By Rick Young, senior writer for Score Golf Magazine
For 55 years Katsuhiro Miura has been forging some of the world’s most beautiful irons with an uncompromising blend of quality, detail and craftsmanship.
Don’t expect that to change.
The Vancouver-based company still produces its exceptional wares in the traditional samurai sword-making capital of Himeji, Japan; still does so in one factory with one forge under the watchful eye of the company’s skilled master craftsman and founder.
What has changed for Miura in recent times is product expansion. Though irons, then wedges, provided the upscale golf brand its foundation, gaining traction in the retail marketplace requires a much more assertive business plan often involving multiple equipment categories. That means rolling out drivers, fairway woods, hybrids, irons, wedges and putters.
Last month Miura Golf showed again its capabilities as a producer of high-end golf equipment is not limited even when it comes to non-forged golf clubs. President Adam Barr sent along test samples of the company’s two most recent products, the new SIT-460 driver and KM-007 putter. Both are a showcase for the Miura philosophy of handmade over mass production.
Admittedly the new driver at first glance was not an immediate slam dunk for me. In a crammed market of adjustability function, sightline alignment aids and bold new finishes, the SIT-460 — Miura’s second driver offering — seemed a bit staid out of the box. Further visual analysis shows there is more going on here.
Short for Strong & Ideal Trajectory (SIT), the titanium driver head in the hitting position looks anything but 460-cubic centimetres (cc). Much smaller in appearance, some golfers might even construe it as just slightly bigger than one of the larger model three-woods found in the industry now. This however is every cubic centimetre a driver.
Use of a flat-black matte finish and a deeper, tall face behind the golf ball streamlines the head size while a softer ‘gear effect’ visual on top of the club behind the face provides not only a sightline for square alignment but also creates a sense of workability. Barr told me earlier this year in a brief discussion about the SIT-460 driver that the design, overseen by Katsuhiro’s son Shinei, is an extension of Miura’s success with last year’s MG hybrids. Those clubs faces were exactly as tall as a golf ball providing what the company calls “ball coverage” at impact. There is also plenty going on in the sole. Highlighted by two distinct tiers each one contributes weighting functionality to the lighter-weight 196-gram head design while also assisting the end user to sit the club square at address. By the way that lighter-weight head provides Miura fitters with the opportunity for more shaft options. The one sent to me came with one of Aerotech’s Claymore MX-60 shafts.
As for performance the club is admirable. What I most liked on the range and on the golf course was the consistent trajectory of the SIT-460. Even when I teed it lower or higher or when I tried to work the ball either way the ball flight was remarkably similar. In a retail driver market dominated by top names and advanced technology this club might easily be passed over. Golfing traditionalists and players seeking something simple but unique should give this club some attention. It’s a sleeper.
Miura’s new KM-007 putter extends the brand’s blade putter capabilities to the mid-mallet category. Similar to Scotty Cameron design beliefs for the vast majority of his products, Miura is not about face inserts with its putters.
Made of softer, mild steel, forged and CNC (computer-numeric controlled) milled, the KM-007 provides exceptional feel at impact with a shape and design that harkens a golfer to Cameron’s current Del Mar line or Odyssey’s Rossi product.
You won’t find bells and whistles here either. About the most distinctive individual aspect of this putter is the black/red Lamkin-produced Miura-inscribed putter grip. The 360-gram KM-007 comes in a nickel (satin) and chrome non-glare finish to keep a golfer’s eyes focused on the single, white top sightline.
What I like most about this club is how it comes off the face. That feel equates to great responsiveness which I found no different on a 40-foot putt or a four-foot putt. To me that’s a sign of a great putter product.