- Products: Drivers, Fairway woods
- Type: Custom Components & Assembled
- Budget: High-end
The Ryoma D-1 series of drivers has emerged as the longest and easiest to hit driver in Japan
Ryoma Golf and its D-1 driver has been the talk of Japan over the last year or so. The D-1 has been featured in many top magazines in Japan as a pure distance driver supposedly longer than any other driver out there. With claims of 10-20y distance increases for the average golfer, the Ryoma D-1 is made to change the face of drivers.
Ryoma D-1 Maxima
Ryoma Golf introduces its all new D-1 MAXIMA driver for the 2013 season. The Maxima is the successor to the original D-1 driver which has been TSG’s most popular driver for 2 years straight. The Maxima improves on the D-1 in many design aspects as well as with overall performance and distance.
Reduction in Back spin & managed Launch
The key improvements in the new Maxima include a new spin control unit at the front of the head to help reduce back spin and manage launch. Also the Maxima now has a new spring body and a multibeam variable forged cup face which has a sweet spot 1.5 times the size of the original D-1! The Maxima is more stream lined and produces better feel and sound. The Maxima improves launch and carry and run all equaling more distance than the D-1. More details on the design of the new Maxima head as well as performance examples are below.
What’s the difference between Type D, G & V?
The Maxima like the D-1 is available as head only and shafted and in three different models, the Type D, G and V. Unlike the D-1 where the Premia had a different face material, the D G and V all have the same material this time around. The design of each head is EXACTLY the same. According to Ryoma, the feel and forgiveness and distance should be identical however as complete stock clubs, the differences are in shafts, finished length and face angles and head finish.
Type D: Mirror Chrome, Crystal Black Crown – 9.5* 0.5* Closed, 10.5 11.5* 1.0* Closed
Type G: Gold IP, Crystal Black Crown – 9.5* 0.5* Closed, 10.5 11.5* 1.0* Closed
Type V: Black IP, Crystal Black Crown – All lofts feature square face angles
All three models are priced differently due to the different finishes. For basic reference, the Type D is the all around perfomer and suits probably the widest range of average golfers. The Type G is the long driver model at 46.5″ and is the priciest of the 3 models thanks to a more premium high modulus stock shaft and the gold IP finish. The Type V comes with the heaviest and stiffest stock shafts and a square face angle for the better player and athlete golfer.
The Maxima drivers can be purchased with stock Tour AD shafts, as heads only with weights varying from 189g to 200/201g or custom made with any shaft.
Lofts available and stock shaft flexes available with those lofts;
Type D: 9.5 (6 Stiff, 5 Stiff) 10.5 (5 Stiff, SR, R) 11.5 (R, R2) 45.25″
Type G: 9.5 (S) 105 (SR, R) 11.5 (R2) 46.5″
Type V: 8.5 9.5 (65S, 55SR) 10.5 (65S, 55SR, 55R) – 8.5* is a special order with stock shaft
Designed for Big Carry AND Big Run
While creating the Maxima, Ryoma decided to create some basic points as a premise for its design. The Maxima would not only produce big carry or not only produce big run, but an optimal amount of both for maximum driving distance. Every player is different and distance will vary for every player so the Maxima works to improve every golfers game by minimizing left and right ball movement as well as eliminating ballooning of shots by reducing back spin and side spin. Noting that many drivers today reach too high an apex in their ball flight causing the ball to drop rapidly with too much back spin and no run, Ryoma focused on optimal spin for carry and a trajectory apex which would allow a powerful descent angle resulting in great run. Ryoma also understood that with different specs and different shafts, the proportion of carry and run will of course be different with every player but this could be overlooked by making a head that simply produces as much initial ball speeds as possible for every individual player.
So Ryoma focused on designing a head that would provide as much optimal performance no matter what the shaft and player type. This certainly sounds impossible as we very well know that there is no such thing as a single club that matches every type of player and swing. But the truth is TSG has never seen any other driver work for such a wide range of golfers like the way the original D-1 did. The bottom line was and is, that Ryoma’s matching rate is higher than any other driver we have ever sold at TSG.
