FIRST LOOK: Honma’s TR20 drivers and irons are built for tour-level performance
Professional golfers are used to evaluating a product during the creation process — it’s an unwritten part of the job description where feedback can shape an entire design or a few select aspects before it ever reaches the hands of a consumer. There are buzzwords that let a designer or engineer know theiy’re on the right path or need to scrap something altogether and go back to the drawing board.
“Badass” isn’t a term that’s a regular part of the golf club designer lexicon, but when Justin Rose blurted it out after getting his first look at Honma’s new TR20 460 driver prior to the Hero World Challenge, the equipment manufacturer’s brass knew they were on the right path.
“Every time I come to Honma with a new request on equipment, they far exceed my expectations,” Rose said. “The TR20 driver has spoiled me with speed and my new irons give me confidence over every shot.”
Honma’s latest line of TR20 irons and metalwoods are designed with players like Rose in mind — and those in the 0-12 handicap range — who are looking for a combination of technology and performance in a tour-level profile. Offered in two head profiles (440cc and 460cc), TR20 driver is designed around a lightweight titanium frame featuring an ET40 ribbed crown and carbon fiber sole. The lighter overall weight package afforded designers with an abundance of discretionary weight (34 grams) that was returned to the head in the form of a reinforced crown-sole and adjustable weights.
Ball speed was increased by adding vertical grooves to the backside of the variable thickness titanium face to make the structure thinner and stronger at the same time. The end result is a face that delivers comparable ball speeds on center strikes and mishits.
Three interchangeable weight ports located in the back, heel and front-center make it possible to alter spin, shot shape and swing weight. Five weights (3, 6, 9, 12 and 15 grams) can be positioned in a number of different combinations to achieve low launch (9-3-3), low spin (3-3-9) and a draw bias shape (3-9-3).
The adjustable hosel on both drivers is a non-rotating design that allows the head to be adjusted plus-or-minus 1.5 degrees in face angle, plus-or-minus 1-degree in loft and plus-or-minus 1-degree in lie angle without changing the orientation of the spined Honma Vizard shaft (50, 60 and 70 grams).
The TR20 460 is the larger of the two heads with a deep front-to-back profile and “swept” crown for the golfer who needs a confidence-inspiring look at address. With a compact “Sakata 7” profile, the smaller TR440 sits higher in the back to deliver a more traditional appearance.
Sitting firmly in the player’s and player’s distance categories, Honma’s TR20V and TR20P irons are geared for two different player profiles. The solid construction TR20V is forged from S20C carbon with a modern cavity back design, minimal offset, compact blade length and thin topline that should appeal to the low single-digit handicapper who puts a premium on workability and feel.
The T20P presents a slightly more forgiving package in the form of a forged S35C steel body, L-cup face and tungsten-weighted pocket cavity. When combined, the lower center of gravity and responsive face design produce a higher launch angle with increased speed and forgiveness.
With more golfers embracing blended sets, Honma paid special attention to the cosmetics and profiles to ensure the T20V and T20P could be combined. Nippon’s Modus 105 steel and Honma’s Vizard TR20-85 graphite are the standard shaft options for both irons.
Honma also announced plans to roll out a TR20B model later this summer that’s currently being used by Rose and still in the prototyping stage.
Honma’s TR 460 and 440 drivers will be available in March for $649.99, while the TR20P and TR20V irons retail for $174.99 (per club with steel) or $199.99 (per club with graphite). Fairway woods and hybrids, along with additional iron models, are slated to join the line later in 2020.