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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

Members’ Choice: The top-5 drivers that golfers want to test in 2018

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Golf’s “off-season” is upon us and the PGAM Show in Orlando is quickly approaching in January, which means it’s time to start thinking about the upcoming driver releases.

We’ve seen a few companies launch their “2018” lines already — such as Cobra with its new King F8 and F8+ — while speculation swirls around the companies who have yet to announce their newest products. For instance, we’ve spotted a new “TaylorMade M4″ driver, and a new “Rogue” driver from Callaway. If history repeats itself and Titleist remains on a two-year product cycle, then we’ll see a replacement for the 917 line sometime in 2018, as well.

The question we posed to our GolfWRX Members recently was, which new or unreleased driver has you most excited heading into 2018? Below are the results and a selection of comments about each driver.

Click here to join the discussion!

Note: The comments below have been minimally edited for brevity and grammar. 

Titleist (7.39 percent of votes)

BDoubleG: I know it’s well down the road, but the Titleist 919 is what I’m most looking forward to. I played the 910 until this year and loved it, but I realized that I wasn’t getting much in the way of distance gains with the 915/917, and I was just leaving too many yards on the table. I know it’s a cliche, but I was seeing considerable gains with my G400LS, then my M2 I have now.

I feel like Titleist has been hurting in the driver market share category (and probably elsewhere), as I think a lot of people think that the 913, 915 and 917 have been minor refreshes in a world where almost everyone else has been experimenting with structure (jailbreak, turbulators) or with COG (spaceports, SLDR, G-series extreme back CG). I think if Titleist is going to recapture some of their market share, they will need to start taking an interest in stepping outside of their comfort zone to catch up with everyone else. Maybe I’m hoping for too much, but a D2-style head with ample forgiveness and low-spin (maybe a back-front weight), with the same great sound of the 917, and hopefully getting rid of the “battery taped to the sole” look would be a huge hit in my book.

I’m really looking forward to seeing what they come up with…and I hope I’m not disappointed.

Mizuno GT-180 or otherwise (8.87 percent of votes)

mrmikeac: After thoroughly testing the Mizuno ST-180 and seeing the distance gains I was getting from my Epic, I can’t wait for the GT to get here. Cobra would be next in line for me, but Mizzy really did something special with that JPX-900 and it seems to look like they’re going the same route with these drivers. Excellent feel, forgiveness and simple but effective tech. 

Callaway Rogue, Rogue Sub Zero or otherwise (17.73 percent of votes)

cvhookem63: It seems like we’re not getting a lot of “NEW” this time — just some same lines “improved” on a little. I’m interested to try the Rogue line and M3/M4 line to see if they improved on their previous models. The Cobra F8+ is intriguing to me, as well. I’d like to compare those three to see how they stack up. 

tj7644: Callaway Rogue. It’s gotta make me hit straighter drives right? It sure can’t be my swing…

Equipto: Callaway Rogue Sub Zero, and that’s about it. Most of my testing will be with shafts I presume. 

bangabain: Excited to give the Rogue a shot, although with the hope that there’s a little more fade bias despite the lack of sliding weight.

TaylorMade M3, M4 or otherwise (27.09 percent of votes)

DeCuchi: TaylorMade M3 of course, and the F8+. I’m more interested in the fairways this year though. TaylorMade M4 fairways and Rogue fairways are top of my list. 

elwhippy: TaylorMade M3 and M4. Not owned a TM driver for several seasons and want something with a bit more power than the Ping G Series…

cradd10: M3. Still rocking an OG M1. Super solid driver. Curious to see if the updated version can beat it. 

Cobra F8/F8+ (33.66 percent of votes)

WAxORxDCxSC: I sure want to like the F8 based on looks (I understand I’m possibly in the minority on that one at GolfWRX).

TWshoot67: For me, it’s three drivers: the Cobra F8, F8+ and TM M4. 

