The Tour Edge Hot Launch HL4 line of hybrids and iron-woods reflect one of the original purposes of the long iron-substitute club. Of course that makes sense since Tour Edge founder and chief designer Dave Glod was one of the originators of the concept in the late 1990s.
What Glod has done is taken some of the learnings about materials and manufacturing that used to be reserved for his high-end line of Exotics clubs and bring to the value-driven HL4 line aimed at average golfers. That’s especially beneficial at the end of the bag where most average golfers struggle: the long irons.
Getting that kind of improvement starts with lowering the center of gravity in both the HL4 hybrid and iron-wood lines, both of which benefit from the hollow-body construction that has been an element of Tour Edge designs since their first iron-woods in 1999. The shallow-faced hybrid uses a lightweight, thin forged steel crown to help redistribute more saved weight low. The iron-wood improves its weighting through a different shape, Glod said.
“I think we totally nutted it with the iron-wood,” he said. “We flipped the crown upside down so it’s inverted. That’s the first time we’ve ever done, and it really helps get the center of gravity lower. That lets us make the lofts a little stronger to keep up with some of those animal iron lofts out there.”
Glod also pointed to an enhanced variable thickness face design to improve flexing for more ball speed.
“The hybrids kept the successful shape we had with the HL3s,” he said. “It’s got that little bit upside down shaping which helps lower the center of gravity.”
That’s a key point of emphasis for the HL4 hybrids and iron-woods, Glod said. “They really are easy to make the ball go straight up, and that’s what this player is looking for.”
That player is looking for that kind of performance at an affordable price and that’s exactly where the HL4 hybrid and iron-wood will live. Their prices are about half that of where many hybrids are priced, including Tour Edge’s own high-end line of Exotics clubs. The HL4’s design ideas, which includes a cupface on the hybrid and a channel on the sole of both hybrid and iron-wood to contribute to face flexing, have been fueled by the Exotics original developments.
“We’ve definitely applied some of that know-how further down the line,” Glod said. “This might be a price-engineered product, but I think the players who are interested in these clubs will not think they’re giving up anything. I think that’s why we’ve been successful with this line over the years. We honestly have to be a little careful about butting up against our premium line.”
The HL4 hybrids are offered in 19-, 22-, 25- and 28-degree lofts ($120 each). As has been tradition with the Hot Launch line over the years, the iron-woods will be completely interchangeable with a soon-to-be-released HL4 iron line. There are 12 lofts running from 18 to 59 degrees ($80 each in steel, $90 in graphite). The entire HL4 line now includes an upgraded Lamkin Z5 grip, too. The HL4 lineup will be available at retail Aug. 1.