I recently had the chance to speak with Adam Barr, President of Miura Golf. We discussed why golfers shouldn’t be afraid of forged, big box golf stores, and what every golfer should know about Miura.
PluggedInGolf: Miura isn’t a household name in golf. What should golfers know about Miura?
Adam Barr: It’s hard to put that on a cocktail napkin, but I’d say that golfer’s should know that the otherworldly feel of forged clubs is available to every golf at every ability level. I think that in making forged irons, we risk scaring people away. One of the most common questions I get is, “I’m a 9 handicap, am I good enough to play your clubs?” I tell them, “Not only are you good enough to play our clubs, you can play any of our clubs.” Golfers should know that they deserve that forged feel and it’s available to them at every ability level. We believe that Miura is high quality, not elitist.
PIG: Part of the reason Miura isn’t as well known as TaylorMade is the decision to only sell through custom club fitters. Tell me about that decision.
AB: We think that custom fitting is part of what we’re selling. We believe that every golfer is entitled to a custom fitting. Miura is sold predominantly through custom fitters, but there are exceptions. We are in a handful of Edwin Watts in the southeast and some Golf Towns in Canada. And even though those stores display built sets, custom fitting is available to any customer in those stores.
PIG: Do you foresee Miura expanding into more big box golf stores?
AB: I have an open mind about it. I can foresee us being in more Edwin Watts or Golf Towns, but even with that I expect we will always be predominantly, like 90%, sold through custom fitters.
PIG: Certainly another part of why Miura is so exclusive is the price. What would you say to someone considering a set of Miura clubs who is wavering because of the price?
AB: I don’t ever shy away from the price question. I don’t apologize for our price, but at the same time I don’t question why some people aren’t able to buy Miura. There’s quite a bit of hand processing that goes into our clubs. Obviously they’re forged by a giant machine, but after that there’s a lot of hand work in every club. And we believe we can demonstrate superior quality and feel. It’s similar to buying a high end car, a fine watch, or a top end radio, like a Bose. It’s a situation where the manufacturer never feels a need to discount the product, but the consumer never feels overcharged.
One thing I would say to those who are on the fence is that there are ways to get into Miura besides an 8-piece iron set. Have you considered 2 wedges or a putter or a driver or hybrid? We believe that putting just one Miura club in your bag will change your experience and enjoyment of the game.
PIG: While some consumers may only know Miura, there are many other Japanese manufacturers in Miura’s price range. What separates Miura from brands like Epon?
AB: Technologically, the biggest thing is how our irons are forged. We forge the iron from heel to toe in one piece, then use a process called Spin Forging to attach the hosel. This keeps the grain uniform which gives you that feel that we’ve talked about. When you forge the whole club in one piece, the grain gets pulled up into the hosel which can disrupt that feel.
(See a video of the forging process HERE)
Additionally, this is a family company. It’s two generations who are dedicated to this business. In a world where no one knows who makes anything, I can introduce you to the person who made your sand wedge. People have a very powerful reaction to that.
PIG: That is powerful. I just got the Miura K wedge (review HERE) and I’d love to meet whoever did the grind. The craftsmanship is unbelievable.
AB: That’s actually what I see Miura-san doing most these days, grinding the scallops on the K wedge.
PIG: Those that know Miura think of forged irons and wedges. What can you tell us about Miura’s hybrids and drivers?
AB: More than anything, what you’re getting with the drivers and hybrids is Miura design. For example, the height of the face of the hybrid is the same as the diameter of the ball. This promotes confidence which is really important when you’re facing a 190-200 yard shot into the green.
The SIT 460 driver is 460ccs, which is helpful to a lot of people, but many golfers don’t like the look of it. Miura used the height of the face to “contract” the size and make it look smaller, so you get the benefits of the 460cc head without any fins or distractions at address.
PIG: There may not be a segment of the golf industry as crowded as the putter market. What does Miura bring to that space that no one else does?
AB: The biggest thing is Miura-san’s knowledge of steel and milling patterns. It’s the feel that hooks players and starts this incredible player-putter romance.
PIG: How were the head shapes selected for your putter line?
AB: Essentially, Miura-san chose these designs because he knows that these are the shapes that people like to look at and they are shapes that can be forged and milled in the best way. He doesn’t believe there’s a need for a lot of complication in putting. Putting is primarily about confidence. That said, there are subtle improvements that he’s made to the designs that you will notice if you look closely.
PIG: What are some things we can look forward to from Miura in the next year or so?
AB: We have at least one new iron, a blade, coming out later this year. We’ll have fairway woods, a 3 and 5, to go with the SIT driver. That will be late this year or early next year. And there is a new cavity back that we’re expecting to release in Spring of 2014.
PIG: What is the most interesting story you have from your time at Miura?
AB: The most revealing story happened pretty early on. I was with Miura-san in Korea working with KJ Choi. We were watching KJ on the range, and Miura-san got behind him and squatted down to watch, then he closed his eyes. I asked his son, “What’s he doing?” “Listening,” he said. Miura-san was listening to the sound of impact to help him know if the club was doing what he wanted it to. I thought that was pretty amazing.