- The Honma T//World GS fairway and hybrid
- Key technologies include draw-biased weighting, Flip Sole and game-improvement graphics.
- Retail prices start at $249.
The Honma T//World GS series is arguably the most important component of its mainline offerings designed to cater to the North American golfer.
The reasoning is simple. Most golfers are, by definition, average. And if you want to maximize your reach, making sure you have something for your most plentiful customer is probably a sound idea.
Equipment manufacturers tend to politely call this segment of equipment “game-improvement” or “game-enhancement.” Golf can be a painfully difficult (if not seemingly impossible at times) game. And most of us who play it need equipment that helps mitigate our mistakes, rather than expose them.
Many golfers likely still associate Honma with its gold-plated, blingy and arguably ostentatious Beres line. At $4,500 a club, it tends to make an impression. And if not “Beres” (and I’m sure Honma would prefer it not be the case), the next answer is likely “Justin Rose.”
We’ll save the Beres discussion for another time but it’s so vastly different from T//World that it might as well be a separate company. From looks to price points as well as the target customer, it basically is.
Anyway, back to GS. In the North American marketplace, Honma’s flagship equipment line is T//World. If T//World is the tree, then TR and GS are the branches. Honma TR is for the more accomplished (read: better) player. Honma GS (Gain Speed) targets the “game-improvement” golfer.
Again, this golfer is, on paper, the meat of the bell curve. If it were an idiom, it might be Joe 3-putt and Susie 7-hybrid. Most often, the template for game-improvement equipment includes broad performance goals. It also serves as a middle ground between more “player”-centric and super-game improvement equipment.
T//WORLD GS Fairway and Hybrid
The Honma GS (Gain Speed) series replaces the outgoing XP (Extreme Performance) line. That aside, most of the changes are subtle, as one might expect of a brand that remains rooted in its Japanese heritage. The shaping and gloss finish are similar. And Honma again elected to go with a fixed-loft (non-adjustable) hosel in both the fairway and hybrid.
Beyond that, the performance story centers around three keystone game-improvement technologies.
GS Game-Improvement Template
Typically, you can take the tech story of the fairway wood and more or less copy and paste it when describing the hybrid from the same family. In the case of the Honma GS fairway wood and hybrid, it’s a more like using a Xerox machine. Other than the difference in shape, it’s pretty much ctrl+c, ctrl+v. Add some loft, decrease the length and there you have it.
First is draw-bias weighting. Simply, this means the club design positions additional weight toward the heel of the club. I get that discussions around mass properties might not feel like bona-fide “technology.” And, to be fair, we’re talking about internal weighting as opposed to moveable weights or other visual weighting technology.
That aside, with more weight allocated toward the heel, it makes squaring the face at impact a bit easier. How much? That answer varies based on the player. But, if you tend to fight a slice, as many average golfers do, draw-biased weighting might be part of the answer.
What comes to mind when you read the term “Flip Slot”? The “slot” part feels obvious enough. It’s quite common to see metalwood designs with some sort of slot or gap under the leading edge on the sole. Chiefly, the purpose is to allow the face to flex which in turn promotes faster ball speeds. Honma also asserts that Flip Slot reduces spin while increasing forgiveness. Theoretically, that all makes sense if Flip Slot helps push the CG lower and slightly forward.
As for the “Flip” part? Color me confused. Perhaps the two slightly larger portions toward the heel and toe are somehow flipped from previous designs? Then again, it could just be an attempt to bring some differentiation to a common design benefit.
The third, and final, talking point is entirely visual. Game Improvement Graphics is the term Honma uses. With the Honma GS fairway wood and hybrid, it’s actually the space between graphics that Honma believes is most important. At address, the golfer can see two triangular graphics running along the rear of the crown. The sharp break between the graphics sits clearly toward the heel. According to Honma, the purpose of the integrated-heel bias crown graphic is “to encourage golfers to return the club face to square at impact.”
Lines, shapes and colors can all impact how a golfer perceives important information. So, if visual technology works on putters and golf balls, why not metalwoods?
HONMA T//World Shafts and Specs
Honma isn’t generally the brand that is going to trot out some watered-down “made for” shaft, paint it (almost) exactly like the far more expensive aftermarket version and hope the consumer doesn’t notice. The primary reason is that Honma designs and produces its own shafts. The stock shaft in the Honma GS fairway and hybrid is the SPEEDTUNED GRAPHITE. It’s designed in Sakata, Japan. This sits in contrast to the upgraded VIZARD series of shafts that are designed and manufactured in Japan. Though Honma doesn’t state exactly where the SPEEDTUNED shafts are manufactured, it’s reasonable to think that cost plays an important role.
Something To Chew On
The same design team that worked on the TR20/21 release also served as the brains behind T//World GS. However, for a variety of reasons, that team no longer exists. The TR20 line was successful, in part, because it melded traditional Japanese cosmetics with a more aggressive technology suite that North American golfers found attractive.
So, it’s fair to wonder what’s next. If the GS line can show meaningful improvement over the outgoing XP series, does Honma have something else on deck?
I’d say the forecast is cloudy with a chance of who the hell knows? What do you think?
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