The Orlimar TriMetal fairway wood, one of the iconic clubs of golf’s go-go, infomercial ’90s, is the latest club and brand to be given a new life and a new energy to boot.
The TriMetal is part of component company Hireko Golf’s reset of the Orlimar lineup, which in addition to the new take on the TriMetal fairway wood will include TriMetal hybrids and a revolutionary (literally) new adjustable weight driver, the V-18. Hireko acquired the Orlimar brand from King Par in 2016.
Orlimar rode a wave of success based on the popularity of the TriMetal, its infomercials and its passionate CEO and club designer Jesse Ortiz two decades ago. Sales jumped from barely $1.5 million in 1997 to more than $50 million in 1998. With that as a backdrop, Hireko Golf’s Technical Director Jeff Summit knew the latest attempt at rebooting the TriMetal needed to be special.
Like the original the new TriMetal features three alloys in the construction and a low-profile design shape. That includes a S450 high-strength steel variable thickness face insert that is as thin as just two millimeters thick for better ball speed (the original TriMetal used maraging steel). The face insert is paired with a thin 17-4 vacuum cast stainless steel body and a 10-gram tungsten weight screw in the back of the sole helps to lower the center of gravity and improve off-center hit stability.
“Jesse was definitely ahead of his time and a pioneer in his field," Summit said. "The TriMetal was that one fairway wood series that shifted the entire golf industry to look at ways to improve performance and distance on clubs other than the driver. We wanted to make sure that if we brought out a new version for today’s generation of golfers as well as those that remembered playing them in the past, that it would have the story (ultra-thin face and shallow face design) and same high performance out on the course.”
The 2018 Orlimar TriMetal fairway woods will be joined by a lineup of TriMetal hybrids that feature a more mini-wood-like profile but incorporate the same combination of metals. That cast 17-4 stainless steel body frames a variable thickness face insert of S450 high-strength steel, while a 10-gram weight is positioned similarly in the rear of the sole.
The 2018 Orlimar TriMetal line might be the most expected part of the relaunch, but it’s the new V-18 driver that might be more inventive than the original TriMetal was when it was introduced two decades ago. Made of a lighter weight 8-1-1 titanium alloy (vs. traditional 6-4 titanium), the V-18 uses a weighted, rotating soleplate. A 10-gram tungsten weight is housed within the soleplate and players can rotate the entire sole to one of eight positions to affect ballflight left or right, as well as impact spin and launch conditions as the weight moves from the front to the rear of the sole. Summit says the idea has been in the works at Hireko for the last four years.
“This is the most challenging product I personally have had the opportunity to work on in 30+ years,” he said. “The largest obstacles were making a modern-sized driver with a functional weighted dial that could move 360 degrees and not be too heavy to be a driver length. In addition, the dial would need to fit flush, not affect face angle when moved to a different position, not to mention have enough mass offset from the center of the dial to affect ball flight.”
Summit says positioning the adjustable weight in the sole is a more effective use of the heavier tungsten.
“There has been an emphasis for manufacturers to focus on keeping the weight low in their driver designs to boost performance,” Summit said. “When you look at a dial soleplate that keeps the weight as low as possible.”
The new Orlimar products are available through Hireko’s website. The 2018 Orlimar TriMetal fairway woods are offered in 15- and 19-degree lofts in three shaft flexes (A, R and S, UST-Mamiya Recoil ES440/450; $150). The V-18 driver features a fixed hosel design and is offered in 9.5 and 10.5 lofts with a Fujikura Vista Pro shaft ($400).