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NiftyNiblick

In Defense of the Legendary Alien Ultimate Sand Iron

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Over the past quarter century, I don't believe that I've heard any golf club maligned more than the original Pat Simmons Alien wedge.

 

Well first of all, that's only because far fewer people ever showed up with one of those Hammer drivers, or even worse, do you remember those "pod" things?

 

Among clubs that we actually saw on the course, though, the Alien had to be the one that drew the most guffaws.

 

Let's get the looks thing out of the way.  If you put it in a slot next to your Wilson Staff FG-17 pitching wedge, yes, it's going to look pretty weird.  Stick in in a slot next to a 40-year-old Ram Zebra putter, however, and it starts to look more normal.

 

(Further, if you don't have individual slots in your bag, then you're a walker and more power to you. I was one of those once, although I'm not sure that I can put an exact date on it. Besides,I can still walk the pitch and putt course although I might not if they had carts there.)

 

The first thing to catch the critic's eye is the massive sole.  That's NOT the critical feature, however.  The critical feature is the leading edge. 

 

First of all, it's onset--it's ahead of rather than behind the shaft.  I remember when people went ga ga over the Ping Eye 2 sand wedge.  That was something that I couldn't believe.  It was as offset as the matching 1-iron!!!  I couldn't have played that in the sand if my life depended on it.

 

Second, the leading edge is ROUND.  With a grass-playable wedge and its straight leading edge, you explode a huge amount of sand into the air.  With a very curved leading edge, you dig a neat little furrow of sand until you get to the ball.  Resistance is reduced immeasurably and the clubhead, along with the massive sole, doesn't get twisted.

 

With plenty of margin for error, your ball is "out and on" with the first try. And this is where we come to the next issue. If you're really good, you're looking for a sand-save.  You want to see a tap-in sand-save putt except for when you actually hole the sand shot out.

 

I'm happy for you, not jealous, but you have to understand that for the more typical recreational player, the goal is merely "out and on" with the first try.  That was the target market for the Alien Ultimate. And the Lovett and a few more.

 

Then there's the "one-trick-pony" issue.  If your fairway shots carry out to 260 yards, you need more clubs in your basic loft progression than if your fairway shots carry out to a max of 210 or so.  You can't afford a sand-only wedge that you can't easily play from the grass. 

 

Again, congratulations on your good fortune.  I not only have room for a one-trick pony sand club but also for a driving-iron that I can't hit from the fairway as well! How's them for apples?

 

So that's my defense for the Alien Ultimate. I actually had a "new old stock" Aldila Lobster Pro 120 put on for no practical reason whatsoever.  Yes, steel shafts make my hands swell, but sand shots are going to jar the hands regardless of shaft. 

 

I just wanted to limit steel to the Zebra. If I go with my Tad Moore Chicopee or my Frankly Frog instead, then there's no steel at all.  The Chicopee is a replica of a 1930 Spalding putter and has a hickory shaft.  The sickly green Frankly Frog has a graphite shaft--don't ask me why.

 

But I digress.  I'm going to stick with the Alien.  I have nothing to lose.  My game is going to be pretty humorous to watch anyway.

 

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Really fun post to read, and a good defense as well! I think this pairs nicely with Ole Gray's Square Strike review.

 

If they're laughing at your bag at the beginning of the round, but not at the end, you win.

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I had one of those in my first set my dad cut down for me. I liked it but then again I didn't have anything to compare it to. I wouldn't buy one now though

 

Sent from my SM-G955U using Tapatalk

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If you want clubs that were rightly ridiculed, you can't leave out the Hammer X...

 

 

If the Alien works for you, then rock that Alien. And honestly, is it that much weirder looking than the old Hogan Sure Out? Or the Cleveland Smart Sole? Or...? Who cares if you play a one-dimensional club? If it saves you shots, go for it.

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Nothing wrong with those things-- Maybe practice it some and make it more versatile. I built a Dunlop version of it for my wife. I actually added weight to the inside bottom on that one. Showed her how to hit a "drop pop" with it. In other words pick it darn near straight up plop it behind the ball and follow through. That wedge is no different from basic design than those ones they market on TV now.  A lot of people ask why in my basic set up do I carry that 4 hybrid when I can hit and still carry a 4 iron. The reason is totally different shots. That hybrid is great out of a fairway bunker and I can open up and elevate it some then. It is also great out of hardpan lies either on the ground or out of waste bunkers we have on so many courses here. I can also hit a soft high 170 180 cut with it. I can also hit a high draw and control it when needed. The 4 iron itself I hit mostly stingers with but can hit it high and stop it. But I can carry the hybrid higher and further in the same situation.  Some people ask why I carry only a 5 wood and no 3 or 4. The reason is the way I have it set up I can hit it high around 200 or so or hit a stinger about 220 or so with it. The other answer is control I can predict it and control it better than I can a 3 or 4 wood. If I have screwed up and need more than 220 I can hit a driver stinger off the deck with the driver I have now. Most Par 5s I do not go for in 2 anymore and I lay it up to my wedge or 9 iron distance.  No more than I play or practice any more I am still a pretty decent wedge player and putter. But with my club building experience I set up my clubs what ever they may be to my game. I have had a lot of people ask with me being old school why do I carry that 60*? True I can open up the 56* and execute but I have different sole grinds on those wedges again for a reason. If you ran my signature set of irons on the frequency machine one would scratch their head. The numbers are all over the place. The 3 4 and 5 irons are soft tipped the 6 7 8 are standard and the 9 and wedge are hard tipped. Again for a reason to fit my game. Those shafts are not out of just one set of Hogans but 3. Even my Clevelands are tuned up. The 56* has a Sensicore with out the insert soft tipped and the 60* is a Sensicore standard stepped. My buddy the Miura dealer built those for me when he turned me on to soft stepping. That is what I call total tuning. But in a nutshell do your own thing as to what equipment you play and the way you play your game and do not worry about justifying what you do to anyone.

