Miura Golf – The ICL-601 Driving Iron

A few years ago I had the chance to review a lovely hybrid from Miura Golf. The Miura Golf HB3 tested real well in every category. From the stunning aesthetics (prettiest hybrid I’ve ever seen) and feel that only comes from a Miura Golf product it was an all-around performer. Performance wise it was great from the rough and had a real nice penetrating ballflight.

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Mary Beth Lacy of golf marketing firm Mary Beth Lacy Inc. shared a recent press release with me from Miura Golf. If there’s one thing that I like about the “new” Miura with their re-brand is the fact that they are a little more aggressive when it comes to product releases. More press releases means more media exposure which could translate into their products hitting more eyeballs of potential customers (especially in North America). The most recent release talks about the release of a new driving iron. Miura Golf has introduced the ICL-601 Driving Iron.

A Carpenter Steel face used in the ICL-601 sounds like the driving-iron would pack a crisp feel with decent ball speeds. A variable weight system allows the ICL-601 to be built to match the swingweight in the rest of your irons allowing for precise matching with the rest of your set. Personally speaking,  would add weight to the head for the purposes of obtaining slightly higher launch. The ICL-601 is a golf club that will attract golfers of all skill levels. Great looks, a large sweet spot and forgiving… all sound like very positive attributes.

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Photo Credit: Miura Golf

For more information regarding the ICL-601 please see the release below.

Miura Debuts ICL-601 Driving Iron 

 

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — Miura has introduced the ICL-601 driving iron. This Inner Cavity – Long Iron is the latest in Miura’s MG Collection, and blends seamlessly with a set of any Miura irons. The initial offering is a 23° 4-iron, with an 18° 2-iron and 20° 3-iron available later this fall.

 

“The inner cavity design is not new for Miura,” says Hoyt McGarity, President of Miura Golf. “It was first introduced with the hugely popular IC-2003. Modern technological advances have allowed us to improve on the original design. This is accomplished by integrating a 455 Carpenter Steel face (as found in our PP-9005 G) and the use of the variable weighting system found in the Hayate woods.”

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Photo Credit: Miura Golf

Shinei Miura has optimized the center of gravity by use of the variable weighting system, particularly addressing the mishits typically associated with a long iron. A top line which instills confidence is paired with a sole design which delivers solid turf interaction, no matter the lie.

 

The 23° ICL-601 includes an 8-gram weight, matching its weight to a standard 4-iron’s. This allows the club to be assembled with the same shaft as your iron set or to be fitted with an optimum-performing shaft. As with other forged irons, the lie and loft angles are adjustable – enabling golfers to fit the club seamlessly into their set. Of course, we recommend these adjustments be done by an authorized Miura dealer. All ICL-601 irons have a weight port.

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Photo Credit: Miura Golf

At address, the sole shape lets the clubhead sit in a way that gives golfers confidence not usually found when hitting a long iron. The clubhead’s inner cavity allows for a wider sole and lower center of gravity. With a larger sweet spot comes more forgiveness, high launch, and controlled spin rates that will benefit golfers of all skill levels.

 

“The ICL gives Miura traditionalists the opportunity to add technology to their game, while maintaining the quality and feel of a Miura forged club,” says Jason Rutkoski, Miura Golf vice president. “The ICL is a remarkable new product that will benefit golfers from all demographics, by seamlessly fitting their existing set or adding a club to fit that one shot/hole per round.”

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Photo Credit: Miura Golf

The ICL-601 has a MSRP of $369.

 

 

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The President’s Cup

It’s been a little while since I wrote an editorial so I thought that it would be time to write one now. The time is perfect as a matter of fact because the topic is one that I feel very strongly about. The President’s Cup.

