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Review: Callaway X2 Hot, X2 Hot Pro Fairway Woods

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Pros: Two different options, a Pro version with a slightly smaller head, lower launch and spin, and flatter sole, and a standard version offering maximum forgiveness and an easier launch. Lighter and thinner forged Hyper Speed Face Cup continues to produce great feel and more ball speed across the face.

Cons: Similar to the X2 Hot Pro hybrid, the Pro fairway wood looks beautiful, but even better players might find it takes a lot of work to hit great shots. No adjustability, but numerous loft options to choose from should work for most golfers.

Bottom line: These clubs are seriously long and look really good at the same time. The X2 Hot Pro is designed for the better player and offers good performance from virtually any lie as well as greater workability to hit a variety of shots. All golfers can benefit from the slightly higher-launching and more-forgiving X2 Hot fairway wood.

Overview

Callaway made a major statement in 2013 with the X Hot fairway woods. Callaway went from having a second-tier wood product line to dominating the fairway wood category, doubling its market share. This year it is continuing to offer two versions of its fairway woods — a Pro version for better players and a standard version designed for everyone. The X2 Hot Pro fairway wood has a slightly smaller head, flatter sole and Aldila Tour Green shaft. The X2 Hot fairway wood, which is really designed for every golfer, has a larger head, more forgiveness and Aldila Tour Blue shaft that makes it easier to launch the ball in the air and generate good distance across more of the face.

Both fairway woods have a high-strength forged 455-carpenter steel cup face like last year’s X Hot fairway woods. This year, through Callaway’s precision forging, the company was able to make the face of the X2 Hot fairway woods lighter and thinner, which maximizes the spring-like effect of a greater area of the face, generating increased ball speed on mishits. The Internal Standing Wave, technology that also debuted on last’s year’s X Hot fairway woods, is lower and more forward to increase performance of the clubs on shots hit low on the face.

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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 swingweight is D3.The X2 Hot Pro fairway woods are available in lofts of 13.5, 15, 17 and 19 degrees, with an aftermarket version of Aldila’s Tour Green 75 shaft in R, S and X flexes. The swingweight is D3. Both fairway woods will be available in stores Jan. 17 and sell for $239.

Performance

Depending on the player, the fairway wood plays the role of driver, lay-up club, go-for-it club, approach club or all of the above. Golfers use fairway woods from a variety of lies, and expect them to perform equally well off the tee and off the deck. I tested the X2 Hot 3 Wood and 15-degree X2 Hot Pro fairway woods over multiple sessions both on the course during rounds and on a Flightscope launch monitor on the driving range. My goal was to simply see if the ball flight and performance matched Callaway’s claims.

My first few shots with both fairway woods were on the driving range prior to a round. It was a windy day and a great opportunity to see how each club handles conditions that are not ideal. Both fairway woods produced really nice trajectories and neither one ballooned up in the air. My typical ball flight with a fairway wood is straight to a slight cut, but both clubs on the range and on the course produced straight shots and draws. Working the ball in both directions was still possible, as was the occasional fade with the X2 Hot Pro, but these clubs have some draw bias to them.

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Similar to my initial thoughts about the X2 Hot Pro hybrid, I really wanted to love the X2 Hot Pro fairway wood. At address, the head looks almost like a large hybrid, very compact and powerful. I could instantly feel the difference in weight, too, with the X2 Hot Pro feeling heavier at address. However, just like the Pro hybrid, I was working hard on every shot.

Over the course of four rounds, I played the X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro fairway woods off the tee and from the fairway and rough. Each club continued to produce the ball flight and distance I expected. I was really impressed with the clubs’ Warbird soles and how they interacted with the turf from a variety of lies. I was seeing as much distance, if not more, than I was seeing with my current gamer, and I had a chance to go at a couple par 5s that I ordinarily wouldn’t go for. From the fairway, I felt like it was easier to get the ball up in the air with the X2 Hot. Off the tee, both fairway woods produced some good shots keeping my tee balls on the fairway on tight driving holes.

Performance: Standard X2 Hot Fairway Wood

Over the course of an hour-long session on Flightscope, I rotated between both fairway woods and threw out true mishits and outliers from the data presented below. I tested shots off the heel and toe as well as high and low on the face.

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Above: The X2 Hot fairway woods have crown graphics and a graphic over the center of their faces to help golfers with alignment. 

Both fairway woods are designed to launch the ball easier and produce higher ball speeds across a wider portion of the face. On average, when compared to the X2 Hot Pro, the standard fairway wood generated 2 mph more club head speed, but only a yard more total distance. The launch angle was only a half-degree higher than the X2 Hot Pro, but generated slightly more spin. That said, the spin numbers were very low. Almost 600 rpm less on average than my current gamer.

