Pros: These might be the cleanest, classiest-looking fairway woods on the market. The titanium faces provide plenty of ball speed and forgiveness, and the stock shaft options are solid.
Cons: Four different lofts, but no adjustability. Did we mention that they’re $299?
Bottom Line: The CB5 fairway woods get top marks for ball speed, and they’re as forgiving and good looking as anything else you can buy. But they’re a little spinnier than other top fairway woods in their class. That makes them a good option for players who need more spin, or want more carry or workability than other high-COR fairway woods can provide.
With its Exotics fairway woods, Tour Edge has developed a reputation for making some of the best performing fairway woods in golf. Just ask Brandt Snedeker, who used a 13-degree version of the company’s CB4 fairway wood to win the PGA Tour’s 2012 FedExCup and earn of payday of more than $10 million.
The company’s new line of CB5 fairway woods are an improvement over the CB4, using a new SP-700 titanium face to give golfers slightly less spin and more ball speed across the face.
“SP-700 is about twice as light as steel,” said David Glod, president and founder of Tour Edge. “That allows us to put the center of gravity where we want.”
All things being equal, a lower center of gravity (CG) creates a higher launch, which is exactly what most players want from their fairway woods.
Tour Edge lowered the CG of the CB5 even more with its combo brazing process, which joins the club’s titanium cup face and heavier steel body without creating any welds. That, combined with its thicker sole plate, gives the CB5 a center of gravity that Glod said is lower than any of its competitors.
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The Tour Edge Exotics CB5 fairway woods are available in lofts of 13, 15, 16.5 and 18 degrees, and come stock with “real deal” versions of Aldila’s RIP 70 Sigma or Mitsubishi Rayon’s Fubuki Tour shafts for $299.
The latest trend in fairway wood design is creating clubs with low, forward CG’s that increase ball speed and decrease spin. Those designs, like Callaway X Hot Pro and TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 Tour, are great for golfers with a lot of swing speed who need to decrease spin to keep their shots out of the clouds. They’re also great for players who like to use their 3 wood off the tee as a second driver, because they create driver-like ball speeds from shorter, more lofted clubs.
But those clubs can also be too low spin for some players, which can:
- Limit carry distance and workability.
- Go too far for high-speed golfers who depend on their fairway woods for control, not distance.
That’s where the CB5 comes in. It’s a playable, workable fairway wood with a low center of gravity and a hot face.
In our testing, we found the 15-degree CB5 to be almost 1 mph faster off the face than a 15-degree X Hot Pro and 14.5-degree RBZ Stage 2 Tour (adjusted to 15 degrees) with the same shaft, shaft length and swing weight, which we attributed to the titanium face construction. But because of the club’s increased spin, which was as much as 1000 rpms higher on certain swings, the CB5 tended to have a shorter total distance than the other clubs.
The added spin will help golfers hit the ball high and soft enough to hold a green, but it could produce a problem for some players. That’s why it’s a nice feature that 13-degree and 15-degree models of the CB5 are essentially the same club except for their loft. For players who need less spin, the 13-degree model will make more sense.
Looks and Feel
Like the CB4 fairway woods, the CB5’s have a medium face depth that many better players prefer. This gives the club a strong look off the tee, but might intimidate some golfers who use the club from the short grass and light rough. Those players will discover that despite its medium face depth, the CB5 is actually much better than many smaller fairway woods off the ground because of its extremely low center of gravity.
Left to Right: Callaway’s X Hot Pro, TaylorMade’s RBZ Stage 2 Tour, Exotics CB5 (All 15 degrees).
The SP-700 titanium used to make the CB5’s cup face is a little harder than the CB4’s 15-3-3-3 titanium, which gives the club a stronger, more solid feel than many golfers might expect from a titanium-faced fairway wood. The sound is closer to a muted “ping” than a loud “crack,” and there’s a jumpy feel off the face that lets golfers know that the ball took off with some serious speed.
The CB5 fairway woods are smaller than the company’s more driver-like XCG6 fairway woods (our review of those is coming soon), a size that better players will appreciate. They also have a 1-degree open face angle in the 13- and 15-degree models, which will match the face angle of many better players’ drivers.
The biggest drawback of the CB5 fairway woods are their $299 price tag, which doesn’t seem so bad when you consider that the clubs come with stock shafts that sell separately for hundreds of dollars. The CB5’s titanium faces and combo-brazed construction are two premium attributes that are uncommon in the industry as well, which also makes the sticker shock more manageable.
The CB5 fairway woods use a thick, steel sole plate to move the CG even lower.
If you’re a golfer who is looking to hit your fairway woods as far as humanly possible, and will rush to the store in 2014 to buy the new model that promises five more yards, Exotics fairway woods probably aren’t for you. But if you’re looking for a premium-constructed, versatile fairway wood with a traditional look and pleasing sound, the CB5’s should be on your list of clubs to try.
Check the photos in the gallery below, which show more photos of the CB5 as well as comparison photos to the X Hot Pro and RBZ Stage 2.