As a guilt gift, Nike Slingshot irons are on par |

As a guilt gift, Nike Slingshot irons are on par

As a frustrated golfer (what golfer isn’t?), I’ve been dreaming of buying a new set of irons to elevate my game. But the reality of my journalist’s salary has always taken my head out of the clouds.

But my dream came true last month when I arrived home and found a new set of Nike Slingshot hybrid irons that had just been shipped from two girlfriends in California. They obviously felt guilty for missing my 40th birthday in Aspen and figured the expense of the clubs was roughly the same as a trip to Aspen.

Guilt is a wonderful thing.

I must admit, however, that I was a bit upset they spent that kind of money on equipment I had never tested. Golf-club selection is a personal thing, and you must test the product before making the financial commitment.

My first worry was that the clubs were too short, since my Lynx Black Cat irons are longer.

My second concern was that they would screw up my game. I took them to the range and wasn’t too stoked, since the hybrids are designed to add distance and I wasn’t getting it.

But after some educated advice from Les Klahn, Aspen’s PGA head golf professional, and Mary Woulfe, shop manager at the Aspen Golf Club pro shop, I learned that the real problem was me.

I took the clubs out on the links again and my game improved instantaneously. It just goes to show you that this dumb game is 99 percent mental.

But the equipment does play a significant role.

The Slingshot irons take forgiveness to a new level. The wider sole, and lighter and hotter face make high, long and accurate iron play easier than ever. It must be why the Slingshot was awarded the 2004 Iron of the Year by Golf Digest.

Klahn suggested that if I put new grips on the clubs so they are wider at the top, it might help me wrap my head around the new irons. At less than $10 a club to re-grip, I think I’ll take his advice.

The tag on the 5-iron showed $899.99 as the retail price on my set. But the Aspen Golf Club sells them for under $700. It’s not as good as the price I paid (nothing), but had I demo’ed them, I probably would have bought them anyway.

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