By Kiel Christianson,
HiPPO Golf is the largest European-based golf club manufacturer. This may come as a surprise to those of us in the U.S. because, quite frankly, HiPPO is not a brand one hears much about in the States. Nevertheless, the likes of Ian Woosnam, John Daly and Alex Cejka have all played and won tournaments with HiPPO clubs.
This spring, HiPPO introduced the follow-up to its well-received Hex2 driver, the Hex TX ($200).
Unlike many sequels, the Hex TX is superior to the original in every way, from looks to sound to feel to performance. In fact, the Hex TX is very likely the best driver on the market from a company you've never heard of - and it'll hold its own with drivers from all the big-name companies, too.
When our test model of the Hex TX arrived, we noticed immediately that the namesake hexagonal head had been dressed up a bit from the original Hex2 model, with blood-red paint detailing on the sole and black-and-red checkerboard patterning on the lead and trailing edges of the carbon-fiber crown. Two tungsten plugs were also added to the back corners of the titanium V-slot sole, the design of which is also new.
Our model also came with an upgraded shaft, the Grafalloy Prolaunch Platinum, which added $50 to the price over the stock shaft.
The company claims that the hexagonal head shape and the V-slot sole promote clubhead speed. This may be true, but the big difference, in my opinion, is the responsiveness and feel of this new version of the Hex.
The Hex2 lacked forgiveness on off-center hits despite a definitive difference in feel between center and off-center contact, and was difficult to control when trying to shape shots. The Hex TX, on the other hand, offers considerably more forgiveness and playability, not to mention good tactile feedback to let you know how (and where) you've struck the ball.
Best of all, the prodigious length of the Hex2 has, if anything, been increased in the Hex TX. Of drivers tested this year, the two that stand out for their combinations of length and control are the Sumo2 5900, and the Hex TX, with the latter $100 or more less expensive.
The only knocks against the Hex TX are cosmetic. The flashy paint job tends to chip easily. Some of the edges on the sole are rather sharp. And it's not clear how well sealed the tungsten plugs are. (At one point, it sounded as if some water had gotten inside the clubhead and rattled around for a while until finally drying up or leaking back out.)
There is no doubt that HiPPO has finally developed a 460cc driver that can compete on every level with the big boys. The Hex TX represents a major improvement from the company's first 400cc+ driver.
Golfers looking for huge drives at a lower price-point than available from most of the big-name companies should check out the Hex TX. Although there is still "a lot going on" with this driver in terms of looks - which may produce raised eyebrows from your more staid playing partners - it performs right up there with the cream of the 2008 crop.
And frankly, in this day and age, if your driver (to say nothing of your putter) doesn't look like something out of a sci-fi comic book, you're just not keeping up with the times.
For more information, visit www.hippo-golf.com.
August 8, 2008
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management.