If you are a player at the highest level and compete when the Condition of Competition is enforced, then you need irons (25º or more) and wedges with the new conforming grooves. Well, look no further as the new Acer XB wedges are equipped with semi-U grooves (not V-grooves) that meet the stricter 2010 groove regulations.
For the remaining 99% of golfers who don’t compete at the highest level of competition, you will equally like this classic blade style wedge series. Let’s start out with the custom ground heel relief D-grind sole which allows for the face to be opened when needed and is good from any lie to produce creative face angle positions for shots like “bump and run” and “the flop” around the green.
But what makes these wedges so special is their versatility. There are as many as 8 different lofts to choose from (depending on the finish) providing a total short-game management system. Many golfers are content with the standard 52, 56 and 60 degree set up, which has been popular for the past several years.
However, take a look in your bag. With so many pitching wedges being manufactured with 46º of loft, it makes more sense to carry 50, 54 and 58 degree lofts instead. This way you have the nice separation in distance without gaps from their game-improvement irons and still cover the majority of shots you will encounter on the course.
We also have the harder, if not impossible to find higher lofted wedges like the 64 and the 68 degree for the high little delicate shots when you need to have the ball land softly.
One of you biggest choices will be which one of the 4 finishes to choose from. The Acer XB Wedges are available in a maintenance-free satin, brilliant high polish, majestic pearl chrome and an elegant non-glare matte black.
As you can see the Acer XB wedges are versatile. From the conforming grooves, the D-grind sole, to the various finish and loft options no other wedge line is so comprehensive.
Are heavier graphite shafts for me?
Lighter means you can automatically swing a club faster, right? Well, not so fast my friend, you might actually swing a heavier club faster. Before I will explain, let’s first breakdown the overall weight of a golf club, which consists of the sum total of the head, shaft and grip weights. You see most driver and iron heads weigh the same from one manufacturer to another and most grips, at least the stock option, will weigh approximately 50g. This leaves us the shaft and why it is important to look at its weight you are using or deciding to purchase as this most often makes a club lighter or heavier.
The most popular driver shafts are in the 65g range, although the industry is trending toward 55g models. If you look hard enough you can even find the super lightweight shafts now tipping the scales at a mere 45g. On the opposite end of the spectrum, 75g and 85g models are designed for stronger golfers in drivers or as options in fairway woods for added control.
Now 10 grams may not sound like much, but it can be felt. Some shafts are offered as family with different weights of shafts to select from. Examples are the Aldila NV and NVS, Grafalloy ProLaunch Blue and the Fujikura E100, 200 and 300 series. Typically the lighter shaft in the family will often be a little more flexible than the heavier kin. Conversely, the heavier weight options will be firmer and typically
provide a little lower trajectory. So the combination of 10g and the difference in stiffness make a difference in the performance the golfer will experience.
After spending several hours monitoring golfers at the local driving range and handing players different clubs, I was able to see the effect of shaft weight first hand. The majority of golfers try to swing too hard in an attempt to achieve more distance. When they do that, often their balance diminishes and the ball flies everywhere except for where the golfer is aiming. Going to a lighter shaft exaggerates the situation. In order to hit the ball straight(er), the player unknowingly throttles back their swing which in turn reduces swing speed and potential distance.
Believe it or not, handing them the same club and flex but with a heavier weight shaft option allowed most players not only to hit the ball straighter, but increased their swing speed too. Now I am not saying to go to heavy weight steel shafts, but if you are plagued with control problems, consider a heavier weight shaft than what you are using.
Don’t give into the marketing hype that lighter will automatically mean you will swing it faster. If you have a nice groove swing, then lighter may be you answer to longer drives. But if your tendency is to be more of a hitter or have a quick tempo, look toward heavier shafts. Every golfer will have an optimum weight and there is no substitute to trying different weight shafts, just like you would the flex.
Other than those listed before, there are heavier weight shafts available by many other manufacturers such as UST, SK Fiber, New Image that are available in multiple flexes and not just ones for the stronger golfers, although we have ones for them too, like the harder to find weight of the SK Fiber Rocket 85.
With steel shafts progressively becoming lighter and lighter, some golfers question the need for heavier weight graphite iron shafts. However, there are some tangible benefits to this classification of shafts. First as steel shafts become lighter, the walls have to be made thinner. These thinner walls will not dampen vibration as well as a heavier weight, thicker walled steel shaft, so the frequency or stiffness needs to be decreased to provide feel. Heavier weight graphite shafts have much thicker walls that do an excellent job of dampening vibration. Plus these shafts can be made just as stiff as standard weight steel shafts.
A few heavier graphite shafts of note for the serious golfer looking to
relieve pain or shock from frequent play and practice are the Aldila NV105, Fujikura Fit-On E380, SK Fiber Tour Trac 100, True Ace Cadence Red and the UST Proforce Rv2 95. The NV105, Fit-On E380 and Proforce Rv2 are tip heavy will provide the same swingweights as standard weight steel shafts, where as the Tour Trac 100 and Cadence Red are counter-balanced and will allow for extended lengths without creating too much of a head heavy feel.
|Aldila NV105 $33.95|
|Fujikura E380 Graphite $64.99|
|SK Fiber Tour Trac 100 Graphite $34.99|
|True Ace Cadence Red $13.95|
|UST Proforce Rv2 95 $24.99|
Monstrous distance is the first thing a golfer will think about when they hear of titanium being used in a golf club. It may not come as any surprise that today’s golfers are hitting the ball farther than before the pre-titanium revolution. However, that is not exactly why titanium was used in the first place. Let’s see how titanium evolved into the use of irons like our newest edition – Acer XK Ti-Ceptional.