The General: Cobra F8 is going to dominate everything, just wait, on the F8

Ace2000: Definitely F8/F8+. Love my Bio Cell+ and can’t help but wonder if these perform as good as they look. 

Click here to join the discussion!

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Equipment

True Linkswear goes back to its spikeless roots

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True Linkswear is getting back to its roots, while expanding the singular golf shoe brand’s reach at the same time.

The Tacoma, Washington, company’s Director/Partner, Justin Turner, told us that with the release of the two new models, the company is course-correcting from a move toward the mainstream, spiked golf shoes, and a loss of identity.

In addition to durability issues, Turner said the core True Linkswear customer didn’t appreciate the shift — or the deluge of models that followed.

So, in a sense, the two-model lineup both throws a bone to True devotees and casts a wider net.

Turner and company asked: “If we wanted to restart the brand….what would we value?” A commitment to the brand’s core outsider identity, style as articulated in early models, and an emphasis on quality led Turner on multiple trips to China to survey suppliers in early 2017. Eventually, the company settled on a manufacturing partner with a background in outdoor gear and hiking shoes.

“We’ve spent the last few years scouring the globe for the best material sourcing, reputable factories, advanced construction techniques, and time-tested fundamentals to build our best shoes yet. No cheap synthetics, no corners cut.”

Eventually, True settled on two designs: The Original, which, not surprisingly, has much in common with the zero-drop 2009 industry disrupting model, and the Outsider: a more athletic-style shoe positioned to attract a broader audience.

True Linkswear Original: $149

The company emphasizes the similarity in feel between the Original and early True Linkswear models, suggesting that players will feel and connect to the course “in a whole new way.”

  • Gray, White, Black colorways
  • Waterproof full grain leather
  • Thin sole with classic True zero-drop heel
  • 12.1 oz
  • Sockfit liner for comfort
  • Natural width box toe

True Linkswear Outsider: $169

With the Outsider, True Linkswear asked: “What if a golf shoe could be more? Look natural in more environments?”

  • Grey/navy, black, white colorways
  • EVA midsole for lightweight cushioning
  • Full grain waterproof leather
  • 13.1 oz (thicker midsole than the Original)

The company envisions both shoes being worn on course and off.

True Linkswear introduced the more durable and better-performing Cross Life Tread with both models. Turner says the tread is so good, you can wear the shoes hiking.

Both models are available now through the company website only. True Linkswear plans to enter retail shops slowly and selectively.

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Equipment

Sean O’Hair and Steve Stricker’s Winning WITBs from the 2017 QBE Shootout

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The team of Steve Stricker and Sean O’Hair closed the QBE Shootout with an 8-under 64 for a two-shot win over Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. O’Hair made a timely eagle on the par-5 17th hole at Tiburon Golf Club to lock up the first place prize of $820,000 ($410,000 each).

Here’s a look at their bags.

Sean O’Hair

Driver: Titleist 917D2 (9.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Tensei CK Pro White Prototype 60TX

3 Wood: Titleist 917F2 (15 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S+ Limited Edition 70TX

5 Wood: Titleist 915F (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Diamana S+ Limited Edition 80TX

Irons: Titleist 716 T-MB (4-iron), Titleist 718 AP2 (5-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 prototype (50, 54 and 58 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: Scotty Cameron prototype

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1

Related: Sean O’Hair WITB

Steve Stricker

Driver: Titleist 913D3 (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 8.2X

3 Wood: Titleist 915F (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Rayon Tensei CK Pro White 80TX Prototype

Hybrid: Titleist 816H1 (17.0 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Motore Speeder VC 9.2X

Irons: Titleist 718 CB (3-9)
Shafts: KBS Tour Prototype

Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM6 (46, 54 and 60 degrees)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400 w/ Sensicore

Putter: Odyssey White Hot 2

Golf Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Related: Steve Stricker WITB 2017

Note: We originally reported Stricker had a Scotty Cameron putter in the bag, per Titleist’s equipment report. Stricker did, however, have a Odyssey White Hot putter in play during the final round of the QBE Shootout.

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