Forged from within a raging volcano, dust and smoke spew into the air, the crafting of these golf clubs begin to take shape by the hands of the gods. A sacrifice is offered, your wallet, as a set of irons start to emerge from the boiling lava and begin to fill your bag with golf weapons of war. "It is time" the golfer thinks to himself, "It is time to destroy golf courses and the records they hold." This is not just a story, it is LEGEND!
Now, back to reality... At some point during a conversation, the name Miura has been mentioned. On a tee box someone asked the question "who does make the best golf clubs?" Then, you Googled it... Thats how you find them, not by some high-priced marketing campaign, but only found by those curious enough to ask the question. I will attempt to answer; Who is Miura? What is Miura? What makes Miura so good? Will Miura equipment improve my game? I hope I was able set the mood correctly before, these clubs are no joke... Miura is designed, forged and constructed to the utmost quality and craftsmanship.
Who/What is Miura? Simply put, Miura forged club-heads are the most pure, impeccable, and splendid club-head offering available in the entire golf market. Miura refers to Katsuhiro Miura, a man whom Japanese media claims has the "Hands of God". The companies one factory and forge is located in Himeji, Japan, an area renowned for their ancient japanese art of samurai sword making. Generations of steelmaking and grinding knowledge passed down thru the family line, whom now focus's on creating weapons to destroy your golf course. Miura has probably the coolest story of any club manufacturer out there. From design, to manufacturing, to finished club, TaylorMade, Callaway (the list goes on) are not allowed to breath the same air as Miura. These clubs are found in the bags of those who simply want the best. There is no reason to have a Ferrari, only that you want it.
What makes Miura so good? It's the design and the manufacturing quality. Design of golf-clubs has been consistent thru the years, there really is no "outside-the-box" new technology in club-design (as of recent). Thru the years, major equipment manufacturers have played around with the materials they use (titanium, beta titanium, boron, aircraft-grade aluminum, carbon steel, german stainless steel, etc..), which in-turn can influence design, however, the actual design is pretty consistent, there is only so much a designer can do. Thus, a new culture has emerged in the golf industry where major OEM club manufacturers just lie to you... Thru some high-priced marketing campaign, they try to convince you (and sometimes succeed in doing so) that they've designed something new. How do they do it? They do it by changing the number on the club. So, instead of an 8-iron, they put a "9" on it, and say its the longest hitting 9-iron they've ever created! Of coarse its the longest 9-iron you've ever hit, its actually an 8-iron! This is not a fair "apples-to-apples" comparison of two different clubs or manufacturers. These days, most golfers buy a club because you hit it longer, AND you think you've made a good decision buying that new set because the store had a computer you hit on. That's not what Miura is about... There are no gimmicks with Miura, they design very classic looking, high-performing, great feeling club-heads that are sought-after by many golfers. Miura is about the performance and end-product delivered to you, no gimmicks. The greatest golfers in the last century have played Miura clubs. Their identities are kept secret to protect their equipment contracts with major OEM companies.
Let me explain something before I continue. I myself am not a metallurgist, I don't weld, I am not a hobbyist caster, I am not an amateur forger. I don't pretend to be an expert. There are blogs about golf-club forging to which the writer speaks so factually and is so strong minded in their opinion, when its just that, opinion... Please know, this blog is simply my opinion. I've grown up always knowing that if its hand-made, its better. Anything being hand made is a prized skill whether your making watches, cars, furniture, the list goes on. There is a connection between the maker and the product that a pre-programed robot, or mind-less factory worker can not duplicate. There is a love, a passion, even respect that is transferred from the craftsman to the product. I am impressed that these clubs are made from one forge in one factory (other blogs seem not to be impressed by that), I feel a closer connection with these clubs because I can imagine where they came from and the journey they've traveled to be in my hands.
