Is that a Hanzo Sword?

Written by: Dave Wolfe

I love to start conversations with restating the obvious. It sets up a nice tone of agreement with the other people in the conversation, or in this case, you reading along from the comfort of your screen. So let’s get the obvious agreement out on the table:

Katsuhiro Miura crafts amazing golf clubs.

-Everyone (except Ron)

See, I knew we would all agree. I have never owned, or even hit a set of Miura irons, but as a lover of golf equipment, I am well aware of the Miura name. Like many of you, I drooled over Tony’s Miura fitting article from a few years back. Miura’s clubs are amazing looking, and I hear, amazing to play. I’ll admit, that’s not the most based-upon-personal-experiences endorsement. As I said, I have not played his clubs. But I’ve read the comments of others who have, and while some companies seem to attract the strongest of spite from golfers, I can’t recall a single time when Miura has received the troll treatment.

I haven’t played them, but Tony has, and so has K.J. Choi, and so have other tour pros. Some pros are playing Miura clubs that have been branded with their sponsoring companies logo rather than a Miura one. I’m not kidding.

Here is a quote from Miura’s site:

Q. Which tour players play Miura made clubs?

A. In fact many tour players are, and have been, playing Miura made clubs under thebrands of other companies and to a more limited extent at this time, under the Miura brand. Miura Golf’s policy is that we don’t pay professionals to play our clubs.

Those that play Miura branded clubs play them because they want to play the best and that is more important to them than the money they would receive from an equipment company.

Since we don’t pay professionals to play our clubs, we don’t believe we have the right to use their names to promote our products. We recommend that you review public information sources in this regard.

Again, I think that it is safe to assume that we all agree that Miura irons are amazing, and that they have the tour credentials and player reputation to back that up. But what about their putters? Our knowledge base gets a little thinner here. I don’t know if pros are playing Miura putters under another branding, I’d share that info if I had it. I don’t even know if Tony, the one guy I know who owns Miura irons has ever even held a Miura putter. When the chance to review the Miura KM-007 arose, I jumped at it.

I was more than curious if the KM-007 putter would live up to the standard set by Miura’s irons.

MIURA KM007-06

 

KM-007 Specs:

  • Material: Forged Mild Steel
  • Weight: 360g
  • Loft: 4°
  • Lie: 72°
  • Toe Hang: 5:30
  • Length Tested: 34″
  • Finish: Satin Nickel
  • Insert: None, CNC Milled Face
  • Grip: Miura Logo PURE Grip

BALL USED: Wilson FG 2014 Prototype

MIURA KM007-10

FEEL

After rolling all of these other putters I can really appreciate how amazing that Miura felt.

-Anonymous Blade Tester

Feel and looks are the most subjective of the putter review categories, and yet they are the ones that connect with us on the most basal, emotional level. Feel in particular is sometimes difficult to quantify, lending itself to more qualitative descriptions.

For example, if you asked me to rate the Feel on a scale of 1-10, I would score this putter a 10.  However, if you then asked for a one-word description of the feel of the KM-007, I would reply that it feels thick. I know that is a bit of a strange word to describe feel, but thick just works for me.

To explain, the contact at impact is very stout. You get a feeling of mass contacting mass. It’s definitely not the squish that would come from a super soft insert, but the feel is still soft; a thick soft. Think memory foam vs. down. It’s a thick soft.

At 360g you’d expect some heft, but the KM-007 does not feel heavy. This is one of the most balanced putter heads that I have ever swung. I am not a heel-shafted putter guy. My slight arc stroke typically does not do well with the deep toe hang found in these putters.

I love this style visually. I’ve had a Del Mar, multiple #9’s, and even a BB34. I get hooked by the looks, and then the swing just doesn’t match the stick. In contrast, I never once felt like my swing arc was fighting the natural arc of this putter. Maybe the balance comes from the perfect marriage of head architecture and shaft/grip weight. Whatever the source, the Miura KM-007 is a balanced, solid feeling tool.

MIURA KM007-11

 

FEEL-1-20_soft

 

LOOKS

O-Ren Ishii: Your instrument is quite impressive. Where was it made?The Bride: Okinawa.O-Ren Ishii: [in Japanese] Whom in Okinawa made you this steel?

The Bride: [in Japanese] Hattori Hanzo.

O-Ren Ishii: [in Japanese] YOU LIE!

[the Bride shows Hattori Hanzo marking on sword]

O-Ren Ishii: [in Japanese] Swords however, never get tired. I hope you saved your energy. If you haven’t… You may not last five minutes. But as last looks go, you could do worse.

My first impression was that there was not much going on visually with this one. When the putter arrived, I actually went back to the Miura site to see if this one was in fact unfinished. No face stamping? No cavity markings? Metal-tone, with a single sight line? Did Miura really produce such a utilitarian putter in the sometimes style-over-substance modern golf marketplace? Yep, they did. However, first impressions are not always the right ones, and after a thought, I realized just how brilliant the aesthetics are.

MIURA KM007-09

To reiterate, golfers know that Katsuhiro Miura makes amazing clubs for playing golf. Although some may buy his clubs for the prestige of his name, most buy them as gamers. The game knows nothing of paintfill, or your initials on the toe. It knows metal, offset, and weight distribution. Adding colored ferrules and Iomic grips will not make the clubs perform any better, or worse. The performance of golf clubs comes from forges, mills, and hammers.