Almost every shot I hit with the X2 Hot fairway wood had a draw ball flight and a very nice trajectory. Callaway moved weight to the perimeter, which helps to stabilize the club on mishits and I was curious how off-center hits would perform. Mishits off the heel resulted in less loss of ball speed and distance than shots off the toe. In my testing, the X2 Hot hybrids and drivers actually produced better performance on mishits, but overall, the X2 Hot fairway wood was still very forgiving during testing.

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Performance: X2 Hot Pro Fairway Wood

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The X2 Hot Pro produced some of the longest fairway wood shots I’ve hit on a launch monitor. While my swing speed was 2 mph slower than with the X2 Hot, primarily the result of the different shaft, I was still generating the same ball speed with 1-to-2 yards more carry and total distance. The spin numbers were slightly lower as well, which worked well for me outside in the windy test conditions. My overall dispersion was about 8 yards tighter on average with the X2 Hot Pro, but my misses were much more exaggerated.

I expected that my ball flight with the X2 Hot Pro would favor more of a straight shot or slight cut, but I found the majority of my shots produced draws. Mishits off the heel and toe still generated good ball speed, but it was much easier to mishit the Pro version. The more forward-jetting Internal Standing Wave appears to have worked well, as shots low on the face produced good ball speed without adding too much spin.

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Both clubs outperform my current gamer in every category, and generated average distance gains of 3 to 5 yards. If we look at the most well-struck shots off the center of the face, the X2 Hot Pro was 12 yards longer than my current fairway wood and the X2 Hot was 5 yards longer. My longest shot with the X2 Hot Pro fairway wood was as long as some of my shortest, slightly mishit drives with the X2 Hot drivers. These fairway woods are crazy long when you hit them on the sweet spot and still produce great ball speeds on mishits.

The X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro produced results I expected based on Callaway’s claims. If you checked out the review of the X2 Hot hybrids, there is a pattern here. For the better player, the Pro version should be very enticing and has everything you would want. But even if you favor pro models, I would recommend also testing the standard version to compare the forgiveness and overall performance. The Tour Green shaft was the No. 1 shaft on the PGA Tour last year for a reason, but some golfers might find it a little too much to handle. For the golfer looking for help getting the ball into the air and greater forgiveness on mishits, the standard version should go on the list of fairway woods to test this year.

Looks and Feel

These fairway woods are incredibly good looking. The blend of the darker grey crown and darker grey Aldila shafts look like they were made for each other. The X2 Hot have simplistic crown markings on the head, but they aren’t distracting, if anything they tie the graphics from the sole to the crown together. Similar to the X2 Hot driver, the X2 Hot fairway wood also has a chevron alignment mark, while the X2 Hot Pro is completely clean on the crown. The shape and look of the face of the fairway woods are slightly different as well with the X2 Hot Pro having less scroll lines than the X2 Hot. Overall, the X2 Hot Pro is a fairway wood designed for the purist and the X2 Hot is designed for pretty much anyone else.

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Both versions offer a distinctly different look at address. Even though the X2 Hot isn’t an oversized fairway wood, when placed side by side, the X2 Hot Pro looks almost like a hybrid by comparison. I felt confident at address with both clubs, but for different reasons. With the X2 Hot fairway wood, I felt like I could hit the ball anywhere on the larger face and end up somewhere near where I was aiming. Looking down at address with the X2 Hot Pro, I felt like I had a mallet in my hands and if I hit the ball anywhere near the sweet spot, it would fire out like a low, penetrating rocket.

The forged face feels pure at impact, especially shots off the sweet spot. Plenty of feedback is also available on both heel/toe and high/low hits. As expected, impact with the X2 Hot Pro, with its hybrid-like smaller head, felt more firm and iron-like and the X2 Hot felt more, well, hot off the face. At times, the X2 Hot Pro felt very rigid, which aided in the feeling that it was more work to hit great shots.

Bottom Line

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Improving on an already good product is tough to do. Callaway engineers didn’t simply slap a new coat of paint on old technology; they set out to continue to push the limit in fairway woods and managed to design a line with more robust faces that generates higher ball speeds, more forgiveness and works from a variety of lies.

With numerous loft options and premium stock shafts, the X2 Hot and X2 Hot fairway woods should be on your list of clubs to test this year if you’re in the market for a new fairway wood.

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When he is not obsessing about his golf game, Kane heads up an innovation lab responsible for driving innovative digital product development for Fortune 500 companies. He is also the co-founder of RoundShout and creator of Ranger GPS, the free iOS GPS app for the driving range. On a quest to become a scratch golfer, Kane writes about his progress (for better or worse) at kanecochran.com and contributes golf technology-focused articles on GolfWRX.com.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Carl Barrett

    Nov 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    I tested and bought the X2 Hot Pro today. I am a single figure golfer with a natural draw. this club gave me a very slight fade with a dispersion of 5 yards over 240. This was consistent over 30 strikes.I bought it for this reason hoping to land softly on or around greens from distance. I totally disagree with the draw bias explained. such a set up would have me duck hooking..!

