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Do any PGA pros use JDM irons?


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Abraham Ancer with Miura's.

Callaway Flash 9° Velocore Blue 6X
Callaway Apex 2H Speeder 904X
Callaway Apex 4H Speeder 904X
Miura CB301 5-6 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura CB57 7-9 iSeries Proto 105X
 Miura HG 4606 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HG 5210 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HG 5810 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HB 6416 iSeries Proto 105X
Garage Palm Beach Stability 1.0X
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Everyone likes to point out when some pro plays mizuno but isn’t paid to do so. They say “see what the pros play when they don’t get paid?” I haven’t seen this phenomenon with other brands.

 

If you exclude mizuno from being JDM (not sure how the the folks really into JDM consider them but thats a different story) then it seems to be an extremely small number on the pga tour.

Ping G400 @ 10.5° (Ping Tour 65S)

Ping G400 5 wood @ 16.5° (Ping Alta CB 65S)

Ping G410 7 wood @ 20° (Ping Tour 75X)

Titleist 818H2 @ 22° (PX 6.0)

Ping i210 PowerSpec 5-U (DG S300)

Titleist SM7 54° F / 60° K (DG S200)

Ping Heppler Floki

Titleist ProV1x/AVX

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Henrik Stenson has played the 2011 JDM Callaway Legacy Black irons forever and he is among the leaders in proximity to the hole on the tour. Don't think they are specially made for him, but for sure he had them procure quite a few sets for him, especially the 3 iron which I've never actually seen in person.

Henrik is the Steve McQueen of the PGA tour. "King of Cool"

The Stenson blacks are a sweet set of irons, I've have owned and sold quite a few different sets of irons but the Stenson's aren't going anywhere.

Sweet set of 3-PW on the BST as we speak.

 

Stenson's iron play is impressive.

 

 

APPROACHES FROM 150-175 YARDS 24' 0" 1ST

 

 

APPROACHES FROM 175-200 YARDS 28' 9" 5TH

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Everyone likes to point out when some pro plays mizuno but isn’t paid to do so. They say “see what the pros play when they don’t get paid?” I haven’t seen this phenomenon with other brands.

 

If you exclude mizuno from being JDM (not sure how the the folks really into JDM consider them but thats a different story) then it seems to be an extremely small number on the pga tour.

always thought was odd too....a japanese company, who makes their clubs in Japan isnt JDM....hmm....ok
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By definition JDM means clubs made for the Japanese Domestic Market. Mizuno and other Japanese companies often make models that are not sold in the Japanese market as well as exclusively for the Japanese market. One example is the MP-55 series, which didn't make it to the US market, likewise the JPX 900 Tour model was only marketed outside Japan, even though they were made in Japan by a Japanese company.

 

Likewise, US brands make JDM only models, such as the VG line by Titleist and the Legacy Black line by Callaway. Ultimately, the demographics and consumer demands drive the decisions and the OEMs must respond accordingly. Even the same club marketed in different countries have different specs and stock shaft options depending on where it's sold. In Japan, DG S200 is the standard stock shaft for most iron offerings, not the S300.

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Maybe but I’m sure plenty more do on the Asian tours. These are the markets they are targeting no? If these brands had any reason to bring there pocket books to the US PGA Tour then yes you would see more. BB

Irons: 19' Cobra CB's
Drivers: Titleist TS3 & Cobra F9
Fairway: Titleist 917F2
Hybrid: A-Grind
2 iron: Ping Rapture
Wedges: Ping Gorge 2.0 Stealth's
Putter: Evnroll 9.1
Balls: ProV1

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A lot of JDM equipment owners buy them for reasons other than Tour Validated performance. Some just like the uniqueness of playing equipment no one else can find at your local DSG.

Epic Flash SZ 9* std loft, draw settings, Ventus Blue 6S

Epic Flash SZ 15* std loft, draw, Tensei Blue AV 75R

0317 Gen1 17* std loft, draw settings, MMT 80S

0317X Gen2 19* std loft, draw, MMT 80S

0311 Gen1 4-6 irons, SF 95S

Fourteen TC770 Forged 7-PW, Roddio Pentacross I-8 Reg/Stiff

RTX-4 Raw 52* Mid bounce/grind, DG Tour S400

RTX-3 Raw 58* V-MG, DG S400

WHP Center-shaft mallet 400g

Tour B RX

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Whenever I go for fittings here in the UK, none of the pros have seen/heard of any of my set except for Miura!