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Every two years we see this collection of the best player’s from the United States of America (wait… that’s The Ryder Cup right?) pitted against top player’s from everywhere else that isn’t Europe. Where the Ryder Cup has a rich history (1927) The President’s Cup has a history that I feel is considerably less endowed in terms of history (1994). As a Canadian I admit that it’s tough getting up for the Ryder Cup because of course Canadian golfer’s are exempt (understandably so) from the two teams. But because of the history of the event and as a fan of golf I can get into it. When asked who I’m cheering for often my response is simply… “golf”. I simply hope for good golf. Now for us not living in or on continental Europe or the United States it’s the President’s Cup that we get up for. Or do we? For us in Canada we get to watch fellow “Canuck” Adam Hadwin compete this year which is nice. But ultimately I just can’t get up for this event…ever.  This year, it was for a good reason too.

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Captain Canada Adam Hadwin. (Photo Credit: tsn.ca)

I mean the scene is great being in the Metropolitan New York City area as Liberty National is just across the way in Jersey City, New Jersey. Perfect for getting the masses through the ticket gates. There was a sighting of the prior three president’s and Phil Mickelson got a great picture with them (President’s Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton) which was cool. All three past president’s have been honorary chairmen of the event. But beyond that it’s been pretty ho-hum.

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Photo Credit: golfweek.com

Leading up to the event it didn’t take a degree in “Rocket Science” to see that the American side was the stronger team. Sure the Internationals have Matsuyama, Day, Scott, Hadwin, Schwartzel, Oosthuizen and in my opinion the most underrated golfer on the PGA Tour Marc Leishman. But look at that American team! The squad is composed of a who’s who of those who are ranked very highly in the Official World Golf Rankings. Not to mention who were in big-time contention of winning the FedEx Cup Playoffs. Did I happen to mention that the champion himself Justin Thomas is there too? The rosters speak for themselves and it shows on the scoreboard too. The state of American golf is strong. This President’s Cup isn’t even a contest.

My hats off to the U.S. team for dominating but all this did was strengthen my beliefs that this event is a “filler” with no true meaning. There is no money to be won and the proceeds go to charities voted on by the Captain’s, Captains’ Assistants and the player’s themselves which is terrific. Sure the European’s are all from different countries like the International’s but at least that event has a history to it… a storied history. But there’s also a rivalry to it… at times heated which always makes for compelling television. The President’s Cup is merely an exhibition dressed in “competition drag” and that’s all. A near afterthought! While the American squad has a flag and country to play for the International side has bragging rights in a “Miss. Congeniality” kind of way. Honestly, I don’t put a ton of stock into the idea of team events when it comes to golf. Golf is a solitary sport at the root of what it truly is. Golf as a team event is a romantic and noble gesture that in my opinion doesn’t really do much to grow the game.

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

At some point I’ll likely turn on the television and watch some of the telecast tomorrow. After all it is golf and I love the game. But I might be more likely to go and play some golf or hit the driving range instead. This event is already over but maybe there can be some excitement like the match between Tiger Woods and Mike Weir in 2007 when the event was held in Canada at Royal Montreal. That match was a classic with the native son Weir winning the match. Overall, that event was a laugher/snoozefest too! I guess at this point all that I can do is simply cheer for golf. Go golf!

Until The Next Tee!!

 

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KenRick Golf Company

Accessories. When you think of vital golf equipment the thing that golfers are most likely to think about first are clubs, balls and golf bags. Of course, these are all integral to playing the game. But at some point accessories enter the fray. Shoes for example are considered an accessory in my eyes and so are belts. After all without them… we could be losing our pants every swing. (Before continuing special thanks go to Holly Geoghegan of Golf Marketing Services for the opportunity)


I think it’s fair to say that all belts are not created equally. I used belts from different companies over the last five years and while some were good… others were rubbish. Long forgotten because they weren’t durable. However, the focus of this review is so far on the opposite end of the spectrum that it isn’t funny.

