Check Out New iBella Ladies Line Independent Club Review

“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.”

The following review of the iBella Ladies line was written by Kiel Christianson, Senior Writer for Worldgolf.com.

iBella Bellissima ladies’ clubs by Hireko Golf combine fashion and playability

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.

Well, almost.

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.

How iBella Bellissima clubs play

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.

iBella Bellissima ladies’ clubs: The verdict

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.

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. Read his golf blog here.

Click here for more information on the iBella Ladies line.

Callaway Iron Re-Shaft Tips

Quick Callaway Re-Shaft Tips from Technical Director Jeff Summitt

Since I have had what seems as a rash of inquiries of late on re-shafting Callaway irons, I decided there must be more clubmakers that might not have experienced this repair situation.

One of the most confusing questions to answer is what is the hosel diameter of a Callaway iron, at least the non-Tour models like the X-22 Tour or X-Forged which are 0.355” tapered?  This might sound a little confusing but they are neither a true 0.370” parallel nor 0.355” tapered bore, rather a modified bore.

shaft1If you remove the shaft, you will notice six slits running up the shaft tip.  This is by design as Callaway starts out by using a 0.370” parallel tip shaft.  Callaway’s hosels are slightly tapered so that when the shaft is inserted it pinches in the split shaft and forms a pseudo-mechanical lock.

Aside from trying to split the tip with a thin blade like they had done, there is an easy solution.  You can run a 9.4mm drill bit into the hosel to accept a 0.370” shaft.  One more thing, you will want to tip trim the shaft 1” less than called for (if at all possible). The reason this is necessary is to adjust for the deeper insertion depth caused by the thru bore design.  Failure to do so will make the shaft play stiffer than designed.

ferruleThe Callaway irons will also need special ferrules that are designed to fit the counter-bored hosel.  The Callaway replacement ferrule will not only make the job easier, but provide that professional look.

You will also need plugs for the shaft for the models with the Bore Thru or Modified Bore Thru design. We do offer these but at this time they are non-catalog items. The code is TBP for graphite shafts plugsand TBP1 for steel shafts and these tapered plugs come 25 to a pack ($2.75).  After you have epoxied and hammered the pins in place, epoxy has dried and you have sanded them flush with the bottom of the sole, you can wipe them with acetone to get the nice factory finish.

Hopefully you have a learned a tip or two for that first time or your next time re-shafting a Callaway iron with the thru bore or modified thru bore design.

Buy 9.4mm Drill Bit $5.99 each
Buy Callaway Replacement Ferrrule $3.80 per dozen

Hireko Wants You To Help Design Our Next Driver From The Ground Up! Part 5

Meet the new Acer XDS Driver

If you have been following on our Blog, you probably have wondered what is the status of the “Hireko Wants You to Help Design Our Next Driver from the Ground Up!” campaign.  This just happens to be one of 17 club head projects I am working on.  Some of which have gone as planned and are on schedule, one might be two years out from every making it to the market and one hit huge snags that it was scrapped and we had to start from ground zero again.  I wasn’t a happy camper that day.

Well this project has an official name – Acer XDS.  It will follow a set of matching super game-improvement irons slated to be available this fall. But at this moment we have our shape compiled from your requests.  The shape is much different from the original drawing, but the concept has remained intact; to provide the average golfer more distance and accuracy using some very sound design and fitting principles.

That shape was rendered into a CAD program so we could be very particular to ensure the weight, centers of gravity and MOI were all what we envisioned.

Once the CAD file was tweaked as much as we could tweak it, we had our rapid prototyping machine mill out an exact replica so we could have head in hand and examine it more closely.  So there is where this project stands today.

Over the next 48 hours our staff can make any decisions to change anything, if at all.  Right now the driver is only a bunch of little zeros and ones on a computer and changes are far less time consuming and cheaper than when we start the next phase creating the tooling and actually manufacturing hittable samples.

But we still need your input on a few more items on our laundry list.  One of which is the loft for the Thriver version – a heavier, more lofted 44” control driver.  Which of the following lofts would you like to see?

