Pros: Second-to-none ball speeds. The XCG7, XCG7 Beta and CB Pro have three distinct profiles that will please a wide range of golfers.
Cons: All three models produce a similar launch and spin, and they’re on the expensive side ($249+). Made-for shafts in the XCG7 and XCG7 Beta. No adjustability.
Bottom Line: All three of these fairway woods have the potential to produce driver-like ball speeds. The XCG7 has the largest footprint and is the most forgiving, the CB Pro is the smallest and fastest and the XCG7 Beta fits nicely in between. This is one of the most impressive, well-rounded fairway wood families in golf.
For years, GolfWRX has been told by leading custom fitters that Tour Edge Exotics (TEE) fairways woods are some of the best-performing, if not the best-performing fairway woods in their stores. The issue with them, they say, has nothing to do with their performance. It’s their price.
Last year’s CB5 was one of our favorite fairway woods from 2013, but it was released with a starting price of $299 — $70 more than Callaway’s X Hot and $50 more than TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 Tour. This year’s fairway woods haven’t dropped in price — the XCG7 is $249, the XCG7 Beta is $299 and the CB Pro is a whopping $499! — but the lineup has swelled to three distinct models that TEE says outperform their predecessors.
The XCG7 has the widest footprint of the three fairway woods, but it looks a lot larger than it really is. It’s extremely wide, but its shallow face allows it to measure only 185 cubic centimeters.
The XCG7 has a 465 forged maraging steel cup face that is combo-brazed to a hyper-steel body. It also includes TEE’s new Power Grid, which is positioned directly behind the hitting area to create an “accordion-like flex” at impact to increase spring-like effect, and Hexahedron sole weights that are positioned in the rear corners of the club head to increase its moment of inertia (MOI).
The XCG7 comes stock with Fujikura’s Exotics Fuel shaft in L, A, R, S and X flexes (a more robust Fujikura Exotics Fuel Tour is also available in 60R, 70S and 80X). It’s offered in lofts of 13, 15, 16.5, 18 and 21 degrees.
The XCG7 Beta is also 185cc and has TEE’s Power Grid, but it has a shorter heel-to-toe length and a taller face. Its face is made from beta titanium, which is combo-brazed to a hyper-steel body, and its Hexahedron weight pads are positioned more forward in the XCG7 Beta’s head.
It comes stock with a Matrix Exotics “White Tie 5.1″ “Red Tie 6.1″ or “Black Tie 7.1″ shaft in L, A, R S and X flexes. It’s available in lofts of 11.5, 13, 15, 16.5 and 18 degrees.
The CB Pro has a smaller 170-cc head that drives the center of gravity more forward than the XCC7 and XCG7 Beta. Like the XCG7 Beta, it has a beta titanium face that is combo-brazed to a hyper-steel body. It’s most eye-catching feature is its “Slip-Stream” sole, which TEE says improves turf interaction regardless of a golfer’s angle of attack.
The CB Pro comes stock with either a Fujikura Speeder 661 shaft in R and S flexes, or a Fujikura Speeder 757 shaft in S and X flexes. Both shafts are after-market versions. It’s available in lofts of 13.5, 14.5, 15.5, 16.5 and 17.5 degrees.
Since each club is unique in its own right, I went to Carl’s GolfLand in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., to evaluate the performance of each club on Trackman at its Launch Pad custom-fitting center. The results were fascinating. While these clubs have extreme cosmetic differences, they perform very similar to each other in terms of launch angle, spin rate and ball speed with their stock x-flex shafts.
Note: The clubs were each tested with the following lofts: XCG7 (13 degrees), XCG7 Beta (13 degrees) and CB Pro (13.5 degrees).
The XCG7 (above) tied with the CB Pro with an average ball speeds (150.8 mph) thanks to its larger foot print. Its top ball speed was 154.2 mph for me, giving it the second-fastest peak ball speed. The average launch angle was 8.4 degrees (the lowest), while its average spin rate was 3304 rpm (the second-highest).
