The Story of Plating 1 “The God of Plating”
Have you ever noticed that the plating color featured on the cavity of Beres MG701 series clubs differs by grade?
The 1S is black with a hint of soft silver, the 2S is golden tone with a whitish touch, the 3S is a golden pink, and the 4S and 5S are a crisp gold hue. Honma Golf is one of the few golf club manufacturers that does the plating process in-house, and the fact that the finish is of such high quality attests to the level of perfection of our internal production system.
At Honma Golf’s Sakata Plant, there is a man known as the “god of plating.” He’s the director of the plant, and his name is Naoki Abe. He was first called in to supervise in-house plating when it first began at Sakata 22 years ago, and has been there ever since.
The fact that Honma clubs are considered “works of art” that go way beyond the ordinary golf club is entirely due to his having dedicated 35 years of his life to plating process research and development.
Abe happened upon the coating process entirely by chance. He always enjoyed tinkering with machines, and upon graduation from an industrial high school in his home town of Tsuruoka City, Yamagata Prefecture, he found work as an engineer at a Tokyo bus company.
Sightseeing buses were wildly popular at the time, and together with his fellow engineers, who were about the same age as he was, he was fully enjoying the life in the big city that he had longed for. “There were a lot of pretty bus guides, and that was really fun,” Abe laughs.
But a few years after he left for Tokyo, Abe received a letter from his parents in Tsuruoka urging him to come home. At first he was able to hold them off for a while, but after a few years he was forced to give up.
He was wondering what on earth he would be able to do in Tsuruoka work-wise. When he was pondering this, he suddenly got an offer form a Tokyo-based European-style dishware manufacturer that was building a plant in Tsuruoka. He asked them to let him stay in Tokyo for training until the plant began operating. He couldn’t imagine what it would entail, but he slipped right into his new line of work with perfect timing.