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‘On’ again

With its hot new ONOFF club line, Daiwa has emphatically rejoined the American marketplace.

BY MARCELO ARAUJOPublished: May, 2008




Daiwa has manufactured golf clubs for more than 35 years, but many American consumers know the company for its fishing and tackle supplies rather than its golf equipment. After a nearly a decade absence from the U.S. market, Daiwa is back in a big way with two new lines of high-performance clubs featuring  titanium and graphite while boasting high style.

The new ONOFF Red and Plus (Black) drivers each feature a 460cc conforming titanium head designed with a face insert that increases maximum initial velocity of the club face for greater distance.

Red produces a higher trajectory and a slight draw, both of great benefit for golfers of various skill levels. Plus (Black), featuring a square face for players who prefer to work the ball, is more suited for athletic and low-handicap golfers. The newly launched GIII (“G-Three”) model is designed to enhance the performance of golfers with slower, more deliberate swings.

Along with new technology and materials, Daiwa has loaded up the lines with sleek styling, including a striking sole design, as it attempts to appeal to golfers who a seek a sense of individuality and personal style.

We caught up with ONOFF’s executive vice president Keith Kamiya to find out more about the new models and the re-launch of the company brand.

It’s been seven years since Daiwa was last in the U.S. market. What strategies is the company pursuing to re-enter a very competitive industry?

American brands dominate the market and only a few of them can survive on the main stage. There are so many different types of golfers in terms of preferences and physical abilities that we don’t feel the need to be a mass-produced line. Instead, we want to be thought of as a high-end niche brand.

Is the plan to offer clubs for proficient golfers or those of all skill levels and player types, including women, seniors and juniors?

We want to attract golfers of all skill levels, but especially women. Based on our research, we don’t think current women’s golf products in the United States are good enough. We took advantage of graphite technology to design lightweight, easy-to-swing clubs. We believe they are easier for women to hit with — particularly smaller women — than many of the American brands.

How important are professional golfers to your long-term strategy in the United States? Will you aggressively attempt to get touring pros on staff or to play your clubs?
Professionals are very important, but we’re not rushing into endorsement deals. (Champions Tour player) David Ishii is a longtime contract player for us. South Korean golfers Birdie Kim and Shi Hyun Ahn, who are on the LPGA Tour, also use Daiwa clubs.

What is the meaning behind the ONOFF brand?
ONOFF represents the golfer who enjoys playing by managing his golf life, business life and private life. It’s a sophisticated message denoting a particular lifestyle.

Why should golfers consider using Daiwa clubs?
Daiwa has been a quality name in golf for a long time. ONOFF and GIII have been popular brands in Japan, Korea and Southeast Asia since 2000. They have sold very well in the Japanese market where more than 30 golf brands — including many American brands — vie for market share. The average price of a golf club is totally different in the U.S. Asia is very high compared to the American market.

For more information on Daiwa USA and its clubs, call (562) 623-6737 or visit onoff-golf.com.