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Exotics CB5 Fairway Woods: Editor Review

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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.

Overview

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.

[youtube id=”2f4aZ1djpBM” width=”620″ height=”360″]

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.

CB5 Shaft Specs

CB5 Shaft Specs

Performance

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:

  1. Limit carry distance and workability.
  2. 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.

IMG_2716

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.

IMG_2730

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 Takeaway

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.

IMG_2709

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.

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Zak is the Editor-in-Chief of GolfWRX.com. He's been a part of the company since 2011, when he was hired to lead GolfWRX's Editorial Department. Zak developed GolfWRX's Featured Writer Program, which supports aspiring writers and golf industry professionals. He played college golf at the University of Richmond (Go Spiders!) and still likes to compete in tournaments. You can follow Zak on Twitter @ZakKoz, where he's happy to discuss his game and all the cool stuff that's part of his job.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. matt

    Dec 27, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Gee I wonder if the non believers in Exotics ever checked what snedeker used as a fairway wood when he won the fed ex cup … yup it was an Exotics .. and he wasn’t paid to play it …. Exotics is a sleeper brand because they don’t pay people to play their equipment nor spend millions on over hyped marketing adds. Check the golf digest awards you’ll see this name a lot

  2. Pingback: Tour Edge Exotics CG7 Fairway wood line given 5 Star Ranking - "Driver Like Ball Speed" | Hodson Golf

  3. Kenny P

    Oct 26, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    tee makes rubbish…buy an Adams club if you want quality, value and a long time partner in your bag.

  4. spencer096

    May 16, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    sigma’s are real deal?

  5. Chris

    May 10, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    How do they stay in business? Have a bit of a cult following, but generally a big under-performer at big $$$$!

    • Brian

      May 11, 2013 at 2:34 am

      Huh, big under performer??? Have you hit them or seen comparisons? The review states higher speeds then the TM. Expensive, yes. But you get a real shaft like in a TP. Compared to a TP or a custom order they are priced right.

      Just because they do not sponsor tour play, does not mean they cannot perform. Big under perform is a big opinionated viewpoint.

    • Mike

      May 26, 2013 at 12:56 pm

      Wow… that is an unfair statement to make, TEE are the best fairway woods out…end of, have owned and played one for a period of time? (not just demo at the range)great performing clubs, the CB1 & 2 have legendary status amongst elite players and although expensive, you get what you pay for and not “made for” shafts.

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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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