The Story of Repair 4 Moving from Simple Repairs to Entirely New Ground
In 2004, Honma installed launch monitor in our stores.
By simply hitting balls in the strike test laboratory, we can now measure post-impact strike angel, head speed, spin, etc., and with this data we are able to do preliminary estimates of trajectory orientation, carry, and so on.
The device has added scientific analysis to the process of selecting clubs for development, where previously discussions with customers and the intuition of salesmen honed over long years had been critical. It was at this time that Honma had just launched its revolutionary ARMRQ shaft, which utilized 4-axis carbon fiber. Just then, the concepts of re-shafting and re-fitting took hold in the golf club market industry. “During the time of the persimmon, adjustments were made by grinding the head. However, when it comes to metal, adjustments are made mainly to the shaft,” says Wakasugi. “The shaft has to be changed to accommodate the head, which could no longer be ground in the way the persimmon had.” The process of popularizing re-shafting became a job for innovative technology.
Wakasugi and the repairs team went from being expert repairmen in the 1990s to a “golf concierge” that could re-shaft and fit clubs in accordance with customer needs. In 2005, when the Beres series was launched, the five star full-made-to-order production system, the “five-start couture,” was introduced. The repairs team and the sales team collaborated for the first time ever in the company’s half-century history, creating a highly specialized fitting team.
Under the five-star couture system, the team consults with the golfer in his or her swing and any requests using dozens of criteria. As it was during the time of the persimmon, we began crafting one-of-a-kind golf clubs for individual golfers. It’s part of the team’s daily work to get the right information for each and every spec category, and they feel that it’s extremely important to communicate with the customer in this regard.
“At first glance of a club, we predict what our customer’s needs are, then like an echo customer requests exactly as what we predicted.”
The repairs team now operates on a global scale.
Nowadays, staff are sent to the Korean repairs office, completed in May, for a month at a time on a rotating schedule to make regular repairs. Previously, it took a month to repair a club, but this system has shortened the time to a minimum of three days. In Hong Kong as well, we’ve responded to requests for Sakata to send staff for repair and maintenance of clubs. Now Wakasugi grapples with the issue of how to best serve our overseas customers without any time lag.
As Wakasugi looks back on his life of 100,000 clubs, thinking about his quarter century of life with golf, he now looks forward to a borderless future.