FW: Taylormade R9 Ti 5w + Diamana R80s.
HY: Taylormade Aeroburner TP #4 + White Tie HX4.
Irons: Taylormade R9 Forged 5i-PW + Quadra 100i Pro x.
Wedges: Cleveland RTX3 52/58 + Modus 130.
Putter: SeeMore SB1 + Accra FX300.

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JDM clubs have been in the bags of many pros for a long time.. (not opening up that can of worms entirely here though lol) but the list of golfers actually sponsored by these companies is starting to grow. You won’t find the top names playing them for a loooong time however. I’d have to guess that the yearly endorsement deals for the top golfers would leave most JDM companies in the red after operating costs, and the list of golfers who play clubs they enjoy and choose not to be paid to play is even smaller.

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Nicklaus had Miura's in his bag a few years back. Not sure if he still does

 

I was a big fan of Ping Rapture Jspecs


Ping G400 Max 10.5* Fubuki K 60x

Ping G400 5w 16.5* Blueboard 73x Ping G400 7w 19.5* Diamana B 80s

Callaway Apex 4h 23* Fubuki 82x Callaway Apex 5h 26* Mitsu KK 90s

Mizuno 919T 6 - PW UST Mamiya Recoil Prototype 95 f4
Vokey SM2 50*, SM2 TVD 56*M & 59*M, 64* Recoil Proto 95 f4

Piretti Matera Elite
 

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

JDM clubs have been in the bags of many pros for a long time.. (not opening up that can of worms entirely here though lol) but the list of golfers actually sponsored by these companies is starting to grow. You won’t find the top names playing them for a loooong time however. I’d have to guess that the yearly endorsement deals for the top golfers would leave most JDM companies in the red after operating costs, and the list of golfers who play clubs they enjoy and choose not to be paid to play is even smaller.

 

I guess I have been thinking this backwards. To me, improved performance would lead to better scores and more income. I've been playing a few different JDM brands for about 6 mos. and the feel is an improvement over US clubs I've used, in over 55 years. And maybe these guys are so good, it doesn't matter to them. It feels like they play whoever pays them the most? Also very impressed with their wedges and putters. Maybe some of them are illegal for the PGA?

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There was one player who games Fourteen FH 900 irons and wedges with Fourteen tour bag but I can't remember the name.

 

Those are sweet irons too.

 

Over the years, there's been quite a few wedges from Fourteen on the PGA Tour. Their utility irons have seen use too.

 

As for the sponsored player, I know Arjun Atwal at one point had a bag and club contract with Fourteen

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Chad Collins ( ... A fellow Methodist Alum), was a Fourteen staffer. Not sure if he still is.

Callaway Flash 9° Velocore Blue 6X
Callaway Apex 2H Speeder 904X
Callaway Apex 4H Speeder 904X
Miura CB301 5-6 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura CB57 7-9 iSeries Proto 105X
 Miura HG 4606 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HG 5210 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HG 5810 iSeries Proto 105X
Miura HB 6416 iSeries Proto 105X
Garage Palm Beach Stability 1.0X
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JDM clubs have been in the bags of many pros for a long time.. (not opening up that can of worms entirely here though lol) but the list of golfers actually sponsored by these companies is starting to grow. You won’t find the top names playing them for a loooong time however. I’d have to guess that the yearly endorsement deals for the top golfers would leave most JDM companies in the red after operating costs, and the list of golfers who play clubs they enjoy and choose not to be paid to play is even smaller.

 

I guess I have been thinking this backwards. To me, improved performance would lead to better scores and more income. I've been playing a few different JDM brands for about 6 mos. and the feel is an improvement over US clubs I've used, in over 55 years. And maybe these guys are so good, it doesn't matter to them. It feels like they play whoever pays them the most? Also very impressed with their wedges and putters. Maybe some of them are illegal for the PGA?

