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Japanese and US markets: why not one?


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xxio and shambles, thank you again for your insight. this is a thread that I can not add relevant content to and I just wanted to let you both know that when I see that one of you is listed as making the last post, I truly look forward to reading what you have to say

I thanked you before, but thank you

 

 

I appreciate the thank you. I have been on so many boards since the old GD board (No, I'm not that old) and the original iteration of GEA. As an equipment junkie then and as a small store owner now it never ceases to amaze me what one can learn from a customer, a distributor/supplier, or even the guy tire-kicking in the store.I'm just passing on what I think I have learned.

 

I will say JDM companies R&D is not scared to push the envelop. From multi-layer balls...the Strata was the first multi-layer ball in the US but the Precept Double Cover Tour and Dynawing Double Cover were released in Japan more than a year before, to forged undercut irons, to lightweight shafts, to multi-weave shafts, and now sub 300 gram drivers. Japan was seemingly always ahead.

 

Whether the tech gains are big enough or are worth the added extra $$ now or waiting maybe a year or two is up to us. I generally never have the latest and the greatest JDM stuff. My wallet cannot handle it.

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  • 3 months later...

What an interesting thread! I found mygolfspy because I was searching for information on forged Japanese clubs. I don't even remember why I was doing that! The different markets and products available is fascinating to me, not because I'm ever likely to buy a JDM product, but just because I think its interesting to see the differences.

 

I spent a summer in Japan in my teens, and my host father was a "range golfer". He took me and my host brother to the range with him once, and it was a BIG DEAL, kind of similar to what it was for us as kids when the whole family would take the day and go to the amusement park! I remember my host brother telling me "its so cool you're here, he hardly EVER lets me go with him!" We went to one of those big multilevel ranges and spent a good portion of the day there, had lunch and the balls were seemingly rationed to us teenagers! I have no idea what that day cost him, I was oblivious to it at the time. I was not a golfer at that time, so didn't really know what to look for, but looking back on it now it was similar to what its like for me now to go to my clubs range. My host father was hanging out, visiting with his friends, it was his social time. In the time I was there, he only played one actual round of golf that I know of, and he was pumped about it!

 

Anyhow, thanks for all the info xxio and Shambles, don't hesitate to post on this topic, I find it very interesting to hear perspectives on the game from around the world!

Ping I20 8.5* - Aldila NV 65g S
Adams XTD Super Hybrid 15* - Stock Fubuki S
Adams DHY 21* - Stock Matrix Ozik White Tie S
Mizuno MP58 4-8 Irons - Fujikura MCI 100 S
SCOR 42,46,50,54,58* - SCOR/KBS Genius S
STX Robert Ingman Envision TR 35", Iomic grip

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I will say I think the bigger JDM OEMs (TM, Callaway, Titleist)that have a current worldwide presence will probably have prices drop a bit. Like I mentioned I live and own a store in small market where both JDM and US equipment are available. For the JDM stuff to sell I have seen that they have to come down in price a bit. Even then we have to make an extra effort to explain the shaft upgrades available in the JDM equipment and that is the reason for the $40-50 difference in drivers, and things like the JDM R9 irons with the silver badges actually have the same specs the R9 TPs with black badges in the US market but the shafts are very different NS Pro vs KB Tours. They actually compete against themselves and they will have to address that soon.

 

I do not see the boutique JDM brands like Gold's Factory, etc coming down at all. The product output is so small that as long as they get marketed well enough they will sell everything at the margins they want.

 

The interesting JDM OEMs to watch will be the JDM companies that have the financial strength to make a run in the US but are they willing to because of the need to be competitive in pricing. Companies like Daiwa/Seiko-On Off-Impress-Fourteen-PRGR-etc. Tourstage seems to have finally settled in on the Tourstage - Bridgestone plan. Srixon is making a good run but they bought out Cleveland and the distribution/marketing system that was already in place to do it. Even Srixon has held back in the sense that they did not bring in their most prestigious/premium name brand in Japan which is XXIO (nice name :blink: ). Those are $600 drivers and $1,100 irons.

 

Wow I better stop rambling soon. I'll go to PM for the next couple of questions. I'm using up too much bandwidth.

 

I agree 100% with your take on the Japanese stuff. I had the opportunity to hit the Honma, Fourteen, and Maruman (sp?) drivers with a variety of ludicrously priced shafts. There was no noticeable performance improvement from top of the line USA drivers. Frankly, to borrow a phrase from Shania Twain "that don't impress me." After I had dropped a nice chunk of change on a driver I asked the fitter point blank about the supposedly superior Japanese products. While he said he believes Muira does have an edge with irons, it is not a coincidence that very few of the Tour/Mini-Tour players he fits play american equipment. He further asserted that it is especially telling what the Mini-Tour guys are doing because they have no financial incentive to choose their equipment. While they are not loaded, they would spend almost anything for an edge.

