Pros: A power grid behind the club face and a low-forward CG helps to increase ball speed, raise launch and lower spin. Both drivers offer premium stock shaft offerings at no upcharge.
Cons: The Beta, in particular, is not very forgiving. The additional weight kit is also bit pricey ($50).
Who’s it for: Better players with higher swing speeds looking for a classic-looking driver that can improve their launch conditions.
From the land of clubs more tour players would bag if “pay for play” didn’t exist, Tour Edge Exotics introduces the E8 and E8 Beta line of drivers for 2014/15. A refined power grid increases face flex to create top-of-the-industry ball speeds across the entire face. Essentially, this “grid” acts in a fashion similar to other channels or slots, which sit directly behind the face of the club. The club is engineered to use varied wall thicknesses that maximize the spring-like effect, while maintaining as much ball speed as possible on off-center strikes.
A lower and more forward center of gravity (CG) fashions a higher launch and lower spin, which means more total distance for both the E8 and E8 Beta. However, on the E8 Beta, the Power Grid is slightly narrower, which allows the CG to sit slightly more forward. The result is a lower launch and lower spin than the E8. That said, to take advantage of these launch characteristics, higher swing speeds are absolutely critical.
Both the E8 and E8 Beta offer “Shot Control Technology” with eight loft/lie settings at 0.5-degree increments from 8.5-to-12 degrees. Upright settings are offered at 9, 10 and 11 degrees for players looking to use the lie angle to help promote a draw.
Tour Edge Exotics E8 ($299)
The 460cc titanium head E8 is equipped with three stock shaft options: Mitsubishi Bassara E-Series, Fujikura Exotics Pro 57/62 and Fujikura Exotics Pro Tour 72/77. Stock length is 45.5 inches.
Tour Edge Exotics E8 Beta ($399)
The 440cc E8 Beta showcases the Aldila Rogue Silver or Aldila Rogue Black as stock shaft options and stock length is 45 inches. The “Beta” refers to the Beta titanium insert in driver’s face.
An additional weight kit is available for purchase ($50) and comes with three individual weights in 5, 10 and 12 grams.
Speed kills. While you can hit it farther by improving your launch conditions, the simplest way to pick up distance is to increase ball speed. That’s exactly what the E8 and E8 Beta are designed to do.
The “Power Grid” certainly does a nice job maintaining ball speeds on off-center contact. The concern with any driver that touts a low/forward CG is the loss in Moment of Inertia (MOI) aka “forgiveness.” I didn’t find either the E8 or E8 Beta to be as forgiving as other drivers with low/deep CG locations, but they were both more forgiving than the earliest industry models that introduced a more forward CG concept.
Ok, so which driver is best for you? If you have a swing speed typically north of 105 MPH, you owe it to yourself to give the Beta a run. This club is no doubt the lower-launching and more workable of the two.
If you’re south of 100 MPH or prefer a bit more forgiveness and higher ball flight, the E8 will likely be a much better fit. If you’re in the nasty netherworld of the low triple digits, give ‘em both a run and don’t be afraid to stick with the E8. It’s likely the added forgiveness is something you’ll fine handy.
Tour Edge Exotics E8 (9.5 degrees) with Fujikura Exotics Pro Tour 72S
- Average Launch Angle: 15 degrees
- Average Spin Rate: 2400 rpm
- Average Ball Speed: 158 mph
- Average Carry Distance: 275 yards
- Average Total Distance: 311 yards
Tour Edge Exotics E8 Beta (9.5 degrees) with Aldila Rogue Silver 60S (tipped 0.5 inches)
- Average Launch Angle: 14 degrees
- Average Spin Rate: 2200 rpm
- Average Ball Speed: 162 mph
- Average Carry Distance: 281 yards
- Average Total Distance: 323 yards
Powerbilt AFO DFX (10.5 degrees) with Oban Kiyoshi 60 Stiff
- Average Launch Angle: 15 degrees
- Average Spin Rate: 2700 rpm
- Average Ball Speed: 165 mph
- Average Carry Distance: 296 yards
- Average Total Distance: 326 yards
Cobra Bio Cell Pro (8.5 degrees) with Aldila Tour Green 65 TS
- Average Launch Angle: 13.5 degrees
- Average Spin Rate: 2100 rpm
- Average Ball Speed: 162 mph
- Average Carry Distance: 278 yards
- Average Total Distance: 324 yards
For each club, I hit 10-to-12 balls and excluded the two best and two worst. Both drivers were set at 9.5 degrees and played at standard length. I also deleted any obvious outliers/mishits. All distances were measured using a Flightscope X2 launch monitor and standard Callaway range balls.
Solid Scale: Tin Can: 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 – 7 – 8 – 9 – Glazed Persimmon
I give the E8 a “5” and the E8 Beta a “7”. The E8 has a sound/feel that isn’t likely to repel any potential buyers, but it’s not a club you have to demo because of the acoustics. The E8 Beta crafts a feeling at impact that reminded me of the CB series of fairway woods. It’s slightly muted, but firm in a dense yet “holy kinetic energy, Batman” kind of feeling.
I must admit my bias for traditional pear shaped heads and solid, thwack-tastic sounds at impact. I also prefer wooden bats to aluminum and real fireplaces to gas alternatives. As such, I tend to lean towards the deep-faced, E8 Beta and I’ve generally ascribed to the “less is more” school of design when it comes to aesthetics. A simple clean look at address is unencumbered by superfluous cosmetic nonsense in both E8 models. Simply simple.
I like that Tour Edge isn’t pretending to have one driver that is both a jack and master of all trades, because there’s always a compromise. As a consumer, I appreciate the option to pick a club that best addresses my needs and then I can figure out how to mitigate the rest. If my first priority is low spin, I can start with the E8 Beta and see if I can get a loft/shaft combination that provides enough forgiveness for me to bag it.
If my absolute is forgiveness, then I can rock the E8 and mess with shafts to see if I can get the spin low enough without sacrificing launch conditions. Either way, having two uniquely different, yet dynamic clubs gives the consumer a plethora of options and all of them are good. I need lower spin and can generally find the center of the clubface (or close to it), so for me, the E8 Beta is the better choice, but my hunch is that the masses will gravitate toward the E8.