Review: Royal Collection JP-104 Hybrid

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 cavity technology.  In 2011, Royal Collection decided to enter the US market again as itself.  Sonartec fans will be excited by this news. 
The J-104 hybrid is their newest incarnation of the their hybrid with the patented driving cavity.  It keeps many of the traditional features from some of those early hybrids.  A tall face, a square shape and a relatively flat sole.  It is paired with a 70gram made for Fubuki.  It comes topped with a nice RC headcover and tour velvet grip.

On the course I found an opportunity very early on to hit it out of the rough on a long par 5.  I was expecting to just advance it down the fairway setting up a short iron.  It just took off.  I couldn’t believe how it just exploded out of the rough on a solid trajectory and went and went.  I only had a partial wedge left.  It was some 30 yards longer than expected.  I typically play a 20* hybrid, while this one is a 19*.  But I didn’t expect 1* to make much of a difference, especially with the made for Fubuki.  But a few holes later I was able to hit it off the tee on a long par 3.  I bombed it over the green.  I kept finding this thing approaching the length of my 3-wood.  So I hit another one and throttled it back a little.  This time it landed right in the middle of the green.

Over the next 4 rounds I kept finding the same results.  This thing is long.  It is the longest hybrid I have ever hit.  But the length was controllable.  I still hit it very straight and could step on it for long bombs or choke down to cut off a few yards.

I was surprised that the lightweight Fubuki worked so well in a hybrid.  I tend to like a heavier shaft, something more steel like, but this thing just worked.  The typical Fubuki kick was retained and launch angle seemed to be toned down a little.  It is was far more stable than expected.

 I’m still figuring out the best way to have this club in my bag.  It was so long, I almost don’t need the JP-104 3-wood.  Yet the versatility of a club playing such a variety lengths by just a simple adjustment makes this quite the club.

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 hybrid from Royal Collection.  If you need a few more yards out of your hybrid, this is the one for you.  You won’t lose any of the playability or escapability that is essential to a hybrid.  

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Quick Hits

–Maybe too Long
–Finding one