 

One last thing (wink wink smirk smirk) If a man shows up with me on the first tee wanting to play for some green with a Zebra putter in his bag there is gonna be some serious negotiations on the first tee in my behalf. Remember I am an ex golf hustler and anyone that bags and putts with a Zebra can roll the rock. Trust me I have learned over the years and I ain't no idiot (ok well maybe sometimes) but in this case no :D  

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One last thing (wink wink smirk smirk) If a man shows up with me on the first tee wanting to play for some green with a Zebra putter in his bag there is gonna be some serious negotiations on the first tee in my behalf. Remember I am an ex golf hustler and anyone that bags and putts with a Zebra can roll the rock. Trust me I have learned over the years and I ain't no idiot (ok well maybe sometimes) but in this case no :D

Stu - I am in awe of the way you know your game. You remind me of what I've read about how Trevino set up his bag.

 

And I seem to recall Ray Floyd being pretty proficient with the Zebra.

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Stu - I am in awe of the way you know your game. You remind me of what I've read about how Trevino set up his bag.

 

And I seem to recall Ray Floyd being pretty proficient with the Zebra.

Thanks it is all based on experience and the school of hard knocks. And yes Raymond Floyd rolled a Zebra mighty well. Over the years I studied Trevino and read a lot of articles on his equipment. I also adopted some of his short game.

 

Back in the day I also carried a little Northwestern 6 wood which is basically the same loft as my modern 4 hybrid at 24*. Trevino carried one and a friend of my old man's from Florida who was a Pro and hustler carried one also and he showed me quite a few tricks with it including hitting out of fairway bunkers and hardpan. He also modified mine like his by pulling the sole plate off and grinding a little wood out of the cavity and adding lead tape. Trust me I got some funny looks because I did not use covers in those days and still carried and played long irons including a 1 iron.

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My quote function stopped working, but I had to chuckle at Stu's 1-iron comment. Stu can play..

 

I was never better than an eight at the height of my prime and I was up to a thirteen when I got hurt.

 

But I'VE got an 18º Mizuno Fli Hi in my bag!

 

I don't care how far I can hit it. I can hit a butt-ugly but straight line drive.

 

I just like to find my ball to hit a second shot when I play a very scary driving hole. 

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Haha! LOL! I actually have an original Alien wedge in my bag right now. In one of the forums someone was talking about the latest “sure shot” sand wedges being hyped today on TGC. Somehow, the old Alien became part of the thread.

 

It reminded me that I still had mine in the old club mausoleum in my basement. So I went down and pulled it out, put a new grip on it, and brought it to the practice area of the local golf course along with a shag bag of balls.

 

Holy cow! Turns out I could hit it pretty well! Out of the short rough I could drop it consistently near a target 60 yards away. Then I tried a few swings in the sand and all of a sudden my 60-degree Callaway was on the bench.

 

Can't guarantee it will stay in my bag all season, but it's earning its keep right now! 😂

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"But I digress.  I'm going to stick with the Alien.  I have nothing to lose.  My game is going to be pretty humorous to watch anyway".

 

 

I had the 3rd guy out of my home course buy a Square Strike Wedge this weekend.  If you can produce quality shots with a sling blade, bag that bad boy!  Good for you and let them suckers laugh all they want. You're playing the game for your enjoyment and not to impress others with your equipment.

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"But I digress.  I'm going to stick with the Alien.  I have nothing to lose.  My game is going to be pretty humorous to watch anyway".

 

 

I had the 3rd guy out of my home course buy a Square Strike Wedge this weekend.  If you can produce quality shots with a sling blade, bag that bad boy!  Good for you and let them suckers laugh all they want. You're playing the game for your enjoyment and not to impress others with your equipment.

LOL when Nifty first posted about the alien wedge you and the "Green Thing" immediately came to mind---- Our friend and your fellow Georgian had lunch with me a week or so ago when he was here.

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LOL when Nifty first posted about the alien wedge you and the "Green Thing" immediately came to mind---- Our friend and your fellow Georgian had lunch with me a week or so ago when he was here.

 

Yea DawgDaddy totally enjoyed his visit with you.   He was saying how Big Stu was a good ole country boy! 

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Great post Niftyniblick, ignore all the doubters and play what works for you!!

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