The XCG7 Beta (above) had the fastest average ball speed (151.5 mph), likely due to its beta titanium face. It’s top ball speed was 153.6 mph, the slowest of the three. It had the highest average launch angle, 8.9 degrees, and the highest average spin rate, 3424 rpm.
The CB Pro (above) had an average peak ball speed of 150.8 mph, but its more forward CG added pop to pure strikes. It topped out at 154.5 mph, which was in-step with decent hits with my custom-fit TaylorMade RBZ Tour (T-Serial) driver. Sick, right? The average launch angle was 8.6 degrees, and its average spin rate was 3234 rpm, the lowest of the three fairway woods.
The CB Pro was clearly the longest of the three, mostly due to its lower spin rate, but it was also the least forgiving because of its more forward CG and smaller club head size. I was impressed with the “Slip-Stream Sole,” which keeps all the meat of the club off the ground to allow it to maintain its speed through impact. The waves on the sole basically push the ground away from the face, making it feel like the ball is teed up at impact. That and its smaller size make it particularly useful from less than perfect lies from the fairway and light rough.
The XCG7 was my least-favorite looking fairway wood out of the box because of its substantial heel-to-toe width. I thought I might struggle with it because of that, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was much more nimble than it looked.
Golfers who miss the sweet spot more than they hit it will love the XCG7, particularly those who struggle with heel and toe hits. It’s tough to use out of the rough, where it can look like a frisbee laying behind the ball, and it was the hardest to work the ball with. But for higher-handicap golfers, who are likely the target audience for the XCG7, straight is a good thing.
The XCG7 Beta looks a lot like Callaway’s X Hot Pro fairway wood at address, which I think is one of the most handsome fairway woods on the market. Its deeper face should work great for golfers who struggle with mishits high and low, as it provides ample real estate for vertical misses. It’s more workable than the XCG7, and better from less-than-perfect lies given that you have the speed to play a deeper-faced fairway wood. But it’s not as good off the ground or as workable as the CB Pro.
Looks and Feel
From left to right: Tour Edge Exotics’ CB Pro, XCG7 Beta ad XCG7.
The XCG7 and the XCG7 Beta have the same matte gray finish, with “Exotics” printed on the heel-side of the crown in the back corner. In terms of feel, they were typical of Exotics’ fairway woods, feeling muted and powerful across the face, which makes them a lot of fun to hit.
The CB Pro is a much different club than the other two, however. First off, it has a very traditional black glossy crown with no graphics. And when the club is turned over, the Slip-Stream Sole is a real eye catcher. It will turn the heads of every golf in your foursome and the golfers next to you on the range. At impact, the versatility of the sole makes the CB Pro feel like the ball is always sitting up. The bumps on the sole really fight the ground for you, and that makes it one of the most versatile fairway woods I’ve played.
I also really enjoyed the Fujikura Speeder 757X shaft, which is the driver of the CB Pro’s $500 price tag. It’s extremely smooth and stable, with great-looking graphics that match the premium vibe the CB Pro emits. On its own, the Speeder 757 shaft sells for $350, which means golfers are basically getting the titanium-faced fairway wood head for an extra $150.
The CB Pro also has its own unique feel. It is not nearly as muted as the other two and feels a bit “tinnier.” There were a lot more vibrations on off-center hits with the CB Pro than there were with the others as well. But a solid hit with the CB Pro feels effortless and explosive, especially because of the reduced drag that the Slip-Stream Sole offers.
It’s fun to talk about the numbers I recorded with the three new TEE fairway woods, but most golfers won’t need to test them all like I did to figure out which one they want to play. Since they perform similarly to each other in terms of ball speed, launch angle and spin, golfers can choose the head shape that gives them the most confidence at address and then go about dialing in the right loft and shaft for them.
The best part about the XCG7, XCG7 Beta and CB Pro is that their top-level ball speeds don’t come at the expense of looks, feel and versatility. Yes, the XCG7 is going to be the least workable, and the CB Pro is going to allow for the most creativity, but really all of these fairway woods will do what golfers ask of them, provided they have the skill to do so.