XXIO 12 Metalwoods – Key Takeaways
- XXIO 12 is designed for the moderate swing-speed demographic.
- Technology such as ActivWing and Rebound Frame promise target golfers lost yards
- Driver $699.99, fairways $399.99, hybrids $299.99
- Available at retail on Feb. 11
To fully appreciate the new XXIO 12 metalwoods lineup, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with two new concepts. One is called ActivWing. The second is known as Centripetal Force.
ActivWing is new because it’s a name XXIO came up with for its new metalwood technology. Centripetal Force isn’t really new as it’s part of Newton’s Second Law but I’ll confess it was new to me.
Admittedly, I didn’t pay much attention in high-school science classes.
XXIO says these two concepts, along with a slew of additional technology, give the new XXIO 12 metalwoods some new punch. As with any XXIO release, there’s a lot to dive into.
XXIO 12 Metalwoods: Who Are They For?
XXIO is part of the Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO golf empire under the auspices of Dunlop Sports and Sumitomo Rubber Industries (the SRI in Srixon). Launched in 2000, XXIO considers itself the pioneer in ultra-premium lightweight purpose-built clubs for moderate swing-speed golfers. It’s been a popular brand in Asia from the get-go and has found a solid—and growing—market in North America.
“Having a 20-year head start in lightweight technology has been a real plus for us,” says XXIO VP Chuck Thiry. “It has allowed our engineers to focus on incremental improvements and on technologies that best accompany that performance.”
XXIO takes a holistic, grip-to-tip engineering approach. Each club is designed as a stand-alone system, if you will, with every latest Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO technology included. As the name suggests, XXIO 12 is the 12th generation of the standard XXIO lineup and is specifically engineered for golfers with driver swing speeds in the 80 to 90 mph range.
That, friends, is an awful lot of us.
“Most companies utilize one head and suggest it can perform optimally with many different shaft and grip weights,” Thiry tells MyGolfSpy. “That’s the philosophy you’d use if you were trying to fit every player. XXIO clubs are specifically engineered for moderate swing-speed players.”
With the preamble out of the way, let’s get into ActivWing, Sir Isaac Newton and centripetal force.
What Is ActivWing?
When it comes to marketing-driven names for its technology, Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO takes a back seat to no one. While ActivWing sounds like a Marvel Superhero, it’s actually a trapezoidal wedge located on the heel of the new XXIO 12 driver, fairways and hybrids.
Its job? Stabilize the driver head in the first half of the downswing which, in theory, helps square the face at impact.
“Moderate to slower swing-speed players tend to arrive at the ball with the clubface open,” says Thiry. “With ActivWing, those players saw, on average, a 17-percent tighter impact area on the face and a 23-percent reduction in face-angle variation.”
In short, that little trapezoidal wedge helped the target golfer find the sweet spot with a square clubface. At least, according to XXIO’s own internal testing it does. And how does it do all that? Again, according to XXIO, it has to do with centripetal force.
It was at this point I turned to our friends at Google.
Centripetal Force: The Short Version
Centripetal force is the force on a body moving in a circle that points inward toward the point around which an object moves. I didn’t write that. Some Ph.D. you can find on Google did. If it sounds a lot like centrifugal force, it should. For a rotating body, both centripetal and centrifugal forces are in balance. They’re just moving in opposite directions.
From what Google says, Newton’s Second Law of Motion applies. I thought you should know.
In a golf swing, centrifugal force is created by the mass of the clubhead and the force caused by your motion. It’s pulling the clubhead away from you. Centripetal force is created by the same things, only in reverse since you’re holding onto the skinny end of the stick.
What ActivWing does is use aerodynamic force to keep the head in position and stable during the first half of the downswing. The wing acts as a kind of airfoil to keep the face from opening as you swing the club from high noon to 9 o’clock. After that, you’re on your own. If you chicken-wing it or over-rotate your hands prior to impact, you’re still going to go way left or way right.
“It’s more about face-angle stabilization than it is about aerodynamic boosts,” says Thiry. “Distance and straightness gains come from hitting the ball in the center of the face and the face being squarer to the target.”
XXIO’s entire being is based on lightweight clubs but to make ActivWing work XXIO had to make its metalwood heads just a tad heavier—up to three grams heavier than XXIO 11. And as you’d expect, there’s a name for this. XXIO calls it Dual Speed Technology.
XXIO 12 and Rebound Frame
We’ve seen Rebound Frame in Srixon and Cleveland drivers as well as in the current generation ultra-lightweight XXIO Prime metalwoods. The Cliff Notes version says it’s Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO’s way of maximizing face flex by creating four separate flex zones.
The first two zones are the thin, flexible titanium cup face with a rigid frame. Think of it as a trampoline connected by springs to its frame. The second two zones include a thin, flexible edge around the cup face backed by the rigid club head body, with internal titanium ribs for reinforcement. Think of this as a second level of springs and a rigid frame for a kind of double trampoline.
