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Callaway X Hot Fairway Woods: Editor Review
Summary: These just might be the most versatile and best performing fairway woods of 2013.
Pros: The X Hot fairway woods are longer and more versatile than Callaway’s past models. The stock shafts are solid, and the matte grey finish and muted sound have been well received by most golfers.
Cons: No adjustability, but there are three different models — X Hot, X Hot Pro and 3 Deep.
Bottom Line: It’s good to have one of the longest fairway woods on the market. It’s even better to have one of the most playable.These are both, making them a “must hit” for golfers in the market for a new fairway wood this year.
Callaway’s X Hot and X Hot Pro fairway woods look much like the company’s previous fairway woods, but changes to their materials and construction make them top-tier performers.
The new fairway woods borrow the forged cup face design from Callaway drivers, which moves the weld line away from the face to allow Callaway more control over face thickness and tolerances. They also employ 455 Carpenter steel faces, which paved the way for faces to be constructed as thin as 0.047 inches in certain areas, 40 percent thinner than the previous RAZR X Black fairway woods.
These changes give the X Hot and X Hot Pro fairway woods performance that is near the USGA limit without having to increase the size of the clubhead or add a slot to the sole or crown of the club.
Both fairway woods have what Callaway calls internal standing wave, a structure with a “weight” that hangs over the cup face (shown in the video above) and moves the CG in the fairway woods lower and further forward, optimizing launch angle and spin.
The X Hot Pro has a more forward CG than the standard model, giving it a flatter trajectory with less spin. It also has more camber and less offset for more versitility. Both models feature a modern version of Callaway’s warbird sole for enhanced turf interaction from less-than desirable lies.
Callaway’s X Hot fairway woods are available in lofts of 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 and 25 with a True Temper Project X Velocity proprietary shaft in light, regular and stiff flexes. The X Hot Pro version is available in lofts of 13.5, 15, 16.5 and 18 with a “real deal” version of the Project X Velocity shaft in 5.5, 6.0 and 6.5. Both models sell for around $230.
Traditionally, golfers have had to choose between a fairway wood that goes a long way off the tee and one that’s good off the ground. Thanks to their smaller size and low center of gravity, the X Hot fairway woods deliver in both places.
Face image: X-Hot Pro
The X Hot has the most shallow face in the line, making it good for golfers with a shallow angle of attack or those who need more spin. The X Hot Pro has a deeper, or taller face, but at only 155 cubic centimeters in the 15-degree model it’s one of the most versatile low-spin fairway woods we’ve ever encountered.
Headcover for the X-Hot Fairway Metal
Like the TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2 Tour fairway woods, the X Hot Pro can be slightly too low spinning or go too far for some golfers because of the club’s huge ball speeds. That means some golfers will need to go to a higher loft to get the spin or trajectory they prefer. That’s certainly not a bad thing, but something for golfers to be aware of.
A small percentage of golfers with Tour-like swing speeds could potentially struggle with the X Hot Pro’s smaller size. Phil Mickelson, for example, hit too many shots high on the face with the X Hot Pro. That resulted in a vertical gear effect that made his shots too low spinning, which is why engineers built him a larger, deeper-faced model called 3 Deep that had more consistent spin rates. But not all pros are gaming the 3 Deep and X Hot Pro — both Jim Furyk and Tianlang Guan are users of the X Hot fairway woods.
Looks and Feel
From address: The X Hot
The X Hot fairway woods have faces that push the USGA limits on COR (coefficient of restitution), which means shots across the face are coming off with a lot of speed. But Callaway engineers designed the X Hot fairway woods to be quieter than most high-COR fairway woods, giving them a “thwack” that sounds and feels very solid.
Visually, both the X Hot and X Hot Pro have classic shapes at address. The X Hot has decals and an alignment Chevron on the head, as well as a marking on the center of the face. The markings frame the ball nicely and don’t overtake the shape of the head thanks matte grey finish on the crown.
From address: The X Hot Pro
The X Hot Pro has a slightly opened at address. It has no alignment aids, and grooves that extend across the entirety of the face, giving it a throwback look that many better players have liked.
Sole photo of the XHot Pro
No other club in a golfer’s bag needs to be as versatile as 3 wood, which is why there are so many Tour players using fairway woods that are several years old. It’s a club that is hard to replace until a golfer finds something better.
We can say with confidence that these are the best fairway woods Callaway has ever produced, which is one of the reasons the clubs have caught on with tour players. They’re long, forgiving and playable from lies we didn’t think they could handle.
We’d love to see adjustability in the X Hot line, and we’ll probably get it next year. But for now, we’re enjoying these fairway woods, because they’re exactly what modern-day fairway wood should be — classic in sound and feel, and totally non-traditional in the crazy distance they fly.