View large image | More photos
|The iBella Bellissima driver by Hireko Golf delivers a luxury look at a budget-friendly price. (Courtesy of Hirkeo Golf)|
For women taking up golf, iBella Bellissima ladies' clubs by Hireko Golf offer reasonably priced, nice quality clubs - that also come with rhinestones!
Golf is one of a precious few sports where men and women can compete together on even footing.
Thanks to the handicap system and different sets of tee boxes, a single-digit handicap man who drives the ball 300 yards can enjoy a fun and competitive game against a 25-handicap woman who might not hit it more than 180 yards off the tee.
In other words, golf is a sport that welcomes players at any age, any skill level and any gender.
For many beginning players, both men and women, the cost of golf equipment is prohibitive to taking up the game. Poor quality or old equipment that is ill-fit to the golfer is simply no fun at all to play with; while new, good clubs are quite an investment, especially if you're not sure how often or even how long you might play.
And for women golfers, the problem is compounded: Top-notch women's golf clubs are relatively hard to find and are also just about as expensive as men's clubs, while low-cost women's sticks are generally lacking in quality.
Hireko Golf, purveyor of superior yet reasonably priced clubs and club components, seeks to fill the void in women's equipment with its new iBella Bellissima line of ladies' golf clubs.
Right out of the box, the iBella Bellissima clubs catch your eye. The titanium woods feature a PVD gold finish and small rhinestones set into the sole.
The irons also glimmer with rhinestones set into the back of each club. More importantly, though, the lofts of both woods and irons are elevated to assist in getting the ball airborne, and the clubhead shapes and weights are specifically engineered for women golfers.
Not of the female persuasion myself, I still found the iBella Bellissimas to be quite attractive, and they appeared to set up well. It was quite clear, however, that I'd need some feedback from experts.
Enter Beth McCurdy and her daughter, Kaitlyn, who tested out a full set of Bellissima woods and irons for me. Beth is a novice golfer, who only plays once or twice a year in corporate scrambles. Kaitlyn, on the other hand, is a senior in high school and a member of her school's state champion girls' golf team.
Beth absolutely adored the look of the Bellissimas, especially the rhinestones. Input on how the clubs felt was less emphatic, given her lack of experience in the game.
Nevertheless, she felt like she was able to hit the ball farther and straighter than with other clubs she's tried. The rather loud clatter of the driver didn't seem to bother her much. "It makes me feel like I'm hitting it a long way," she said, grinning.
Kaitlyn, who plays Callaway women's clubs and a shortened TaylorMade R9 driver, was also taken with the looks of the Bellissimas. As for performance, she was very pleasantly surprised by the irons.
"I hit them about as well as I do my own clubs," she said.
The woods were a bit of a different story, though. "The driver sounds sort of like I'm hitting the ball with a trash can lid," she said. "It still goes pretty far but not as far as normal."
This final criticism might be taken with a grain of salt, though, as the younger McCurdy, standing just 5-foot-4, regularly blasts her driver close to 270 yards.
For women who are just starting the game, or who are seeking to upgrade from ill-fitting or under-performing clubs, Hireko's iBella Bellissimas are a solid choice.
Perhaps best of all is that you get both rhinestones and performance throughout an entire set for barely more than the cost of some men's drivers: The Bellissima driver costs $100 assembled, fairway woods $50 and irons $33 each.
There could even be a functional use for those glittering pseudo-gems, too: On a bright day, you might be able to temporarily blind your competitor if you hold the club at just the right angle.
Yet another way to even the playing field in this great democratic game of golf.
For more information, vist www.hirekogolf.com.
August 24, 2009
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.
Over the past decade engineers have delivered progressively smaller, lighter, and easier-to-use pushcarts. The newest offering from Sun Mountain, the Reflex cart, has the smallest folded footprint of any cart. It's a dream to push around for 18 holes -- even with a bad back.
... full article »