A forged blade iron cuts both ways. Golfers love and fear it. It as a design link to a golden age of club making; it as a mountaintop of golf skill some long for from afar, believing they will never be “good” enough to hit it. Whether they admit it or not, many golfers want to play forged muscle back blades. And a substantial number of those golfers will disqualify themselves before the wish even reaches their lips.
This fact never sat well with the Miura family. The patriarch and company founder, Katsuhiro Miura, has brought two popular blade models to market in the past seven years — the Tournament Blade in 2006 and the Small Blade in 2007. Mr. Miura understands that it’s natural for more skilled players to be drawn to these clubs. But he insists that more players are able to play these clubs than believe it of themselves.
Another generation, another iron, and the concept evolves: Yoshitaka Miura, elder son of the founder, spearheaded the development of the new MB001 iron, which Miura introduced in late 2013. It is a classic forged muscle back blade, arresting in its beauty, but supreme in its function. The MB001 is what every new golf club should be, of whatever construction: a product of thought, experience, and intelligent reaction.
“The overall design is quite different from the Tournament Blade,” said Yoshitaka Miura when asked why it was time, after six years, to bring out a new Miura blade. “I wanted to make it look a lot more upright, so the player will have a better view of the ball at address.”
That doesn’t mean the lie angle is actually more upright. Instead, the heel-to-toe length (longer than Miura’s Small Blade, but a little shorter than the Tournament Blade) combines with the other design features to create the impression that the whole club is more upright.
It was years of testing, and watching and talking with golfers, that led Yoshitaka-san and his colleagues to these changes.
“The Tournament Blade looks longer; it has a prominent toe,” Yoshitaka-san said. “The new blade doesn’t show that. Toe and heel connect really well with the top line and don’t give you that long feeling you got with the Tournament Blade.”
“Connection” — and performance-targeted design. This is where art and engineering intersect. Same with subtle refinements to the sole of the club.
“The Tournament Blade has what you could call a ‘normal’ bounce,” he said. “On the new blade, we’ve cut the leading edge a bit to get through the turf even easier.”
The maturing of all these changes, through thought, testing, and prototyping, created the need for a new iron — not the calendar. Does that mean no new blades from Miura for, what, six years?
At this suggestion, Yoshitaka-san simply smiles politely
— and is respectfully silent.