Lynx Golf’s brand new Prowler VT Stinger Driving Iron is both a throwback of sorts to the age of the 1-iron – golfers of a certain vintage will relate, whether they actually dared to keep such “butter knives” in their bags — and a huge leap forward in the hybrid iron genre.
While all the new clubs rolling off a rejuvenated Lynx Golf’s production line have impressed Golf Tips reviewers for the better part of 2019, this new stick takes us into 2020 as another fairway-finding weapon altogether, pretty much a genre all its own.
And an affordable one at that.
Offered in 15- or 16-degree lofts (Ben Hogan’s famed 1-iron was supposedly 17 degrees), with a shaft length about the same as the average 4- or 5-hybrid, the Prowler VT Stinger’s very name gives away its utility as a gotta-keep-it-in-the-short-grass option when the driver, or even a 3-metal or easy-to-duck hook hybrid just doesn’t feel right when you’re faced with a sharp dogleg or otherwise tight landing zone.
For one thing, the club’s high-profile face not only affords a bit more visual confidence at address, but its varying-thickness design redistributes weight toward the face’s periphery to, says the company, “increase MOI and reduce sidespin on off-center hits by up to 36%.”
We found no issue with that assertion. When teed low and struck with a slightly downward blow, as you would with a regular iron, the Stinger produces a piercing ball flight that would make Tiger himself nod and smile in approval. Contact feels both soft and solid, and with the weight profile and wide sole, the club resists the big curve; it’s virtually impossible to turn the toe over, or drag it, through impact.
During on-course testing on two Maui favorites — the recently tweaked Plantation Course at Kapalua Resort and popular Emerald Course at Wailea — the Prowler VT Stinger made pleasing work of several tee shots, including a beautiful baby draw on the Emerald’s testy, water-laden, downhill, short par 4 17th. Distance-wise the club compares to a 3-metal (most of which are also 15 degrees); on that particular hole we were left with a half-wedge to a front pin. Tasty!
Yes, the Stinger is indeed a “driving” iron — it’s right there in the name—but don’t be afraid to employ it from the fairway, especially from level lies with plenty of grass under the ball. Just play it a bit back in the stance, shallow out the swing just a skosh, and don’t get too steep coming down, as a fat shot is sure to follow.
Back on the tee, you can move the club forward, make a nice-relaxed move and marvel at the resulting dead-straight, wind-cheating shot. And you don’t have to find a pinhead-sized sweet spot, a la the old 1970s 1-iron, to pull it off.
Yes, we love our hybrids, including Lynx’s own Black Cat line, but this baby has earned a spot in our regular 14-stick rotation. It’s a big-time Prowler for par, or better.
$129/$149 | www.lynxgolf.us