2010: A Year in Review

For many not just here but around the globe, 2010 marks the end of a tumultuous year.  After reeling from the economic disaster on Wall Street (sorry Gordon, greed is not good), extreme weather, a massive oil spill, foreclosures galore, political unrest and government leaks, many are probably glad to stick a fork in 2010.

In golf, we have a new number #1 ranked golfer on both the PGA and LPGA tour, but for two entirely different reasons. Some golf club companies (Nickent and Yes!) won’t be around to showcase their wares this coming year after filing for bankruptcy while one major manufacturer is being shopped around. Despite the doom and gloom, Hireko fared well because we kept to our core value by making clubs affordable and yet technology / performance driven.

Get Your Groove On
At the start of the year, there was a hullabaloo about the shape of grooves for the elite or professional golfers and what it would do to the scoring. That confusion eventually trickled down to the average golfer and for the first time, not all golfers would play under the same set of rules.  But as time passed, professional golfers adapted to the modified grooves to the point that we have to ask if this was much ado about nothing.  This was evident by statistics that remain relatively unchanged plus all of the professional golfer’s low rounds of 60 or below which were witnessed more frequently than prior to the groove rule change. As for the average golfer, apathy set in.  Of course if you are a golf club manufacturer that might be a different story by tooling up and putting different quality assurances in place to meet the new groove guidelines that will not make one iota of a difference in the end. (Boy, I think am going to need another Tylenol).

White Out
One trend I thought would be long gone by now was “white”. Now, this is coming from a guy whose favorite color is plaid.  White grips and then white putters were just a start of things to come.  What could have been a gigantic end of the year white sale ended up being a white out and we are not talking about the white stuff blanketing half of the US.  For next year expect more white grips along with white shafts and white heads of all kinds.  I guess white is finally now the new black.


Lighten Up

Another trend that gained in popularity for 2010 that will remain very strong for next year is “light”.  No, not light like the opposite of dark, but the other light referring to reduced weight.  We saw grips introduced that were

Winn Lite Soft Standard $6.69 ea.

very light – as little at 20g (Winn Lite), not to mention even lighter and lighter shafts in both steel and graphite entering the market at a hare’s pace.  We will also see some lighter weight driver heads to complement the “Lighten Up” theme for 2011, which is the quest of overall reduced weight, faster swing speed and ultimately mo’ distance.

Drivers touted as having an overall weight of 300g may not seem like a big deal as it will be possible to see drivers barely tipping the scales in the 270g range with all the components that will become available to clubmakers and consumers alike.  Don’t think the light revolution will be limited to drivers either as you might need an anchor for your golf bag next year so it doesn’t float away.

Gaze into the Crystal Ball
What does 2011 have in store for you?  Well I don’t want to spoil some of the fun, but Hireko is poised to be the industry leader in components.  We will remain fresh with new content to keep customers abreast of the latest trends in components, clubmaking and clubfitting.  We will back it up by offering products to help you along the way become more proficient on the course or in the workshop.  In a year from now we will have to see if any or all of these revelations came true.

So Bye, Bye 2010!  I look forward to seeing what 2011 has in store for all of us. Best wishes and Happy New Year to all.

Twas The Night Before A Hireko Christmas

by Hireko Technical Director Jeff Summitt

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the workshop
Not a single tool would be idle, not even a mop.
The headcovers were placed in a gift box with care,
In hopes that Uncle Nicholas’s new clubs would soon be there.

While his children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Larry rummaged for a ferrule for Uncle Nick’s heads.
With a cup of coffee and ketchup stain on his cap,
He took a sip and carefully removed each head’s bubble wrap.

When all of the sudden there arose such a clatter,
Larry sprang from the workbench to see what was the matter.
Away to the cabinet where he heard the crash,
Tore open the doors and found the ferrule she had stashed.

The two florescent light bulbs in the shop were aglow,
Gave the luster to his clubmaking project below.
When, what to his wondering eyes should appear,
But a large headed driver, eight shiny irons and more Hireko golf gear.

With only hours left before midnight, he had to be quick,
He had to remember all those clubmaking tricks.
More rapid than bogeys at his home course, out they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!

