Honma XP-1 Driver Review
Honma XP-1 Driver
Teachers’ Comments: A lightweight club perfect that rewards a smooth, easy swing.
If you have heard of Honma golf, it is likely because of their Beres line of clubs, which are made of precious metals, with prices to match. A set of Honma Beres irons right now on Amazon is going for $31,000. I have a feeling that’s due to an astronomical markup, but Honma’s Beres is definitely a premium brand.
I first noticed Honma clubs in the hands of LPGA players at The Volvik Championship in Ann Arbor. The cute mole logo had me pulling out my phone to figure out what company it was.
Honma is a well-known company in Asia, and for many years has been a top selling brand in Japan. It has developed a following for its easy-to-swing clubs, and its integration of its forged club heads and in-house shafts.
In recent years, Honma has begun to make inroads in the United States.
Fortunately for most of us, Honma has a line of T//World clubs that offer the same design philosophies at a much more reasonable price.
I have recently had the opportunity to test one of Honma’s T//World XP-1 drivers. After a club fitting at one of Honma’ Mobile Experience vans, I was outfitted with a 9.5 degree XP-1 with an R-Flex Vizard 43 shaft.
As advertised, the XP-1 is a really good driver for a player (like me) with a swing speed that isn’t what it was twenty years ago. A nice, easy swing with this club produces an impressive amount of distance.
I think the 80% rule really applies with the XP-1. The club feels light, and the shaft whippy. When I swing well within myself, I get a nice medium height draw with (what is for me) a lot of roll. I’ve hit my longest drives of the season with this club.
When I really go after it, on the other hand, I get either a high short slice or a mad hook.
I just have to keep telling myself: rhythm and balance. Let this club do the work.
The most obvious technological feature of the XP-1 is a “double slot” just behind the club face. The design is not two slots, but rather a deep slot, with two tiers.
Honma says the slot is designed to increase velocity across the face, and to maintain ball velocity on off center shots. The slot also is supposed to increase the gear effect for the club.
The gear effect is a counter-intuitive phenomenon in which a ball hit toward the toe will actually start pull back toward the left, while a ball hit on the heel will trend back right. In practice, this means that balls hit off center will be encouraged to pull back to the center line.
In other words, the slot increases accuracy.
A carbon crown on the Honma XP-1 is designed to lower the center of gravity, while increasing responsiveness.
Inside, ribs are placed in five locations. The two ribs in the sole increase face flexion on shots hit low on the face. Three ribs in the crown increase the deflection area, increasing repulson and offering higher trajectory.
Honma refers to these as “5 Fang Technology,” because they say the ribs resemble fangs.
To increase the draw bias on the XP-1, Honma has added 15g of weight to the clubhead’s inside curve. Honma also has increased the center of gravity and face angles.
While the Honma XP-1 does not have interchangeable or sliding weights, it does have some adjustability. The shaft has an interesting system that makes it possible to change the lie, loft and face angle without removing or rotating the shaft. This keeps the shaft spine properly aligned in its factory preset position at six o’clock.
Adjusting the shaft is a little tricky, though. There’s a tool to turn the nut with the notch in it once the torque screw is loosened. I’ve had some trouble shifting the piece around. On my first try, I actually did end up separating the shaft from the head.
It isn’t supposed to work like that.
From address, the XP-1 is an attractive club, with a more traditional pear shape. The curves and black top are easy on the eyes.
If you’re a golfer with a less-than-tour-pro swing speed, and are in the market for a new driver, I believe it is worth your while to think outside the box and consider a Honma along with the usual, more familiar names. Honma has much to recommend it.
The Honma XP-1 Driver review first appeared on GolfBlogger.Com on October 6, 2020.