Women’s Love ‘em or Hate ‘em Attitude Toward Cosmetics

Hireko Golf Announces February Arrival of 2015 iBella Obsession Collection

A couple of years ago we came out with a new line of ladies golf clubs called the iBella Obsession. These were well…hot pink as well as white – not exactly my cup of coffee, but then again I am not the target market. Over the past few years I have had the pleasure to speak with a lot of women about the color choice our company selected upon for its’ signature ladies-specific line of golf equipment.

2015 iBella Obsession Collection
There was one camp of women who couldn’t be happier with our color choices. For those women we looked like geniuses and I didn’t mind the time to talk over the phone or read their email. And then there was the other camp of women who thought we were baboon butts for thinking that women actually wanted hot lipstick pink on anything, especially a golf club. Believe me, you are not going to win any brownie points for trying to talk or write your way out that argument. So there you have it, we made a ladies line that one, women absolutely loved it or two, they absolutely hated it. There was no middle ground.

2015 Hireko Golf CatalogThe sad part was once you got women (or young ladies) to get over the cosmetics and try the clubs, the feedback was extremely good. After all, the generous lofts and low centers of gravity made the clubs user-friendly to get the ball airborne for those with reduced swing speeds. So we decided to appease those that wouldn’t touch those clubs with a ten foot pole. Instead of coming out with an entirely new line, we added a second color option; the sleek new iBella Obsession Black series. After all, we all know that black goes with everything.

In a year from now we will know if we have satisfied our female clientele or if we create a situation where a third of the customers love the original pink, another third love the new black and then we have only alienated the other third. But by the end of the day we are making progress and for those women who do not like either color choice can always chose our men’s models custom fit with shafts, grips and lengths to suit them.

What Really is a Forged Iron Today: Dynacraft Prophet MB vs CB Iron?

Now that we finally received our first shipment of the Dynacraft Prophet MB and CB irons, it might be the time to explain what ties together (aside from the low toe weighting) these two very distinct irons.

But first, let’s briefly state how these are different. The Dynacraft Prophet MB is what I would call a player’s game improvement iron, while the Prophet CB would be in the super-game improvement category so they are for two different groups of golfer. The Prophet MB is all about feel and aesthetics and the CB is geared for maximum distance / forgiveness. However, both of the irons shaft one common quality – they are forged. Say what?

2015 Dynacraft CB and MB Irons

Forging examples HirekoForged in the traditional sense
This is where the term “forged” can be blurred. Most people that think of a forged iron think of it the way our dad, granddad and great-granddad did. The initial step involved in forging an iron involves taking a solid, tubular billet of soft steel (normal carbon steel), heating it then pressing into the rough shape using a huge mechanical press exerting several tons of force. This allows the rough shape to be stamped out and allows only for a basic shaped plain back or cavity shapes. Through each successive step, it begins to look more like a finished iron. Some forged irons and wedges will have a separate hosel piece that will be welded to the face and turn down with a lathe to ensure consistent diameter and finally the hosel drilled to accept a shaft.

The next steps all involve many hand operations as the faces are stamped or machined flat, stampings pressed in (or engraved) and the weight is reduced by grinding and sanding. Special care needs to be performed to make certain the radius of the sole or the general shape is replicated from one club to the next as all the hand operation can lead to greater inconsistencies than investment casting. Afterwards, the heads go through additional polishing steps to ensure a smooth surface to which chrome, nickel and/or copper are electroplated to the surface to prevent rusting and lastly paint filled. Yes, it is labor-intensive!

Add CNC milling into the mix
The Dynacraft Prophet MB uses a relatively new forging method which now involves CNC milling machines. The raw forgings will start out as a basic shape that possesses a plain, flat back and is left intentionally overweight. The heads are placed face down in a special fixture to hold them securely in place underneath a CNC machine to remove material in an exact manner that is programmed into the computer. This allows for virtually any intricate cavity shape that can be made through investment casting, even an undercut channel that traditional Forged Milling Processforging techniques are incapable of achieving. Depending upon the complexity of the cavity, the milling machine may take 10 to 20 minutes to mill out a single cavity. Therefore the CNC shop will be equipped with 10 or more milling machines and running at multiple shifts to produce any type of quantity. Upon completion, the heads go through the same finishing processes as a traditional forging.

“Forged” face irons
The Dynacraft Prophet CB irons as well as the Dynacraft Driving Irons that came before it utilize a different forging technique. The club will start out as two pieces; a cast body welded to a forged face. The face material is made of a harder and stronger material (in this case 17-4 stainless steel).

The face plate is a flat piece and then subject to the same huge mechanical press exerting several tons of force to compact the material into a thinner dimension. This helps to create a face that springs like a higher COR driver or hollow-body fairway wood or hybrid to promote higher ball speeds. By reducing thickness, it frees up weight that can be utilized better elsewhere. Finally, because it is forged rather than stamped or cast, the face has improved strength even before it is subject to additional heat-treatment.

