Key Takeaways

  • XXIO Prime is XXIO’s ultra-lightweight offering for sub-80 mph driver swing speed players.
  • 2021 XXI driver features Rebound Frame and a Super-TIX PLUS titanium face with a 200-percent larger sweet spot than the 2019 model.
  • XXIO Prime irons feature the same titanium face and 110-percent larger sweet spot than 2019.
  • XXIO Prime Royal Edition is a new offering: an ultra high-end luxury brand specifically for women.

Before we start discussing who should consider XXIO Prime, let’s first talk about who shouldn’t.

If your driver swing speed is above 100 mph, XXIO of any kind probably shouldn’t be on your radar. And if your driver swing speed is  80 to 95 mph, there may be a XXIO with your name on it. But it isn’t XXIO Prime.

And if the price of a 2021 TaylorMade, Callaway or PING makes you want to grab your torches and pitchforks and storm the castle, then XXIO Prime—and we can’t stress this enough—isn’t for you.

So, who is XXIO Prime for? Well, if you look in the mirror and see a sub-80 mph driver swing speed, you might just be a XXIO Prime golfer. And if you want clubs designed grip-to-tip specifically for that sub-80 mph driver swing speed, you might just be a XXIO Prime golfer.

XXIO Prime

And if you don’t mind paying the freight for either of the above, you might definitely be a XXIO Prime golfer.

XXIO Prime – XXIO’s XXIO

As we do with every XXIO article we write, let’s get the phonics out of the way.

Say it with me: ZEXY – OH.

“We talk about XXIO being for the moderate swing speed golfer,” says Jeff Brunski, VP of R&D for Srixon, Cleveland and XXIO. “Fifty percent of golfers have swing speed below 95 mph.”

XXIO’s primary line, the lightweight XXIO 11, is designed for golfers in the 80- to 90+ mph range.  The new-ish XXIO X line is geared for aging better players who want something slightly lighter. XXIO Prime, however, is the ultra-lightweight option for ultra-moderate swing speed players. In reality, we’re talking seniors and a sizable swath of women.

XXIO Prime

If it helps, think of XXIO Prime as XXIO’s XXIO.

“People tell us, ‘Oh, I just added this much distance,’ or ‘It’s so much easier to swing,’” says Brunski. “That’s great. But when you hit 80 shots per round, you’re exerting less energy the deeper you get into the round. So it’s not just that first shot you’re hitting farther. It’s that 80th or 90th shot you’re hitting farther.”

Yeah, yeah, we get it. XXIO is light and XXIO Prime is lighter. But that’s just marketing mumbo-jumbo, right? Why not just stick a senior- or A-flex shaft into a regular head and call it a day?

It’s the same thing, right?

XXIO Prime

The Incredible Lightness of Being…XXIO

“First off, it’s a completely different clubhead,” says Brunski. “You can throw a lightweight shaft into a TaylorMade or a Titleist club head. But that head’s designed for Tour players and adapted to an amateur. There’s zero thought that goes into it.”

As a result, says Brunski, club balance, weighting and CG can all get thrown off. That can negatively impact swing dynamics of the moderate swing speed player.

“We’ve been working on fitting moderate swing speed golfers for two decades,” says Brunski. “It’s been the sole focus of the entire XXIO R&D group. We work on shafts, grips and club heads specifically for that golfer.”

MyGolfSpy is a consistent believer in custom fitting, something XXIO Prime does not offer. Considering XXIO’s price, that’s a potential turn-off. But Brunski says XXIO Prime is designed holistically—from grip to tip—for the 80 mph and slower swing speed player.

“Custom fitting makes sense if you’re adapting a club designed for Tour players and fitting it into a player with an 80 mph or less swing speed. There’s a lot of benefit there. But with XXIO Prime you’re starting with a club that’s already optimized from the ground up for that player. There’s a lot less opportunity to improve upon that just for the sake of custom fitting.”

The takeaway here is this: if you’re a target golfer, XXIO firmly believes there’s a better than average chance their stuff will fit you fine off the rack. Is it true? Well, that’s why God gave us hitting bays and launch monitors. Trust, but verify.

