The opportunity to swing Honma Golf products was a bit of a surprise for me. In the month leading up to the PGA Show this past January, I was actively scouring the list of participants. One manufacturer that I never saw on the list was Honma Golf. As I arrived for Demo Day at Orange County National Golf Resort and Lodge, I was taken back when I saw their booth on the Demo Day range.
Earlier in the day, any time that I passed their booth, I couldn’t help but notice that their booth was “hopping”. A sign of things to come? Perhaps. As it turns out, Honma Golf would be the very last manufacturer that I would make swings with, closing out my 2020 Demo Day experience. A day that was full of surprises, cold temperatures (for Florida), and blowing winds.
Here is my “First Impressions” Review of the Honma Golf TR20 440 driver.
Before I get too far ahead of myself, I feel that it’s important to point out that there are two head models of the Honma TR20 driver. There is the smaller footprint, more compact 440 cc head and then there is the 460cc head. Earlier this year, while Justin Rose played Honma he elected to play the 460cc head. While I did have good results on Demo Day with the 460 cc option, I had better results with the 440 cc version. Much of that derived from being more comfortable with the smaller footprint.
Here are some details about the technology packed into Honma TR20 drivers.
TiCarbon+Fast Frame Technology – An ultra-light weight frame and body composed from carbon fibre and a high CIR Titanium allows for more energy to be transferred from the swing to the golf ball.
ET40 Carbon Crown – Used in the crown and sole, this lightweight carbon allowed designers to optimize the weight in the TR20. Also allowing golfers to optimize their speed.
Vertical Groove – Inside the head is a vertical groove. This vertical groove and variable face thickness increses ball speed across the surface area of the head.
Adjustable Weighting – Three adjustable weights allow golfers and fitters to dial in their preferred flight. The weights allow for the fine-tuning of draw bias, spin, and stability (forgiveness).
Non- Rotating Hosel – This hosel design keeps the shaft spine aligned perfectly throughout all loft and lie settings.
The Honma Golf TR20 440 is available in three standard lofts (8.5, 9.5, and 10.5º respectively). The stock shaft featured is the Vizard shaft, which is a premium high-performance shaft which is produced in Sakata, Japan. The Vizard shaft comes in weights of 50, 60 and 70-grams.
Seeing that I’ve already talked about the conditions and pointed out the fact that Honma Golf closed out my 2020 Demo Day I think it’s best just to delve right in here. Let’s talk about what matters.
Aesthetically speaking, I think that the Honma Golf TR20 440 was the best looking driver at the 2020 PGA Show scoring a perfect 10/10 in Teezy Awards scoring. The crown is clean (the cleanest on the range) and is totally void of an alignment aid. A look preferred by discerning golfers. The head shape alone, is even more appealing as it features a traditional shape, Takumi-shaped, this head represents 60 years of craftsmanship. And it shows! Flipping the club over, the sole has a little bit of a modern look as the silver leading edge gives way to carbon-fibre weave, and gold detailing. The branding is tastefully accomplished. The face, well the face earned a few extra marks from me in my evaluation because in a time where black PVD faces reigns supreme, the TR20 has a silver face. Oh, simpler times!
Tying in just a little bit to the aesthetics of the TR20 440 is the Vizard shaft. The purplish colour of the shaft with the details of the screenprinting on the shaft make it a perfect combination adding to the rack appeal of this driver.
Innovation. The TR20 440 also scored a perfect 10/10 for innovation. Much of that had to do with the Non-Rotating Hosel featured. Golf shafts have spines which can affect consistency, distance, and dispersion. The fact that the design team at Honma Golf took this into account gave it a leg up on the competitors across the range at Demo Day. IF there’s one thing that I wish I could/would have done, it was to try this driver without the “made for” Vizard shaft and try it with a shaft that may have been a little bit more “inconsistent”. The hosel adjustment is easy as Up, Flat, Open and Closed are the options. The adjustability of the weights isn’t necessarily a new idea by any means, but the adjustability is there. Note: There is no spot for toe weighting.
The feel and acoustics of this driver is near perfect. In scoring, this facet of the evaluation scored a 9 out of 10. The Honma TR20 offers a muted carbon/metallic thwack that sounds authoritative through impact. I felt that the sound was gratifying while the feel off of the face at impact was like that of a “Mexican Jumping Bean on a triple espresso shot”. Which leads me in to the performance of this driver.
By the time I got around to swinging the TR20 440 from Honma the temperatures had dipped even more from earlier in the day. The wind was blowing right into my face and really, this was a both a blessing and a curse for Honma. Using the 9.5º head and 60-gram Vizard in Stiff flex I ws amazed with how straight this driver was. There wasn’t one golf ball that strayed off-line. Straight distance, a penetrating ballflight into a strong headwind. There’s a very good chance that this driver might have been the longest on the range for me that day as well. The TR20 440 blew my mind!
Even though he doesn’t play Honma Golf any longer, there is one thing that can’t be taken away from it. Justin Rose helped design this driver. The TR20 was such an impressive driver that when I departed Winter Garden, Florida that night, I thought that it had won the 2020 Teezy Award for the “Top Driver” Category. The bigger shock was that when I finished tabulating the scoring, it hadn’t won. I re-counted the score no less than 5x.
In case you’re wondering, it scored a total of 45/50 points or in terms of percentages and school grades, 90%. That’s an A! But, it just goes to show you how competitive the driver category is in 2020. Ultimately, the TR20 took home the Bronze Teezy Award in the “Top Driver” Category.
So you’re wondering where it lost points? From a Value/Price Point point of view it didn’t score as well seeing that it has a MSRP of $649.99 USD. But, there is a premium that you have to pay to receive premium components.
The TR20 has a lot going for it. Performance, innovation, and the best looks in its category. The TR20 from Honma Golf is a terrific offering.
For more information please visit Honma Golf.
Until The Next Tee!!