Below, I will attempt to explain the step-by-step process of the love and passion that goes into creating a Miura club-head:
In this image, there is billet of Mild-Low Carbon Steel (left). Already, this slug of metal has been forged for the grain of the steel to flow in the same direction (length-wise down the rod). The steel is forged in long cylinder shape rods, to which they cut the rod into 4"-5" pieces. These small pieces are then heated to a specific temperature (glowing red-hot, they look like a piece of molten lava) before they begin to get hammered by the club-die. Each die strike forms and refines the club-head more-and-more with each strike. Every strike is under a specific amount of force and pressure for each stage of the process. To the pictures right side, the first strike hits the billet to flatten it, preserving the grain flow length-wise so it flows from the toe to the heal of the iron face.
Strike 2 and strike 3 are shown here. With each hit of the giant forge, the club-head begins to takes shape, each time getting more refined. Notice the excess metal (after being squeezed and forced into the iron-die) escapes out the edges and sides. Remember, during this process, this billet of carbon steel is glowing red hot, and looks like lava as they form the club-head. Each one of these strikes to the molten metal is being struck under a specific pressure to define the shape of the iron with precision.
Step 4, cutting off the excess metal that gets squeezed out of the edges of the die. All the trimmings get thrown away and the club-head continues down the production line. The shape is starting to take form and now resembles an iron head, it has now been struck by the forge three times, keeping the grain structure intact. You may notice this process is forging the club-head only, the hosel has not yet been added to the club.
Regarding the previous photo, this shows the two pieces that have been cut away from each other. Notice on the die/block shown (right), a note shows a "7". This means this is a 7-iron club-head. For each iron (3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, P, G) there is a specific set die. Each iron is being made to specific specifications via loft, lie, bounce, weight, etc... Each iron-head has its own specific designed forging dies, each iron being produced is designed individually and manufactured individually.
At this point, these heads have a little seam around the club-head from previously trimming the excess metal from the forging process. These seams are then ground down which makes the edges of the club consistent and smooth. Then, the grooves get pressed into the club-face. By pressing the grooves (rather than cutting the grooves) Miura can maintain the grain-flow of the steel by preserving and improving the grain structure. Finally, lightly grinding the face of the club ensures the club-face is completely flat and free of any imperfections that could deter performance.
These two club-heads, the one on the left has no hosel, the club on the right does. The hosel is a separate piece of the club-head that gets married to the club-head via a "spin welding" process. The two pieces get welded together by putting the hosel to the club-head, Miura spins the hosel under high pressure against each other. Miura has chosen to forge the heel to toe section separately which maintains the grain structure of the club-head and is what creates the feel of purity from a ball strike.
Finally, the last step. Miura himself (or his son) grind these club-heads to perfection. Finishing the process by hand allows Miura to handle each club-head, inspecting every one, where the quality control of a hand-made item gets scrutinized to be perfect or it gets thrown-away. Miura handles their golf club with the utmost respect and pride.
Here you can see a nice photo of the entire process. Starting will a hunk of metal, getting shaped, refined, and finally a golf club emerges. The grooves are pressed into the club-face to preserve the grain flow of the club, they are not cut into the face. The finished product is hand-ground and finished by hand by either Mr. Katsuhiro Miura himself, his son, or one of the highly-skilled and highly trained select associates at Miura.
It is this process and the philosophy that this company holds that makes Miura highly sought after for their skill. There are PGA Pro's on tour that are playing Miura forged irons. These players may have a contract with Nike or Titleist, but gave Miura special permission to forge the OEM club-heads for that specific Professional golfer. Thus, contractually, they are playing the Major OEM club-head (Nike Vapor or Titleist CB's), but forged by Miura, in their one factory, at their only forge.
So, after reading this entire blog, you could have just watch this video below:
Will they improve your game? They won't... But a club-fitting will! A club-fitting can truly maximize your potential and allow you to enjoy these Miura's more than ever. I can't stress enough how important it is to get a proper fitting, but also, have these clubs built by a quality club-maker too. Know this, you can have the best fitting in the world, but if they are not built to the same quality, then the fitting means nothing... Its important to have a quality builder! If you appreciate the game, and love the game, Miura is the Mercedes of golf clubs, you're spending the money on this luxury set because you want to, because you know they are the best. Sure, there are other companies that exist that have similar stories, but it all started with Miura, the other companies look to them for the standard in quality. There can only be one alpha leader (Miura), everyone else is just a beta..
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