By Kiel Christianson,
HiPPO Golf, a major player in Europe's golf equipment industry, offers perhaps more overt technology in its clubs than any other company. For the money, you would be hard pressed to find golf clubs that look more high-tech anywhere on the market.
More importantly, the result in terms of quality is usually excellent. In fact, just last year, I called the HiPPO's Hex TX, "the best driver you've never heard of."
As for irons, HiPPO's Hex2 3-2-3 set is equally eye catching. The PW-#3 set is divided into subgroups, each with its own specialized design. The PW-#8 are extreme cavity-backs with wide soles. The #7-#6 are also feature-deep cavities and perimeter weighting, but the cavity backs are filled with a vibration-dampening polymer cap to soften feel and stabilize the head on off-center hits. The #5-#3 are graphite-shafted hybrids, with heel-toe weighted, slightly scooped-out heads, reminiscent of the sci-fi appearance of the Hex TX driver.
Even the grips are sophisticated, with full cords at the top and a softer compound at the bottom. And, amazingly, all this technology is available for $300-$400, less than half of the price of a lot of bigger-name game-improvement sets.
Despite the whiz-bang looks of these irons, I have to admit being put off at first. When I removed them from the box, it was immediately apparent that the shafts of the #8 and #9 had been put into the wrong heads: The #8 was shorter than the #9. One would think that a company so obviously concerned with technology could match the right shafts with the right heads.
Out on the golf course, I found the Hex2 irons to feel very solid and to do precisely what game-improvement irons are supposed to do: They got the ball up in the air in a hurry. The problem was, though, that the ball seemed to balloon off the face of the club, reaching astronomical heights and then falling straight down.
This feature proved great for keeping the ball on hard greens, but it required some getting used to, as the ball flight resulted in about 10 yards less distance for each iron (not the hybrids, however). Perhaps my fast swing speed was to blame, and a slower swing would have resulted in a less extreme ball flight.
One other problem, more related to how these clubs fit me rather than to the design of the clubs themselves, was the pronounced offset throughout the set. I tend to draw the ball, and when I hit a bad shot, it tends to be a hook or pull. Given the offset of the Hex2, it was hard not to pull the ball left on nearly every shot. The clubface trailed my hands just enough to throw off the delicate timing between when my hands began to close and when the face met the ball. And when I did hook one, boy-howdy, did it hook.
For golfers looking to upgrade to the most high-tech, player-improvement irons available without busting their budgets, these should be very seriously considered. The shaft fiasco on my set, however, suggests that buyers should carefully inspect all of the clubs before purchase.
For golfers who tend to hit bad shots to the left or to hit a high ball anyway, they might not be quite the ticket. On the other hand, even golfers of this ilk might consider giving the Hex2 a try, given the extremely affordable price.
For more information, visit www.hippo-golf.com.
March 2, 2009
Any opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of the management. The information in this story was accurate at the time of publication. All contact information, directions and prices should be confirmed directly with the golf course or resort before making reservations and/or travel plans.