Sweet Wood Golf Review

Recently THP was contacted by Sweet Wood Golf Company, a self proclaimed “under the radar company” 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 let’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 décor. A rather common quote heard by the makers of Sweet Wood Golf clubs are “these clubs are too beautiful to play golf with”, but that is their exact purpose. From the company’s website: “With 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!”

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 it’s not even funny, but will these beauties pass the test on the course? Let’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, I’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 you’re after, you’ll find today’s milled face putters to be your target. Sweet Wood does offer what is today’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 you’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 we’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 you’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 don’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 didn’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 I’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 I’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

Jason K.

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11 Comments

  • I have seen these clubs at a few events…they are really beautiful and neat! I did get a chance to hit them too and they are solid…

  • Clubs are gorgeous and the story and people behind them are great too. However I hit these clubs and would not consider them to be close to the same level as our leading brands of today. Millions and Millions of dollars have been spent on R&D by companies to make the best shafts and club heads in the world. There is a reason for each generation switching to modern technology. Part impulsive, but in my mind, part because it makes them better.

    I think these clubs look great and would look great as collectibles, but as “players’ irons” I am just not sure.

  • wow, those are beautiful. and i agree, they should have sent you like a 7 iron to test. it might have made for better results. it would be cool to own a set of these though. they are gorgeous. wish there was a photo of the grips in the review

  • I have owned a set of these for about 1 year now….and I don’t plan to go back to my Steel shafted irons any time soon….these folks really put a great deal of technology into these products although made from organic materials…I’m a big fan…

  • I tried these last year at a charity event and I am absolutely baffled that anybody could say that they think they perform as good as modern technology. They were really cool to look at, but no way would I compare them to my X-20;s

  • looks great on a wall, not the course… technology simply makes this product falter in our current day and age.

  • Maybe it’s the golfer…not the technology?

    Think of all of the golf legends who played with basic equipment and were able to achieve great feats! Something has to be said for skill…this game is not supposed to be EASY….

  • I was on the team that helped develop these irons and I can assure you that as much or more R&D and technology in these blades as in any other modern blade on the market. It was quite a challenge working with the hickory hosel and the weight placement challenges that it presented but we were able to get the COG in a spot closer to the center of the face. It is very similar to any other modern blade on the market. These are not cheap heads put on a hickory shaft they were designed from the ground up for the hickory shaft and for modern blade performance and they deliver just that.

  • Now this seems like a fun assignment. Beautiful looking clubs no doubt. I’m not sure how I feel about the heads or leather grips, but I do find the idea of a hickory shaft to be rather intriguing. It is probably difficult to isolate the shaft performance from the other parts of the club, but I am curious how you felt about the shaft in particular, its flex, perceived weight, feel, etc., when swinging the thing.

  • I’m liking the irons more than the putter. I’m biased though because I used to know a guy who collected the old wood shaft clubs and I reallyliked those too! I’d never hit these, these would be for the wall only.

  • Interesting read. They would look great in my office.

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