Bruno's Blog


Q&A with Miura's Bill Holowaty PDF Print E-mail


By Jason Bruno


Bill Holowaty - Miura Golf


Bill Holowaty has worked for the Miura family for well over a decade now, and most

recently as the Vice President of Product Strategies. He's seen the company grow from

a little known forged iron maker to a cult favorite among it's loyal customers of their

premium forged irons. They've never intended to be the biggest, their only intention

was and still is to be the best . . . and many of the games most respected club builders

and equipment experts agree to their pedigree. Holowaty, a graduate of the University

of British Columbia with a degree in Economics, is not your typical golf company executive

. . . he's affable, articulate, and down to earth. Recently I caught up with Bill while he was

manning the ship at Miura's North American HQ in British Columbia and discussed all things

Miura . . .


Miura's MB001 blade




LinksNation: You've been with Miura for over a decade, How have things changed for

the company from a brand recognition standpoint?


Bill Holowaty: Certainly we've obviously seen a tremendous amount of growth in our

brand awareness. One measure of success that we see and can take some solace in,

but ultimately our customers have really invested in that growth that's something

that we've noticed . . . that's something that's reinforced by the simple act of pulling

up to the bag drop at the golf course and the attendant - instead of asking, what are

these? He comments "oh, you bought Miuras"! That's a really good discovery by our

customers that have discovered our brand, but also for us. One of our monikers is

"Discover Perfection".

Mr.Miura has a saying, translated from Japanese that means - "The good golfer will find

me", it doesn't mean the low handicap golfer will find us, what it really means is - if I

continue to make the best possible irons and deliver the best quality product, golfers

will discover who we are. That's what's happening, and it's a bi-product of continuely

delivering the best quality product to golfers.





LN: We've noticed when a set of Miura irons show up in somebody's bag at the golf

course . . . a group of players will go over just to check them out.


BH: It's difficult because we recognize in this ultra competitive industry, we view our

competition (every manufacturer) - we also see that we have to be careful that we

can't match the resources that the big OEM's have, so we have to be really aware of

where our advertising and marketing dollars are spent. We are very fortunate to have

really great people working with us like Mary Beth Lacy, and then it's the word of golf

writers and sites like yours who have a great following - allowing us get our word out.

Blogs and social media platforms have also allowed us to get our message out, and

we've really noticed a significant increase and positive reaction lately.


LN: Has there been any thoughts of bringing on a tour presence, or to just stay the

course building the brand as you have?


BH: The organic growth that we're having, allows us to be somewhat flexible in terms of

decisions we make in respect to strategies and continuing to grow. The Tour model as it

stands now is not something that allows us to compete on an equal playing field, because

it's a huge investment. Not only in many cases are you forced to endorse a golfer, but

you also have to spend the marketing dollars to tell everyone that you're endorsing that

golfer. It's just not where we are right now . . . with that being said, we've invested alot

of research dollars in seeing if that's a possibility for us at some level. Outside of those

players who have made it a point to seek us out, we've had a little bit of success with

golfers who have discovered Miura and have put into our products into play and have had

victories - like Ryan Moore or K.J Choi.

We've had some Web.com guys we've had success with as well. Our products are out there

for those guys, I can forsee at some point in the future a little bit more of an investment

from our standpoint to access the tours - whether that's the big tour or an LPGA, Symetra,

Web.com or Canadian Tour - we're looking at players like that, but at this point in time

nothing is planned for the remainder of this year.





LN: Jack Nicklaus has been using Miura irons recently, can you tell us about any news of a

collaboration?


BH: It's no secret that Mr.Nicklaus discovered Miura and used our irons at the Father/Son

event late last year, and also he made a Hole n 1 at the Masters Par 3 contest using our

CB57 irons. He has reached out to us, but at this point there is nothing imminent. I think

the fact that he would trust his game to Miura would say so much about our company,

but also about him recognizing that the best forged clubs in the world come out of the

Miura factory.


LN: Among the most serious equipment connoisseurs, Miura is known to be at the pinnacle

of forged irons. What separates what Mr.Miura is able to accomplish as compared to some

of the other highly regarded forgings on the market that are mass produced?


BH: Exactly what you just mentioned, the Miura manufacturing process does not lend its

self to mass production. That comes down to the tolerances that each of our heads attains

through the manufacturing process. When we say we deliver a clubhead at plus or minus

1/2 a gram, that speaks to the integrity of the manufacturing process. By not doing mass

production that allows us through each step of the 14 step process to hit those targets with

respect to the head weight. At the end of the process we are delivering exactly what we said.

Every forged club is in the hands of individuals throughout the process, and essentially getting

a hand made item .