 

While I have not played golf in Japan, I have played with Japanese golfers in the Philippines. On a scale of 1-10,I consider myself a solid 8 as a club ho. These guys put me to shame and they were amazed at how "well I played with that equipment." It actually got nasty in one case.

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I agree 100% with your take on the Japanese stuff. I had the opportunity to hit the Honma, Fourteen, and Maruman (sp?) drivers with a variety of ludicrously priced shafts. There was no noticeable performance improvement from top of the line USA drivers. Frankly, to borrow a phrase from Shania Twain "that don't impress me." After I had dropped a nice chunk of change on a driver I asked the fitter point blank about the supposedly superior Japanese products. While he said he believes Muira does have an edge with irons, it is not a coincidence that very few of the Tour/Mini-Tour players he fits play american equipment. He further asserted that it is especially telling what the Mini-Tour guys are doing because they have no financial incentive to choose their equipment. While they are not loaded, they would spend almost anything for an edge.

 

While I have not played golf in Japan, I have played with Japanese golfers in the Philippines. On a scale of 1-10,I consider myself a solid 8 as a club ho. These guys put me to shame and they were amazed at how "well I played with that equipment." It actually got nasty in one case.

 

 

The target market of the higher end brands are the "executive" golfers with money to burn. This means most shafts will be soft tipped and "mis-marked" for flex. The stiff will usually fit the 85 to 99 mph driver swing. The best is to pay the upcharge (imagine it even gets more expensive!!) and get the "Tour" shafts.

 

Sad that you had a bad experience with Japanese golfers. I play with a few of them at the club every so often. They are very nice and are actually quite humble about their equipment. I'm usually the one who has to point out that the shaft they are using retails for $400-500 and I couldn't afford to play a shaft like that.

 

Nice insight on the Nationwide Tour. The local pros here in the Philippines are in the same boat. Even when sponsored they will tend to hang on to older models because they have made money/are more comfortable with those. They will use the latest update of the bag/hat/shirt/headcover though.

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I agree 100% with your take on the Japanese stuff. I had the opportunity to hit the Honma, Fourteen, and Maruman (sp?) drivers with a variety of ludicrously priced shafts. There was no noticeable performance improvement from top of the line USA drivers. Frankly, to borrow a phrase from Shania Twain "that don't impress me." After I had dropped a nice chunk of change on a driver I asked the fitter point blank about the supposedly superior Japanese products. While he said he believes Muira does have an edge with irons, it is not a coincidence that very few of the Tour/Mini-Tour players he fits play american equipment. He further asserted that it is especially telling what the Mini-Tour guys are doing because they have no financial incentive to choose their equipment. While they are not loaded, they would spend almost anything for an edge.

 

While I have not played golf in Japan, I have played with Japanese golfers in the Philippines. On a scale of 1-10,I consider myself a solid 8 as a club ho. These guys put me to shame and they were amazed at how "well I played with that equipment." It actually got nasty in one case.

 

You would have to have been friends with that person for him to be so impolite towards you as to criticize your equipment. Either that or he spoke English poorly and did not realize the implications of his words. Personally, all the foreigners I've met on the fairways are very polite and considerate in a formal sense and it is the locals that are more likely to be demanding, but even then in a polite and very correct way. However I have noticed that they can be very short or familiar with each other.

 

Some equipment cost more than others. It does not ensure nor preclude performance by either, if they suit the hands that hold. If I had difficulty finding something that works and could only find one in the expensive rack, I would probably spend the money, or make a note and a last desperate effort to find a cheaper alternative and then spend the money. Luckily, I happen to be one of those people who find satisfaction in old things and I have a lot of those here at home.

 

 

Shambles

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The target market of the higher end brands are the "executive" golfers with money to burn. This means most shafts will be soft tipped and "mis-marked" for flex. The stiff will usually fit the 85 to 99 mph driver swing. The best is to pay the upcharge (imagine it even gets more expensive!!) and get the "Tour" shafts.

 

Sad that you had a bad experience with Japanese golfers. I play with a few of them at the club every so often. They are very nice and are actually quite humble about their equipment. I'm usually the one who has to point out that the shaft they are using retails for $400-500 and I couldn't afford to play a shaft like that.

 

Nice insight on the Nationwide Tour. The local pros here in the Philippines are in the same boat. Even when sponsored they will tend to hang on to older models because they have made money/are more comfortable with those. They will use the latest update of the bag/hat/shirt/headcover though.