MIURA KM007-05

 

You may have noticed the Kill Bill Volume 1 and 2 quotes scattered throughout the story today. They are there because the KM-007 made me think of the swords crafted in the film by Hattori Hanzo. For the three of you who have not seen the films, the swords of Hattori Hanzo are depicted with near mythical qualities. The real legacy of the swords is their performance. Such is the case with the KM-007. This putter needs no adornment or decoration to be lethal. The curve of the metal speaks to its intention. This is a ball-in-cup tool whose beauty needs no supplementation or superficial adornment.

LOOKS-1-great

 

SET-UP & ALIGNMENT

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The lack of, potentially confusing, visual elements makes the Miura KM-007 very easy to align. As I said before, this is not my usual style of putter. I have dabbled with the Odyssey #9 and other, OK a lot of other, heel-shafted half-mallets, but the relationship has been tumultuous at best. I was shocked at how well I aimed this putter, and even more so when the ball went where I aimed it.

Most of the time, I fall in love with the looks of this kind of putter. Buy one, play it for a while, and then move it along as I once again realize that it doesn’t fit my stroke. Something is different with the KM-007. Maybe it’s the angle of the neck, the offset, the curvature of the bumpers, or something else. All I can tell you are my experiences. This putter is very easy to line up.

GripandHC

ALIGNMENT-Easy

 

PERFORMANCE

Budd: A brand spankin’ new Hattori Hanzo sword. And I’m here to tell you, Elle… that’s what I call sharp.

Elle Driver: How much?

Budd: Well, that’s hard to say, being that it’s priceless and all.

As we all learned from Mygolfspy’s Most Wanted Mallet Test, a golfer’s reaction to a putter’s aesthetics does not influence performance.  Remember how the STX xForm3 was the second most accurate putter while simultaneously scoring dead last in aesthetics?  The looks and alignment features definitely do influence accuracy, and that’s why they are there.  However, what doesn’t influence accuracy is your feelings about the aesthetics.  Believe what you want about liking the looks of a putter generating confidence, and that confidence translating to more made putts.  I used to believe that too.  Our data just says otherwise.

Accuracy was measured using the same guidelines as the previous mallet test.  Testers rolled five putts from distances of five, ten, and twenty feet.  The five and ten foot putts scores were adjusted for distance, and then all of the scores from the testers were averaged.  The average score was then scored against the ideal accuracy distance score of 127.5 inches, the ideal accuracy number determined experimentally by rolling numerous mallets.

EXAMPLE: Accuracy Score Calculation

:: Total Miss Distance (all testers, adjusted for distance)= 1686 inches


:: Average Miss Distance Per Tester (Total/12)= 140.5 inches


:: Percentage of Accuracy Ideal Value (127.5/Average Miss Per Tester x 100)= 91%

miura-km-007-acc

 

Tester Comments

  • I typically don’t putt this well with this style of putter.
  • Whoa, that feels different.
  • This feels really nice. I bet it’s expensive.

 

FIT FOR STROKE™

fit-for-stroke-banner-1

Don’t change your stroke. Change your putter.

The (FIT FOR STROKE™) concept was developed by PING, yet another genius fitting system they have developed for golfers. It works hand-in-hand with the iPING Putter App which is highly suggest everyone getting (IT’S FREE!). You might be surprised to find out that the stroke you think you have isn’t the stroke you actually have.

This addition to the MGS reviews will allow you to become a more consistent putter by matching you with models that better fit your stroke type. They will be broken down into three categories: (1) Straight – for face balance putters (2) Slight Arc – for mid toe hang putters (3) Strong Arc – for toe down putters

“Results from hundreds of player and robot tests at PING offer overwhelming scientific support for the effectiveness of fitting for stroke. In recent years more diagnostic tools and testing equipment have become available, and the results prove that a golfer’s consistency improves when their putter balance matches their stroke type. It was interesting to observe that golfers putt more consistently with stroke-appropriate models, but they also show a personal preference for these models, too. Prior to putting with them, golfers are drawn to models that fit their eye, even before they fit their stroke.” says PING.

The Miura KM-007 Putter is a: Strong Arc

FIT_FOR_STROKE_strong

 

O-Ren Ishii: [in Japanse; subtitled] For ridiculing you earlier, I apologize.

The Bride: [in Japanse; subtitled] Accepted.

O-Ren Ishii: [her last lines] That really was a Hattori Hanzo sword.

MIURA KM007-04

Summary

The Miura KM-007 is an amazing take on the heel-shafted half-mallet. Strong-arc putters, and maybe other slight arc putters, like myself, should take a swing or two with the KM-007 if you are looking for a new putter in this style. It’s going to cost you more than a new Odyssey #9, but I will definitely attest to the unique feel and precise craftsmanship of this Miura gem. Mr. Miura’s long celebrated iron pedigree is readily apparent in this putter a. To sum it all up, let me take a little liberty with one last Kill Bill quote:

Elle Driver: Bill tells me you had a Miura putter once.

Budd: Yeah.

Elle Driver: [examining the Bride’s putter] How does this one compare to that one?

Budd: If you’re gonna compare a Miura putter, you compare it to every other putter ever made… that wasn’t made by Katsuhiro Miura.

MIURA KM007-08