“Now Weigh! now, Sort! now, Measure and Snip!
On, Sanding! On, Epoxy! on, on Ferrule and then Grip!
To the top of the workbench! no detail was too small!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away and install!”

As his clubmaking skills increased with each try,
The clubs meet without an obstacle, and set aside to dry.
So all those clubmaking Webinars he attended gave him a clue,
With a rack full of golf clubs, and his Uncle Nick’s too.

And then, in a twinkling, he took a look at the clock
In no time the fast setting epoxy was hard as a rock.
He drew each head to the belt sander as evident by the sound,
Down came the plastic material until the ferrules were perfectly round.

He was dressed in his shop apron, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were kept clean from the graphite and soot.
A bundle of grips he grabbed from a stack,
That he just received from his Fed Ex driver named Mack.

His eyes-how they twinkled! learned gripping from his cousin Harry!
This part of the project would be the least scary!
Clamped, aligned and tape peeled from the liner, solvent ready to flow.
After he finished, those grips were as white as the snow.

The stub of a grip he held tight in his fists,
He waggled each club with a flick of the wrists.
He tried the putter he made, even though it was a belly,
Then he shook and he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!

He placed labels on the shafts he had safe on a shelf,
And he laughed and wished he made the clubs for himself!
With wink of his eye and a twist of the head,
Soon he knew he had nothing to dread.

He spoke not a word, but continued to finish his work,
And filled the box with shiny new clubs, then turned with a smirk.
And after wrapping the package and signing it while on his knee,
And giving a nod, he placed the package under the tree!

He sprang to his feet, to head off to slumber,
Into his bed, he dropped like lumber.
But he quietly exclaimed, ‘fore he turned off the light
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

New Apollo Colored Steel Shafts Arriving Friday December 17th!

Experience Steel Shafts in a Whole New Spectrum

The ever popular Apollo Stepless Steel shafts are now available in multiple colors to bring life to any golf club.

Graphite shafts come in a cornucopia of colors and helps to bring flavor and life to a club. Steel shafts are, well, typically chrome. So we thought to ourselves, why not make steel shafts colored? Especially in irons, where steel shafts dominate, there is often a drabness as compared to the wow of drivers and fairway woods. Sure, you could put in a graphite shaft, but not every golfer needs graphite or a lighter weight shaft in their irons. The additional weight of steel provides heft to pace out the golfer’s timing and tempo so they can maintain control, especially with golfers who possess higher clubhead speed or a quicker tempo swings. True, you can find heavier and stiffer graphite iron shafts on the market, but no where near the economical price of a steel shaft.

Introducing the all-new Apollo Colored Stepless Steel Series. Based upon our popular Standard Stepless design, but instead of the same boring high-chrome finish, these shafts are coated with a durable finish to provide a stunning appearance. Available in four distinctive colors (Black, Blue, Red and Ivory) in R/S combination flex iron models to match the most popular color schemes in heads and grips today. The Apollo Colored Steel series give golfers (and professional club fitters) just one more option in their arsenal to help lower their score while making a statement about their game.

All shafts available Iron R/S.

Apollo Black Steel Shaft #APMSSBK $5.10 each
Apollo Blue Steel Shaft #APMSSBL $5.10 each
Apollo Red Steel Shaft #APMSSRD $5.10 each
Apollo Ivory Steel Shaft #APMSSIV $5.10 each

Introducing the new Acer XF Irons

It Doesn’t Get Better Than This

The sizzling new Acer XF Irons bring the latest in technology to every type of player.

Available Friday, December 17, 2010!

The Acer XF iron represents our newest generation of game improvement irons to fit the mass majority of golfers today. I am going to boldly state that the Acer XF takes over where the current Acer XK iron left off. You are probably asking why change what was Golf Digest’s 2009 Best Value Iron in 2009? To be honest, my bosses were thinking the same thing.


Well a funny thing happened on the way to the drawing board – the USGA changed the rule about the shape of the groove that you might have heard a thing or two about. The easy thing would have been to retool the Acer XK model with new grooves and some sort of engraving or a different medallion to distinguish the new from the old version (yes, the USGA requires that). Well we just decided to take the more adventurous route and create a better version.

