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Are these clubs really as good as they seem?
Product test
Super Hawk irons by Kane Golf

Before getting on with telling you about these clubs it's necessary to declare a few interests. First, we tested the Big Easy driver from the same manufacturer a few months ago, fell in love with it and have had it in the bag ever since. Second, as Kane Golf is a Scottish company, based in Glasgow, we feel an obligation to review its products if at all possible - not necessarily with a favourable report but to review them nevertheless.

Third, and last, we believe there are lots of places where you can read about the latest products from Callaway, TaylorMade, Titleist et al - including ScottishGolf - but not so many where you can find out about lesser-known manufacturers, such as John Letters, Fazer, Ben Sayers and now Kane Golf. These smaller companies don't have the same marketing, advertising and promotional budgets as their multinational counterparts but in many cases are capable of producing equipment that is at least the match of these conglomerate rivals, which is why we feel an obligation to tell as many golfers as possible.

And so to the clubs and the first observation is that, visually at least they're very similar to the extremely popular Callaway X16. Whether this is deliberate or not we wouldn't venture a guess but from the dark blue moulded insert in the back of the clubhead to the bore-through shaft there is a sense that the Super Hawk and X16 were separated at birth. However, judging by the shape of the hosel and appearance of the shaft tip, ScottishGolf suspects these Kane Golf clubs are faux, rather than real bore-throughs.

They have a simple, clean look with a nicely rounded sole that discourages the club digging into the turf behind the ball, causing 'fat' shots. Before getting a full set we were sent four 7-irons, each with a different shaft, two made from steel and two in graphite. On the basis that I've had graphite shafts for at least a decade and didn't fancy changing I found it easy to jettison the steel and one of the graphite's - a hideously bright yellow thing that I don't believe I could have lived with (but for those of you who know about these things, it was the UST ProForce 75 gold, one of the best around).

Aesthetics aren't the most important buying factor but if you don't like the look of a club you're hardly likely to consistently play at your best with it. This left Kane Golf's own attractive, dark blue shaft and a Golf Pride Whisper grip - in our view the most comfortable on the market - completes the package.

Which is all, of course, preamble because what you really want to know is: 'How do they play?' to which honesty compels us to reply: 'Bloody marvellously'.

And it really is that simple. Generally I find I'm about a club longer than with my old, reliable friends, a set of TaylorMade Oversize with bubble shafts - so I'm now hitting a 7-iron the 150 yards I used to hit my 6-iron. Yes, it's summer; yes, the ball flies further; and yes, modern balls are better but even so, to immediately notice a club's difference is impressive. Not only that but the extra yardage is not by the manufacturer 'cheating' and de-lofting the clubface - the ball's trajectory is still high and satisfying and a well-struck 7-iron looks like a 7-iron in flight.

We all tend to measure distance on our home course, over holes with which we're familiar, and I've had to re-evaluate all my club selections because I went through a wonderful (although wonderfully brief) phase of hitting 70% of my approaches through, rather than short of, the green. I say 'wonderfully short' because we quickly adapt but even so it was great while it lasted.

Before getting the Big Easy driver I rarely carried a 1-wood but now I have it with me all the time, at the expense of the 3-wood on which my whole game used to revolve. And before getting these Super Hawks I hadn't carried a 3-iron for about six years, preferring the more consistent results I could get with a 5 or 7-wood. But no more. The 5-wood's also been jettisoned and I happily play 3-iron whenever the hole or my mood dictate that I should.

Part of, if not the whole, the reason for this is that clubface for the longer irons is the same as for the shorter ones (usually it's smaller), which gives tremendous confidence as you look down on the ball. And it's not ridiculously large in the 3 or 4-iron, just reassuring.

One final point, and the best has been kept to last. A full set of Kane Golf SuperHawk irons costs between £169 and £349, depending on your shaft option - the package ScottishGolf tested is £249 and it's difficult to think of a better bargain in golf, unless you know of a hen that lays Titleist ProVs for breakfast.

Martin Vousden, 11 handicap

Contact details:
Kane Golf
Unit 13,
30 Dalziel Road,
Hillington Industrial Estate,
Glasgow G52 4NN
Telephone: 0141 810 2922

©    23 - JULY 2003

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