  • 13º
  • 13.5º
  • 14º
  • 15º
  • 16º

It is your time to speak out now…PLEASE GIVE US YOUR COMMENTS!

“Precious metal at bargain prices” – Caiman Irons Reviewed by Worldgolf.com

the following is a review by Kiel Christianson, Senior Writer for Worldgolf.com

Hireko Golf has been offering components and assembled golf clubs since 1980. Hireko’s quality and affordable prices have built a strong following in Asia and North America.

Over the past several years, Hireko has added well-known brands like Acer and Pal Joey, and recently added the highly-respected Dynacraft line to their stable.

Another one of Hireko Golf’s brand names is Power Play, and the new Power Play Caiman irons offer a passel of game-improvement features for a mere pittance.

How Hireko Golf’s Power Play Caiman irons play
I recently tested the Caimans against my current favorite big-name, mid-handicap irons, the Cleveland CG Gold, on the excellent practice range at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana, Illinois.

The game-improvement features of the Caimans are a bit more pronounced than in the Cleveland sticks, with a thicker top-line and slightly larger offset. However, after the first couple of swings – which produced lovely shots the likes of which I can rarely hit on an actual course – these features completely faded from view.

During the several hours of testing, in which I was trying to eradicate the chronic hook that bedevils my game, I began to hit too strong of a fade with the Cleveland irons. The Caimans, with their anti-slice design features, produced shots with a straight to soft-fade ball-flight without changing my swing at all.

Importantly, the height and distance of shots didn’t change a bit when switching back and forth between iron sets. And if anything, the Caimans were a tad more forgiving on off-center contact.

The verdict on Power Play Caiman irons by Hireko Golf
New irons might be a tough sell in this economy, but the Caimans are worth a serious look as alternatives to higher-priced, higher-profile sets. The clubs can be ordered directly from Hireko’s website already assembled with Apollo shaft and Golf Pride grip for $30 each – that’s 3-PW for under $250.

Read the review on Worldgolf.com here.

Power Play Caiman Irons Assembled Price (comes with Free! Headcover!) $29.95

Power Play Caiman Irons Component Clubhead Price $13.95

The True Length of a Golf Club: Factoring in Blade Length and Toe Show

length_pic1Think you know your toe show?

Avid golfers and professional club fitters love to try different clubs to find that magic combination to help lower the score. Let’s say you have two different #5-irons that you or your customer is evaluating. Both have the exact same length, lie, loft, and shaft, flex (frequency), swingweight, grip and grip size. On paper these two clubs should be identical, correct? But you hit one better than the other and can’t understand why. We wanted to investigate and show you the reason you may not have even considered why these two clubs may not be the same.

You have a ball resting on the ground. You grab your #5-iron and start to address the ball by setting the club head behind the ball. You stand far enough away from the ball that your arms feel comfortable, and then you alter your hand height. Chances are you are using the center of the sandblasted area of the face where the score lines reside as your focal point. At this moment your only intent is to hit the back of the ball with the front of the face toward a target.

length_pic2How Length is Measured
How far we stand behind the ball or how high our hands are positioned is directly related to the length and the lie of the club. Let’s go back and revisit how the length of the club is measured. The method most used involves placing the club in the playing position with the center of the sole touching the ground. Then a 48” ruler is placed along the backside of the club with the correct lie angle with the tip of the ruler touching the ground by the club’s heel. The final length is measured at the edge of the grip cap. This method is used in all cases except putters that the shaft is not located at the heel.

However, what is wrong with this picture? Think for a second what we are attempting to do. We want to hit the back of the ball in the center of the face. The length of the club, as shown, would be fine and dandy if the goal was to hit ball with the bottom of the hosel. On an iron, we have a sandblasted area where the score lines are present. This helps us to frame the ball and it provides us with aiming point. Therefore we have to factor in this additional 1.8” (approx.) in how far we stand from the ball.

length_pic3Blade Length
As previously mentioned, we have two clubs with identical specifications, except for one thing I did not add; one of the clubs has a longer blade length than the other. If you look closely at the diagram on the left, you will see two club head profiles superimposed over one another. The club head outlined in black has the shorter blade length of the two. The one in red is the longer.

