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|The triangular shape of the Power Play Caiman X2 driver allows the face to be extra hot. (Courtesy of Hireko Golf)|
Drivers these days come in a number of unconventional shapes, from square to lopsided to triangular. Hierko Golf's Power Play Caiman X2 driver ($110, assembled) is one of the latter: At address, it looks a bit like you're about to hit the ball with a large, black wedge of cheese.
Fittingly enough, there is some serious cheese on the ball when you connect with the Caiman X2. The 200gr total weight and the aerodynamic clubhead combine to boost clubhead speed and, consequently, ball speed.
The unconventional shape allowed Hireko Golf's techies to thin out the crown and clubface and move weight low and deep in the sole. The same technology is also used in the Caiman X2 fairway woods, which sport the same sleek, black, geometric design.
I took a 10.5-degree Caiman X2 driver and matching 15-degree 3-wood ($55) out to my home course to see how they stood up to my regular driver and 3-wood.
From the first tee, I knew I had a powerful couple of weapons in my bag. The first hole is a 408-yard par 4, and after a drive that I cut just a bit across without even taking a practice swing, I found my ball just 130-yards from the green a foot off the right edge of the fairway.
Several holes later, my playing partner hit a solid drive on a par 5, and I hit the Caiman X2 3-wood a little fat. Despite the poor contact, my ball up just a couple yards short of his.
All day, the ball shot off the face of the Caiman X2 driver so fast that I had trouble finding it in the air -- a couple of times, we both lost sight of my ball until we saw it bounding down the fairway (or, often, through the rough). I cannot recall a past round in which I hit every single tee shot in the sweet spot of the clubface, and every time, it felt silky smooth.
This is a powerful head design, for both the driver and the fairway woods. The unconventional profile may get some comments from your playing partners (said mine on the first tee, "That looks weird!"), but really, once drivers hit 460cc, I think quaint notions of "traditional" woods went out the window.
The one knock on the Power Play Caiman X2 is the shaft: I found the stock Power Play Adrenaline S-flex shaft to be noticeably more flexible than my normal driver's S-flex shaft.
My playing partner, who plays an R-flex shaft, hit the Caiman X2 well when he tried it out, despite low-heel contact ("A good drive that felt terrible"), but he noticed the surprising whip-like feel to the shaft. Suddenly the number of pull-hooks I'd hit throughout the round made sense. For right-handed golfers, overly stiff shafts usually result in misses to the right, and overly flexible shafts in misses to the left.
The lesson learned is to take full advantage of Hireko Golf's full-service customization, which lets you choose from dozens of shafts and over a hundred different grips and lengths, on top of the three available lofts and face angles.
If you know your own specs, you can get outfitted for an entire set from Hireko Golf for less than you might spend on one big-name driver -- unconventional power at an unconventional price.
For more information, visit www.hirekogolf.com.
April 18, 2012
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.
Cleveland Golf recently introduced the RTX-3 wedges, continuing a tradition that includes more than 350 worldwide professional tournament wins. Kiel Christianson has been testing the clubs on his home course.
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