The face itself is made from Super TIX® 51AF titanium. Co-developed by Nippon Steel and Sumitomo’s steel division, it’s eight-percent stronger and a tad lighter than commonly used 6-4 titanium. The face is divided into six distinct sections, each with its own variable bulge and roll so, no matter where you hit it, XXIO says the ball will want to go straighter.
All this adds up to, according to XXIO, a 28-percent larger high-COR area for the XXIO 12 driver compared to the XXIO 11 driver. Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO defines a high-COR area as any part of the face with a COR over .800. That doesn’t mean Rebound Frame et al magically turns dead face area into super-hot face area. It simply means a bigger chunk of the face is now at or above .800 COR.
In short, it’s a 28-percent larger sweet area.
Distance-wise, XXIO says XXIO 12 is 3.6 yards longer than XXIO 11, and anywhere from 2.6 to 5.1 yards longer than three unspecified competitors. That’s all according to XXIO’s own in-house testing based on an 85 mph swing speed.
Shafts, Counterweights and Cannons
All the new XXIO 12 drivers, fairway woods and hybrids include ActivWing and Rebound Frame. However, the faces on both the fairways and hybrids are made from HT1770M steel instead of titanium. As with the drivers, each features a larger high COR area: 31-percent larger in the fairways, 13-percent higher in the hybrids.
Since XXIO designs each club as a self-contained system, there is no custom fitting. It’s a one-size-fits many-if-not-most approach, featuring XXIO’s proprietary MP-1200 shaft. The MP-1200 is made by sister company Miyazaki, using TORAYCA® T1100G carbon fiber with an intimidating sounding NANOALLOY® resin technology. The combination produces a shaft that’s strong and stable while remaining extremely light.
“There’s a real benefit to owning your own shaft company,” says Thiry. “(Miyazaki’s) No. 1 priority is engineering shafts that work perfectly with XXIO heads for the moderate swing speed player. It’s one of the most important reasons why a XXIO club performs the way it does.”
The full XXIO 12 metalwood line features Weight Plus, a counterweight installed in the butt end of the shaft. Weight Plus puts more mass behind your hands to help make the club easier to swing. Another legacy technology for XXIO fairways and hybrids is the Cannon Sole. It’s a weight pad in the sole that from the side actually looks a little like a cannon. It works in conjunction with a lightweight crown to shift the center of gravity to where XXIO wants it while also improving face flex.
XXIO 12 Metalwood Specs
As mentioned, the XXIO MP-1200 shaft is the only shaft choice for the entire XXIO metalwood lineup. For drivers, the S-flex weighs 41 grams and the R-flex is 36 grams. They’re available in 9.5-, 10.5- and 11.5-degree non-adjustable models for righties. The 10.5 driver is available for lefties. Fairway woods come in five lofts, with the 3-, 5- and 7-woods available for both lefties and righties while the 4- and 9-woods come in right-handed only.
The 4- and 5-hybrid come in left- and right-handed models while an 18-degree 3-hybrid and a 26-degree 6-hybrid are for righties only.
Women’s clubs make up roughly 40 percent of XXIO’s business so it takes the women’s game seriously. At least the right-handed women’s game. There are no options for left-handed women. The overall technology is the same but each clubhead is engineered specifically for moderate swing-speed women. The head, shafts and grips are lighter and each club has a little more loft to help get the ball in the air.
XXIO is also experimenting with three XXIO 12 women’s packaged sets. There are two 10-piece sets—one in the standard light blue, the other a magenta-tone called Bordeaux. The 11-piece set comes in blue only.
Each set comes with metalwoods, irons and wedges, along with a XXIO cart bag. Putters are extra. The set will retail at $2,999.99. If it’s successful, it’s very likely XXIO will come out with a similar men’s set in the future.
Price and Availability
XXIO is unabashedly premium priced. But compared to competitors such as Beres or Callaway’s Epic Star MAX line, it’s a relative bargain. The XXIO 12 drivers are priced at $699.99, the fairway woods at $399.99 and hybrids at $299.99.
Are there less expensive options for the moderate swing-speed player? Of course. There are also more expensive and, in some cases, waayyyyy more expensive options. Conventional wisdom says golfers can’t buy a better game so these ultra-premium brands are nonsense. We put that question to Thiry and he came back with an answer that may surprise you.
“The answer is a resounding yes. Our targeted moderate swing-speed can indeed buy a better game. I believe we’ve proven that. There are no other manufacturers specifically engineering products for moderate swing-speed players. We do it from the ground up.
“If you’re only focused on one segment of the market, you can in fact create a better mousetrap. Where manufacturers fail is when they create one head and then tell you that any shaft can work in that head. That is completely illogical.”
In reality, neither XXIO nor any other club will magically fix your swing. But XXIO is pretty confident in its track record and firmly believes that, in the hands of the target golfer, its clubs will help that golfer play better with the game he or she has.
There’s a difference.
XXIO 12 metalwoods will be available starting Feb. 11. For more information, visit the XXIO website.