In some ways, Miura irons are the hardcore golfers equivalent of a Bentley or Rolls-Royce parked in the driveway “ a hand-crafted, high-priced, precision-tooled marvel of engineering for discriminating players who are looking for the ultimate experience in golf equipment.
Mine arrived on Tuesday.
With trembling hand, I signed the UPS guys electronic manifest and he handed over my latest cardboard hard-on _ at first glance, just another of those skinny, telltale boxes that make it impossible to conceal ones latest golf indulgence from curious, tongue-clucking members of the household. [photopress:cb_204.jpg,full,alignright] Unlike previous shipments, which given my line of work tend to show up at my door every other week, this one was special _ a bought-and-paid-for gift to myself after an arduous seven-week tour of duty in war-scarred Afghanistan. Only the stylized M logo on the box betrayed any clue to its contents.
Inside, cradled in their own cardboard inserts, lay a gleaming, polished set of forged cavity-back Miura CB-202s _ 4-iron through wedge, plus pitch-black Miura gap and lob wedges, each club custom-built right down to the half-inch-extended Project X 6.5 shafts and midsized Lamkin Torsion Control grips.
Its a reasonably safe bet youve never heard of Miura, a traditional clubmaker with its deepest roots in the samurai sword traditions of Himeji City, Japan, but with a strong Canadian connection _ a North American headquarters located in Vancouver.
Despite having toiled in obscurity for more than four decades, Miura produces irons that the most committed equipment aficionados _ even Bill Holowaty, Miuras vice-president of general operations, knows them as gearheads _ acknowledge as the finest on Earth, lovingly shaped by Katsuhiro Miura, a master craftsman described in his homeland as having the hands of God.
Though the company generally wont discuss it on the record, its a widely acknowledged fact that a significant number of PGA Tour players wield Miura forgings stamped with the name of their sponsors _ most notably an early incarnation of Tiger Woods, whose Titleist irons were Miura blades through and through.
[photopress:blackwedge_1.jpg,full,alignleft] The CB-202s are, as the name implies, cavity-back forgings that provide forgiveness on off-centre hits while still preserving the exceptional degree of feedback and workability of a premium blade.
In other words, you can still move the ball left and right, and mis-hits are more readily identified by the sting in your hands than by where the ball ends up.
To look at, the CB-202s are things of beauty. Nothing looks like a true blade, of course, but the CB-202s remain faithful to the aesthetics preferred by those who like to see a small clubhead behind the ball.
A thin topline and almost flat leading edge also make it easy to see whether the club is square, open or closed at address _ a vital step when actively trying to work the ball.
A solid strike with the 202s is like a religious experience. I like a lot of feedback at impact; I need to know where on the clubface Ive made contact, whether I was steep or shallow, and if Im cutting across it or swinging in-to-out.
The CBs provide all that information and more, but with the added bonus of compensating somewhat for my loosest swings. And when all is right with the world, the 202s touch off Tin Cups tuning fork like no iron Ive ever hit before.
We all know the particular thrill of new clubs. But premium irons, fitted with hand-picked shafts and grips and built to ones particular specifications, provide a rush to the hopelessly gear-addicted thats truly hard to describe.
Miura irons arent cheap, but if you ever get a glimpse of these beauties, brace yourself _ youre going to want a set.
Your search for the perfect set of irons ends when you buy Miura, Holowaty told me during an interview at the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando earlier this year.
Sure, thats what you would expect the guy to say. But in Miuras case, it just might be true.