The longer the blade length, normally the wider the sandblasted area or score lines area. Thus two clubs with the same length and lie, the focal point (CL) will now be further away from the golfer.

If a professional took the same swing with these two clubs, but blindfolded so they couldn’t make the visual adjustments, they would hit the club with the longer blade length more in the heel of the club relative to the center of the sandblasted score line area. While you might not think this is very much, it could be off slightly over 0.4” using a club with a very long blade length to the very same numbered iron or even hybrid that has a much shorter blade length. That even includes that the length and the lie of the two clubs are exactly the same!

length_pic4How it Affects Impact
The iron on the top pictured to the left is one with an elongated blade length set into a specification gauge. The red vertical is the center of the sandblasted score line area and the circle is representative of the ball.

A hybrid club with the same lie angle is positioned in the specification gauge (as shown below). This hybrid has a shorter blade length. Now look at the same position from above of the red vertical line and outline of the ball. With the same set up, a golfer would consistently hit the ball out near the toe relative to the center of the face (depicted by the blue outline of the ball). Effectively the golfer is hitting the ball with a shorter club even though the assembled length is the same.

Also don’t always assume the center of the sandblasted score line area is the best place to hit the ball because it doesn’t always coincide with the center of gravity (CG). But it is helpful if the manufacturer can provide the proper aiming point at which is optimal to hit the ball. Realize the further away impact occurs relative to the CG, the result will be less distance as well as diminished feel at impact.

Self Check
One way to check to see why you might hit one club better than the other with all things equal is to look at where impact is made on the face of the club. You can use impact decals or just look at where the grass stains or wear pattern occurs on the club face. Let’s say your impact is made toward the heel of the club. Aside from standing further away from the ball, this can be corrected by making the lie of the club more upright. This effectively reduces the distance you stand from the ball and makes your swing plane more upright. The further out the sandblasted score line area effectively flatten out the swing plane will be possibly causing miss-direction.

If you find yourself hitting in the heel, then either try gripping down ¼ – ½” on the grip to see if that might help you more consistently hit the center of the face on. Custom fitting / repair shop may be able to alter your length or adjust the lie properly. So it should come at no surprise to see game-improvement irons that have elongated blade lengths to be more upright than the traditionally shorter blade length player’s irons when you look at the specifications. Don’t assume that if you use a 38” #5-iron with a 61º lie, your next #5-iron needs to be exactly the same length and lie to obtain the same results; it is only a starting point.

length_pic5Toe Show
There is also one more consideration that you may not have even though of and that is called the “toe show”. The toe show is simply the area out on the toe of the face of the club that is devoid of score lines or decorative sandblasting.

This is depicted by the red area in the diagram. If the toe show is reduced, then the center of the sandblasted score line area is position further away from the golfer, the same affect as if the blade length increased. While the blade length of these two clubs are the same, the golfer would likely set up behind the ball differently because of the position the manufacturer located this area.

However it is more commonly that a manufacturer may increase the toe show or effectively shift of the sandblasted score line area to the heel. This can made an iron with a longer blade length appear a little shorter than what it might be or help frame the sandblasted score line area closer to where the center of gravity should be. It is something you cannot be fit for or altered, but you might wonder why on one iron or wedge the toe show might be as little as 0.6” to as much as 0.8”.

I’ll end on this thought, there was one time I was testing a particular iron. No matter how many different shafts I tried it never did quite feel solid. The ball flight would show it as well with the ball more prone to fade pattern. Even after making the lie more upright helped a little, but not like I expected.

Finally it dawned on me to align the ball at address closer to the toe in order to get the solid feel at impact and the ball flying straight. To make a conscious effort to do this each and every time requires practice, something the average golfer doesn’t have the luxury of. You may find that you will have certain preferences when it comes to club head style. I came to the realization that I don’t fare well with clubs with a long blade length without some additional alterations.

If you have been playing a long time with a game improvement set with an elongated blade length to a more traditional iron with a relatively short blade length, you may have to retrain yourself on how far you stand from the ball in order to have the same success. Just remember to watch where the impact marks are on the face of the club.