One of the reasons for Ryoma’s success is its ability to eliminate mistakes. Sure the measure of a great driver is how far it can hit the ball and the Ryoma D-1 and now the Ryoma Maxima hit it as long if not longer than any driver out there. But the measure of a LEGENDARY driver is one that not only hits it further than everyone else, but one that makes you a better golfer. Golf is about consistency and reducing mistakes. Some of us make more mistakes than others (nobody not even pros are perfect) and no matter what our playing level is, we strive for more consistency equaling better scores and more enjoyment of the difficult game of golf. What good is a driver if it hits it super long but can’t stay straight, or if you miss that sweet spot it drops 50% in distance. You don’t necessarily want the driver that hits it super long but right into the woods or left into the lake. You want it super long and in the fairway and still super long when you are not striking the ball well or are missing the sweet spot. This is where the original D-1 excelled and now has been improved upon by the new Maxima.
Ryoma D-1 Maxima VS the Original D-1
So what makes the Maxima special and how has it changed from the original D-1? Lets take a look at some of its technologies followed by some comparisons with the original D-1.
We have the return of the MONOCOQUE body with the new Maxima with some slight tweaks over the original D-1. For those of you who need a refresher, Monocoque is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object’s exterior to creates a high strength unibody or frame. This technique is also used in aircraft design. More than 90% of the D-1’s body walls are only 0.35mm thick which by industry standards is pretty much nearly half the thickness of most drivers on the market today. As far as we at TSG know there is still no driver in golf that features walls all around the driver body that are this thin. There has been a lot of discussion on body design and whether a driver body should be rigid or more flexible. Ryoma decided to design the Maxima body with more elasticity especially in the crown and sole sections which they respectively call the spring crown and spring sole. Once again they use what they call DSI or Deep Strong Impact which features a huge 60g power booster weight at the back of the head but this time balanced with a 12g weight at the leading edge of the face which they call a low spin control unit.
When the golf ball strikes the face of the Maxima, the inertial energy from the impact is repelled by the inertial energy from the power booster causing both the spring crown and spring sole to flex. This creates what Ryoma calls the worlds thinnest Spring Body driver head which in turn creates more trampoline effect not only from the face of the driver but the entire head as in compresses and then shoots the ball out with increased initial ball speeds even on off center hits. You can see this illustrated in the image above.
There is also a graph that shows the spring head in action. Its hard to edit and convert into English like I have done with most of the graphics here so I will simply explain it. The X axis shows time in seconds (fractions of a second) and the duration during impact of the ball on the face. The red plot is the the energy spring action of the spring crown and the blue plot is the energy spring action of the spring sole. The red arrows spanning left to right is the impact time of the ball on the face of the Maxima. You can see that after the ball impacts the face, the red and blue plots being to rise indicating the compressing of the spring body and the increase in energy. At just under 5/10,000th of a second the spring crown and sole peak and release shooting the ball off the face. The purple shaded area is the spring back affect of the head as the plots on the graph drop down indicating the head de-compressing and releasing back to its original shape and actually beyond its original shape even after the ball has left the face.
The spring body actually absorbs the energy from the ball allowing to “stick” to the face during impact longer than other drivers. What this allows is for more energy to be transferred back to the ball and then that trampoline effect. Ryoma measures this Impact Time by using a super high speed camera capable of capturing a whopping 250,000 frames per second! The chart above shows the Maxima’s impact time to be 5.4/10,000th of a second versus 3 other unnamed drivers. I can only assume since the Maxima is conforming that this number is close or right at the maximum CT or Characteristic Time used by the USGA to measure the amount of time a golf ball stays in contact with the driver face (CT as I have explained before is a component of COR). Higher CT means that the face is more elastic and has more of that trampoline effect. Also in the image above you can see how the same ball compresses more on the Ryoma and the thermal images showing more energy transferred back into the all thanks to the longer time it hangs on the face.
