It’s no secret that the golf industry generally struggles with standardization. From stiff shafts to rudimentary measurements, definitions vary from brand to brand. Hell, three of the largest manufacturers can’t agree on how long an inch is.  That said, you can be relatively sure any equipment release leveraging the “Pro” suffix, will exhibit similar characteristics. Specifically, we’re talking about forward center of gravity locations, deeper/taller faces, more compact heel-to-toe measurements, and some degree of anti-hook weighting bias.

Such releases typically come about in some part due to feedback from tour players. Overall, these attributes help produce lower launch and spin, while helping to mitigate a strong right-to-left ball flight (e.g., a hook). From a performance standpoint, the traditional downside to such geometries is a decrease in MOI (a forgiveness indicator). That said, mitigating this typical cost-benefit relationship is a space where we’ve seen brands find a fair bit of success.

There’s also an important caveat here. Not every professional golfer prefers equipment with the aforementioned design features. Some certainly do, however, as manufactures can embed more game-improvement features in equipment with player aesthetics, the connection between how a club looks and how it performs is becoming less strict.

The Skinny

The Tour Edge EXS Pro line of equipment fits the tour-inspired template. According to Tour Edge, EXS Pro models started as a series of prototypes for its tour staff and other professional golfers. Based on that feedback and assessment of the retail market, Tour Edge believes the Pro metalwoods can maintain an attractive price point and generate as much, if not more, performance as the category leaders.

The “straight from the tour van” limited release story is relatively standard in that every company uses its tour staff to test products and provide feedback. However, as is often the case, many prototypes never make it to retail. This is because what’s often a good fit for elite golfers isn’t the same as what plays well with the mainstream consumer.

With the EXS Pro metalwoods, Tour Edge is bringing to market a single driver, fairway, and hybrid model, all available right-hand only.

The EXS Pro driver features a sliding weight as well as an adjustable hosel (+/- 2 °). Both the fairway and hybrid feature interchangeable heel/toe weights and fixed (non-adjustable) hosels.

Tour Edge is billing this release as a limited-edition, small-batch, whatever-you-want-to-call-it offering. Specifically, it will release 1000 pieces of each – driver, fairway, and hybrid.

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Tour Edge EXS Pro Driver Specifics

The EXS Pro driver features a low/forward CG location, achieved in part by the aggressive crown slope running toward the rear of the club. Additionally, a dual-carbon crown creates additional discretionary weight to support the FlightTrack sliding weight system visible on the back of the club. By moving the weight around the perimeter of the club, golfers can shift the weight from the heel to the toe to modify the shot shape. More weight in the heel supports a right-left (draw) flight, whereas more weight in the toe helps induce a left-right (fade) curvature.

A 6-gram sliding weight is standard, though consumers can purchase a separate weight kit including 3, 9- and 15-gram weights.

Compared to the EXS driver, Tour Edge states that Pro launches slightly lower and spins approximately 400 RPM less. Theoretically, the Pro version is less forgiving, but we’ll reserve judgment until we can take some hacks with it. As with the EXS, the Pro driver utilizes Diamond Face technology, which Tour Edge describes as a series of mini-trampolines that help retain ball speed and desired launch conditions on off-center strikes.

A beta-titanium face is combo-brazed to the 8-1-1 titanium body. Tour Edge also incorporated a sound diffusion bar alongside internal ribbing to create a specific sound/feel at impact. The hope with any construction used to modify sound is to achieve something most players will associate as “good” or as typical of high-performance equipment. Even better if the parts and pieces needed to get a pitch-perfect driver also serve another purpose, such as internal stability.

To be clear, and maybe it’s even restating the obvious, but the EXS Pro driver is likely to best suit the golfer looking to gain some distance through a lower-spinning head and/or tends to fight a hook.

Tour Edge EXS PRO Fairway and Hybrid Specifics

The CB line of fairway metals exemplifies tour Edge’s popularity with better players. What started as the CB1 evolved into a lineage of fairway woods known for traditional shaping, fast ball speeds, and an anti-hook bias preferred by better players.

In 2018, the Tour Edge CBX fairway was the highest-rated model in annual Most Wanted testing. The subsequent model, CBX 119, offered even less spin than the CBX. It was more of a niche offering and performed best for the small segment of golfers who still spun the CBX too much. While the technology and philosophy around the CBX line will remain, the CBX name has been retired. Or perhaps more correctly, forced into early retirement.

Cleveland Golf has a line of CBX wedges as well, and the town of CBX branded equipment apparently wasn’t big enough for the both of them. Make of that whatever you will.