 

Thanks. I fell in love with one of those shafts (the Fubuki Alpha) and the fitter was quite skilled at recognizing a club ho and reeling him in. I had brought what I thought was plenty of cash ($700) from my stash so she who must be obeyed would not wrap the thing around my neck. After the $100 fitting I was still 345 light, so that went on the card. She actually praised me for being good, but was curious why I had to buy it so far away. I told her I was trying to save money and she believed it. :unsure:

 

Just curious where you are in the Phils, I have played in Cebu on Mactan Island and up in Danao.

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You would have to have been friends with that person for him to be so impolite towards you as to criticize your equipment. Either that or he spoke English poorly and did not realize the implications of his words. Personally, all the foreigners I've met on the fairways are very polite and considerate in a formal sense and it is the locals that are more likely to be demanding, but even then in a polite and very correct way. However I have noticed that they can be very short or familiar with each other.

 

Some equipment cost more than others. It does not ensure nor preclude performance by either, if they suit the hands that hold. If I had difficulty finding something that works and could only find one in the expensive rack, I would probably spend the money, or make a note and a last desperate effort to find a cheaper alternative and then spend the money. Luckily, I happen to be one of those people who find satisfaction in old things and I have a lot of those here at home.

 

 

Shambles

 

Shambles, sorry I did not make my initial post more clear. With that one exception, the Japanese guys were all very nice, but apparently any single digit capper in Japan would not show his face without at least 2.5-3K USD in his bag. Furthermore, I take my back-up equipment with me in case China Air decides to send my stuff to Malaysia. This particular bozo was just a racist. He made several derogatory remarks about Filipinos, cursed the staff, and was just a world class *******.

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Phana,,

 

I guess I am lucky that both equipment options are available to me and at a good price (I'm a part owner of a small golf shop). I get to try demos of a few things or I know who bought what from the store and can seek them out to get their opinions on the new things (sometimes even get to borrow them) before I drop the $300 on the shaft.

 

There is a set of the Anser Forged irons in the shop with the stock Japanese Graphite Design that I hope someone buys soon so I can try them out.

 

What do you know, I am based in Cebu. I only play Mactan Island Golf Club and Club Filipino in Danao about 1x a year. I'm a member both at Cebu Country Club and Alta Vista Golf so most of my rounds are there.

 

Mactan has improved a lot over the past year. You would not recognize it from 3 years ago. I would say it is 3-4xs better. Club Filipino underwent some controversy in the election of their Directors so I don't know how it is now.

 

Give me a shout if you have plans of coming down again.

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Phana,,

 

I guess I am lucky that both equipment options are available to me and at a good price (I'm a part owner of a small golf shop). I get to try demos of a few things or I know who bought what from the store and can seek them out to get their opinions on the new things (sometimes even get to borrow them) before I drop the $300 on the shaft.

 

There is a set of the Anser Forged irons in the shop with the stock Japanese Graphite Design that I hope someone buys soon so I can try them out.

 

What do you know, I am based in Cebu. I only play Mactan Island Golf Club and Club Filipino in Danao about 1x a year. I'm a member both at Cebu Country Club and Alta Vista Golf so most of my rounds are there.

 

Mactan has improved a lot over the past year. You would not recognize it from 3 years ago. I would say it is 3-4xs better. Club Filipino underwent some controversy in the election of their Directors so I don't know how it is now.

 

Give me a shout if you have plans of coming down again.

 

 

Assuming the dollar does not take a nosedive, I will probably be there next year. My wife is from Lilo-an. She was there a few months ago when her dad had a stroke, but between the trip cost and the medical bills, I could not afford to accompany her. Damn, it is a small world.

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See you then. 1 round of golf in Alta Vista on me.

 

You may want to look into getting a "guest card" as well. If a member sponsors you, you basically can get unlimited playing privileges (no green fees, no need to be accompanied by a member) for a 30 day period for about $300-320. We (members) are allowed to sponsor 2 guest cards a year.

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Just joined the community, so catching up on various theads. Thought there some interesting comments here, but perhaps I can offer a slightly different take on the subject.

 

yes, golf is an expensive and exclusive hobby in Japan, but is the only difference in product down to price? The Japanese certainly seem happy to pay for very pricey gear, but are they getting much better quality?

 

Not so long ago there were persistant rumours that many Taylor Made staff players clubs were being forged in Japan. Similarly, Tiger's Titleist blades were "aledgedly" forged there too. Why might that be?? Higher quality materials, superior forgings? I happened to be looking at Darren Clarkes website a few weeks ago. His equipment page shows he's playing TP Forged irons.....Japanese version.

