Take the wrists out
One of the biggest successes in all of golf this year has to go out to SuperStroke Grips. They are makers of those large, non-tapered and colorful putter grips in which it seemed every tournament you watched on TV, someone in the final group was using one of their numerous models. SuperStroke putter grips were so popular in fact there was a shortage over the summer as no one anticipated the demand.
Another form of taking some of the wrist out of the swing is counterweighting. What was once a taboo practice is all of the sudden en vogue. Adding weight to the butt end of the clubs may sound counterintuitive, but in many cases can aid in increasing swing speed and putting the player on a better swing plane / path that will get the ball going to the player’s intended target line. It is not limited to putters, but to all full-swing clubs as well. It is such a simple and inexpensive solution for a golfer struggling with their existing equipment not to mention augmenting or enhancing new equipment. We had an incredible year selling the Tour Lock products and that is bound to continue for many years to come.
Is there a replacement for the steel iron shaft?
We see virtually no steel shafts in drivers, fairway woods and even hybrids today, could irons be next? The answer is probably not anytime soon, but the popularity of graphite iron shafts on tour has for sure raised awareness. The touring professionals are surely not going to put something in their bag that will affect their play adversely, so the idea that graphite can’t be as consistent is no longer a decision factor. Headed by Aerotech’s SteelFiber’s line as well as Aldila and UST’s Recoil, players were not only playing with graphite-shafted irons, but they were winning frequently with them. With the price of steel continuing to rise and better quality graphite iron offering released, the switch to graphite for many is likely a continued trend instead of a fad.
Ban on the anchored putter
What might have been the most controversial topic of the year came amid the success and rapid usage among long putters in the past few years. To make matters worse, most golfers are confused on exactly what was being banned by the USGA announced this past May. Too many golfers feel that the belly and long putters are going by the wayside, but that is not entirely true. What will be banned (starting Jan 1, 2016) will be anchoring the putter to the body – essentially the USGA was redefining the stroke.
Sadly, as soon as the rule became official, sales of all long putters went to a screeching halt. For players like me who rely on the longer flatstick, it just means adapting. A term you might hear more of in the future is near-anchored putter. With counterbalancing, players can find they can get the same benefits of an anchored putter without having to resort to anchoring the club to some part of their body. This type of putter retains the traditional stroke the USGA was trying to uphold.
Color de jour
Is white finally phasing out? It might or at least being replaced with more colorful clubheads, shafts and grip options. However, I wouldn’t be surprised if either matte black or blue is going to be the color for 2014.
Now, ain’t that tacky?
No, we are not talking about lava lamps or the Uncle Si Chia pets. If you picked up some of the newer vibrant colored grips this year, you might have noticed how tacky, sticky or gummy they were (or however you want to describe them). There is a new breed of elastomeric or synthetic rubber grips which are made to feel both soft and secure. Combining form (color) with function (tackiness), golfers will experience a new level of traction they may not have experienced before.
What was new at Hireko?
We continually want to educate our customers and this past year we created numerous how-to videos on You Tube on clubmaking and some repair too as a way to foster the growth of the clubmaking community.
Move on over 2013
What does 2014 have in store for you? Only time will tell, but expect many changes for the positive from your favorite supplier – Hireko Golf. We will continue to provide you even more products for the coming year at the lowest price, plus keep you abreast of the latest trends in components, clubmaking and fitting.
Best wishes and Happy New Year to all…