The point is, moving forward, Tour Edge will use the Pro line as the designation for what previously carried the CBX label.

More Details

From a design standpoint, the Pro fairways and hybrids are nearly identical. Compared to the standard line, both have more compact shaping, wilder SlipStream channels on the sole, and a slightly more forward CG location to produce lower spinning, more penetrating shots.

Both feature interchangeable heel/toe weights, or what Tour Edge terms FTS (Flight Tune System). The EXS Pro fairway woods come stock with 5- and 10-gram weights, whereas the hybrids feature 5- and 20-gram weights. A separate kit with 10, 15- and 20-gram weights fits both the fairway and hybrid is also available for purchase.

Tour Edge went with combo-brazed titanium faces on both models, but it claims the beta-titanium face used in the fairway wood is an industry first. We’d love to fact-check the claim, but Tour Edge isn’t saying precisely what the material is. The secrecy possibly keeps competitors from using the same material; however, some might feel it’s needlessly elusive for what potentially amounts to marginal performance differences.

As with the driver, an internal sound diffusion bar helps produce a desired sound/feel. Both the EXS Pro fairway and hybrid do not offer loft-adjustable hosels. The reasoning, according to Tour Edge, is that adjustable hosels are relatively heavy (+/- 15 grams). Rather than fixing this weight toward the heel of the club, engineers can better utilize throughout the clubhead to alter CG locations while boosting MOI/forgiveness.

Also, golfers will notice that the EXS Pro hybrid comes in six discrete lofts – 16°, 17°, 18°, 19°, 20°, and 22°. With a tolerance of +/- 0.5°, it’s possible that two clubs with different stamped lofts, might have the same measured loft. As such, my hunch is that players looking to go this route will select a loft based on the presumed loft of other clubs in the bag. For example, if a golfer carries a 15° 3-wood, it seems logical to go with an 18° or 19° hybrid as opposed to one with a stamped loft of 16°, which might actually be only 15.5°.

CONTEXT AND EVERYTHING ELSE

Reading through Tour Edge’s marketing materials, the terms “ultimate” and “self-fitting” came up quite often. It could be due to the realities of a shifting retail paradigm. It’s also plausible Tour Edge is working to give consumers, some of which are presumably better players, some degree confidence to fit themselves. Either way, it’s a departure from the 48-hour fitting to delivery story that’s played a significant role in previous releases.

Right now, Tour Edge seems to be positioning the price of the EXS Pro line close to the bottom of where we expect some major manufactures might drop prices on current models. In any other year, $399 for flagship driver would be at least $100 less than the market average. However, in 2020 nothing is normal, and everyone is waiting to see which big-name company is going to make the first price adjustment. At $399, the price is low enough that the EXS Pro shouldn’t end up being more expensive than a discounted Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero or TaylorMade SIM. But again, if the market leaders drop to something close to $400, Tour Edge might have some severe headwinds to navigate. At least in the short term.

Finally, every company with bona fide technology has some take on how to best apportion weight in a driver head, particularly around the perimeter. That said, it’s reasonable to say that this implementation of a weight track borrows from Callaway’s Epic generation of metalwoods. That’s not an indictment. However, this isn’t the first time Tour Edge has gone to the Callaway design well for some inspiration.

PRICING, AVAILABILITY, AND SPECS

All of the EXS metalwoods will be available to order starting 6/1/2020.

EXS Pro Driver ($399)

Available Lofts (RH-only) 9.5°, 10.5°

The stock shafts for the driver are the Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Orange – 60 gr. (R, S, X), 70 gr. (S, X), and Project X HZDRUS Smoke Yellow – 60 gr. (5.5 R, 6.0 S, 6.5 X)

EXS Pro Fairway ($299)

The fairway (RH-only) comes in lofts of 3+/ 13.5°, 3/15°, 4/16.5° and 5/18°

The stock shafts for the fairway are the Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei CK Orange – 60 gr. (R, S, X), 70 gr. (S, X), and the Project X HZDRUS Smoke Yellow – 60 gr. (5.5 R, 6.0 S, 6.5 X)

EXS Pro Hybrid ($249)

The hybrid comes in lofts of 16°, 17°, 18°, 19°, 20°, and 22°.

The stock shafts are the Mitsubishi Chemical Tensei AV Silver Hybrid – 65 gr (R), 70 gr (S), and 75 gr (X) and the Project X HZDRUS Smoke Black – 80 gr. (5.5 R, 6.0 S, 6.5 X).

For more information, visit Touredge.com.

 

 

 

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