Tuesday, May 15, 2007

New Equipment

I'm really excited. I've taken a new philosophy into my game recently and it is reflected in my equipment. I have been intrigued by Champion's Tour golfer Dana Quigley and his move to a majority of hybrids in place of his long, middle, and even now, some short irons. Realizing that I can no longer effectively hit my long irons (I had dumped the 3 iron ages ago), I decided to follow suit. I already use a hybrid in place of my 5 wood (a Nickent 3DX DC Utility, 19 degrees) and had put a hybrid in place of my 4 iron to start this season.

Well, I started researching a few weeks ago what Quigley had done. They have a great clip from The Golf Channel of Quigley explaining how he replaced his irons with hybrids. He said it was almost like stealing or cheating. Hey, if pro golfers are doing it, it is time for me to check my ego at the door! I have decided to replace my 4, 5 and 6 irons with hybrids.

After some more research, I found a golf company, Alpha Golf, who made a hybrid that did what I was looking for. If you've never heard of Alpha Golf, you are not alone. However, research revealed that they are very big in the competitive long drive field. Everyone review I read stated that they made quality heads, the same as the "big name companies" like TaylorMade, Callaway, etc.

The Alpha RX hybrid came in the required lofts: 22 degrees, 26 degrees and 30 degrees; almost identical to my TaylorMade 4, 5 and 6 irons. I had them custom built with steel shafts and Golf Pride Tour Velvet grips. With minimal offset (very important for me since I already hit a draw), they look really sweet. They arrived last week and were in my bag for my 14 practice holes on Saturday at Walnut Lane Golf Club.

Here's how they performed first time out:

1st Hole: After losing my tee shot and taking a drop, I went to hit the 5 hybrid from the left rough, caught a tree and caromed to the right rough. With just over 150 yards to the green (my normal 6 iron shot), I hit the 6 hybid. It produced a nice, high draw that landed on the front of the green and rolled to about 6 feet. I made the put for a bogey 5.

2nd Hole: 186 yards to a smallish green that slopes back to front. With the pin on the right, I hit the 4 hybrid, a high draw that landed just off the left of the green, pin high. A mediocre chip and 2 putts for a bogey 4. Not too bad of a start.

5th Hole: 184 yard Par 3 that plays to a slight dogleg left over a ravine. Bad alignment caused me to hit the ball straight right. But the ball flew well off the club.

9th Hole: Two poor tee shots with the 3 Wood left me with about 170 yards and the 5 hybrid in my hands. I turned it over which left me left of the green and virtually no shot.

12th Hole: 317 yard Par 4, dogleg left. Again, the tee shot is over a steep ravine. I hit the 4 hybrid off the tee, caught it a little thin, but ended up with a 9 iron in my hands from the left rough.

I even used the hybrids to chip a few times from around the greens. My overall assessment? I think these clubs will be good for my game. I hit some good shots, some fair shots, and one really bad shot. But overall, once I get my swing more up-and-down as it has been successfully in the past, I think the 4,5 and 6 hybrid will make my overall game a bit better.

I also want to mention that I bought a new putter last October. It is the Odyssey XG #9, the same model used by Phil Mickelson. I feel like I have been rolling the ball tremendously well with putter. It really instills confidence when I'm standing over a putt. I would recommend it to anyone.

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