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|Acer XF irons by Hireko Golf deliver forgiveness at a bargain price. (Courtesy of Hireko Golf)|
In 2009, unheralded Hireko Golf introduced the Acer XK irons, which were named the "best buy" irons of the year by several major golf publications.
The success of the XKs is a tough act to follow, but that hasn't stopped Hireko from trying.
This year, the company unveiled the Acer XF game-improvement irons, which are even more appealing to mid- to high-handicappers looking for distance and forgiveness.
The XFs have a somewhat reduced topline with a brushed, non-reflective finish. These features are intended to instill players with a feeling of control and softness, and even some workability. The progressive offset for the pitching wedge through 3-iron runs from 5 millimeters to 8 millimeters, respectively, to help higher-handicap players keep their hands behind the ball, with time to turn them over on release.
I took the set (pitching wedge through 3-iron) out to the golf course and the driving range to test the forgiveness and workability of the clubs. After having played several rounds with various forged, muscle-back irons, the immediate impression of the XFs was that they felt sort of bulky.
By the same token, however, their mass and offset discouraged me from overswinging; they gave me confidence that a shorter, more controlled swing would still get the ball up in the air and well down the fairway. Ball flight was surprisingly not as high as other game-improvement irons we've recently reviewed here. This was a good thing, as shots were not prone to ballooning up into the air, even when playing against a headwind.
In fact, shot after shot came off the face of these clubs very straight with a mid-high ball flight. Off-center hits lost some distance, but they held their line nicely.
The problem with this, however, was that given my somewhat consistent lack of consistency off the tee, a number of holes in any given round require shots that cannot be played straight, thanks to the trees I often find myself around and behind. About the only time the XFs failed to perform well was on shots where I had to try to hit low punches or higher escapes with hook or fade english on them. It was on shots like these, where workability was needed, that the performance of the XFs was less than ideal.
From the fairways, however, it was a great feeling to take aim at the center of the green and be fairly certain that's where the ball was going to go.
The Acer XF irons retail for less than $25 apiece, custom assembled. For this price, higher-handicap players will not find any better game-improvement irons, with the possible exception of some other set in the Hireko Golf arsenal.
Is it possible to find bigger-name, higher-priced game-improvement irons for four times the price? Certainly. But what non-scratch golfer wants to spend that kind of scratch for irons that have only marginally better feel? Better to save your money on clubs and spend it on lessons.
For more information, visit www.hirekogolf.com.
July 19, 2011
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, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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