As the name implies, the XF stands for extra forgiving and here is the reason. We were actually able carve out a little more weight and reposition it lower and further back away from the face to make the penalty for miss-hitting the ball a thing of the past. We also did a few things to the appearance to make it more appealing. One was to bevel the topline so it was less chunky looking at address. Plus we made the rear flange a little manlier looking.

What didn’t change though were all the things that made the Acer XK our most popular iron including the versatility or comprehensive line that was able to fit golfers of all skill levels and regardless if they were right or left handed.

This week the standard RH version will be available with the reduced offset Pro and the HT (High Trajectory) models following soon along with maybe a hidden surprise that will come at a later time.

Acer XF Standard Irons

The standard XF is designed to fit the broadest range of golfers with ample offset to help the player square up the face at impact enabling the player to hit both straight and solid shots as well as instill confidence in their game. The non-glare topline has been beveled to provide a less chunky appearance at address.

Acer XF Pro Irons

The XF Pro is a more compact, reduced offset version for players who don’t struggle with pushing or fading the ball, but want some added forgiveness but not so much that can’t work the ball when the shot is called for.

Acer XF HT Irons

Lastly there is a higher launching, wider soled XF HT version with the same amount of offset and extra forgiveness as the standard model.

All models available RH 3-PW, AW, SW

LH in 3-PW, SW

MSRP
$9.95 Per Clubhead

$24.95 Custom Assembled (headcovers not included)

New 2011 Winn Grips In Stock!

Winn Excel Soft

Winn’s original grips remain as popular as ever. Classic grip models actually become tackier in damp or humid conditions. Now available in Soft Midsize Copper.

$5.99 ea.

Winn Excel Soft Midsize Copper

#RW114

$6.99 ea.

Winn Excel Soft Oversize Copper

#RW115

Winn LITE Soft

WinnLite grips translate to lighter club weight which equals faster swingspeed, resulting in increased distance. WinnLite Soft is comprised of V17-Soft material for ultimate comfort, shock absorption and feel.

In deference to our brave men and women in uniform, Winn’s camouflage green/khaki Hero grips combine high performance with a worthy cause. A portion of all Winn Hero grip sales proceeds will go to the Troops First Foundation to recognize, honor, and support our U.S. soldiers who have risked life and limb for this nation.

$6.99 ea.

Winn LITE Soft Undersize

#RW116

$6.99 ea.

Winn LITE Soft Undersize White

#RW117

$7.49 ea.

Winn LITE Soft Hero

#RW118

$7.99 ea.

Winn LITE Soft Midsize Hero

#RW119

$8.49 ea.

Winn LITE Firm Hero

#RW120

Winn Triple Line

The grip’s innovative Triple Line embossing pattern and firm yet comfortable feel

particularly favors players with high swing speeds while offering unmatched response and control for all shotmakers.

A portion of all Winn Hero grip sales proceeds will go to the Troops First Foundation to recognize, honor, and support our U.S. soldiers who have risked life and limb for this nation.

$7.99 ea.

Winn Triple Line Medallist Pistol Putter Hero

#RW121

$6.99 ea.

Winn Triple Line Midsize Pistol Putter Hero

#RW124

$6.99 ea.

Winn Triple Line Pro Pistol Putter Red/White/Blue

#RW126

Winn Excel Medallist Pistol Putter

The grip’s innovative Triple Line embossing pattern and firm yet comfortable feel

particularly favors players with high swing speeds while offering unmatched response and control for all shotmakers. Now available in pink!

$6.99 ea.

Winn Excel Medallist Pistol Putter Black/Pink

#RW122

A portion of sales proceeds from these grips will go toward finding a cure for breast cancer.

Winn Excel Midsize Pistol Putter

Winn’s original grips remain as popular as ever. Classic grip models actually become tackier in damp or humid conditions.

$8.99ea.

Winn Excel Midsize Pistol Putter Red/White/Blue

#RW123

$12.99 ea.

Winn Excel Lite Jumbo Pistol Putter Red/White/Blue

#RW125