Another one of the changes in the Maxima from the original D-1 besides the new spin control unit, and spring body is the use of a newly designed variable thickness face. The design of the face features a thicker elliptical center braced by ribs or arms extending vertically and horizontally. The thickness and length of these bars extend uniformly in an attempt to duplicate maximum rebound not only in the center of the face but all around it. The actually rigidity of the face also varies and Ryoma provides the range of its face stiffness in gigapascals which is the measurement for measuring the stiffness of any material. I don’t know any other brand that provides the GPa numbers for their driver faces but I thought it was cool to know on the low end of the Maxima face measures Y’M 100GPa and the high end Y’M 138GPa. The new Ti face is hot forged as a cup allowing for those arms to bend evenly and repel the energy back into the monocoque spring body. By creating an even flex through the face, there is less twisting on off center hits keeping ball speeds as high as possible. Thanks to the Power Booster, spring body, and new face, the Maxima has a sweet spot almost 1.5 times the area of the previous D-1 model! In the image above they measured how much of the face area could still produce at least 1.4 smash factor and in comparison with another “latest” driver on the market, the area of the Maxima that was able to provide at least 1.4 smash factor was almost 3 times more than the unnamed driver!
So how do these features translate into performance? Ryoma has put together some data and a visual on how this larger sweet area translates into less distance lost on off center hits. The image above is pretty self explanatory. It shows the Maxima once again compared to another unamed (top brand name) driver using a robot swing tester striking the face at different points.
Ryoma as always tested their new driver with pros and amateurs alike through out Japan before launching the driver. The data above is pretty self explanatory and shows that players see gains using the Maxima no matter what player level they are or what swing speed they have. Increased initial ball speeds, quite a bit less back spin, a huge decrease in side spin all equal not only more distance but also a much tighter shot patter due to straighter all around ball flight. The Maxima even shows an improvement thanks to all its new design features over the original D-1.
Compared to the original D-1, the Maxima on the left looks to have a bigger face. Its not a lot larger but it looks a lot larger due to the difference in shape. While it is not quite as high as the D-1 it is still on the deep side but it appears to be a little longer heel to toe which widens that sweet spot.
Again the Maxima on the left, the shape is a tad different and longer front to back. With the power booster weight in the back this makes the CG even longer than before. In fact Ryoma boasts that it is in fact the longest CG distance in golf. This long CG length also equals a huge gravity angle which means the head rotates square very quickly to promote a straight to draw ball by helping to square up the head at impact. For the general audience, this type of design is probably a good thing as it reduces slicing which in turn increases overall distance. While a huge gravity angle is not for everyone – say strong aggressive players who hook the ball, getting the right shaft can certainly minimize this though it probably only affected a very small number of people.
From the side view, you not only see the more aerodynamic shape of the Maxima but you also see that the neck/hosel length has changed. I believe this has a big impact on the performance of the head and I’m surprised Ryoma does not really mention it. With the longer and higher hosel of the original D-1, the tip of the shaft is further away from the sole of the driver. This actually softens up shafts and makes the tip more flexible. By making the neck on the Maxima shorter, it reduces the distance of the tip of the shaft from the sole, increasing stability, control and reducing spin caused by a tip too soft. This is a welcome change for players who fear the left side.
When Ryoma announced they were going to release a successor to the D-1, we all wondered how on earth the D-1 could be improved on. Well Ryoma did just that with the Maxima which improves on the original D-1 in every single way and most importantly in overall performance. Could this be the hottest driver of 2013? Very likely. If you own a original D-1 should you get the Maxima? If you want more distance and even more forgiveness it would be silly not to at least consider it.
Ryoma Original D-1
Ryoma’s D-1 driver utilizes a concept and design dubbed as DSI or Deep and Strong Impact. DSI is created by using the deepest, lowest CG to create the hugest sweet spot. The concept is not uncommon but Ryoma takes it a step further by creating a CG point deeper and lower than any other driver in golf.
Performance is achieved by manufacturing the D-1 as a monocoque structure made from their own proprietary high strength forged titanium. Monocoque construction is a technique that supports structural load by using an object’s exterior to create a high strength unibody or frame, similar to what is used in aircraft design. More than 90% of the D-1′s body walls are only 0.35mm which is about half the thickness of many drivers on the market today.
The ultra thin walls are very light allowing for a huge 60g weighted system at the rear of the head which they call a power booster. Many drivers today use weights, 5g, 10g or so, but Ryoma uses a whopping 60g which is why the CG is pulled back so low and deep in the head. This energy booster is linked to the walls frames and designed to repel and transfer the ball’s energy on impact. This coupled with the premium forged cup face (thicker sweet spot area surrounded by thinner face walls) creates the ultimate slingshot effect.
The Ryoma driver is easily one of Japan’s best selling drivers even though it is also one of the most costly.
