the following article was from GolfGearReview.com.
Review: Acer XK Pro Series irons, 3-P
Before I start my review of the Acer XK Pro irons, I want to say something about what are commonly known as OEM and CLONE or KNOCK-OFF clubs. I think we all know who the major OEM companies are, and what they sell in the way of golf clubs. What is less clear, is what exactly is a CLONE or KNOCK-OFF club. Some people just assume that if a club is not made by one of the big OEM’s, it’s a cheap CLONE. Or even worse, a cheap COUNTERFEIT, a club made to be sold as the real thing to some un-expecting buyer on E-Bay. The truth is there are a lot of smaller companies selling excellent quality clubs that look a lot like some of the top OEM designs, but that are just as good quality as the top OEM products. Unfortunately, though, there are also some cheap copies out there.
Just because a set of irons LOOK a lot like some other set, doesn’t mean they’re a cheap COPY. I happen to have a TaylorMade Tour Preferred 6 iron in my hand. Looking at this top OEM club, I have to say it LOOKS, very much like a COPY of the Callaway X series iron. Fact is, if this club didn’t have TAYLORMADE stamped into the hosel, I’d never know it wasn’t made by Callaway. The same thing can be said for just about any set of irons. They all LOOK pretty much the same these days. All cavity back irons are pretty much the same as the next set. Small differences to be sure, but the designs are all very close today. Same can be said for all the sets of blades. They may not be the same, but they are all very close in design.
One thing most golfers are not aware of is the fact that MOST golf clubs are made in one of 5 or 6 foundries in China. Not all for sure, but most. So the truth is, that set of top of the line OEM irons you like, may very well be made in the exact same factory as some of the lesser known Clone clubs you’ve heard bad things about. Fact is, IF you know which clubs are made by a respectable company, you can get a very good product from the lesser known company, and save a good bit of money. The same goes for buying COMPONENT clubs. These are just clubs you can buy as “components” , and you assemble them yourself. Fact is, you can buy some excellent golf club components and build a set of excellent clubs if you know what you’re doing and what to buy. This is exactly what some of the top custom club makers are doing today. They buy top quality club heads and shafts and they build a custom set of clubs one set at a time. HIREKO is one company that sells not only components, but also completed clubs or sets of clubs. You have the option of buying COMPONENTS, or you can buy FINISHED CLUBS. It’s your choice. Now for my review.
The Acer XK Pro Series irons are designed to play similar to the Callaway X-22 irons. The design looks very much like the Callaway product, and plays very much the same as the X-22 irons. Over the years I’ve read and heard quite a bit about Acer golf clubs, but never had a chance to give any of them a good tryout. Then I heard that Hireko was the company that not only sold the Acer line of golf clubs in the U.S., but was also the factory making the clubs in a foundry in China. Hireko is not just a maker of what are known as “Clones”, but they in fact own the foundry and they make their own clubs, not clones, or “Knock-offs”. And while the Acer line of irons may LOOK a lot like some other OEM designs, they are in fact NOT clones, or knock-offs, but actual OEM clubs, made by a very well respected company. While Hireko may not be well known in the U.S., they are well known in the rest of the golfing world, especially Asia.
The Acer line of irons goes back a few years, and some of the first irons were very close copies of the earlier Callaway X-16 irons. With time the design progressed and the new Acer XK irons are the new front runner for the Hireko line of clubs. The XK irons come in the regular XK design, as well as the XK Pro Series, which is intended for the better golfer. The Pro Series have less offset, thinner top lines, and narrower soles, three things the better players tend to like in a set of irons. If you are looking for a little more forgiveness and don’t mind giving up a bit of workability, then the Acer XK irons would be a better option. If you are looking for even more forgiveness, then the XK HT would be a good choice, as it’s designed to hit the ball higher and very straight.
Because I like to be able to hit a draw or fade as required, I decided to go with the XK Pro Series irons over the regular XK set. I wanted to be able to work the ball as needed, and I didn’t think the Pro Series irons would be that much less forgiving. As it turns out, my assumptions were correct. As it turned out, I was able to work the ball right or left without too much effort, and I still get more than enough forgiveness from the irons when I make less than a perfect swing.
