A wedge is a wedge is a wedge.
Or so I believed, more or less. It’s true that sand wedges have evolved less over the past half-century than any other golf club. While technology revolutionized most golf equipment, especially the driver, the sand wedge has remained the same old Plain Jane in our golf bags with only assorted minor tweaks, wrinkles and imperceptible improvements.
The biggest exception was in the 1980s when the 60-degree sand wedge arrived. That went from far-out concept then to in-the-bag gamer now even for higher-handicap players.
Sand wedges aren’t generally a sexy golf category. The Miura K-Grind 2.0 sand wedge might dispel that image. Miura clubs, now focusing more heavily on the American market, are handmade in Japan and forged. They’re at the top of the food chain, quality-wise, when compared with mass-produced clubs sold in the U.S. The Miura K-Grind 2.0 sand wedge is, in car-buyer terms, a sweet ride.
“The Miura K-Grind is like going from a Honda Civic to a Mercedes,” said Eric Johnson, a club-fitter extraordinaire at True Spec Golf, a club-fitting company based in Scottsdale, Ariz., that tries to match golfers with clubs, regardless of brand, that best suit their games.
The good news: I’m temporarily driving a Mercedes. Miura sent me a 52-degree sand wedge to demo. Due to Pittsburgh’s inclement weather — also known as springtime elsewhere — I’ve had it in the bag for only two rounds. I have used it heavily in a pair of range sessions at the local golf dome, which is 100 yards across and a handy place to practice indoors.
The bad/good news: I’m hooked and I’m not sure I can afford a Miura habit. The K-Grind wedges sell for $295 apiece. If I actually drove a Mercedes, I wouldn’t blink at that price. But I’m more of a Toyota Camry (with 200,000 miles) kind of guy. So I’m blinking. And blinking.
The problem is, Miura grabbed me with the K-Grind 2.0’s look. The club’s sole features three indentations or “flutes.” For some reason, they make me think of brass knuckles from old Edward G. Robinson gangster movies. Yeah, see, Rocco, I like my clubs to look tough, see.
Jason Rutkoski, Miura’s executive vice president, explained how the flutes allow grass or turf to pass beneath the sole with less resistance: “Think of a pontoon boat. The pontoons disperse water as the boat moves and they stay super stable. When the wedge’s flutes go through grass or turf, they resist twisting and stay square at impact. They work really well out of deep rough.”
The flutes give the club character. I like that. And in my brief experience, they work. I hit a couple of nice shots with the Miura out of sloppy, heavy spring turf, still soggy from winter defrosting plus last year’s record rainfall.
I’m confident that if the Miura K-Grind 2.0 works this well out of absolute mush, it will work even better in plain old dry grass, which I hope to experience sometime this summer.
The Miura K-Grind 2.0 wedge has a softness at contact that I haven’t felt in a long time. I’ve been driving used Camrys or the equivalent, remember? Now I’m definitely driving a Mercedes.
Miura wedges are known for being hand-made, which is part of a 14-step production process. The metal gets stamped four times to remove impurities. In the golf business, that’s not like going the extra mile, that’s like running an extra marathon.
“There’s not a better-feeling wedge out there,” Johnson said. “You can argue that there are a lot of forged wedges out there but none go through this 14-step process like Miura’s. They get stamped four times, no other company can say that. Add milled faces and milled grooves and they add even more control on the shorter shots. Nothing is going to be as soft as a Miura.”
The club’s flutes are unique, an update of a 2011 Miura wedge design, and they’re both grandchildren of a 1957 Miura wedge seldom seen in the U.S. The flutes are functional and good for marketing. The club’s unusual look helps attract customers and that leads to the key moment for Miura—the tryout.
“If there’s an opportunity for golfers to experience this wedge, that’s a huge win for us,” Rutkowski said. “We’re always going to fight, How do you find Miura? This product will do well in a shop. The performance speaks for itself. The feel and the design is unlike anything else out there because it is a single-piece, forged Japanese product.
“I’ve sold this club playing golf with people who can’t get out of a bunker. The way this club skips across the bunker sand, it’s so easy. People I play with try it and hit a shot onto the green and say, ‘Oh, man, this is amazing. I’ve never had this experience out of a bunker.’ They also like the iconic flutes, which have to be hand-ground by a craftsman.”
The wedges come in five lofts from 52 degrees to 60, along with 14 shaft options and 14 grips. Miura clubs are available from select Miura dealers or from its website, MiuraGolf.com.
Miura is making a bigger push to sell clubs for the high-end U.S. market but it is still relatively an unknown name to golf consumers here. So was Honma until Justin Rose, then the No. 1 player in the world, left TaylorMade to play Honma equipment before the start of this year.
“I’d say only one or two players out of ten who come to True Spec know about Miura,” Johnson said. “I was at PXG Golf before and when people came in there to get fit, you knew they already knew the price tag. Miura is a whole different ballgame because players don’t know what they are and don’t know their price point. Our customers who buy Miura clubs do it because of the feel.”
One other plus for Miura in the U.S. may be the logo. At a quick glance, the capital M with a line through it resembles the New York Yankees iconic logo. Or a Maserati logo, if you’re a car aficianado.
So maybe I’m driving a Maserati, not a Mercedes. Either way, it’s an upgrade.
I’ve got bad news for the Miura folks who sent me the wedge. This is going to be a long test drive. Very, very long.