[caption id="attachment_13004" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Trio Golf hybrid irons"][/caption]
KENWOOD - Jonathon Hayden is out to do for golf clubs what digital cameras did for photography and notebook computers did for laptops: make them smaller, lighter and more fun to use.
His Trio Golf hybrid irons, which come in short, medium and long lengths can improve your game and lighten your golf bag, he said. And they won't take a divot out of your wallet either.
"Informal research shows the average players use only three of the standard set of six to eight irons, and they use the same three over and over," said Mr. Hayden, founder of Trio Golf and a 20-year veteran of the sporting goods manufacturing industry.
[caption id="attachment_13067" align="alignright" width="241" caption="Women golfers appreciate the Trio Golf iron's light weight."][/caption]
He and his technical partner came up with the Trio Hybrid clubs and brought them to market a year ago after working with Steve Schneider at the Santa Rosa Junior College Sawyer Center to trademark the name. Now word is spreading among golfers and golf pros that the irons improve scores and take a lot of guesswork out of choosing a club on the links.
"By using fewer clubs your game will improve due to the simple fact that you'll spend more time with each club. When it comes to playing your irons from the fairway to the green, you simply don't need the extra five clubs," said Mr. Hayden.
Hybrid clubs - a combination of wood and iron - have been in use among recreational and professional golfers for years, but they're usually limited to the long irons, said John Murray, golf pro at Foxtail Golf Course in Rohnert Park.
"By extending the concept to short and mid-size irons, Jonathan has brought additional ease, forgiveness of error and consistency to the short iron game," he said.
"Professional golfers use the full set of irons, but even a serious recreational golfer who carries the full set really only uses a few of them. He just won't admit it."
Mr. Hayden agrees that for some there's a psychological barrier to carrying only three irons, all hybrids.
"They see it as an indication that they're not serious about the game," he said. "But beginning and intermediate golfers, women golfers and senior golfers don't have pretensions. They just want to relax and have fun in a beautiful setting. That's what the game is about, really."
The Trio Golf clubs are on sale at pro shops at Foxtail Golf Course in Rohnert Park, Oakmont, T&B Sporting Goods in San Rafael and Flowers Driving Range in Sonoma as well as at www.triogolf.com.
The men's steel set sells for $349, graphite for $399; women's graphite sells for $399.
The clubs are becoming popular with instructors, but most of Trio Golf's sales result from word-of-mouth, said Mr. Hayden.
"When your golfing partner's score suddenly improves, you're bound to take notice," he said.
According to Mr. Murray, even seasoned golfers experience better scores with the hybrid irons.