Titanium was first used way back in golf clubheads in 1990 when Mizuno created the first titanium driver called the Ti-110. Titanium had been well known for it high strength, yet lighter weight compared to steel but the extremely expensive price tag made this a very limited product to consumers. Driver heads produced from titanium didn’t become popularized until 1995. That is the year when Callaway debuted their Great Big Bertha and TaylorMade followed up with the Titanium Bubble.
These enormous sized heads (at least at that time) were among the first heads to crack the 250cc barrier in volume. Metals woods produced previously were manufactured primarily with 17-4 stainless steel which had its limitations. First, the larger the head the heavier it would be and the walls were as thin as they could be made. You see for the most part all drivers are a fixed weight. If the walls were made any thinner to reduce weight then the head would break or cave in. Manufacturers became obsessed in finding suitable lighter weight materials in which to produce their equipment.
Long before we heard the terms or even understood the concept of coefficient or restitution, spring-like or rebound effect, titanium was used to make clubs with superior perimeter weighting. Simply put, the further the weight could be spread from the center of gravity of the head, there would be less twisting upon impact for straighter and more solid shots.
Titanium drivers quickly became popular and big all of the sudden was the rage in golf clubs and spread to all categories of clubs. In late 1996, Tommy Armour came out with an iron made from 100% titanium called the Ti-100 and it was big. But a big headed titanium iron didn’t make sense, as the taller face height would shift the center of gravity too high and would make it difficult for even the best players in the world to hit the ball off the ground with any success.
At that same time in Japan, Maruman was introducing the idea of titanium faced irons. The use of a secondary lighter material surrounded by a dense stainless steel frame allowed for extra weight to be used to elsewhere to provide better perimeter weighting. Do you see a theme yet?
However, one byproduct was that extra weight could be used to lower the center of gravity. To maintain or normalize the initial trajectory, the lofts soon were reduced. This is what allows titanium face irons to hit the ball further yet still produce the proper trajectory. Titanium faced irons don’t hit the ball further because of the flexing of the face like on large headed drivers, especially the higher lofted the iron became and more oblique the ball collides with the face. The distance comes as a direct relationship to the reduction of loft.
The new Acer XK Ti-Ceptional irons are another excellent example of how titanium is put to best use. We saved 25g of weight by utilizing a titanium face and for clubhead designers that is huge. And for consumers, this means an even huger advantage of hitting straighter, oh and yes, longer shots too.
So if your playing partner says anything about you using your Acer Ti-Ceptional 8-iron where you used to use your 7-iron just smile and say it must be that titanium face flexing. But know in the back of your mind you have the added confidence that you have the advantage of superior perimeter weighting. After all, an iron is designed with accuracy and predictable distances in mind.
Acer XK Ti-Ceptional Iron Assembled Price $35.95
Acer XK Ti-Ceptional Component Clubhead Price $19.95
Have you hit your 7-wood lately?
I speak to a lot of customers on a daily basis, most of which are looking on advice on what clubs they should use. If you fit customers, you should follow my example by listening carefully to what your customer needs because each golfer has certain preferences or like or dislikes based on hitting certain clubs in the past. Therefore I don’t every like to generalize when it comes to fitting and why it is so important that each golfer select the correct set make up based on their strengths.
One of the most common complaints I hear from customers is, “I can’t hit my longer irons (like a 3 and/or 4-iron).” Hey, join the crowd! The first thing you think to ask is whether or not that had tried any of the new hybrids on the market and follow up by asking which ones as well. When they tell me they have tried these new-fangled hybrids and they do hit them better than the iron, then I revert to an option of the past.
Ask them this next question, “Do you hit your 5-wood well?” If they say yes, which is often the case, now is the time to revisit the 7-wood. Oh, the lowly #7-wood. Remember what that was? You must not, because based on sales over the past several years the #7-wood has gradually sold less and less as manufactures and the media have tempted you with the hybrid as an answer to your problems.
Long before there were hybrids, there were high lofted fairway woods. The #7-wood became a good replacement for a 3-iron. The large head and higher loft made this an easy club to hit high and straight. The length is not unlike many #3 hybrids on the market which is manageable to provide solidness of contact and confidence at address.
For many men out there, don’t let your ego get in the way of putting a club in your bag that can increase your chances of improving your score. No matter how much ribbing you may get from your playing partners, the #7-wood is perfectly legal and a viable alternative to a #3-irons and /or hybrid. At Hireko, we have a wide range to choose from. The #9-wood (yes, they make those too) like the Acer XK and the Synchron II make a good alternative to a #4-iron and/or hybrid.
I had foregone the #3-iron many years ago and like many fellow golfers have dabbled with various hybrids to ensure I had a club in my bag for a specific distance. But over all these years I can say that the 7-wood has been a staple in my arsenal and usually that one “go-to” club I could rely on regardless of which model I have used. That is why I have said many times over that I haven’t met a 7-wood I didn’t like.