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|Miura Golf's MG HB3 and HB4 Hybrids offer forged-iron quality combined with the forgiveness of a hybrid. (Courtesy of Miura Golf)|
Over the past few years, Miura Golf has grown exponentially in both name recognition and the variety of its offerings.
Miura, a Japanese company with headquarters in Vancouver, has been producing high-end custom irons for nearly 45 years. Now, the company has branched out into wedges, utility clubs and, most recently, hybrids.
Miura owes its snowballing success to more aggressive North American marketing along with its wider diversity of offerings. Although the company's forged irons have been famous among true aficionados (K.J. Choi plays them on the PGA Tour), we regular players are now more able to benefit from Miura's meticulous craftsmanship, thanks to greater flexibility.
"The days of the 'three-through-pitch' automatic set are over," says Adam Barr, president of Miura Golf. "Players are putting more thought into how they will configure their bags. So hybrids become even more important as supporters of the irons.
"The new MGs are designed with the recognition that hybrids can be used for everything from covering a lot of ground on par 5s to pinpoint shots into greens on long par 4s and par 3s. As the name 'hybrid' truly implies, these clubs play as multipurpose long-game tools golfers can rely on."
Miura's MG Hybrids ($299 graphite shaft, $279 steel shaft) allow golfers of all handicap levels to replace harder-to-hit long irons with ultra-forgiving yet workable hybrids in either 20 (HB3) or 23 degrees (HB4), equivalent to approximately 3- and 4-irons.
During several rounds at Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet, Ill., Railside Golf Club in Gibson City, Ill., Coldwater Golf Links in Ames, Iowa, and The Harvester Golf Club in Rhodes, Iowa, I put the Miura HB4 Hybrid to the test.
The HB4, at 23 degrees of loft, is in between my usual 21-degree and 24-degree hybrids. So I replaced both of them, hoping I would not lose too much distance to the 21-degree hybrid. What I found was that the extreme consistency offered by the Miura HB4 more than made up for at the very most was a few yards difference. In fact, the HB4 averaged about 215 yards, and often stretched out to 230 yards when a wide-open fairway allowed me to rear back and really swing. My 21-degree hybrid averaged 220 yards, with the occasional 230-yard poke, but was also prone to hooks or the odd slice or push. In contrast, the Miura hybrid was extremely forgiving, with weighting that maintained "connection" throughout the swing.
The extreme stability through impact is at least partially due to the Aerotech SteelFiber ss85 graphite shaft that comes standard in the graphite version of the Miura MG Hybrids. This graphite shaft is wrapped with steel fibers, thus combining the consistency and stability of steel with the lighter weight and kick of graphite.
The shaft may also have something to do with the workability of the HB4, which is not something one tends to associate with hybrids. The courses in Iowa, especially, required extreme precision in hitting fairways lined by tall grass (Coldwater Golf Links) and water (The Harvester Golf Club), and the windy conditions required draws and fades to stay on line. The Miura HB4 was the only club in my bag I felt I could trust on some of those holes, both from the tee and from the fairway.
Most golfers have a "go-to" club. Often the go-to club is a wedge or a short iron, though. It's been a long time since my go-to was a long iron. Granted, the Miura HB4 Hybrid isn't a long "iron," but no matter what you call it, it delivers phenomenal distance and workability.
Miura's MG Hybrids might cost as much as a driver, but the flexibility it offers with respect to set composition is invaluable. Any club that I can take from the tee and on the second shot and still reach a long par 5 in regulation (HB4 – HB4 – wedge) is worth putting in the bag as far as I'm concerned.
For more information, visit www.miuragolf.com.
November 7, 2011
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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