 

These guys are so good, and the OEM makers allow them so much latitude to tweak their setups, that it really doesn’t matter.

 

Part of the allure of JDM off the rack is that the clubs are much tighter to spec than more mass market goods. But the guys on tour are getting the most perfect heads that the oem can make, so there’s no advantage to that.

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One day, soon I hope, someone will prove that stuff made for Japan is technically superior to what we can buy in the West.....As far as I can see a lot of the differences are cosmetic or alternative shafts and grips are offered. But superior performance has yet to be proven. Mizuno are many skilled players benchmark and after 40 years of playing I have yet to hit anything sweeter.

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One day, soon I hope, someone will prove that stuff made for Japan is technically superior to what we can buy in the West.....As far as I can see a lot of the differences are cosmetic or alternative shafts and grips are offered. But superior performance has yet to be proven. Mizuno are many skilled players benchmark and after 40 years of playing I have yet to hit anything sweeter.

 

Listen and learn grasshopper ?

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One day, soon I hope, someone will prove that stuff made for Japan is technically superior to what we can buy in the West.....As far as I can see a lot of the differences are cosmetic or alternative shafts and grips are offered. But superior performance has yet to be proven. Mizuno are many skilled players benchmark and after 40 years of playing I have yet to hit anything sweeter.

 

I think it can be proved pretty simply with a loft/lie machine and a scale. There’s no doubt to me that the JDM stuff is technically superior from a QC perspective.

 

Does that translate to lower scores on the course? I doubt it. But imho the “tech” gap is too small to translate into strokes regardless.

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The real issue here is logistics in my opinion. I'm not sure if companies like Miura or Epon have fully stocked tour vans on site at every event, however I'm pretty sure Kyoei and Fujimoto do not. A tour van is mandatory for most tour players, and imo, it's the reason Mizuno has able to gain market share without huge club contracts. Sure, they make a really good product, but more importantly, if a player snaps a shaft or wants to experiment with more bounce given a certain condition, they're able to accommodate that request immediately.

 

I'd add that even with the trend of good players choosing to forego a contract in order to play the clubs that work for them (lEg P Reed's X Forged 2013), the options you see are still going to be limited based on onsite support.

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The real issue here is logistics in my opinion. I'm not sure if companies like Miura or Epon have fully stocked tour vans on site at every event, however I'm pretty sure Kyoei and Fujimoto do not. A tour van is mandatory for most tour players, and imo, it's the reason Mizuno has able to gain market share without huge club contracts. Sure, they make a really good product, but more importantly, if a player snaps a shaft or wants to experiment with more bounce given a certain condition, they're able to accommodate that request immediately.

 

I'd add that even with the trend of good players choosing to forego a contract in order to play the clubs that work for them (lEg P Reed's X Forged 2013), the options you see are still going to be limited based on onsite support.

 

Agreed.

 

As a side note, I highly doubt Epon has tour vans out there.

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JDM clubs have been in the bags of many pros for a long time.. (not opening up that can of worms entirely here though lol) but the list of golfers actually sponsored by these companies is starting to grow. You won’t find the top names playing them for a loooong time however. I’d have to guess that the yearly endorsement deals for the top golfers would leave most JDM companies in the red after operating costs, and the list of golfers who play clubs they enjoy and choose not to be paid to play is even smaller.

 

I guess I have been thinking this backwards. To me, improved performance would lead to better scores and more income. I've been playing a few different JDM brands for about 6 mos. and the feel is an improvement over US clubs I've used, in over 55 years. And maybe these guys are so good, it doesn't matter to them. It feels like they play whoever pays them the most? Also very impressed with their wedges and putters. Maybe some of them are illegal for the PGA?

 

Some stuff isn’t conforming, but a lot is.

 

I think you’re correct in saying that they’re good enough to play whatever they want, so they play who pays most. If you’re able to play equally as well with one club in comparison to another and comes down to 7 figure yearly payouts vs a club that feels better, I’d say option A is the chosen route.

 

That’s the chosen route a lot of times, even when they don’t hit one clubs as well as another Cough **Rory** Cough, Cough. Lol

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