Drivers, for instance. Miura Golf's new, 390cc Precious Edition driver is 70cc's smaller than the legal limit of 460cc's, but discerning players will not miss the extra mass. This club should appeal to purists with visceral swings, and to players who do not follow the crowd. It has the look and feel of persimmon, with a two-piece, deep-faced titanium head, and a perfectly tuned sound.
Designer Katsuhiro Miura made his company's reputation with quality, forged irons. Last year, he introduced a hybrid which we like for its playability. The Precious Edition driver and fairway metals add to that product line.
"We think this driver is more forgiving because it is smaller," says Miura's North American president, Bill Holowaty, who warns against confusing size with efficiency. "A club is forgiving and efficient only if a player can square it at impact, and for that, 390cc is optimal."
Miura's new driver is better suited to game enhancement than game improvement. It is a club for confident players with repeating swings. Mr. Miura reportedly designed the Precious Edition for himself. He is sixty years old, with a 12-16 handicap. The club has a fairly square set-up, allowing draw hitters to swing freely. Players who hit a draw will appreciate this club. Those who live in fear of the duck hook will love it.
I have spent eight months experimenting with a 10 degree head, courtesy of David Butler, who fits, custom-builds, and sells Miura out of Half Moon Bay. We tried more than a dozen shafts, and settled on a stiff, 63 gram, Diamana Blue Board by Mitsubishi Rayon. One swing sealed that set-up.
David and I were curious about the forgiveness of the Miura's smaller head. For comparison, I hit the new club side-by-side against what had been my Sunday driver, a larger, Ti460 Cleveland Launcher with the same shaft, frequency, weighting, and loft. We call that driver 'Old Reliable' because in three years of testing, no other club had beaten it.
Now, the Miura has replaced it in my bag.
I warmed up to my average club head speed (about 105 mph), and measured fifteen equal swings with each driver. The results were very close. In our initial review, we decided that declaring a winner would be a matter of preference. Now, it's a no-brainer. The Miura has a better top ball speed (158 mph vs. 153 mph), and a higher average ball speed, (151 mph vs. 149 mph).
Old Reliable has a more forgiving miss-hit ball speed (145 mph vs. 144 mph).
The Miura averages a better farther carry (246 yards vs. 244 yards).
The Miura flies a hotter, lower, more boring trajectory, has less reverse ball spin (2800 vs. 3200 rpm), lands a shallower angle, and rolls much farther when it lands. I have hit both clubs, side-by-side, into strong winds, and in such conditions, the Miura excels by 10-12 yards. In competition, recently, it exceeded 300 yards, which felt pretty darn good.
I am not alone in liking the Miura. It has become the 'let me try that club again' favorite among solid swingers at the range. Our match play champion at Richmond Country Club, Dr. Peter Allen, tried the club, and absolutely killed the ball. He hits a draw, we should add. "It's much longer than my regular driver," said Peter. "Excellent control. The ball seems to remain on the face just a millisecond longer."
In summary, Miura's new Precious Edition driver is not for beginners, but this leaner, meaner, smaller head performs remarkably well, and handles like a sports car with a big engine. If the fun factor matters to you, this premium driver is well worth a try, a fitting, and a buy.