I had a choice of shafts for my set, so I decided to go with Dynamic Gold R300 shafts. One reason I selected this shaft is I KNOW what to expect, and I didn’t want to test a set of Acer irons, with a shaft that may not suit me. Since I have a set of irons with the DG shafts, and I like the irons, I figured it would be a good way to eliminate one part of the equation; I’d hate to test a full set of irons, and not like them due to them having a set of shafts that I don’t like. I wanted to be able to test the Acer XK club heads on their own merit, and not have to worry about the shaft not working for me. Last thing I had to do was pick a grip for my set. As it turned out, Hireko was closing out the Royal Quarter Cord grips. This just happens to be my favorite grip of any I’ve tried, so that was pretty easy to decide on.
When my set arrived, the first thing I did was examine each of the clubs, looking at the workmanship, the quality of the heads, and the finished club lengths. Everything was as good as I could hope for with nothing to complain about. The club heads all look like excellent quality. The ferrules are all fine, no gaps between the ferrule and hosel. All of the grips were installed nice and straight, something you don’t always see even from the top OEM clubs.
The best way to test any set of irons in my opinion is to first hit a few buckets of range balls to get used to them. Once I’m used to a set of clubs, it’s much easier to do a fair test of the performance. As I expected, having the same Dynamic Gold shafts in this set was perfect. It didn’t take any time at all to get used to the Acer irons.
Ball flight was nice and high with the short irons, something I like in my irons. Distance was right on the numbers compared to my current set, so that was a bonus. After warming up it was time to try working the ball left and right. Setting up to hit a small fade, I got exactly what I was looking for, a nice 7 to 10 yard fade. Hitting a nice draw was a bit harder, but that’s more me than the irons. I’ve never been as good at hitting a draw as I am hitting a fade, so that was to be expected. I was hitting more like a 5 yard draw, compared to the 7 to 10 yard fade. Overall, I’d have to say I am quite impressed with the workability of these irons.
As most of you know, sets of irons come in a few different skill level groups. Some are designed only for the better golfers, like tour pros and single digit handicap players. Next is the Game Improvement group, designed for the mid handicap golfers. Then there’s the Super Game Improvement group, designed for high handicap golfers and beginners. I’d have to put the Acer XK Pro Series irons in the Game Improvement group, but with enough workability to suit most any single digit handicap golfer and even some tour pros. Distance is very good. Ball flight is nice and high with the short irons, and plenty high enough with even the longest iron in the set.
If you are looking for a good set of quality irons, with good distance, good bit of forgiveness and enough workability for a single digit handicap golfer, the Acer XK Pro Series irons is a good choice. You have two options when buying the Acer irons, you can buy fully assembled irons, or you can buy component parts and build your own set. Either way you can’t go wrong. If you don’t build golf clubs, Hireko will be happy to build you a custom set to meet your needs and desires. You don’t have to buy the standard 3-PW set, like from most OEM brands. You can get only those clubs you want, be it 3-PW, or 6 iron to SW. It’s all up to you. You also have the choice of shafts. Not just steal or graphite, but exactly what model shaft you like best. And to finish off your custom set, you can pick what grip you like, not just the standard old factory grip you get with most OEM brands. Need your irons a little longer or shorter than standard? Again, that’s not a problem, as Hireko can build them to your spec, or you can do it yourself if you buy components. Prices for your set will of course vary, depending on how many irons you get, which shaft you go with, and what grip you order. No matter what your choices, you will be able to get an excellent set of irons for a very good price. Only have $200 to spend? Not a problem. Just figure out which irons you want and start with those. Then you can add more later as you can afford more. Can’t do that with too many top OEM brands I know of.
Bottom line is pretty simple. Whether you build your own set or have Hireko build them for you, you will end up with some excellent irons for a very good price. Irons that should last you for many years and provide you with excellent performance. I can in all honestly, highly recommend the Acer XK Pro Series irons.
For more information about the Acer XK Pro irons or other quality golf equipment, please visit Hireko Golf.
More details on the Acer XK Pro Irons.