The story on Development of MG702 4 Showing the Way
The body design of the MG702 was complete. Still, Sato’s initial elation turned to slight anxiety. “”Will the ball really go flying?” Is the center of gravity correct according to the original design? What about the feel on impact? What about the sound? And most of all, what about carry?
The new model had the potential to differ from the MG701 particularly in terms of sound, because the face was larger than that of the MG701. The sound might be a higher pitched one, and Sato was worried that it might be annoying.
First, he measured the center of gravity of the head. It was a higher number than he had expected, and Sato breathed a sigh of relief. The next step was to test it at the driving range. “We really had no idea how it would perform until we hit a ball with it,” Sato says looking back. First, they hit a ball with the previous model, the MG701, and it easily flew more than 150 yards. Sato was impressed with his own design at that point.
On the other hand, he was worried about the MG702. Taking the MG702 in hand, Sato took a swing, thinking, “Come on!”. The instant he hit it, the ball went out of sight—160 yards—at a high strike angle. Delighted, he yelled out, “Look at it go!”. All of the difficulties he had at the development stage had paid off, and on top of that, the sound-on-impact that he’d been worried about was good, too. The entire development team joined him in a collective whoop: “Out of sight!”
In early fall of 2006, management made decision: “We’ll join the Japan Golf Goods Association, and we’ll exhibit at the Japan Golf Fair next year for the first time.“
Ever since our establishment, Honma Golf had maintained a somewhat aloof stance to maintain our creativity, and in this way we chose to mingle in industry over the past half-century, so this was a big step for us.
One day, company management brought nearly 60 craftsmen and development personnel from the Sakata Plant to the showroom. This marked the first personnel shift of this scale for the company.
In February 2007, the Honma Golf showroom positively shone in royal blue. The showroom attracted far more visitors than we ever expected. Abe, director of the plant, was visibly proud. But then he overheard someone say, “Didn’t Honma go bankrupt?” Abe laughed with a little bitterness. But then that same person took a club in hand, swinging ever so much ease. People tended to focus on drivers at this kind of event, and the MG702 attracted attention, too. Many visitors stared at the plating on the two-piece structure cavity—a Honma exclusive. Sato couldn’t help feeling a little superior as he thought, “Honma craftsmanship will slowly but surely be recognized.”
In the local dialect of the place where Sakata Plant is located, adults stand out on the road during heavy snowstorms to make sure children don’t lose their way. They’re called “saima”—the ones that show the way. We may have started out slowly, but now we're good and ready to be the “saima” of our industry.