him the same feeling/swing weight as his current gamer, the Wilson Staff D100. So, it won’t go in my bag, but it will stay in the family
This really is a top-quality, well-made club. It is, though, made for a specific golfer. If you struggle with not getting enough height on your shot, and lose them to the right, then this club is definitely worth a shot. Honma might not be a well-known name in the US, but if you are the golfer I mentioned, and see one in store, go ahead and add it to the pile of others you are testing, you might be surprised.
Final Score (76 out of 100 points)
Driver: G425 LST, set at 9.5, Alta S-Flex
Fairway: G400 3 Wood, 14.5, Alta CB 65, S-Flex
Hybrid: G400 3 Hybrid, 19, Alta CB 70, S-Flex
Irons: 2019 Apex forged, 5-PW, Recoil grahphite shafts, S-flex
Wedges: PXG 0311 Forged wedges, 50, 54, 58, Recoil Dart S-flex
Putter: Phantom X #6 w/ SuperStroke Pistol GT 2
Ball: VICE Pro
Grips: Winn DriTac midsize