When it comes to golf equipment, clubs produced in Japan are still regarded by many as the best of the best. But peel beneath the layer of the larger brands and there are some incredible artisans making hand-finished irons designed for those who favour feel and tradition over distance race technology. Dragon Golf is bringing a selection of these brands to the UK for the very first time.
“Most well-known manufacturers – including the Japanese – now have most of their products manufactured abroad,” explained owner Ash Sudera. “But there are exceptions. A handful of Japanese manufacturers have transferred the traditional knowledge of blacksmithing to the production of golf clubs – as far as possible. The production takes place on the basis of the traditional knowledge and a high level of manual dexterity. This wealth of experience guarantees the quality of these masterly products in the truest sense of the word.
“Dragon Golf is partner of some of these manufacturers. It is our goal to offer these masterful golf clubs a platform in Europe. It is important to tell the history and background of these handicraft businesses as well as to convey Japanese traditions and philosophies. Japanese traditions and philosophies are firmly anchored in Japanese society. They are reflected in the manual manufacturing processes and have a major impact on the cost of our products.”
With grip stock being hard to come by, it’s the perfect time to introduce a new grip brand to the UK market. Cadero are a Japanese manufacturer with a background in tyre production.
The grips feature a multilayer construction that utilises a translucent outer layer which allows Cadero to produce some spectacular looking grips, that won’t fade or stain. Key to the grips feel is a unique pentagon groove design which in partnership with the multi-layer construction helps the grips feel great for a long time and offer tackiness like no other grips on the market.
Another unusual feature of the Cadero grips is the fact that the majority can be installed using just an air compressor and do not need tape. Combined with the wide selection of colours, as well as limited edition models (we like the Mexican sugar skulls) Cadero is a strong option for the fashion forward golfer.
In other models sustainability is a key part of their story. Cadero offer a selection of biodegradable models, with some also using Scallow, a material made from Scallop shells that has antibacterial properties. These more traditional rubber grips will appeal to a broader spectrum of golfers.
A limited range of Cadero grips are available immediately, with the full range in stock in 2022.
While the grips are a key part of Dragon Golf’s offering, it is the hardware brands that are the crown jewels. Looking to build up a small network of custom fitters, Dragon Golf are confident these are the finest golf clubs you will find anywhere on the planet.
Takumi Japan is the own brand of one of the oldest golf club forges in Japan: Kyoei Golf. Kyoei produces forged prototypes and exclusive series for many well-known golf club manufacturers. President Sakamoto-san had the vision to create his own brand: Takumi Japan.
A Takumi is the highest craft title in Japan. Takumi literally means “artisan”. To become a Takumi, outstanding skill and dexterity must be demonstrated in at least 60,000 hours. With an 8-hour day and approximately 230 working days per year, 60,000 hours are more than 32 years. For the production of a Takumi Japan club – mostly made by hand – up to 80 individual process steps are necessary, most of them which can only be carried out by the Takumi.
MTG stands for Mayuki Takai Golf. MTG are most well-known for the Itobori products, with their unique angular look. Ichi-Ittobori is a grinding technique that was previously used on swords. The coarse grinding technique removes a lot of material within a very short time, which means that the base material is heated up less and thus the hardness is not changed much. As a result, the club feels softer at impact. The Itobori technique gives an incomparable appearance and turf interaction.
Team Yoshimura was founded in 1988 by one of the best known and most respected golf club fitters and golf instructors in Japan, Tadayoshi Yoshimura. Yoshimura-san decided more than 30 years ago to design and manufacture his own golf clubs.
Team Yoshimura has hired four professional golfers as club testers and coaches whose findings are used in the Japanese media.
All of these activities form the basis for the development and construction of their own golf clubs in order to address a wide range of players.
CGS Orion was founded in 2015 by Koji Uesugi. Uesugi-san set himself the goal of producing the highest quality and purest golf club heads imaginable.
The clubs are forged in Himeji, home to the best golf club smiths and grinders. Here, experienced craftsmen work with fire and steel to produce the best raw club heads. The clubs then travel to the cold north of Japan. The country’s best polishers come are found around Tsubame, known worldwide for its polishing technology. Many companies have their products refined there – for example Apple’s iPod, western cutlery and optics for satellites.
The unique feature of CGS Orion is the combination of the artisan skills of two prefectures to produce the best golf club heads.
Makino Golf was founded in 1988 as “Makino Sports”. The brand was known for its minimalist, handmade, forged muscle backs that were only available to order.
Makino developed a cult-like status in the community of advanced players and tour professionals, from whom they received great support. In the early 1990s, however, the brand was forgotten.
After 25 years, the brand was reborn in 2017 as Makino Golf. Makino was and is always made from the highest quality materials of Japanese standards (JIS). The design of Makino golf clubs always starts with the face as that is the only part of the club that the player sees when addressing the ball.
Makino invented a unique ice blast process coating which significantly reduces reflections and annoying, shiny glare.
Tohru Yamada-san lives in the city of Yamagata, in the prefecture of the same name, in the north of Honshu, the largest main island in Japan. Yamada-san started making putters in the 1980s. The studied jazz musician has developed and constantly refined all of the craft methods and practices himself and has long been considered an outstanding, some even say, the best putter manufacturer.
Yamada-san is also listed in the Guinness Book of Records. In 2012, the Australian Rhein Gibson shot a 55 at River Oaks Golf Club. He was using a Yamada putter. GR