The Story of Polishing 4 The Never-Ending Process of Perfecting Technology
During a morning meeting at the development department in October 2004, deputy plant director Suwa placed the newly-completed Beres 901 iron head master on the desk.
“We want to make this,” said Suwa.
“Do you think you can polish it nicely?”
It was a thicker design featuring a graceful three-dimensional “B for Beres” logo running from the edge of the cavity to the sole.
“They’re trying to kill us,” Doi thought to himself as he picked up the club. The design was crafted thicker immediately behind the impact point, bringing the center of gravity down to engender unbelievably sharp trajectory. The 3D logo design was also quite impressive, making the job a nightmare for the craftsmen overseeing the polishing process.
Prior to the polishing process, the logo, which was situated in the 3D part of the club, was essentially a set of grooves. If we polished this area too much, the coating would not go on properly. The process would especially affect the sharp wings on the sides of the logo. Suwa said, “Polish the sloping sides with the grooves at the very top. We want this design to really look terrific.”
“At last, the design’s come alive…”
“Suwa was right in thinking that there was no further room for development with a flat design. And I also believed it was consistent with ‘Honmaism’ that we should try for the more difficult rounded polishing.” A few of them, including Doi, began polishing a sample piece.
“We tried from every direction, ever so gingerly,” says Doi looking back on the experience. As the ‘veil’ of the face came off during the polishing process, a face emerged that was destined to become one of Honma’s great successes, the PP0-737, as well as the initial Twin Marks model.
Doi recalled when the polishing process was done by hand.
The conventional single-piece construction of the 901 was made to appeal not only to long-term Honma fans; though the two-piece structure is popular today, the single-piece is utilized by a high percentage of professionals, and it’s preferred by connoisseurs. For these golfers?who have their own style?a striking appearance alone is not sufficient.
Throughout the 901 polishing process, our craftsmen, who know it inside out, pay careful attention to the edge and corner processing as well.
At present, Honma Golf outsources part of the polishing process, depending on product characteristics. This development occurred in accordance with the trends of the times, yet a side effect of this outsourcing has provided incredibly important for the Sakata Plant: the fact that the Sakata craftsmen can learn from the “friendly rivalry” with the engineers that we outsource to, though there are also additional processing techniques that cannot be disclosed outside of the Sakata Plant. If the “pioneering 10” were to have become the “isolated 10,” they may have ceased to develop their technical skills after a certain point.
The Sakata Plant craftsmen have successfully put their name on the line to continue to improve their technique. As Doi says confidently, “Just taking the 901 in your hand, you really get a sense of our pride and the work we put into the clubs.”