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REVIEW: Honma XP-1 Driver

This Club is About Honma Performance
When you hear the brand Honma, what comes to mind?  $20,000 driver, $40,000 irons, Japanese extravagance brand, vanity clubs, or something along those lines?  Honma is changing the script on their brand.  While those expensive clubs are still part of the brand, they really are all about performance.  They have always taken a holistic approach to making golf clubs and now that methodology is going to be coming to the largest segment of the golf population, the mid to high handicap golfer.  The new Honma XP-1 line is crafted to benefit the golfer that regularly hits a slice, but doesn’t want to buy cheap clubs, or industrial looking sticks, but wants beauty and performance in a well designed club.  The XP-1 driver is all about Honma performance.
I had the privilege of being part of the Honma XP-1 launch event and opening of the Honma House in Carlsbad, CA.  While it was a great opportunity to see their new space, meet Honma execs and play some golf, the real benefit was to learn about what makes Honma tick and why this new line is so special.  Honma starts every wood with just that “wood”.  They get Mississippi persimmon and start hand shaping the club to get the look just right.  Then they take it to CAD to design the internal weighting, carbon crown, titanium and final look of the product.  While that extra step of carving wood might seem unnecessary, Honma believes it is what makes their clubs stand out above the rest.  I will say it is hard to argue with the beauty of this club.
As I said earlier, Honma takes a holistic approach to the club, meaning they also design and manufacture the ideal shaft for the head.  They don’t have to rely on a shaft manufacturer to supply a shaft that hopefully will work like they want in the head, they make their own in house so that they can control every performance aspect of this club.  The Vizard shaft is way better than I expected.  I learned this from my last Honma review and it was enforced again with the XP-1 driver.  They offer a 43 and 63 gram Vizard shaft in multiple stiffnesses.  I was really impressed by the 43 gram.  While it didn’t give me ideal numbers, it could certainly hold up just fine to my strong transition and 105 mph swing speed.
The other technologies in the Honma XP-1 driver are super light carbon crown, dual slot technology, spine align hosel adjustment, and slice fighting internal weight.  Basically this club is designed to be the easiest hitting and most forgiving driver with a strong draw bias.  On the range, on the course and on the launch monitor; it did exactly what it is billed to do.  I hit this drive long with just about every swing and 9 times out of 10 it was on the left side of the fairway.  The very forgiving face is almost entirely hot, you really need to get to the upper corners to lose significant speed numbers.  If you hit shots low on the face, they are helped by the dual slot tech.  The internal weighting helps the ball go right to left on most hits.  If you fight the slice, this club will help.  The super light carbon crown helps them move weight where they want it. The Vizard shaft is spine aligned with the adjustable hosel, which means they have a special adjustment tool so you can loosen up the screw and adjust a cog to change loft, lie and face angle without losing the spine of the club.

Flightscope Xi Tour Launch Monitor

Honma XP-1 Driver
Spin: 2188 rpms
Launch Angle: 15.1*
Dispersion: 7.2 yds
Club Head Speed: 105.6 mph
Ball Speed: 157.1 mph
Total Distance:  286.3 yds
Carry Distance:  272.2 yds

I am really impressed by this driver, it is long, sounds amazing, looks fantastic and keeps the ball away from the right side.  While I don’t need that much shot shape correction, I was able to adjust and play this driver very well in my bag.  Just because you fight a slice, doesn’t mean you can’t have a well designed, good looking club.  Honma’s holistic approach is validated by head and shaft working so perfectly together to create Honma performance.

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Quick Hits:
+Great looks
+Excellent feel
+Draw bias
+Very forgiving
+Holistic shaft design
+Adjustable hosel to maintain shaft spine

–Too draw bias for some

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