  2. jc

    Jan 22, 2014 at 6:21 pm

    A GUY AT THE CLUB bought the new x2 driver…hit ONE longer than what he was using….I will keep my G25 and live in the middle of the fairway…I don’t like clubs than do draws because I don’t need it..

  3. Paul

    Jan 13, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    Deep models? That is the one we really want to know about. With launch monitor numbers compared to regular woods would be nice.

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Equipment

SPOTTED: New Callaway Forged irons… Apex or Legacy?

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Photos of a new Callaway Forged iron popped up in our GolfWRX Forums, and our members are trying to figure out whether they’re going to be replacements for Apex Pro irons, or whether they’re an update on the Legacy series. They could also be X-Forged irons, but since Callaway recently came out with new X-Forged irons, that would be unlikely.

Here’s what GolfWRX Members are saying:

  • elwhippy: A new Legacy iron? Looks a bit Japanese shaped. 
  • mattTHEkatt: Like an X-Forged/Legacy Black mashup. They look powerful. 
  • DTown3011: …gotta be the next Apex!
  • J13: Pics look like a newer legacy black.
  • mgholda: Pics look like a newer legacy black.
  • TheMoneyShot: I thought Cally was going to phase out the Apex name after they released the MBs?
  • john443: A larger cavity in these then the X- Forged… competitor to the 750 and AP3 maybe? …or Legacy Black finally brought to retail…hallelujah. CF16 replacement???!
  • Equipto: These look very sharp, and like thumpers. I don’t care if they are a Legacy Black or Apex replacement, call them whatever… i’ll try them 
  • mrmikeac: Next gen Callaway Apex Legacy? Hmmmm…..
  • Brizam: The Legacy Black might be the best players cavity back ever made.  If they were to become available they’d move straight to the top of the list of clubs to buy for me. 
  • Jourdan M: This is the Apex Pro 

Here are photos of the new Callaway irons we spotted

Previous Apex Pro irons

Previous Legacy irons

Which one do you think the new iron looks like? 

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Equipment

Wilson’s new FG Tour V6 RAW irons (yes, they will rust)

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Wilson came out with its FG Tour V6 irons in 2016, but these new Raw versions have a different look… and with time, they’ll have a VERY different look.

The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish (which won’t rust).

In addition to the rusting effect, the irons are different because they have a copper badge in the cavity that will eventually match the color of the golf club over time. Here’s a graphic mock-up of how the Raw irons may look overtime.

Like the original releases, the irons have tungsten weights and mass behind the impact area for a “forged feel” and “improved feedback,” according to the company.

The FG Tour V6 Raw irons are a custom option on Wilson.com, and are available through Wilson’s premium partner accounts as of today, Tuesday, June 19. According to Wilson, the Raw irons “are a very limited production run,” so only a certain amount of sets will even be built.

 

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Equipment

Chief Engineer Chris Voshall on Mizuno’s approach to the Tour and some of the most insightful pros

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Mizuno’s Chief Engineer Chris Voshall chatted with Johnny Wunder on the latest episode of the Gear Dive.

Voshall offers innumerable interesting anecdotes–particularly interesting is the development of the JPX 900 iron for Brooks Koepka and Voshall’s discussion of his work with other Tour talents.

In the excerpt below, however, Voshall discusses Mizuno’s approach to Tour players and further, whose feedback has proven particularly valuable.

“We’re not making them something special. If they’re coming to us, it’s because the product is that good…They come to us instead of us having to go to them…that’s one of the really exciting things.”

Voshall indicated that players on Tour play essentially the same Mizuno products that are available at retail.

“If the Tour van is out of inventory, they can reach out to us…and we’ll get them more heads. There’s nothing unique about what they’re playing, which I think speaks to the customer…you can almost not trust marketing around the whole world these days, but for us to say ‘there’s nothing different’…that’s something we really hang our hat on.”

With respect to excellent testers on Tour, Voshall sang Luke Donald’s praises, as well as Jhonny Vegas and Brian Gay.

“I love working with Luke. Luke, especially when you’re talking irons…turf interaction, that’s the thing he’s looking for. So with Luke, you’ve really got to speak to him about how it feels, how it enter, how it exits [the turf] and how that’s causing the ball to launch. You could give him the exact same head with a slightly different sole grind, and he will love or hate one versus the other. He’s really cool to work with on that front.”

“Jhonny Vegas…he’s raw power. He goes at it. He wants to slam the club into the ground as hard as he can and see where it goes. He very much on the opposite end of the spectrum as Luke, who’s very much an artist out there, trying to work it, trying to do different things.”

“One of my favorite guys to work with, even though he’s not on staff anymore, is Brian Gay. He knows his game. He knows equipment. Speaking to the fact that he’s been out on Tour as long as he has and has the wins he has with the length he hits the ball, it shows that he does not miss a shot. And he knows everything…when he makes a comment on a club, that’s the one that I take most serious.”

For the rest of Voshall’s insights and perspective, give the full podcast a listen below.

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