Golf review: Miura Precious Edition

Others hit the ball well.

Rarely do they achieve both. It is rarer, still, when the performance of such a club exceeds aesthetics.

Hence our infatuation with Japanese club maker Katsuhiro Miura's first utility club, the 'Precious Edition'. This two-piece gem combines an elegant appearance with good, old-fashioned, hefty swing appeal.

Among purists, Mr. Miura has an almost mythical reputation for hand-crafted, ultra-high quality forged irons. Generally, his work appeals to better players who pure the ball rather than hack at it. This utility club continues that tradition.

Frankly, other clubs of genre are larger, fly higher, and may better serve higher handicap players who just want to blast straight, long shots. Miura's utility exchanges a measure of forgiveness for more feedback, which often leads to better and more controlled shot making.

Miura makes the heads in lofts of 17, 20, and 23 degrees. The company loaned us an early release of the 20, fitted with a stiff, 85 gram, Tour AD shaft by Graphite Design. When we mounted the club and checked the shaft's spine, the head did not oscillate, which is rare for a club from a factory. Such building takes time, and while it leads to more consistent shots, most manufacturers don't take the time to do it. In practice, Miura prefers marketing and selling to custom club makers.

Miura's test club measured just less than 41 inches from tip to sole. It was heavier than any hybrid we have tried before, with a swing weight of D-5. I like such weighting because it allows a player to sense keep track of a club head from take-away through finish. Grip the Miura, waggle it, and you know you have a quality piece in your hand.

The new utility has no screws, external plugs, or additional weighting. Its hosel accommodates a .350 tip, allowing club makers more options for fitting with stronger shafts.

The club looks slightly closed at address. Initial shots flew a bit low and to the left due to a slight draw bias, but the Miura showed its stuff within half a bucket. Most balls followed a medium trajectory. When we hit down harder, they soared higher in a pleasant, rising arc. By opening the face a small amount, balls held their lines, even against strong, right-to-left crossing winds. Very impressive.

Off a tee, balls carried farther than many 4 and 5-metals. I swing a driver at about 104 mph. That tempo on this club produced ball flights of 210-220 yards, with reasonably soft landings. By choking down, I could easily maintain spin, control, and trajectory to 180 yards. Remember, again, that the this was a demo test club. With fitting and custom building, Miura's 'Precious Edition' could undoubtedly perform even better.

This utility slides well through moderate rough, but can make serious divots from fairways. The 20 degree version seemed somewhat shallow for chipping around greens. The 23 degree would be better.

Miura engineered an addictive, blade-like sound into the club. The metallic red finish looks nice enough to wax. From grip to sole, this club is impeccable.

Summary: Miura's new 'Precious Edition' utility club will best suit better players who swing with feel, and prefer more precision. It is not a cookie-cutter hybrid.

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