Callaway’s X Hot driver was one of the top-performing drivers in 2013 for golfers with slow-to-moderate swing speeds, and those who miss the sweet spot as often as they hit it. But it had an innate problem; the rounded shape that allowed the driver to be so forgiving caused it to look overly bulbous at address.
Photo Above: The crown of Callaway’s X2 Hot driver has graphics to help golfers with alignment, including a Callaway Chevron to denote the center of the club face, while the Pro version does not.
That’s why this year’s X2 Hot driver has a more traditional pear-shaped head, which will resonate with golfers who value the aesthetics of a golf club as much as its performance.
The X2 Hot driver also has Callaway’s new Hyper Speed Face Technology, which allows the face of the 460-cubic-centimeter driver to be 4 percent larger than the previous version without adding any extra weight. The larger face helps the X2 Hot driver retain all the forgiveness of the X Hot, but it adds about 1.5 mph of ball speed on average, according to Callaway testing.
Photo above: The larger, light face more forgiving face of Callaway’s X2 Hot driver.
The X2 Hot driver is available in three different lofts: 9, 10.5 and 13.5 degrees. Like the 2013 X Hot drivers, the X2 Hot models have what Callaway calls “Progressive Draw Bias, which means that higher-lofted models have more draw bias than lower-lofted models. But the draw bias is less than last year’s drivers, a change that was made possible by Callaway’s new Advanced OptiFit adjustable hosel.
The OptiFit hosel gives golfers four different loft settings; for example, the 9-degree driver can be lofted 1-degree lower to 8 degrees, but also 1- or 2-degrees higher than standard to 10 or 11 degrees. It also gives golfers two independent lie settings — standard (S) and draw (D), which makes the club more upright. According to Evan Gibbs, manager of performance analysis for Callaway, putting the X2 Hot driver in the draw setting will give it the same amount of draw bias as last year’s X Hot driver in its standard setting.
The X2 Hot driver hits stores Jan. 17 and will sell for $349 with a 46-inch Aldila Tour Blue 55 shaft in light, regular and stiff flexes. The head weight will be about 194 grams, while the total weight will be about 303 grams. The stock swing weight is D3.
X2 Hot Pro Driver
The X2 Hot Pro driver has a deeper face and more compact 440-cubic-centimeter head than the X2 Hot driver, as well as a lower CG made possible by the 7.3 grams of weight saved by the club’s new Hyper Speed Face.
Photo above: The X2 Hot Pro driver has a 7-gram adjustable weight screw in the rear portion of the sole. Callaway’s Custom department can dial in a golfer’s ideal swing weight by changing the weight of the screw.
According to Gibbs, its lower CG, which is 37 percent lower than the X2 Hot driver, gives the X2 Hot Pro a lower-spinning trajectory than the company’s similar-sized FT OptiForce 440 driver, which launched in July and quickly became Callaway’s most popular driver on the PGA Tour.
Photo above: Callaway’s X2 Hot Pr driver has no markings on its crown.
The X2 Hot Pro is only available in one loft, 8.5 degrees. Despite its low loft, Gibbs predicted that the X2 Hot Pro will meet the needs of about 95 percent of interested golfers. That’s because it has the same OptiFit hosel as the X2 Hot, which means that it can be lofted as low as 7.5 degrees or as high as 10.5 degrees. And Callaway engineers were careful to design the sole of the club to adapt to those different lofts without a significant change in face angle.
Photo above: The taller, or deeper, face of an X2 Hot Pro driver.
The driver has an “opened” face angle in the 8.5 setting, which won’t look too much more opened in the 7.5 setting or too much more closed in the 9.5 or 10.5 settings, even to the most discerning golfers. In the back of the club is a removable 7-gram weight screw, which gives it a stock swing weight of D3. And the club can be ordered through Callaway’s custom department with a different weight screw to make the swing weight heavier or lighter.
The X2 Hot Pro driver will hit stores on Jan. 17 and sell for $349 with a 45.5-inch aftermarket version of Aldila’s Tour Green 65 shaft in regular, stiff and x-stiff flexes. The head weight is about 197 grams, with a total weight hovering around 321 grams.
X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro Fairway Woods
The centerpiece of Callaway’s 2013 equipment launch was its X Hot fairway woods, which helped double Callaway’s market share in the fairway woods category last year. This year, the company is promising even better performance from its X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro fairway woods, which are longer and more forgiving than last year’s models.
Photos above are the new Callaway X2 Hot fairway woods (left) and X2 Hot Pro fairway woods with no crown graphics.
Both models are made with Callaway’s high-strength 455-carpenter-stainless-steel cup faces that fueled last year’s distance gains, but they use the company’s Hyper Speed Face Technology to make the forged cup faces even thinner and more forgiving on mishits. They also have an improved “internal standing wave,” an internal shelf located on the front of the sole that leans toward the club face, pushing the CG of the clubs lower and more forward.