So there you have it – both of the two new Dynacraft Prophet irons are “forged”, but created differently than your typical forged iron. We elected on the Prophet CB to leave out the forged part out of the name or engraved on the head anywhere to avoid any confusion you or your customers may have. However, if you see

another company label a club as forged, you will have a better understanding of the various forging techniques that are employed by today’s golf equipment manufacturers.


Hireko Announces 2015 Clubhead Retirement List

In with the new out with the old, Hireko announces 2015 retirement list of clubheads

The beginning of the year means new models of heads will be right around the corner. But this also means many of these items you may have relied in the past may be retired to make room for the new gear. So you can plan now for a successful 2015, we want you to be aware of some of the models that have just been recently retired, especially if you have demo clubs set up for your customers to hit.

2015 Retired club heads (click on the links below to shop!)
Acer XF Drivers (left hand only)
Acer XF Draw Drivers (left hand only)
Acer XF Leggera Drivers (both RH and LH)
Acer XF Fairways (LH only)
Acer XF Draw Fairways (LH only)
Acer XF Hybrids (LH only)
Acer XF Draw Hybrids (LH only)
Acer XF Standard Irons (LH only)
Acer XF HT Irons (LH only)
Acer XF Pro Irons (LH only)
Power Play Warp Speed Driver
Power Play Warp Speed Brassie
Power Play Warp Speed Fairways
Power Play Caiman X2 Drivers
Power Play Caiman X2 Raw Power Fairway Wood
Power Play Caiman X2 Fairways
Power Play Caiman X2 Hybrids
Power Play Caiman X2 Tour Irons
Power Play Caiman X2 Raw Power Irons
Power Play System Q Hybrids
Acer i-Sight Santa Barbara Putter
Bionik 501 Putter
Bionik 502 Putter (RH and LH)
iBella Volare Putter
iBella Tiara Putter

While that may sound like a lot of products, we do have a number of exciting new products on the way. We will start talking about those at a later time. Plus some of these products listed we still have a good amount of stock left that can make for great quality products for those on a shoe-string budget or for beginner sets. Also make sure if you have inventory of partial sets, be sure to see if you can get those fill in pieces so you can complete a set.

One other addition I am personally sad to see go is all our QuikFit products as those are being retired too. However, that may give you an opportunity to make up demo clubs to test for items like shafts and lengths rather inexpensively why they are on sale. In lieu of the QuikFit, we will be offering the Club Conex products for all your demo needs.


Coping with Change in the Golf Industry

If my blog this week is short, it is because I was one of the record numbers of people watching my beloved Buckeyes on New Year’s Day and into the wee hours the following morning.

It goes down as the largest watched event in cable TV history. Hey, I guess I’m famous – I am part of history. However there were a number of potential viewers who could not watch the “upset” because they didn’t have access to cable or satellite TV; many of which were older Americans which is truly a shame.JUGGERNAUT_DRAW_DRIVERYou see, bowls like the Rose, Sugar, Orange, etc. were mainstays on network TV until 2011 when they switched over to cable’s ESPN. This was the end of an era to free-loading football loving fans relying on rabbit ears and a rooftop antenna to cure their fix. By now you are wondering how does this relate to the golf industry? Simply things change and we adapt. What used to be readily available and taken for granted can be swiftly taken away as technology changes our way of life. Look at all the small Mom and Pop golf retailers today – they are nearly all gone. Repair shops? They are slowing dwindling away. Yet I reported last year there may be 5 million fewer golfers than there were a decade ago, but there are still 5 million more players than in 1986. So where are all of these golfers buying their goods and services?

If you are a golfer potentially looking for new equipment, where do you go? I bet if you are 40 or older, your first stop would not be the same as it was 10 years ago. Golfers seek the internet for product information, pricing, reviews and yes buying. If you are a custom golf and/or repair shop, your business model must change as you will need to look at different avenues to get your message across and reach potential new clients. The good news is fewer outlets, especially in rural or less populated area means there is opportunity. There will be people in the town 10 miles down the road or in the next county who do not know you exist. Get the message across of what you do and that you are the go-to place for new equipment, repair and retro-fitting of existing equipment.

The reality is there is no way to fit accurately on-line. Players serious about getting better know they have to seek someone or someplace where they can hit balls, watch ball flight and get real information on what type of components or custom specifications can make them a better golfer. New golfers looking for affordable and yet better quality clubs than box sets need to turn to someone who can give them basic fitting advise so they don’t quit the game before they every get started. This should be your New Year’s resolution for clubmaking shops and golfers alike. For clubmaker’s, they need to diversify.   For regular golfers, there is a different and viable avenue to purchase equipment or services that is not your normal retail environment. If football fanatics can change their viewing habits, golfers can surely change their buying habits too.