View large image | More photos
|The crown of Hireko Golf's Acer XDS Insider line promotes visualization of the ideal inside-out swing path. (Courtesy of Hireko Golf)|
April. The birds are chirping, the trees are budding, and golfers in northern climes are itching -- itching to get back onto the golf course. These golfers -- golfers like me -- have spent the past several months misremembering how wonderful their old swings were. Or they've rebuilt their swings in their heads while shoveling snow.
The critical aspect of most of these imagined and idealized swings? A pro-style, inside-out path that imparts a controlled draw that ends up splitting the fairway.
For these golfers, who dream of ending their over-the-top, casting-out ways, Hireko Golf offers the Acer XDS Insider driver, thriver, and fairway woods.
There are dozens of nontraditional driver designs these days, all aimed at helping the chronic over-the-top slicer develop a more inside-out swing plane. Some of these have clubfaces that are so radically closed that golfers often open their stances or their alignment so much that they negate the advantage provided by the club.
Hireko Golf's Acer XDS Insider driver ($100 assembled) features an asymmetrical crown and clubhead that promote an inside-out visual path (sort of like how you imagined it shoveling snow). More importantly, though, this clubhead design serves to hide the closed clubface, so you feel like you're just setting up normally, not compensating for the shape of the golf club.
The Acer XDS Insider driver comes in 10 and 12.5 degrees of loft, and measures 460cc. For golfers who would like a bit more loft, the 14-degree Insider Thriver ($100 assembled) is also 460cc, and thanks to the higher loft, provides even more forgiveness. And the Insider fairway woods come in 3-, 5-, and 7-wood models ($50 each, assembled).
I took a nearly full complement of Insider clubs -- driver (10.5 degrees), Thriver, and 3-wood (all with Hireko Golf's own Death Stick shafts) -- out to Lake of the Woods Golf Course in Mahomet, Ill. and headed straight to the first tee.
Who needs to warm up after five months of not swinging a club?
I admit, it is completely unfair to test a club under these circumstances. But out came the XDS Insider driver. Despite the inside-out reminders provided by the Insider, my first swing of the season was an ugly outside-in hack that contacted the ball on the heel of the club. The result was a heel-slice that started down the left tree line, and sliced back into the left side of the fairway, never getting more than five feet off the ground. The ball hit the turf and kept running until it came to rest about a foot from the 150-yard marker, smack-dab in the center of the fairway of the 408-yard par 4.
A bit later in the round, on the 500-yard par-5 sixth hole, I took out the XDS Insider Thriver to see if I could carry a drive (thrive?) down the hill far enough to try for an eagle. A clearly better inside-out swing produced a slight pull to the left side of the fairway, 175 yards from the green. (To make a long story short, I missed my first eagle putt of the year.)
If you're dreaming of the ideal inside-out swing, Hireko Golf's Acer XDS Insider line is worth a look. The price is right and the performance is solid.
For golfers prone to pulls or hooks, the Insider might not be the best bet, though. After warming up a few holes, I found my tendency to get too laid off at the top and come too far from the inside to be exacerbated by the Insider's design. For the vast majority of golfers who struggle with a slice, however, the Insider line is a great value-priced alternative to the asymmetrical drivers of many of the big-name companies.
For more information, visit www.hirekogolf.com.
May 5, 2010
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Illinois. Read his golf blog here.
Putters have evolved tremendously in the past couple of decades, especially with respect to visuals: larger, strategically weighted heads with multiple alignment aids are now common. Cleveland Golf has taken alignment aids to a new level -- a brilliantly simple yet effective new level. The Smart Square Putter combines parallel and perpendicular lines for alignment with a firmer copolymer insert to create a remarkably effective mallet.
... full article »