|Orka Kii CTi irons (5-SW)|
Ever experienced the situation where you look forward with great expectation to trying new equipment? You hardly sleep in anticipation of stepping out on the first tee and ripping the ball down the middle; your first iron shot covering the flagstick and you're left with an opening birdie putt.
This is how I felt before I was given the opportunity to exclusively test the latest irons from Orka Golf - a new company headed by Stuart Johnson aiming to muscle in to the market with a sophisticated range of clubs some of which target today's budget equipment but with a custom-fitting edge.
Currently he has established 10 fitting centres where you can either get the clubs you order on line made to measure to the customised specifications you dial in or visit one of the centres and receive professional advice from hand-picked experts to have the equipment tailor-made for you.
I ordered my seven clubs (5-iron to sand wedge) on-line with Dynamic Gold Steel R300 shafts (an extra £100 on the standard £199 option offered with Dynalite shafts) and with Orka Velvet .58 grips. I ordered a standard length though with the drop down menu you can order +0.25 ins down to -1.5ins depending on your height.
First impressions on the range were encouraging. I liked the chunky top line looks of the clubs and with the black polyurethane dampener cartridge positioned behind the head to reduce vibration were reminiscent of Callaway's Fusion irons in 2005.
I got a decent ball flight with the highlight in my first round a towering 6-iron at a wind-assisted 190-yard downhill par-3 which plummeted to within six feet of the hole and sent the ball spinning a few inches out of its pitchmark.
The 5- and 7-iron proved almost as accurate and forgiving though over three competitive rounds using the clubs the 8- and 9-iron didn't quite perform to the same standard. Was it me or the clubs?
As for the pitching wedge the occasional long chip from whispy grass got nods of approval from my fellow competitors but around the fringes, the club lacked the feel and spin need to control these delicate shots.
The sand-iron was disappointing. At address it looked similar to the TaylorMade rac OS I have used for at least two years but I was unable to caress the ball consistently out of the sand as I'd hoped and too often it took at least two attempts to escape.
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