This in itself is evidence of the Ryoma’s proweress as players of all levels have seen increased distance gains, more fairways hit and lower scores thanks to the longest and easiest driver in golf. They also offer a D-1 Fairway wood using a similar monocoque body and power booster weight which pushes COR to 0.83 which is unheard of in a fairway wood which has a much smaller head vs a driver.
The D-1 driver is broken up into 3 models:
Ryoma D-1- Conforming Forged monocoque body and Titanium TDW face.
Champagne Gold IP Finish and Black Metallic Crown. Standard 45.25″ length
9.5* (0* Face), 10.5* (0.5* Closed), 11.5* (1.0* Closed), HT13* (1.5* Closed)
Shaft mid kicking Tour AD FS-1 ranging from 44-66g and 3.0-5.0* of torque depending on flex
Ryoma D-1 Premia – Conforming Forged monocoque body and Titanium TDX face.
GOLD IP Finish, Crystal Brown/Black Crown. Standard 46.5″ length
8.5*(0* Face), 9.5* (0* Face), 10.5* (0.5* Closed), 11.5* (1.0* Closed)
Shaft mid kicking Tour AD Premia ranging from 42-48g and 3.9-4.8* of torque depending on flex
HEAD ONLY 188-200g
Ryoma D-1 V-Spec – Conforming Forged monocoque body and Titanium TDW face.
Black IP Finish, Black Metallic Crown, Standard 45.25″ length
8.5*(0.5* Open), 9.5* (0.5* Open), 10.5* (0* Face)
Shaft mid kicking Tour AD V-SPEC ranging from 54-66g and 3.0-4.2* of torque depending on flex
HEAD ONLY 188-200g
Ryoma D-1 F Fairway Wood
Ryoma Golf a premier woods manufacturer in Japan and creator of the Ryoma D-1 series of drivers introduces their all new Ryoma D-1 F Fairway Woods! The Ryoma drivers may very well be the longest drivers in golf boasting the largest sweetspot and most backweight of any driver ever made. The Fairway Woods look to replicate the drivers performance and become the premium distance FW on the market.
The Ryoma F Fairway Woods are broken into two types, the F2 13*, F3 15* and F5 18* are all made of premium forged titanium and feature a monocoque body with ultra thin walls like the driver. The F7 21* and F9 24* feature a stainless steel body and maraging face. The new Ryoma fairway wood heads border on the larger side at 220cc for the F2 to 140cc for the F9. All of the D-1 F heads as they are called have square face angles.
Hot Face Fairway Woods
The F2, F3 and F5 models all fall right below 0.83 COR. Like the driver Ryoma is able to fit a 60g Power Booster weight on the back of all the FW models. Not only that but they also add an additional 60g weight on the front sole called the Spin Control Unit. Considering the 13* weighs 209g, and uses 120g worth of weights, it means the 0.4mm walled body is a mere 89g in weight! Ryoma then plasma welds on their premium forged TDW face for maximum ball speeds and feel. The F7 and f9 shorter woods have a similar design except use a maraging face and stainless steel body.
Low Spin, Powerful Trajectory
Thanks to the 60g backweight, the sweet spot of the Ryoma fairway woods is huge. So huge that Ryoma claims there is very little difference in direction and distance on off center hits vs shots off the center of the club. In order to counter the huge weight in the back which in a smaller fairway wood head would push the CG too far back and low, Ryoma uses that Spin Control Unit mentioned earlier, another 60g right below the leading edge of the head. Ryoma says this weight drastically reduces spin and creates a strong and powerful trajectory that will not lose out to the wind. Ryoma has designed the new fariway woods to rival any other FW in golf when it comes to distance and feel.
Ryoma has designed the CG Point of their fairway woods to match the ball exactly at impact whereas on some deeper fairway woods the CG point on the face is in fact higher than the point of impact. Ryoma’s design features maximizing distance through perfect impact in turn maximizing energy transfer through its power booster.
This Hi-Cor Fairway Wood is USGA Conforming
Another key point of the Ryoma FW is that its COR is right below the USGA allowed 0.83. Considering how much smaller a fairway wood face is than a driver face makes this number quite staggering as many fairway woods on the market feature COR of around 0.70 to 0.75. Ryoma believes their FW will create more ball speed than any other FW in golf.