With respect to how it compares to our brethren within the industry, Mr.Miura and the Miura

family have never concerned themselves with that . . .  it speaks to what I said earlier - the

good golfer will find us . . . concentrating on delivering the best product that we can. If they

do that, we hope that ours is the forged club against all others will be measured.





LN: We recently received started testing the CB57 irons, and the feeling you get when you

take them out of the box is a definite Wow moment. As someone who's reviewed many clubs,

that feeling doesn't happen very often.


BH: Everyone in the factory takes great pride in what goes out. Many years ago, when

Mr.Miura was in the process of building the company, he would often be in the finishing

room taping off club heads maybe in pre-sandblast, and doing paintfill . . . at one point

they were getting ready to deliver the irons out of the shop and Mrs.Miura was inspecting

the order and noticed a few imperfections. She picked them up and took them into his

office and said "these aren't good enough, We have to do these again." He tells the story

today, that he learned longtime ago that it was way easier to do it right, then have to face

the wrath of his wife - with respect to what was going out the door. That's what that factory

delivers on a daily basis, as good as they look, the feel and performance match that, and

there's something about a Miura club in the sense that you almost don't want to hit it in

fear of marking up this piece of art, but in essence, it was made to be hit .


LN: The closest analogy I can think of is taking delivery of that new car, and the first time

you put your not so clean shoes on the floor mats, and see the sand on your clean carpet.

You want it stay pristine, but you know with use and time it just isn't possible.


BH: Very true, but the quality of the club maintains its finish . . . The perception that they're

soft and are gonna get dinged up just isn't there. It's something that the longer you have it

the classic look is always gonna be there.


LN: What's the story behind the creation of the CB57 special Limited Edition?


BH: The Miura family is always looking to improve, we don't introduce a new model in

regular cycles like other manufacturers. Standard philosophy of the company is - if they

can improve on something that they have, they'll introduce it. The leading edge and the

bounce, and the ability for that clubhead to get through the turf and create good contact

was going to be paramount not only for good golfers, but for all golfers. The evolution of

that club was 1- to deliver a Miura forging that lived up to it's predecessors, 2- design a

club that always returns to square impact, and 3- to deliver club to ball contact through

the turf, all conditions . . . whether it's lush or hard pan.


A lot of testing went into that, the unique part of the Miura process is - Mr.Miura literally

is listening to the sound of ball to clubface contact when he's testing . . . he's looking for

that thing that you can't get hitting a ball off a mat, you can often see him on the range

(not watching the ball) just listening to what kind of contact we're getting. That was the

evolution of the CB57.


LN: What's next for Miura?


BH: In terms of things coming down the line, being a canadian based company - is to give

our due to the left handed golfers. 33% of new golfers in Canada are left handed, my Dad

was left handed and have lots of friends up here that are left handed. After a decade in the

business, you can just see the demand for left handed clubs just isn't the same . . . and

unfortunately that means that the offerings that we have for left handers doesn't match

those for right handers. It's a simple economic equation, but were going to offer the CB57,

and our MB 001 blade, which is essentially a Y grind with a softer leading edge and sole.

We're also going to introduce a left handed putter along the lines of our 005 & 006. We

retired our small blade putter (KM350) last year, but Mr.Miura is working on a replacement

for that - a throwback putter, but forged out of a single billet of carbon steel that delivers a

feel and performance that we feel is unique. We feel there's a little niche in respect to a putter

that delivers an old school feel. The factory is always working on the next great thing . . . and

we know there's more to come.


Thanks to Bill Holowaty.

 





 



 
Junior Golf Spotlight: Anita Uwadia PDF Print E-mail

By Jason Bruno

 

Q&A with Anita Uwadia


Certainly, there are many talented junior golfers throughout the world today, but

few have traveled the path of Anita Uwadia. Anita grew up in the rural town of Okoko,

Nigeria, where her bus ride to and from school each day was 3 hrs round trip. She

moved to the States three years ago at age 13 to pursue her dream of playing

competitive golf and education in America. Presently she attends the Hilton Head

Prep School and plays golf at the Junior Players Golf Academy (JPGA).


Photo courtesy of Golfers Africa magazine


LinksNation: You came to the U.S a few years ago from Okoko, Nigeria with the dream
to play golf and go to school, what were your first impressions after arriving in America?

