Japan is widely regarded as one of the greatest countries for precise engineering and manufacturing. This reputation dates back hundreds of years, to Japanese sword making.
Several major golf brands and companies have emerged from Japan over the years, including Mizuno, Srixon, Honma, and more. However, this article will cover 3 lesser-known brands that are each doing some amazing work.
SEVEN is a Japanese golf brand that produces some truly awe-inspiring work. The company only produces putters, wedges, and irons, in order to better specialize in their manufacturing.
The current flagship product is their amazing SEVEN MB irons. These irons are a single-piece forged muscle back iron. The incredible part is that this is a full CNC golf head.
SEVEN utilizes a DMG Mori Seiki 5-Axis Milling Machine that enables the head to be milled from a solid block of Japanese Carbon Steel in 360 degrees rotation.
Most modern irons have milled faces for the grooves. However, the cost of fully milling an iron head is so cost-prohibitive that companies refrain from doing it. A single head would take hours to mill out and require a knowledgeable CNC operator to monitor it the entire time.
Sources claim the SEVEN MB irons cost over $230 per head in manufacturing costs alone. This vastly exceeds the manufacturing costs of a normal head and starts to justify the $5,000 price tag for a full set of heads.
Furthermore, SEVEN then utilizes a specialized tempering process that requires heating the heads to 850 degrees for 4 hours and then cooling them to 500 degrees in an artificial vacuum atmosphere.
Overall, SEVEN is producing some incredible examples of Japanese manufacturing and design. Every club is 100% produced and made in Japan.
It is difficult to justify the price for golf performance alone. However, if you are looking for a piece of amazing craftsmanship, and you have a spare $5,000 then be sure to check SEVEN out.
If SEVEN is the pinnacle of modern manufacturing, then Yyoei is the perfection of old techniques and design.
The founder originally worked in forestry but transitioned and founded Yyoei in the Nishi Kawanabe village. The original forges the clubs were made in were not electric and manually temperature controlled.
Yyoei focuses on trying to produce the highest quality forged irons in Japan
Yyoei’s currently leading product is the Kyoei MB 1964 irons. Kyoei has taken their first blade mold, the K-1, and modified the grooves to meet current R&A and USGA standards.
The result is an amazing one-of-a-kind iron head. The focus of this product is not forgiveness, the center of gravity, or any modern technology.
This is a beautiful muscle back iron that allows players an opportunity to combine masterful craftsmanship with historic design.
The price is certainly not cheap at around $2500 for a full set. However, the Kyoei MB 1964 irons are available in a Kurozame Black finish that makes them arguably as impressive as any irons you could own.
If you are looking for a set of irons that has roots in the past and expert craftsmanship then be sure to check out Kyoei.
This company’s name, Itobori, refers to a method of manufacturing. That method refers to a “one cut carving” style.
Itobori utilizes this method to manufacture their golf equipment. A wedge or iron is sanded on a grinding belt to produce Itobori’s signature look.
This method of manufacturing allows the clubhead to be fully formed before heat treating. This method allows the metal and grain structure of the clubhead to be incredibly structured and precise. The metal maintains soft.
It also means that every single club is unique and different and can be constructed to the specific needs of the customer.
Itobori also produces golf clubs in some interesting finishes. One truly remarkable one is their vintage copper finish.
This copper finish leads to a unique patina over time that does not rust. Honestly, if you want a set of clubs that truly stands out and makes a statement then this may be it!