XXIO 12 Irons – Key Takeaways
- XXIO 12 is the 12th iteration of the moderate swing-speed-specific XXIO flagship.
- New tech includes new Super TIX® 51AF titanium face with Rebound Frame.
- Irons are priced at $219.99 each; a 5-SW set is $1,539.93.99.
- Women’s packaged set includes driver, fairways and hybrid, priced at $2,999.99.
The good folks at XXIO are introducing the new XXIO 12 irons and metalwoods today, just in case yesterday’s tsunami of product launches wasn’t quite enough for you.
Lightweight equipment designed specifically for what OEMs call “moderate swing speed golfers” used to be a niche. Then it became a thing. Now it’s a full-fledged market segment. And, with apologies to Billy Joel, XXIO did, in fact, start that particular fire. The first XXIO debuted in 2000 and, since then, XXIO has been taking a holistic, grip-to-tip design approach. The company, with some justification, feels it knows this particular market segment better than anyone.
If you’re in the target demographic, the new XXIO 12 irons feature some interesting tech.
Or it could annoy you.
That’s just the way it is with XXIO.
So here’s the deal. If you swing your driver anywhere north of 95 mph, feel free to skip today’s XXIO stories. XXIO has nothing for you.
At least, not yet.
XXIO 12: The Lightness of Being
The term “moderate swing speed golfer” is OEM code for aging males and a large segment of females. And it’s a market OEMs are paying attention to for two simple reasons. First, the median age for golfers is 54. And that means there is a boatload of Baby Boom golfers who don’t swing as fast as they used to.
Second, the National Golf Foundation says women make up nearly 25 percent of all on-course golfers.
That means there’s one hell of a market for XXIO and that market’s only going to grow.
“There are no other manufacturers specifically engineering product for the moderate swing speed player,” XXIO VP Chuck Thiry tells MyGolfSpy. “We do it from the ground up.”
While some OEMs might take exception to that statement, none of them can argue the fact XXIO’s been doing it the longest. Whether that translates to the best performance is an open question but XXIO usually does pack every bit of technology into its irons that it possibly can.
What’s New for 2022?
Rebound Frame is a signature Srixon-Cleveland technology. Srixon introduced Rebound Frame last year in its ZX metal woods. It’s also in the Cleveland Launcher XL metal woods. With XXIO 12, Rebound Frame makes its debut in an iron.
We’ve given a deep dive into the driver version of Rebound Frame in the XXIO 12 metalwoods story and the theory for irons is basically the same thing—only different. The idea is to have alternating flexible and rigid “zones” in the clubhead for maximum face flex. The key component is a little groove cut into the bottom of the iron body, which XXIO calls the L-Groove.
“The iron goes flexible face, rigid frame, flexible L-Groove and rigid clubhead,” says Thiry. “The face is thin titanium and it’s attached to a rigid frame. Then comes the groove cut into the frame and then the frame again.”
We’ve used this analogy for Rebound Frame before but it seems fitting. Think of the flexible face and first rigid frame as a trampoline with the mat and springs connected to, well, a rigid frame. Then connect that rigid frame to another set of springs connected to another rigid frame. It’s an added layer of flex to promote ball speed.
Every OEM is chasing face flex in their game-improvement and super game-improvement offerings for one simple reason: face flex equals ball speed and ball speed equals distance. For those of us who don’t swing the club as fast as we used to, anything that finds the yards Father Time has taken from us is a good thing.
Titanium and Tungsten
As is the norm with this category of iron, XXIO 12 features a titanium face. In this case, it’s Super TIX® 51AF titanium, the same material used in the XXIO 12 metalwoods.
“That’s an important starting point for creating rebound,” says Thiry. “It creates tremendous energy transfer and speed, and speed is essential to the XXIO player. They need speed more than any other performance characteristic.”
Super TIX® 51AF titanium was co-developed by Nippon Steel and the Sumitomo Metal Co. which, like Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO, is under the Sumitomo Rubber Industries corporate umbrella. XXIO first used the material in a driver in 2008 and, by our count, this is the second generation of the material.
While not nearly as tungsten-crazy as Callaway, XXIO 12 does feature tungsten-nickel weights in the 5- through 7-irons. When combined with a shorter hosel design and a progressive variable-face thickness, XXIO 12 is designed to optimize the CG for each iron loft. The long irons have a lower CG and are designed for carry. The short irons have a higher CG and are designed for control.
