Unless you’re a real avid golfer, you probably aren’t familiar with the name Miura when it comes to golf clubs. That’s because companies like TaylorMade, Callaway and Cobra flood the market with advertising and promotions. However to the golf aficionado, these clubs rank as about the best clubs money can buy. For the past decade or so, Katsuhiro Miura, his two sons and a small group of workers in Japan have been making irons under the Miura brand. It’s no coincidence that their foundry is in the land of the legendary samurai sword craftsmen; this gives them access to the best raw materials available for making their clubheads.
Over the past several years, Miura has been growing in popularity worldwide, particularly in North America. Perhaps the company’s most noteworthy PGA Tour player is K.J. Choi who won the 2011 Players Championship. In his bag were the CB-501 irons, 4-iron through pitching wedge. Choi doesn’t play these irons because he’s paid to do; in fact Miura does not have any PGA pro sponsorships. He plays these clubs because he believes they’re the best tools in the trade.
Much of Miura’s work and achievements remain secretive. Until a few years ago, companies like TaylorMade, Hogan, Titleist, Cleveland, and Nike used Miura’s factory and forgings for some of the special irons they gave to touring professionals. To this day, Miura Golf has many clubs on the PGA Tour, but they bear labels of other manufacturers. Without naming names, Miura claims two Masters Championships, one United States Open Championship, one Senior PGA Championship, and twenty-five wins on the Japanese tour.
Miura spent more than two years trying to create the single greatest iron for the widest range of players. The CB-501 irons were designed by taking the best qualities of previous Miura irons and putting them into one clubhead. Miura’s fourteen step forging and finishing process produces an iron head like none other; the grain structure in their forged steel is the tightest in the industry. Miura irons are not mass produced; a good year might be around 20,000 sets. They are made with high-grade, low-carbon steel — strong enough to be consistent, but soft enough for great feel.
Unlike other forged clubs, Miura’s irons are only forged from the heel to toe. The hosels are spun on separately, which makes them even more exacting. Finished in nickel satin chrome and designed with USGA conforming grooves, the CB-501 irons simply look good as you stand over your shot and look down at them.
The CB-501 irons deliver the perfect offset for forgiveness, optimal ball flight, ideal head size and a sole design that appeals to the broadest range of players. Miura engineered just enough spin into these irons to hold their lines, but not enough to balloon.
Last Word: I have to admit, when I was first contacted about reviewing the Miura CB-501 irons, I had feelings of inadequacy, feeling that I wasn’t the caliber of golfer that would (or could) play this type of club. Reader’s Digest version: I didn’t think I was good enough to play the Miuras.
This fitting process is second to none. Instead of filling out a form on a website with your typical wrist to floor measurement and how far you hit your five and seven iron, you will actually visit a certified Miura dealer and be custom fitted with a clubhead, shaft, lofts, lie and length, that are based on how you swing a golf club.
After being fitted and waiting for the clubheads to be forged in Japan, shipped to Vancouver, assembled with the requested shafts and grips, clearing customs in the US and arriving safely to my home via FedEx, I was ready to give them a try (and a couple of months older).
Nonetheless, I took the CB-501 irons out to my favorite driving range at Gateway Country Club in Ft. Myers, Florida (www.gatewaygolf.com). I have hit a lot of range balls and tested a lot of new irons at Gateway and have found that the balls tend to chew up the face of new clubs. After hitting over 500 range balls, the faces of all of the Miura CB-5401 irons could easily pass as brand new. This is a testament to the quality of the steel Mr. Miura uses in forging the heads.
I found that I hit the Miura irons a little bit farther but I chalk that up to the fact that the irons are about 1 – 2˚ stronger than the other irons I have played. Being the odd person that would rather hit a long iron than a hybrid, I must say that the Miura 4 and 5 irons are perhaps the easiest long irons I have ever hit. The ball seems to fly off the face of the club and a pure strike feels like guiding a knife through butter – it is that easy.
The club gives great feedback; when you hit the ball well you will know it. Likewise on mishits; your hands will tell you that it wasn’t the best shot you have ever struck. I find that by having a club of this caliber in my bag I have more confidence and can concentrate more on making a better swing. I have just started to learn how to shape the ball and move it from left to right. Friends tell me I couldn’t have a better set of irons to learn with.
I have been blessed to have the opportunity to test many different irons – cast, forged, game improvement, and so on. It took several swings to get used to the Miura irons and, being a 12 handicap I still don’t hit every shot pure. I find that with the Miura irons, a slight mishit does not penalize me with lack of distance. In fact I find that on the rare occasion I do strike the ball purely, it goes farther – sometimes a lot farther – than I expected. I have probably 10 rounds under my belt with these clubs and quite honestly, do not foresee taking them out of my bag any time soon.
Obviously the Miura irons aren’t for everyone: even company President Adam Barr will tell you that. It’s not so much the price – although for many, that will be the determining factor; it’s the fact that the average player doesn’t think he or she is good enough to play forged clubs. The CB-501 irons prove that this is a fallacy. You don’t have to be a tour-caliber player for these irons to work for you. “Try our forged irons,” Barr says, “and you will find that forged IS for everyone. You don’t have to be a skilled player to play Miura.” “I play this club myself and I’m a 23 index, and I have a lot of success with them,” Barr said. “They do improve your game by helping your focus. It’s a classic forged look and feel with a little bit of technology.”
For more information on Miura or to find out the closest dealer in your area, visit their website at www.miuragolf.com. Here you get detailed information about all of the clubs and irons Miura offers as well as the fascinating history of the company.