Nestled away in the Northeastern United States lays a little state called Rhode Island. This is home to the KenRick Golf Company. KenRick is the creation of Ken Block and Rick Schad. I had the pleasure of talking to Mr. Block leading up to this review and I learned a lot about the innards of how KenRick came to be. Both gentlemen as one might expect are passionate about the game of golf and admittedly they are not world beaters. Mr. Block has been quite active in politics (he ran for Governor of Rhode Island in 2014) and has a background in computers. Mr. Schad has over two decades of design experience and his reputation in the design industry is extraordinary. Having designed shirts for some of the greatest rock bands, designed toys for some major brands and FOX Sports. Between the knowledge of both men is a great foundation for success.

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Part of this success is due to their passion of designing the best possible product and having the product made at home in the United States as opposed to outsourcing overseas. The advantages of this means that for quality control purposes they “don’t need to travel around the world” and of course there is tremendous pride in being truly Made in the U.S.A. So how does a company like KenRick keep all of the production at home? As fate has it, Maine is home to one of the last remaining tanneries in the United States. All of the leather straps are produced at this tannery and it’s only a short five hour drive for KenRick to check on quality control of products… if needed.

To the average person many would be inclined to think… “what’s so special about a belt?” and the answer to the question is easy. You can tell that a lot of thought went into the design of the belt. To that end the design is for the most part Mr. Schad’s. The belt straps are offered in a very fine and premium leather and a “ribbon webbing”. While the leather straps come in white, black and a crocodile embossed brown. The ribbon webbing can be customized and is great for companies or tournaments wanting to promote their respective brands. The ribbon is woven and not printed which is a point that Mr. Block pointed out. This leads to a superior product. Rounding out the design of the ribbon webbing version of the belt is a cotton backing and genuine leather. The leather version as stated earlier is made with the highest quality leather and the quality is obvious.

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While the entire product is quite impressive the star of this show is the divot tool. The divot tool is made from cast aluminum and is the tip of the sword… I mean belt. It was by chance and accidental that the sound of the divot tool coming out of the belt is similar to the sound of a Samurai Sword coming out of the sheath. It was something that I noticed but never paid attention to until my conversation with Mr. Block. The design is smart and clicks when it’s inserted back into the belt. The ball marker included is magnetic and sits inside of the divot tool. A recent change has seen KenRick make the ball markers open to customization.

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As far as my observations go when tested this product tested with top marks. It’s hard to ignore the practicality of this belt because everything is right there. Have you ever dug through your pockets looking for your divot tool or ball marker? Of course you have. Have you inadvertently had yourself poked and prodded in your  “nether region”? You might have… I have. Have you put a hole in your $100 pants by a divot tool? If you have then you have me beat. Either way, kiss all of these problems good-bye. When I wore the belt for the first time while practicing at Whirlpool Golf Course (Niagara Parks Commission) I knew that KenRick had a winner on their hands. I was working on approach shots of varying lengths and as I approached the practice green I would slightly pull out the tip of the belt, remove the ball marker and then using my thumb and index finger I pulled out the divot tool. A quick repair of the green later I picked up my marker, inserted it into the back of the divot tool and clicked the divot tool back into the place. No digging and no fumbling around. I would also get one last hurrah in on the course and I wore my black belt with the excellent contrasting white stitching. My KenRick belt was a star and that was something that I thought that I would never say about a belt.

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Seeing that KenRick Golf is newer to the golfing industry the only thing missing is getting these belts into more hands of the golfing masses. This is something that KenRick  addressed at the 2017 PGA Merchandise Show. The belts come in at two different price points. Which is a stroke of genius from a retail perspective. If you go to http://kenrickgolf.com/ you will find that the current prices are $44.25 USD for the Ribbon Webbing version and $74.25 USD for the leather versions. The Croc Embossed Brown is a little more at $89.25 USD. Either way, these products from KenRick are worth every dime. If you’re in the market for a new belt really consider KenRick Golf (Twitter handle @KenRickGolf)

Until The Next Tee!!

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