The fascinating tale behind Koepka's Mizuno ironsAugust 12, 2018 Golf Equipment
The first two majors of 2018 have been won by players without club deals. In this week's Tech Talk equipment editor James Savage talks to the man who designed the Mizuno irons Brooks Koepka chose to win back-to-back US Opens with
Why just focus on one player when there was a good chance he’d sign a deal with someone else?
The product still had him completely in mind. We did it far enough in advance so when the time came for him to come to re-signing – that product was finished.
We knew it was a good look, we knew it was a good-performing club we knew it ticked all the boxes we were going for from a development point if view.
It was a little bit bold to say ‘this is our number one guy, this was the reason we made the club’ but we also knew it was going to have success outside of just him.
We saw when Nike exited the golf club business – the JPX900 Tour really took off for that type of player.
What was the feedback like from Brooks once he finally got them in his hands?
It was funny. Because of his endorsement deal with Nike, and the way they exited the market, we were very much removed from testing and feedback.
He and a bunch of the other players from Nike just went around and picked out the products they wanted from all the other manufactures and had them all built up.
Brooks came to us and requested a set in his specs with these shafts and these grips and we built them for him.
But we were really hands off from that point onwards. We didn’t know what the next step was going to be.
It was much to our delight when he showed up at the California swing last year with them in the bag.
And then we were like ‘we need to go and talk to this guy’.
We went and got feedback and he said they were everything he was looking for in an iron.
We’re seeing more players without club deals having success. What does that mean to you when they choose use your products?
It’s the ultimate validation. It’s a tricky thing for an OEM (original equipment manufacturer) because we can’t use their name in print or on our website and we have to tow the line when it comes to talking about players we aren’t giving any money to.
But at the same time the fact they chose our stuff on their own free will – that’s the ultimate validation.
Interview continues on the next page…