Tour Edge Exotics clubs – including the new Tour Edge Exotics XCG5
driver - have always been recognized as being the company’s best. The
Exotics line is all about high performance and cutting-edge technology,
and Exotics clubs are priced higher than the company’s other club
offerings, many of which offer strong performance for prices well below
the industry’s “big name” clubs.
As a golf equipment company, Tour Edge is like the “Little Engine That Could.” It’s almost like it’s a “hidden gem” in the golf equipment industry. In fact, it may be the best golf equipment company that hardly anyone has heard of. And the company’s Exotics line of clubs is the cream of the Tour Edge crop, eagerly anticipated by golf equipment junkies every year.
Well, the company has a new “big dog” out for 2012– the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver. Let’s take a look and see what it’s all about.
Like previous versions of Exotics drivers, the Tour Edge Exotics XCGS driver features the company’s unique, high-tech “combo-brazing” manufacturing process. Basically, the head’s titanium face and body are chemically bonded (not welded) to an extremely thin and light beta titanium crown. Other golf club manufacturers weld these parts together because welding is less expensive and quicker than brazing. But according to Tour Edge, welding adds weight and creates unwanted rigidity, so it doesn’t permit the face to fully flex and it fails to deliver the forgiveness that brazing makes possible.
The thin, extremely light beta titanium crown allows six weight pads to be added at the rear of the driver’s sole. This technique, which the company calls its “Six-Point Perimeter Weighting System,” promotes distance and accuracy by shifting the head’s center of gravity down and to the rear.
The face of the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver is significantly larger than previous Exotics models and uses a variable face thickness design to create V-shaped “boomerangs” that produce a hot, fast ball launch even on mishits. Tour Edge doesn’t overlook the importance of aerodynamics, either. Because distance is enhanced by higher swing speeds, the head of the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver is shaped to reduce air drag.
Two versions of the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver are available - the “Super-Ultra-Light” and the “Ultra-Light.” The Super-Ultra-Light version weighs in at only 271 grams (making it one of the lightest drivers available) and uses a Graphite Design Tour AD 40 shaft fitted with a Winn Lite Exotics grip. The Ultra-Light version is available with your choice of a Fujikura Blur or an Aldila RIP Sigma graphite shaft. The grip is an Exotics White New Decade. All three shafts are excellent, although the Fujikura and Aldila shafts are slightly heavier than the Graphite Design.
I tested the 10.5-degree “Super-Ultra-Light” Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver, fitted with the Graphite Design Tour AD 40 shaft in regular flex. The clubs are also available in 9.0 and 12.0 lofts.
Right off the bat, I appreciated the driver’s looks. The red, black and white color scheme is handsome and the head looks fairly conventional at address. There aren’t any distractions here – even the alignment aid is just a simple, subtle “X.”
The club’s light weight was immediately noticeable, but it always felt in balance during my swings. The lightweight Graphite Design shaft never seemed too whippy, and I always knew where the head was while I was swinging.
I didn’t hit my drives particularly high, but the ball seemed to roll much farther than normal and I’d say my overall distance was higher than average. Even when I mishit the ball, the length was still respectable so I’d say the club is pretty forgiving. The feel on well-struck balls was crisp and fulfilling. It was difficult for me to intentionally hit a fade with the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver, but I was able to produce a little draw virtually every time I needed one. The club might suffer from a lack of left-to-right workability, but it was easy to keep the ball in the fairway. For most of us, that’s the most important thing – especially when we’re playing a game-improvement driver like this one.
The Bottom Line: Although it doesn’t quite match the great feel and workability of some of the Tour Edge Exotics fairway woods I’ve hit in the past, that doesn’t mean I don’t like this driver. I do. It’s nice to look at, it has above-average length, it delivers consistent performance, and its accuracy and forgiveness make the fairways seem wider than they actually are. The difficulty I had moving the ball from left to right doesn’t bother me, because most people playing a game-improvement driver won’t try to hit a fade intentionally anyway. All in all, I think the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 driver is a keeper.