 

From what I see, many of the Japanese brands, Miura, Yururi, Royal Collection, Epon etc don't have many, if any, staff players. So they don't need to recoup tens of millions of dollars/pounds/Euros/Yen. Think about it - all that money paid to Tiger/Phil etc etc has to be paid for by somebody...

 

Perhaps thats why the big OEM's will shift production around the world trying to find the lowest cost of manufacturing

they can find. It seems to be a legal obligation these days to clearly show where product has been manufactured.

 

I "discovered" japanese equipment a few years ago and couldn't believe the difference. Not sure why I was surprised

really - would you expect a low cost Ford to drive the same as a high cost Porsche?? Then why expect a mass produced

cast wedge to feel and play the same as a premium forged wedge.

 

At the end of the day you pays your money and takes your choice....

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  • 1 month later...

The Market Demand decide all this,There have some obviously difference like the shorter and smaller in general than American,But US market golf equipment currently is most popular,although some of Japan market golf product are very nice.

I like to play golf!

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Some repeat of what others have mentioned but:

1. Status symbol

2. Japanese have easy access to US models or import models.

*If JDM offered same clubs ex. Tourstage X and Bridgestone J38 at the same time, Bridgestone would have lost significant amount money. So company decide to roll out equipment couple of years ahead of us market. Mizuno (except for Japanese specific lines) is the only one that does not do this.

3. Marketing is not global. You have to understand the market and in the US, you can't expect to sell a driver for $1,000 and make it into a hit product. But you can do it in Japan. I don't blame anyone for trying to sell it there.

 

I think Nike, TM and Ping just followed the same route that Bridgestone and Sumitomo rubber has been doing. "We have something that you can only get in Japan but it'll cost you double"

 

My old man is in Japan and he told me to get Adams pro black hybrids (3 of them) because he could not get it in Japan. Adams are one of few clubs that you have hard time getting in Japan.

 

So at least there are some people in Japan that are salivating for the clubs in the US. :D

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Roughly 80% of all forged iron in the market is forged by Endo (thx xxio correcting me), and a burner forged iron, is forged in the same factory (in xxxxxxxx) as a US MB iron. plz don't think u guys in the US got inferior equipment.

 

Only very very few club is forged by them in their JP factors, and the QC is close to perfect.... those r the best of the best in the world... of course it come w/ higher price.......

 

and last..... most of 'them' are pga prototypes. so the PGA tour got the best of the best equipment.

 

Forget expensive JP ver. clubs, get a Tour issue club, then your money is well spend!

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Roughly 80% of all forged iron in the market is forged by EPON, and a burner forged iron, is forged in the same factory (in xxxxxxxx) as a US MB iron. plz don't think u guys in the US got inferior equipment.

 

Only very very few club is forged by them in their JP factors, and the QC is close to perfect.... those r the best of the best in the world... of course it come w/ higher price.......

 

and last..... most of 'them' are pga prototypes. so the PGA tour got the best of the best equipment.

 

Forget expensive JP ver. clubs, get a Tour issue club, then your money is well spend!

 

 

I would actually suggest the other way. With Tour equipment the heads have probably been tweaked for the pro. That means unless you have 115mph swings you may not be able to hit it. Plus pros are really picky about how a head sits and may have had it tweaked.

 

It is good that you brought up Epon. Epon is the house brand of Endo which is the company that does 80% of the world iron forgings. You can custom order a club from the ground up from Epon. headwight, face angle, lie angle, etc. IMHO if I were spending extra money over retail I would take the Epon route over Tour issue because the custom specs of the club will be my custom specs and not a Pros.

 

A Burner forged iron is forged in the same place as a US MB iron. However where a club is made is not the only criteria. Materials, design, etc. We don't know what makes up the price difference. It could something like the limited availability (less spreading of cost), cost increase to manufacture a 2 piece-thin face forging, or it could be hype.

 

If the location of where a club is forged is the only criteria for pricing all Mizuno forgings regardless of location, design, materials would all be $799.

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I would actually suggest the other way. With Tour equipment the heads have probably been tweaked for the pro. That means unless you have 115mph swings you may not be able to hit it. Plus pros are really picky about how a head sits and may have had it tweaked.

 

It is good that you brought up Epon. Epon is the house brand of Endo which is the company that does 80% of the world iron forgings. You can custom order a club from the ground up from Epon. headwight, face angle, lie angle, etc. IMHO if I were spending extra money over retail I would take the Epon route over Tour issue because the custom specs of the club will be my custom specs and not a Pros.

