This is a Honma story in mid 2000 when Beres brand came out with a carpenter steel face. (from Honma website Japan)
Honma Golf has traditionally been a Forged Iron company. They believed that players primarily sought after feel in the irons.
In the mid-2000, Japan iron market saw many Stainless steel face irons getting popular for its distance. Thin steel face produced extra ball speed which gave more distance to the average golfers.
Honma was a little behind in the game. When new popular irons had a thickness of 2.5mm, Honma’s face thickness was still at 3mm.
Craftsmen and engineers felt that it was time to get out of “irons = forged” mentality and explore the new distance design and technology to win the iron distance battle.
Their goal was to produce face thickness less than 2.5mm industry standard at the time. Initial samples of face with stainless steel were made with 1.9mm, 2mm, 2.2mm, 2.4mm thickness. After 2000 hits of robotic testing, the standard stainless steel showed sign of crack under a microscope. But the engineers were determined to create a face with 1.9mm thickness and they were not about to give up.
“How about carpenter steel?”
They knew of the Carpenter steel material which is much harder than stainless steel. They made samples with 1.8mm, 1.9mm, 2mm, 2.1mm, 2.2mm. After tons of testing, 1.8mm showed good ball speed but dispersion, the 2.0mm showed slower ball speed. 1.9mm was the ideal balance of distance and accuracy.
The thin face enabled less weight in the head to be distributed to the perimeter for more forgiveness and allowed to produce ball speed to win against their competition. They resolved the sound issue by using urethane and rubber material to dampen the sound.
After initial testing as a golf club, the sound, distance and forgiveness was surprisingly pleasing.
This was the introduction of the Beres MG-701 Irons.
Since then Honma has improved on distance and forgiveness of irons and now utilizes Maraging steel on their new Beres IS-03 Irons
The key to the IS-03 irons are Straight and Smart.
fairwaygolfusa.com Honma Beres page: http://goo.gl/80P9oC