Where there was one, now there are two. That’s not any sort of profound, esoteric statement that encourages deep thought.
Simply, last year Tour Edge had one set of EXS irons. This year it has two. Both the revamped EXS 220 and new-to-the-family EXS 220h target mid-high handicap golfers, though there is still a meaningful separation between the two models. As with the rest of the EXS line, Tour Edge is targeting the value-conscious golfer seeking “the latest in technology at an affordable price.”
Value, price, technology, and performance are all variables in what can be a complicated equation, but Tour Edge believes it gives golfers the best ratio of performance per dollar on the market today. At $880/set (8-clubs/steel shafts), however, there will likely be plenty of OEMs making similar claims with prices in the same ballpark and possibly even the same section of the stadium.
Most Wanted testing is underway, and as always, performance will be the arbiter of whatever truth lies behind the marketing claims. That said, in 2019 Most Wanted Game-Improvement iron testing, the EXS ranked in the top-half for ball-speed, carry distance, and total distance, all critical attributes for this segment of golfers.
The premise behind the EXS 220 irons was to maintain what worked well with the previous generation EXS irons and seek opportunities for marginal improvements.
As such, the EXS 220 irons carry over the majority of materials and basic design elements from the previous generation 2018 EXS irons, including a good bit of the aesthetics. Despite the similarities, there are several notable changes as well, primarily in sole progression and finish.
Like the original EXS, the EXS 220 is a split set with both hollow-body (4-iron through 7-iron) and undercut (8-iron through Gap Wedge) designs. Tour Edge is sticking with a forged maraging steel 450 Cup Face in the hollow long irons and solid 431-stainless-steel construction in the short-irons.
Similarly, the EXS 220 irons feature SpiderWeb VFT, Launchpad Technology, and a ramped sole with heel/toe relief, which helps promote cleaner turf interaction.
The VFT (variable face thickness) design looks exactly as one would suspect though Tour Edge’s version isn’t intended to trap prey, but rather assist with ball speed retention on off-center strikes. In simple terms, Launchpad Technology is a TPE polymer that sits fills the internal cavity of the clubhead. It’s coated with a special performance gel to help mitigate unwanted vibrations and produce a more desirable sound/feel. No word on precisely what makes the gel special, but hey, if it works, it works. Finally, Tour Edge maintained the 19-gram Tungsten weight in the toe, which helps expand the sweet spot and pull the center of gravity a bit closer to the geometric center of the face.
As stated, the EXS 220 has a slightly altered shape, which is highlighted by more significant progression in offset, blade length, and sole width. Generally speaking, as a set moves from long irons to short irons, blade length (heel-toe measurement), offset, and sole-width decrease. That’s still the case with EXS 220, but compared to EXS, the long irons are a little longer heel-toe and have a bit more offset. The short irons are a little more compact, with less offset. Tour Edge increased the sole width in the short irons to help prevent the leading edge from digging into the turf.
A platinum chrome finish with hydrophobic (water repellant) characteristics completes the look. A hosel-notch that been added to allow for easier loft/lie adjustment.
Because the EXS 220 didn’t need to serve as both a GI and SGI iron, Tour Edge added the EXS 220h (“h” is for hybrid) and tweaked the design to be more super game-improvement in every way – larger heads, more offset, higher MOI, wider sole, and a deeper CG (higher launch). The conceptual basis for the 220h, according to Tour Edge, is a super game-improvement set with metalwood distance and forgiveness paired with the fee and control of an iron.
Perhaps the most obvious difference with the entirely hollow-body set is a PVD finish that Tour Edge calls Brushed Black Satin. If you’re a bit new to the finish game, PVD is the most common and basic of the various shades of black finishes on the market. It also tends to wear the quickest. The advantage of using PVD, in this case, extends beyond cosmetics alone. Dark finishes tend to give irons a sleeker appearance (i.e., taking something large and making it look not quite as rotund).
The EXS 220h irons leverage the same basic technology suite as the EXS2 220 irons, namely SpiderWeb VFT and LaunchPad Technology.
Both the EXS 220 and 220h iron sets are priced at $129.99/club (graphite) and $109.99/club (steel).
Retail availability is February 1, 2020.
As with the EXS 220 metalwoods, Tour Edge relied heavily on T.E.D. (its in-house testing robot) to help determine optimal shaft pairings for the EXS 220 and EXS 220h. The standard disclaimer applies, which is there’s no single shaft which is the absolute best fit for every golfer; however, there is a shaft that best fits each individual. The prime benefit of this selective approach from Tour Edge is that it protects the golfer from making a poor decision, and assuming a golfer reliably fits into one of the listed speed categories, the shaft should offer solid performance.
EXS 220 and 220h SpeedTested Stock Shafts
- < 85 MPH KBS TGI Tour Graphite 50g Ladies | 60g A-Flex
- 85-95 MPH KBS TGI Tour Graphite 70g Regular | 80g Stiff – TrueTemper XP85 85g Regular – TrueTemper Elevate 95 95g Regular
- > 95 MPH TrueTemper XP85 85g Stiff – True Temper Elevate 95 95g Regular – Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 80g 6.0 Stiff 80g 6.5 X-Stiff
Based on pricing, consumers might conclude that Tour Edge is primarily interested in golfers who are looking for options beyond the latest offerings from major OEMs. However, Tour Edge believes the 220 and 220h are as good as anything on the market.
What do you think?