Review: Royal Collection JP-104 3-wood

Welcome back to the USA!
Royal Collection has been around for many years overseas.  About 7 years ago it made a splash in the US market under the name Sonartec.  Its popularity was based in many ways on the British Open win by Todd Hamilton.  Their hybrid became a very popular club and soon their other woods had a cult following.  For a number of reasons, Sonartec wasn’t able to sustain that momentum and eventually went out of business in the US.  Royal Collection on the other hand remained popular because of the driving channel technology.  In 2011, Royal Collection decided to enter the US market again as itself.  Sonartec fans will be excited by this news.  I know I am since I’ve had the Sonartec GS Tour in my bag now for some time and just absolutely love it.  While performance wise it doesn’t really need to be replaced, aesthetically speaking, it has seen better days.

 The Royal Collection JP-104 is the newest version of their patented driving cavity 3-wood.  It has a number of their other typical features. The mirrored sole, stainless steel face, different painted made for shaft, and excellent performance.  The nice RC head cover and tour velvet grip make it everything you would want from Royal Collection.

 The head shape of the JP-104 is different than the GS Tour.  It is wider heel to toe and shorter front to back.  The JP-104 is a more oval shaped, while the GS tour was more circular.  The face height seems to be about the same, which I would say is on the thinner side.  The driving cavity is also a little shallower.  The hot face feels similar, but the sound is a touch higher pitched.  The stock shaft is a made for Fubuki at 65grams.

 I was very excited to get this club to the course to see if it was the heir apparent to the GS Tour.  I happened get the opportunity on the second hole at the course I was playing.  It was a reachable par 5.  I found myself in the middle of the fairway ready to go for it in two.  I line it up and swing away, the ball just explodes off the face and hit a screaming 3-wood that finds the back of the green.  It was a lower launch than expected, but it just went.  A few holes later I hit it off the tee, and again, very similar results, low, long shot.  Over the next 3 rounds I found that it didn’t hit as high as my GS Tour, but it was a little longer.  But due to the 65gram made for Fubuki, it was a little loose dispersion wise.  For me a 60gram shaft in a 3-wood is just too light.  It has great kick, felt good, but I just couldn’t control it well enough.

 Enter the Nunchuk shaft.  I was so impressed by this shaft in my driver; I put one in this three wood.  The transformation was awesome.  The launch angle went up just a little and the dispersion got tightened up.  It now became a mid launch, super straight 3-wood.

 The head is fairly low launching for a 15* head.  I expected the made for RC Fubuki to compensate that, but it didn’t as much as I expected.  It sets-up very nicely behind the ball.  It sets up fairly square.  It is a little interesting that the heel area almost makes it look closed, while the toe area almost looks open.  The paint lines are just a tiny deceptive, while the head is square.

 While not a new company, they are new again to the US market so give them some time before you see them in every golf store.  Sonartec fans can rejoice that the driving cavity is back.  The JP-104 is a great new 3-wood from Royal Collection.

For more information:

Quick Hits
+Low Launching
+Driving Cavity

–Limited Market
–Lightweight Made for Fubuki