Recently THP was contacted by Sweet Wood Golf Company, a self proclaimed â€œunder the radar companyâ€ to review their products. Under the radar might not be the first thing that what would come to mind when looking at the company that produces classic looking hickory shafted irons and putters. Outside the box, beyond the norm, or a few other terms to basically describe something that you might not expect and definitely something you do not see every day may seem more appropriate, but before I get too deep into the review letâ€™s take a look at the company.
Sweet Wood Golf Company was founded in 2006 by a group of golfers with a deep love of the history and lifestyle of the game of golf. These golf fanatics wanted to show their passion for golf history by creating a line of modern performing clubs, but incorporating the classic elements of blade heads combined with a hickory shaft. They quest to integrate modern technology with history began.
During my interview with Mr. Kfuri, he confirmed a common misconception of Sweet Wood products; they are built to be more than a novelty piece of golf dÃ©cor. A rather common quote heard by the makers of Sweet Wood Golf clubs are â€œthese clubs are too beautiful to play golf withâ€, but that is their exact purpose. From the companyâ€™s website: â€œWith customized Heads forged in Asia, the best USA turned Hickory Shafts, unsurpassed PGA Tour certified leather grips and traditional stains & whippings these hickory-wood shafted irons will be a true joy to display or to play with for any avid golfer!â€
So far everything sounds just great, but the question that remains to be answered is how do they play? As soon as I received the package including the Exotic Pau-Ferro Putter and a Performance Hickory 4-iron I was immediately taken by the beauty of these clubs, you knew without even being told that these were hand crafted and built with passion. They are so pretty itâ€™s not even funny, but will these beauties pass the test on the course? Letâ€™s see.
First up: the putter. As I was already practicing my putting with my own putter for a while I decided it was time to give this Exotic Pau-Ferro a try. I felt that I had enough of an idea of how the practice green was rolling, so I was ready to go. Upon my initial practice putts I was not immediately crazy with how it looked at address, Iâ€™m a recent convert from years of mallet use to the sleek blade style putter of today. The Pau-Ferro in my opinion was difficult to get used to at first; I just really struggled with the overall size and especially the weight of the club. I was expecting poor feel and a difficult time judging distances; however I was wrong in both of those fronts. It did feel better than I expected and I was able to keep the distance about as close as I normally can with longer putts. However, with a MSRP of $249, I do believe that if a soft buttery feel is what youâ€™re after, youâ€™ll find todayâ€™s milled face putters to be your target. Sweet Wood does offer what is todayâ€™s traditional blade putter with a hickory shaft; however one was not available for my review.
Sweet Wood has irons sets in 3-PW, they also sell a sand wedge and a two way chipper. Sent to THP for review was a 4-iron which is forged in 8620 soft carbon steel, similar to what youâ€™d see in modern blade sets with steel shafts, only of course equipped with the classic hickory shaft. Immediately apparent again was the obvious different look, but not only that the weight and overall feel of the iron was very different than we come to expect from our irons today. I personally would have wished for something in the 7, 8, or 9 iron range for testing, mainly for the fact that short iron blades are much easier to hit than a 4 iron. Hitting the 4 iron was not an easy task, while solidly struck shots did tend to go the same distances as what my typical 4 iron would go; I consistently was left with a sting in my hands after shots. (Disclaimer: temperature at testing was a cool 54 degrees) On the course I had two other members of my group try the 4 iron and the feedback was pretty similar, while none of the three of us play a blade iron weâ€™re not completely on the other end of the spectrum to a full fledge forgiving game improvement iron either. The shots traveled comparable distances, but we really struggled to get over that sting after each shot, similar shots with my Mizuno MP-57s were not stinging back quite like this. With an MSRP of $2000 for a set of 3-PW Performance Hickories, my own personal opinion is that if performance and playability are what youâ€™re after then you may want to save the nostalgia for decoration and go with a top of the line offering from any number of club manufacturers today.
Some of the stinging might have had to do with the choice of grips installed on the Performance Hickories; a full leather slip on grip was chosen to complete both the putter and the iron sets. While this leads to a prettier over all look to the clubs, I donâ€™t feel that it lends to the actual playability of either. Both of my fellow testers were saying the same of the grips, just a little bit too tacky and didnâ€™t feel just right. While I know that it would take away from the classic look, if I were to seriously play the Sweet Wood line, personally Iâ€™d be throwing on a Winn or something similar to replace the standard grips.
With original offerings from bags, wedges, chippers, putters and of course Performance Hickories, Sweet Wood Golf Company offers the fans of classic golf equipment many options to restore that traditional look and feel back into the game of golf. This review was something that I was excited to do, I love the idea behind the birth of the company, but for me personally, I believe that Iâ€™d be more apt to proudly display theses hickory beauties in an office or den. Technology has come a long ways in golf club manufacturing since the days of hickory shafted golf clubs, some people choose to take advantage of that technology, and then there are those like the people behind Sweet Wood Golf who just have a passion for tradition. If you are a hardcore golf traditionalist, then do yourself a favor and check out Sweet Wood Golf Company. You can read much more about the entire line at their website at Sweet Wood Golf.
Here is to keeping it in the short grass