The story on Development of MG702 1 A Turning Point for the Art of “Honmaism”
“Mr. Azuma, do you have any plans to join the Japan Golf Goods Association?”
Our president was asked this question by a reporter at a press conference announcing Honma Golf’s new structure.
“I’ll be considering that.”
March 2006 was the beginning of Honma Golf’s new start subsequent to restructuring procedures. Honma Golf had been on top of the industry ever since the company was founded. Honma’s astonishing level of innovation, which often took other companies by surprise, came about precisely because Honma did not cater to these other companies. Indeed, our philosophy of not being part of the crowd has been something of a company motto since our establishment, and Honma Golf was the only golf club manufacturer in the industry that wasn’t affiliated with an industry organization.
Then came the collapse of the asset-inflated “bubble” economy. The lone wolf that led the pack one day wandered away from it. “But isn’t this what makes Honmaism,?” Azuma asked himself.
The story goes back a year. In June 2005, at Honma’s Sakata plant, the second generation concept of the “seven” series, a critical component of the Beres series to be announced in the fall of that year, was being developed. There was great momentum for change during this period, as it was exactly the time when a generational transition was taking place amongst the company’s top management.
Matsuda has just been made director of our sales headquarters, and he went around the company persuading people of the merits of his philosophy, i.e. that “the starting line of manufacturing should be to give first priority to the customer’s perspective.” His ideas were welcomed, and from then on the opinions of the sales department took on a significant role at meetings on development.
Kurikawa, also of the sales department, pointed out that “golfers’ ages are rising.”
“The reason behind the great success of the Twin Marks MG460 was that it offered wonderful carry. Our customers want carry performance from irons. So why don’t we make irons that provide better carry for even average golfers?”
Takumi Sato, who was in charge of irons at the development department, involuntarily shook his head in disbelief. Honma had just produced the ultimate MG701 iron, which was designed to make it breathtakingly easy for golfers to hit the ball. How could we make this model even better, to create an iron that carries even further?
“Even lower, even deeper……
It was Suwa, manager of the development department, who tapped on Sato’s shoulder as the latter was deep in thought.
“It’s a great thing that we came up with this terrific new concept together with the sales department. Let’s go for it.”
The meeting was over, and immediately Sato began to draw a model that would outdo the MG701—an iron that would provide excellent carry—right in his sketchbook. Suwa started tackling the project plan.
“An iron that can send the ball flying far and away….Kurikawa’s idea…”
“The Kurikawa san” became the code name for the MG702 iron, a ground-breaking collaborative project between the sales and development departments.