Anita Uwadia: My first thought was “Whoa, America is so clean”. Coming from a third world country, trash on the roads was a normal sight. Clean roads were the first things I noticed strangely. Hilton head was different. The first question I asked my mum upon arriving on Hilton Head was “Mum, do people live here?”. I had never seen so many trees in the same place in my life. The trees covered up the houses so I thought my mum was about to abandon me in the woods. Anyway, I thought America was beautiful and I still do. I still cannot believe the amount of trees on the Island though. As a golfer, I noticed the amount of golf courses the Island had. In Nigeria, I played the same course every time because I had no other option. I couldn’t believe how many options I now had. I told my mum “I want to play that one, and that one, and that one, maybe that one… whoa thaaaaat one”. I was an excited 13 years old child.

LN: The Junior Players Golf Academy in Hilton Head is where you're based, what is a normal day for you?

AU: I wake up from 5:30 - 6 am. Get ready for school, take the bus at 6:45. School starts at 7:15. It’s early, but most days I’m excited to start school. School ends at 12:40. The bus leaves to go to the course at 1:15. I normally sleep on the bus. Golf starts at 1:40. I normally practice long game and short game for about an hour and a half, then I go play a couple holes on the course.
On Mondays and Thursdays, we do our own workouts but Tuesdays and Wednesdays, we have a workout instructor who takes us through what we call “boot camp”. I’m always tired after boot camp but I feel stronger. All our workouts are from 5-6. We have it at the office gym. After workouts, I eat the food my houseparent makes or some days, I go to other houses to eat if I like what they are having. I rest from 6:30 - 7:30 then I start my homework. I like to keep up with my school work but some days I’m so tired that I go straight to bed. Normally, I sleep at 11 pm. Then the next day repeats itself.

LN: You're known as the "African Queen" in Junior Golf circles ... can you explain the nickname?

AU: I don’t know where the name came from. I saw it for the first time in an article I read about me after the US Girls’ Junior tournament. I suppose it’s because I’m the first African or Nigerian to play in a USGA event. I’m not sure why I’m called that but I kind of like it.





LN: You've been quite successful lately (in tournament play), what has been your biggest win as a junior golfer?

AU: My most memorable tournament was in Kiawah Island. It was a two days event. After the first day, I was trailing by 3. I shot even (72) and the leader was 3 under par. The next day, I shot 5 under par and ended up winning by 4. The leader shot 2 over par. I was excited because the leader on the first day was Isi Nilsson. We have a good rivalry relationship. I was excited to beat her because she is also a good player. The win gave me a boost of confidence so whenever I’m playing a tournament, I think about the moment in Kiawah.

LN: Who is your swing instructor, and what part of your game are you working on?

AU: My main swing instructor is Clive McCann but I also go to RJ Schebel for help. We are working on a flatter backswing and a better sequence. I work mostly on my short game though because I feel that’s where my main weakness lies. I work with RJ and Clive also in short game. We are working on keeping a smooth swing under pressure since I tend to be fast in tournaments.

LN: You'll be attending the University of South Carolina next year on a golf scholarship, what are your long term goals with both your golf career and studies?

AU: I’m excited to be attending USC in a year. They have a great program and a great coach. I want to be the best player USC will ever sign. I want to come out of college with a degree in business. I want to be an entrepreneur and I also want to do something with Theatre. Maybe be an actress after golf, I’m not sure. My main goal though is to win the most LPGA majors and change Women’s Golf for the better. Not many people watch Women’s Golf and I hope I will be able to change that. I also want to improve golf in Nigeria. I want to give kids the opportunity to play golf. Set up tournaments and maybe build a better golf course that the society as a whole can benefit from. Good courses in Nigeria cost so much money to play but I sure know that mine will not be expensive.

LN: Is there an LPGA Player that you see as a role model and hope to one day emulate?

AU: I love Suzann Pettersen and Lexi Thompson, but I don’t look up to them as role models. I don’t know why I like them but I just do. I always have. I would like to dominate like Annika Sorenstam did but I don’t know much about her so I wouldn’t say I look up to her. Rory is my favorite golfer whether male or female. I love his confidence and his swing.
LN: What is your best memory on the golf course ... favorite course?

AU: My best memory is playing with my dad and his friends. I love how they joke when they hit a bad shot. It reminds me why I started playing golf: I love the feeling of just hitting balls whether good or bad. My dad and his friends are not the best golfers but they sure know how to enjoy themselves. I also love stopping at the little store on the 7th hole (rest hole) at my home course in Nigeria to grab snacks like meat pies and muffins with soda. My favorite course that I’ve played is Kiawah Island Ocean course. The scenery is magnificent. My dream course would be Augusta. The fairways are perfect and I would love to attempt putting on the greens.

 

Special Thanks to Greg Moser for his help in coordinating this Q&A.

 

 

 
« StartPrev12345678910NextEnd »

Page 7 of 27