I had promised that this year I would treat myself to a new set of irons. More out of necessity than anything else as the head of my pitching wedge recently detached itself from the shaft. I had been playing happily with Lynx Black Cats - bought second-hand from my pro about five years ago.
I have tried Nike Slingshots, Taylor Made RAC LTs, Maxfli A10s and, although only in the practice nets, had a look at the new Callaway X-16s. So when the editor mentioned he had a set of new Black Cats with graphite shafts coming in for review, I jumped at the chance to be the tester. As it happens they were the updated model of those I had been playing with, during which time, it has to be said, I reduced my handicap from 12 to 7. However I put this down as much to the lessons I have had as to the irons.
I had my first look at the new clubs as I walked onto the first tee. In fact I had to remove the head, shaft and grip wrappers as I used each club in turn on the course - now there's a novel way to get one up on your playing partners.
The first two strikes were enough to convince me that this new generation of Black Cats is a considerable improvement over what was already a good club.
Closer inspection shows that Lynx has slimmed down the head so as not to be as chunky as before. This not only improves the playing characteristics but also means they look much better. The second most noticeable thing is that the bounce of the short irons seemed reduced - the leading edge appears much sharper - which is much better for my links golf and again much better looking.
The pitching wedge and sand wedge are much easier to hit from a tight lie and around the green, resulting in a nice feel and control of the ball. The shafts were regular flex graphite with a much blacker sheen finish that before. This also looks better but time will tell whether it will remain so with a bit of wear and tear. In terms of distance, the yardages I achieve are similar to my previous set, which are definitely not short, and I am able to hit the sand wedge further because it sits so well on the turf. All in all a much-improved club and one I certainly enjoyed playing with.
The one issue I would have with the club, that I have alluded to earlier, is that the head did come off my, admittedly, old set but further investigation (internet searches) revealed that a number of other Black Cat users had encountered similar problems. However, it would appear that the company has redesigned club head and hosel so that there is a longer section of the shaft now physically attached to the head.
So after my club trials this summer what would I now choose? Well, I would be quite happy sticking to the Black Cats.
Richard Callison, 7 handicap.
In view of Richard's comments, ScottishGolf asked the parent company about the clubhead problem and Golfsmith Europe responded by saying: 'When Golfsmith bought the Lynx company in 1998, it inherited a problem with the 1997 Black Cat iron model which was designed and manufactured by the previous ownership. It was alleged that there was a technical fault with the hosel/shaft tip connection in the club that led to a separation in some cases. Whilst this club was not manufactured by ourselves, then as now, we placed a major emphasis on looking after our Lynx customers and we therefore honoured all genuine warranty claims by either repairing or replacing offending clubs at that time. Obviously, this club is now well out of warranty as it went out of the catalogue in 1999.'
|| 31 - AUGUST 2004