The new Lynx Black Cat line of drivers, fairway metals and hybrids aren’t your dad’s circa-1970s brand of feline-themed golf clubs.
They’re nowhere near the popular, Brit-born sticks that Fred Couples and Ernie Els employed to win the 1992 Masters and 1994 U.S. Open, respectively.
They’re a breed apart, and miles better.
Now Lynx is a company reborn — still with a deep history of winning at every level, and doing so at a reasonable price, but back with a new set of fairway-shredding, bunker-busting “claws” in the form of beautiful, classically shaped, matte-finished heads loaded with the kind of technology that will cause certain 21st century golf gear geeks to purr.
Meanwhile, the rest of us less technically inclined schlubs just looking for a few more yards, perhaps a little workability and plenty of pleasing sound-and-feel feedback, might just meow with pleasure when we put these cool cats into play.
I certainly did within moments of breaking the new adjustable driver and fairway metal, and the new 20-degree 3 hybrid, out of their shipping box.
Actually, it sounded more like the word “sweet.” These clubs simply look great close up, from every angle, and at address.
The driver head is hosel-mounted star key-adjustable with lofts from 8.5 to 12.5 degrees in neutral, draw bias or fade bias settings; it appears more compact than some 460cc models thanks to a deeper face with more “live” real estate situated toward the toe, which is where a lot of amateurs tend to strike the ball. On the sole is a reversible Weight Bar System; put the “HW” toward the rear and “LW” toward the face for higher ball flight, vice-versa to bring the trajectory down.
Same type of set-up for the handsome fairway metal, whose loft can be adjusted from 13 to 17 degrees, also with draw or fade bias. Its head pleasingly larger than many you see today, which should translate to a more forgiving attitude on tight fairway lies but also keep the club effective from the first cut of rough.
Then there’s the hybrid, available in 20-degree or 23-degree models — not adjustable, more compact with Weight Bar of equal measure front and back to promote that digging, high-launch action that make such utility clubs so valuable in varying lies.
Across the line, each club’s face is built in two pieces, employing what the company calls Cup Face Technology — the surface is hardened via a special process that helps reduce spin and increase ball speed — and Effective Energy Transfer, or EET, which broadens the sweet spot for added forgiveness. Variable Thickness spreads more weight to the face’s perimeter to further reduce spin. And they come standard with a UST Mamiya Recoil ES shaft, regular or stiff.
OK, so the new Lynx Black Cat’s looks are impressive, tipping their cap to their persimmon-look roots while pointing unmistakably forward in terms of tech. But what about their actual performance?
Start with the big stick: The very first time I wielded the Black Cat during a round, with loft set to 10.5 degrees with a draw bias and a reg shaft, the ball met the face with a solid ping-thwack — not too loud, but not hollow, just plain perfect — then soared in a baby draw some 250 yards down range, a good ten spot beyond my average. Even my toe strikes didn’t seem to dampen its distance performance, and with that bias I couldn’t slice, or even put more than a mild cut on the ball.
The piercing ball flight produced by the fairway metal, set to a standard, neutral 3-wood 15 degrees, was something to behold off tee and turf; even when I put a lousy swing on it, taking a bit too much earth and pushing the ball right, I still got decent carry and roll — telling me it’s absolutely stable through the hitting zone, with no untoward twisting.
Finally, the 4-hybrid performed beautifully from a variety of lies, including above and below my feet, but did especially well off a tee on a 212-yard par 3. I could tell I’d come a hair over the top on my downswing, but the club managed to send the ball on no more than a tiny fade, a few yards right of the pin — and just when it looked as if it would veer further right, it seemed to correct in mid-air and hold its original line (in calm conditions). And it carried a good 10 yards further than I’d anticipated. I’ll take it; like most of us, I’d rather be long than short, if only for my ego’s sake.
Anyway: Green hit. Two putts. Easy par on a hard hole.
Now that the new Lynx Black Cat sticks are widely available in the U.S. (there’s also an iron set), I wouldn’t hesitate to seek them out for a look and a test. This rejuvenated cat is out of the bag, it’s on a birdie-seeking run, and you’d be foolish not to follow along.
Driver $399, Fairway $229, Hybrid $189 | www.lynxgolfusa.com