This year’s internal standing wave is an impressive 13.5-grams heavier than it was in the X Hot models, and it juts 0.06 inches closer to the face, giving the club a noticeable performance boost on shots struck on the bottom of the face.
Callaway engineers were also able to trim weight from the crown and center of the sole on new fairway woods. Some of that weight went into the heavier internal standing wave, while the rest went into the perimeter of the club heads, giving them a higher moment of inertia than their predecessors.
The X2 Hot fairway woods are available in lofts of 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 degrees. They come stock with a Aldila Tour Blue 60 shaft in light, regular and stiff flexes.
The X2 Hot Pro fairway woods will be offered in lofts of 13.5, 15, 17 and 19 degrees, with an aftermarket version of Aldila’s Tour Green 75 shaft (R, S and X flexes). Both fairway woods will be available in stores Jan. 17 and sell for $239.
X2 Hot “Deep”
One of the most talked about equipment releases in 2013 was Callaway’s 3Deep, a deep-faced fairway wood that Phil Mickelson used as a driver for his wins at the Scottish Open and Open Championship. Last year, the club was released in a 13-degree version (used by Mickelson), as well as a 14.5-degree model.
This year, the lineup has been tweaked to include a new 12.5-degree “2Deep,” which like the rest of the line has all the benefits of the X2 Hot fairway woods. But it has a robust 210-cubic-centimeter head that was inspired by Mickelson’s famed “Phrankenwood,” a small-headed driver that Mickelson debuted at the Masters. A 14.5-degree model remains in the lineup, but it’s now 190 cubic centimeters, 10 more than last year’s model. And new for this year is a 165-cubic-centimeter 5Deep, which has a loft of 18.5 degrees.
The “Deep” fairway woods fill a void for Callaway, as its X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro have extremely shallow faces. That make the clubs playable from a variety of surfaces: from the tee, the fairway and even the rough in certain situations. But some golfers, particularly those with steep angles of attacks, have trouble with shallow-faced fairway woods because they tend to contact them too high on the face.
Shots that are hit too high on the face often launch the ball with too little spin, limiting carry distance. That’s where’s the “Deep” fairway woods come into the picture. Their deeper, or taller faces help give golfers who tend to contact the ball on the upper portion of the face more consistent spin rates. So while their larger size can make the Deep fairway woods less versatile from different lies, they offer better overall performance for certain golfers, particularly those who use their fairway woods mostly from the tee.
Like the X2 Hot Pro fairway woods, the X2 Hot Deep fairway woods come stock with an aftermarket version of Aldila’s Tour Green 75 shaft in R, S and X flexes. They will be available in stores on Jan. 17 and cost $239.
X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro Hybrids
Last year, Callaway added its high-strength forged 455-carpenter-steel cup faces to its X Hot fairway woods, which allowed the faces to be lighter and more responsive than previous models. That, in conjunction with the clubs’ internal standing wave gave many golfers 5, 10, 20 and sometimes as much as 30 yards of extra distance from the clubs, making the X Hot fairway woods Callaway’s most successful product launch of 2013.
The leap the company took in fairway woods last year is the same leap the company took in hybrids this year, said Evan Gibbs, manager of performance analysis for Callaway.
Photos above: Callaway X2 Hot hybrid (left) and Callaway X2 Hot Pro hybrid.
The new X2 Hot hybrids have a much more iron-like look, with a boxier overall shape, straighter leading edge and less offset than the X Hot hybrids. And unlike last year’s model, which had 17-4 stainless steel cup faces, the new hybrids have the same 455 carpenter-stainless-steel cup faces as the company’s fairway woods, which allowed their faces to be made 28 percent thinner with a sweet spot that’s a whopping 13 times larger than their predecessors.
At address: Callaway’s X2 Hot hybrid (left) and the more compact X2 Hot Pro hybrid.
Those changes makes the X2 Hot hybrids about 11 yards longer than the X Hot hybrids, according to Callaway testing.
The X2 Hot and X2 Hot hybrids also have substantially less camber (pictured above), the curvature of the sole from heel to toe. And while they’re slightly larger than the X Hot models, they don’t look it at address; particularly the Pro model, which is noticeably shorter from front to back than the X Hot Pro hybrid.
According to Gibbs, both models will offer less spin than their predecessors, especially the Pro, which has a 40 percent lower CG than the X Hot Pro hybrid.
The X2 Hot hybrids are available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees. They come stock with Aldila’s Tour Blue 65 hybrid shaft in light, regular and stiff flexes. Stock swingweight is D1.
The X2 Hot Pro hybrids come in lofts of 16, 18, 20 and 23 with an aftermarket version of Aldila’s Tour Green 75 hybrid shaft in R, S and X flexes. Stock swing weight is D2. Both hybrids will be available in stores Jan. 17 and sell for $199.