Face grooves are also loft-specific. As lofts go up and the irons get shorter, the grooves get deeper and closer together.
Weight Plus and XXIO 12
The most recent Cleveland drivers have featured something called Action Mass CB which is Cleveland-speak for shaft counterbalancing. XXIO takes it a step further, calling it Weight Plus Technology. The combination of a light clubhead, light shaft and light grip (XXIO designs their own lightweight grips) creates a light club.
You can swing a light club faster but control is important. Hence Weight Plus, a brass or rubber counterweight placed into the butt end of the shaft.
“It helps create a high balance point,” says Thiry. “Combined with a lighter product, it’s what makes it easier to swing a XXIO club and create speed. High balance point is the secret sauce, not low CG.”
As mentioned, XXIO takes a holistic approach to club design. The whole thing is purpose-built to work as a unit. That means you can have any shaft you want in your XXIO 12 irons as long as it’s the proprietary, Miyazaki-built XXIO MP 12oo carbon fiber. XXIO calls it “bespoke.”
You’ll also note XXIO calls it carbon fiber and not graphite. That’s semantics because what the golf industry calls graphite is really comprised of multiple layers of carbon fiber and epoxy resin. Either way, the MP 1200 is made from ultra-fancy TORAYCA® with a NANOALLOY® resin matrix. XXIO also says it’s all put together using a proprietary Dunlop design that alternates hoop layers and straight layers.
What does it all mean? It’s a shaft XXIO says is flexible and resilient while still lightweight (47 grams in regular flex, 50 grams in stiff).
XXIO 12 Women’s Model
Roughly 40 percent of XXIO’s sales are to women golfers and it’s a market XXIO takes seriously.
“The ladies’ products are created with their own set of blueprints,” says Thiry. “They’re not only specifically weighted but they’re available in different loft options and colors.”
Specifically, where the MP 1200 men’s shaft is 47 grams (R-flex), the ladies’ shaft comes in at 35 grams. The ladies’ grip is lighter by nine grams and the head itself is lighter by roughly 13 grams. The ladies’ set is swing-weighted to a B8 while the men’s set is C8.
While the standard XXIO 12 irons are available in basic chrome and dark blue with a white shaft, the ladies’ set is available in two colors: a lighter blue (with blue shafts) and a magenta-like Bordeaux, with a matching shaft.
XXIO is also offering ladies’ XXIO 12 packaged sets for the first time. The 10-piece package is available in either blue or Bordeaux and includes a 12.5-degree driver, 3-, 5- and 7-woods, a 6-hybrid, 7-iron through PW and a SW. The blue set comes with a navy cart bag; the Bordeaux set with a white bag.
There’s also an 11-piece option available in blue only. It includes an 11.5-degree driver, 3- and 5-woods, a 6-hybrid, 6-iron through PW with both a gap and sand wedge and a blue bag.
None of the sets includes a putter.
Will there eventually be a men’s packaged set? Thiry tells us the ladies’ set will test the concept and they expect the test to be successful.
“Stay tuned,” he says.
XXIO 12 Specs, Price and Availability
As you’d expect, the XXIO 12 irons are built to help the moderate swing-speed golfer get a few more yards. The lofts are game-improvement level strong based off a 28-degree 7-iron. The ladies’ irons are designed to get the ball up in the air just a tad more so the lofts are a bit weaker. The ladies’ 7-iron comes in at 30 degrees.
On the standard side, XXIO 12 is available in 5-iron through sand wedge for righties and 6-iron through pitching wedge for lefties. The ladies’ model comes in right-handed only.
As mentioned, the proprietary MP 1200 shaft is the only option as is the XXIO lightweight grip. XXIO designs its clubs for the fat part of the bell curve. Since the entire club is purpose-built for a specific type of golfer, custom fitting is not an option.
You may expect XXIO 12 pricing to be in the same stratosphere as Callaway’s Epic MAX Star which targets the same demographic. It’s not. In fact, XXIO 12’s iron pricing comes in at $219.99 per iron with a seven-piece set at $1,539.93.
The ladies’ packaged set runs $2,999.99.
By comparison, Epic MAX Star irons are $349.99 per club while the Honma Beres line starts at $350 per club for the Two-Star.
XXIO, a bargain? Who’d a thunk it?
XXIO 12 irons will be available starting Feb. 11. For more information, visit the XXIO website.