Miura Golf of Japan has developed a reputation for making some of the world’s finest forged golf clubs, designed and manufactured by patriarch and club expert Katsuhiro Miura with the help of his sons Yoshitaka and Shinei, whom he trained.
Miura makes its forged clubs–irons, wedges and putters–in the company’s one factory and one forge, both in the city of Himeji, which was for centuries the seat of the ancient Japanese art of samurai sword making.
Katsuhiro Miura, who began making golf clubs in 1957, hand-grinds clubs in his factory alongside Yoshitaka Miura, while Shinei Miura supervises the forging. Miura clubs are made individually, using many handcrafting processes, and will never be mass-produced, says the company’s founder. Special forging techniques assure that the grain of the steel in each club will be fine and uniform, with no voids or tiny bubbles that could interfere with the famous Miura purity of the strike. This grain, more comparable to a jar of sand than a jar of marbles, is the result of careful and patient forging and finishing, and it sets Miura apart from other clubs.
“Even though Mr. Miura has been manufacturing forged irons since 1957, we still see ourselves as relatively new to the golf equipment landscape,” Bill Holowaty, executive vice president of product strategies for the firm, told me recently. “Among golf `gear heads,’ a term we use with the greatest respect, Miura’s reputation is among the best in the world. However, we are still a relative unknown to the majority of golfers. To that end, there is a perception that we manufacture only for the better player. And although the better player will always be a big part of our business, Miura makes irons for golfers of all levels, especially those looking to take their golf games to the next level.”
Holowaty said the knowledge that golfers “are arguably purchasing the best forged iron in the world” isn’t lost on the firm’s customers. “However, the fact that there IS a Mr. Miura and there IS a Miura factory and the understanding that Miura irons are manufactured to the industry’s highest standards means the first time you hit a Mura iron, you are able to literally feel the difference.”
Holowaty said one of the positive changes in the company is the evolution of Mr. Miura’s two sons, Shinei and Yoshitaka. “Both have an intimate role in the company and the legacy of Miura Golf is in fantastic shape in the years and decades to come.”
Unlike many other companies in the marketplace Miura does not release a new model or models every year. In fact, until the Miura family believes it is able to improve on an existing model, that model will remain in its line. Said Holowaty, “As an example, our new blade model, the MB 001 was recently introduced, replacing our tournament blade model, which had been in our line since 2007.”
As for new products, Miura recently introduced its successful Y Grind to its left-handed models. The Grind, which golfers find on the company’s right-handed MB 001 and 1957CB model, is now an option on its left-handed cavity back and blade.
“Far from being a rand for a select few, all golfers can benefit from a forged club, said Holowaty. “Mr. Miura believes that golfers of all skill levels can benefit from the feedback a forged club delivers. The feel of a good golf shot is what all golfers chase and seek to replicate. Experiencing that feel can fuel the passion for the great game of golf.”
Holowaty said company leaders believe custom fitting will continue to grow in popularity. “There is no question that a properly fit set of irons will benefit any and all golfers. That’s why we are so proud of our relationships with the world’s finest club fitters and teachers.”