 

A Burner forged iron is forged in the same place as a US MB iron. However where a club is made is not the only criteria. Materials, design, etc. We don't know what makes up the price difference. It could something like the limited availability (less spreading of cost), cost increase to manufacture a 2 piece-thin face forging, or it could be hype.

 

If the location of where a club is forged is the only criteria for pricing all Mizuno forgings regardless of location, design, materials would all be $799.

 

 

1st. although some clubs are design to be hit at 115mph, but some product is truly superb, eg, burner 07 FW, which still alot PGA pro is using, why? 1.52 smash @0.83. no other heads can ever archive that no. So do the 282, a 10.5 head is still very user-friendly if right shaft is fitted.

OK some heads are design for 115MPH, but then most ain't.

a custom fitted shaft is more important for woods....

 

 

 

2. Endo's Epon cannot choose girnd, hoever u can choose finish & headweight. Epon is Endo's boss's toy, he believe no 2 golfer is the same, he believe custom fit so he use the best material to produce heads and sell the heads unassembled.

almost every forged iron can adjust loft and lie, wat so new about?

 

Facts:

retail forged iron torrence +-10g

Endo (JP factory) +-3g

Miura +-2g

tour dep. (or eg Don White) +-0g

 

i agree JP got different design, but then different golfer got different need. Most beginners in JP can afford to spend $. however thats not the same case across the pacific.

What the different is there are alot more Game improvement clubs then players culbs in JP. Eg burner forged -R9forged.

TM bought a very expensive r7 CGI ( correct me if i m wrong) to US and it doesn't sell very well; plz don't blame them! :P

 

3. Mizuno opened a factory China already...... some is forged in JP and some is forged in China.....

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The number you mentioned are published/claimed manufacturing tolerances. Even the equipment the pros use will have manufacturing tolerances.The only difference is the pros get their stuff sorted out for exact specs from these heads.

 

I once had a set of components assembled I asked the guy (Ken of VictoryCustom Golf, but he was still working for LowProGolf) to handpick head weights for me so that the 7 gram difference would be spot on. Ken graciously obliged and did not charge me extra. He didn't get exact 7 grams but it was close. Not exactly Tour equipment.

 

We just got a set of GeoTech heads in the shop last month. Blank (except for number and Made in Japan on the hosel). I weighed the heads. Based on a 7 gram ideal difference there was only 1 head that exceeded a .75 gram variation. I think it was 1.1 gram off. For me that is spectacular manufacturing or at least sorting out before you ship the heads.

Not exactly Tour equipment either.

 

Yes pros will have their stuff measured to exacting specs because they get their stuff handpicked (weight/face angle, etc) for them. I will not argue with that. You mean we can actually buy stuff from any tour van to our specs without having to be a Tour player? Not just the Tour issued stuff we see on ebay? Where can I sign up for this program? I want to get a 282 bent to 11 loft with heel/draw bias inside the head built in and not thru MWT alone straight off the Tour Van.

 

Unless you are talking a year old or 2 year old club, most tour issued equipment will come at a premium, near almost JDM pricing. It will depend on seller but you will still have to ask him if he has something in your specs. If none, what is your option?

 

Agree that a shaft is important I never said it wasn't. A lot of premium shafts are options on JDM equipment. The GD DI and EV were long stock options on JDM equipment even before they got hot on Tour.

 

Isn't the 07 burner a retail product?

 

Grind? Aren't tour wedges ground after to a player's needs. They don't come out the foundry that way? Even the magic that Don white does is after the manufacturing. Something anyone can have done with someone who knows his s&^%t. My wedges are done by a local caddy. His work is amazing. I would put it up against JoeK or Miraflor.

 

You can buy Epon's unassembled is news to me too. I would love to be able to get those unshafted as well. I prefer the satin PXs and Epon does not have those when I asked, only chrome. When I bought my 301s I had to buy with shafts then I just reshafted.

 

 

Not saying JDM is superior to Tour, it will still depend on what suites your needs and budget. I will say Tour is not necessarily superior to JDM.

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My family looked after the Honma Distribution here in Australia for many years

whilst the Honma family were still running the company and they were the most

Top Shelf brand to own and to play for a long time with prices that were just

amazing. I still use a set of PP717 Blade irons for testing from 1990 that are

so sweet to hit.

 

The main issue as described earlier is that the Japanese market has always been

prepared to pay more for their equipment but in return Japanese players expect

the best technology / the best materials and the best presentation,which all

comes at a cost and they have been happy to pay to date.

 

Cheers,

Boz.

Vision Golf Ball Concepts & Designs by The Atanak Co Australia (1980 - 2016)

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