Honma T//World GS Irons – Key Takeaways:
- Honma’s upgrade for its XP-1 game improvement irons
- Distance technology in the long irons includes an L-Cup Face, Flip Slot and low/deep tungsten weighting.
- $1,224.99 in steel, $1,294.99 in graphite
- Available now
The new Honma T//World GS irons is Honma’s second collaboration between its U.S.-based and Japanese design teams. Joining forces, Honma theorized, would create golf clubs that would appeal to North American tastes while maintaining Japanese heritage.
The first collaboration—the Honma TR series of irons and metalwoods—proved to be a standup triple. The second joint venture is the Honma T//World GS irons. They, too, may very well add to Honma’s slugging percentage. But since the U.S. design team apparently has been disbanded, we may not see a third venture anytime soon.
All that aside, let’s focus on what’s in front of us. The Honma T//World GS is a game improvement iron and it looks like a game improvement iron. Is that a bad thing? It depends.
Honma T//World GS Irons: Game Improvement Galore
“The GS line was designed in tandem between our offices in Sakata, Japan, and here in Carlsbad,” says Preston Toulon, Product Director for Honma. “The Japan team even came up with the name, abbreviating GS for Gain Speed.”
Better players tend to turn up their noses at game improvement irons. The lofts are too jacked, the heads are too big, they won’t fix your crappy swing, blah, blah, blah. Look, golf is hard enough as it is. The “Get Lessons” Mafia can shout all it wants but an awful lot of people who love to play golf also have kids, jobs and lives. Believe it or not, they play golf for fun. Eighteen holes on the weekend might be all they can manage.
Practice? Get real.
That’s why game improvement is the top seller for virtually every OEM. GI irons help that golfer have a little more fun by making it just a skosh easier to get the ball up in the air and flying toward the green. No matter how you look at it, that’s a good thing.
The Honma T//World GS irons features list reads like the syllabus for Game Improvement Design 101: thick cavities, wide soles, cup faces, sole slots and tungsten weighting.
And, oh yeah, the lofts are jacked. But not as jacked as you might think.
The Tech Rundown
The T//World GS irons throw a unique Honma twist on stock game improvement technology. For instance, the GS long irons (4 through 7) feature an ultra-thin Cup Face made from AM355P maraging steel, supported by Variable Face Ribs.
Every OEM strives to maximize the thin/strong ratio with various technologies, be it variable-face thickness or some kind of injected polymer. Honma’s Variable Face Ribs appear to be a take on variable-face thickness with the ribs integral to the back of the Cup Face in a half-moon shape at the point of impact.
“One of the keys to more speed is to reduce face thickness,” says Toulon. “But you can’t reduce it to the point of failure. Beyond that, the ribs also help reduce face thickness on the perimeter which means more ball speed on mishits.”
Honma is also giving the T//World GS its own take on a sole channel which it’s calling Flip Slot. It’s a unique-looking channel that’s wider near the toe and thinner near the heel. The idea is to help the face flex a wee bit more on toe strikes than it does on heel strikes and to maintain ball speed on low-face hits.
Additionally, the long irons feature tungsten weighting low and deep to help get those suckers up in the air.
The scoring irons are a little different. Since they’re not designed for distance, there’s no L-Cup Face. The face is still very thin, however, and is supported with Variable Face Ribs. Honma optimizes the CG in the scoring irons by using a steel plate in the sole instead of tungsten.
The entire set features the type of deep cavity and wide sole you’d expect in a game improvement iron.
Honma T//World GS Irons – Jacked or No?
So, card-carrying members of Torch and Pitchfork Nation are dying to know: just how jacked are the Honma GS lofts?
In the landscape of 2021’s game improvement irons, not very. It sounds crazy to say it but the 7-iron is only 29 degrees.
In a world of 27-degree 7-irons, that might put the GS at a disadvantage in the hitting bay.
“That speaks to a larger trend in golf,” says Toulon. “Golfers see numbers on the screen and it’s easy to say, ‘oh, I hit that one farther.’ We don’t want to get so lost chasing speed that we wind up putting the golfer in a bad position on the golf course.”
It’s a noble cause since golf clubs are actually used to play “golf course” golf, not “launch monitor” golf.
“It’s great to hit a 7-iron 160 yards as long as you carry it 155,” adds Toulon. “But if your 7-iron goes 160 but only 135 in the air, you’re not doing right by the golfer.”
It’s a tough sell for many GI golfers who may struggle with distance. The extra distance those two degrees bring to the table can be awfully seductive. That’s why Honma remains committed to its fleet of mobile fitting vans to bring a full-fledged Honma-centric fitting to your club. As of today, Honma has 15 fully decked-out vans on the road, covering most of the continental U.S.
Of Quirks and Shafts
One thing you’ll notice right away about the Honma T//World GS irons is they lack both a pitching wedge and a gap wedge. True to its Japanese roots, Honma is giving you a 10- and an 11-iron.
“Our company is proudly Japanese and the last thing we want to do is remove that proud Japanese heritage from our product,” says Toulon. “That’s part of the Honma story and I think it’s pretty cool. Maybe a little quirky but we’re OK with being quirky.”
Honma is also making use of its own graphite shaft-making capabilities for the GS line. The new Honma SPEEDTUNED graphite shaft is another collaboration between Sakata and Carlsbad. It’s a counter-balanced design rigid in both the tip and the butt, with what Honma calls a Harmonic Kick Point in the middle.
“If we push the flex into the middle part of the of the shaft, the golfer doesn’t feel anything funny in their hands and he or she can get a sense of where the clubface is as they load it at the top,” says Toulon. “If they can feel where the face is, we think they have a better sense of timing and a better chance of returning the clubface to square at impact.”
Honma is using the Nippon N.S. PRO 950GH neo as its stock steel shaft. Nippon describes it as a mid-launch shaft specifically engineered for stronger-lofted irons. The 950GH neo has what Nippon calls a “flowing” kick point to create a kind of reverse-whip at the tip to optimize spin.
It’s also a lightweight shaft. The R-flex is 94.5 grams while the S-flex is 98 grams.
The Golf Pride Tour Velvet is the stock grip. Shaft and grip options are available through Honma’s custom department.
Price And Availability
The Honma T//World GS lineup is a full-on replacement for the 18-month old XP-1 line. While the XP-1 irons were clean and classic-looking, some may find the GS irons a tad busier. And depending on how you feel about red (for men) or yellow (for women), you’ll find them a tad more colorful, as well.
The stock Honma T//World GS iron set is 5- through 11-iron (which translates to 5-GW) for men and 6- through 11-iron for women. For men, the aforementioned Nippon N.S. PRO 950GH neo in R- and S-flex is stock steel while the Honma SPEEDTUNED 55-gram shaft is stock graphite. The SPEEDTUNED 42-gram shaft is stock for women’s models.
Pricing is $175 per stick in steel and $185 in graphite. That puts the standard seven-piece men’s set at $1,224.99 in steel and $1,294.99 in graphite. The standard six-piece women’s set is priced at $1,110.
Both men’s and women’s sets are available in right-handed models only at this time.
The Honma T//World GS irons are available now.
For more information, check out the Honma website.
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