XXIO Prime – The 2021 Lineup

The Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO R&D group throws every bit of technology it can into the XXIO lineup. And you’ll often find cross-pollination of tech. For example, the new XXIO Prime driver features Rebound Frame which debuted a few weeks ago in the new Srixon ZX drivers. That Rebound Frame is combined with a Cup Face, similar to what’s used in the Cleveland HB Launcher Turbo drivers.

“Once a technology is created, it can typically be adapted to work for different types of players,” says Brunski. “Using a Cup Face with Rebound Frame gives us specific benefits for the slower swing speed players with larger impact patterns.”

XXIO Prime

The face itself is made from what XXIO calls Super-TIX PLUS Titanium. While that sounds cool, it’s the same stuff as the high-performance Ti51AF titanium alloy used in Srixon drivers, just with a different name. The Rebound Frame/Cup Face/Super-TIX PLUS combo, however, delivers a sweet spot that’s (checks notes) 200-percent larger than that of the previous XXIO Prime driver.

If you’re scoring at home, that’s three times as big.

“The sweet spot is defined as anything over a .800 COR threshold,” says Brunski. “There was a lot of the face that was close to that but now we’ve brought all that area above that threshold.”

So yeah, a 200-percent larger sweet spot sounds impressive. Heck, it is impressive. But it’s important to note XXIO didn’t turn dead face area into hot face area. As Brunski says, they tweaked the face just enough to bring areas that were close to the .800 COR threshold to above the .800 threshold.

More Metal Wood Tech

The new XXIO Prime driver features Rebound Face, and the driver, fairway woods and hybrids all feature a Super-TIX PLUS Cup Face. Additionally, the entire metalwood family is draw-biased. Considering the target golfer, that’s entirely logical.

“The majority of slow swing speed players face slice challenges,” says Brunski. “XXIO Prime face angles tend to be more closed, even when compared to our standard XXIO.”

Brunski says XXIO has also long used engineered bulge and roll to create draw bias.

“Technically, bulge and roll is defined by just one radius,” he says. “In XXIO, we define it by three different radii, using the heel, the center of the face and high and low. There are six quadrants of face curvature that we spec. We’ve been doing it that way for years.”

In simple terms, if you miss off-center with a slightly open face, the clubhead will help bring your ball back to the center and be more draw-biased. If that sounds suspiciously like TwistFace, that’s because it is. Lots of OEMs have been doing it all along. TaylorMade was just smart enough to give it a name.

The XXIO Prime metalwoods—as well as the irons—also feature something called Weight Plus. First introduced last year in XXIO 11 and XXIO X, Weight Plus is, in simple terms, counter-weighting the shaft.

“We’re taking a little bit of weight out of the shafts and adding a weight insert in the driver,” says Brunski. “The other XXIO Prime clubs have higher density in the grip so there’s a heavier mass in the butt end. It’s counterweighting. It significantly raises the balance point of the club closer to your hands, making it easier to swing.”

XXIO Prime Irons

The XXIO Prime irons also feature the Super-TIX PLUS Titanium face. They’re very big, very forgiving and very light, despite the 26 grams of tungsten that push CG to damn-near subterranean levels. Then there’s something called Twin Groove.

“It’s an effort to make the bottom part of the clubface more flexible and hotter for higher ball speeds,” says Brunski. “There are two internal slits that make that bottom face more flexible. From an overall impact pattern, we see more shots hit down there.”

If you’ve been paying any attention at all, you know face flex and turning an iron face into a diving board aren’t new ideas. What makes the XXIO Prime a wee bit different is XXIO is trying to do it with a titanium face bonded to a steel body.

“You need to be able to do it in a manner where you mechanically attach it but still leave it flexible,” says Brunski. “We’re focused low on the face.”

The result is another big increase in sweet spot area. In this case, 110 percent larger than what we saw in the 2019 XXIO Prime.

“It’s the combination of the Twin Groove Technology, a little bit of the overall head shape and a little bit higher MOI,” says Brunski. “That’s a pretty serious leap. It’s not just an incremental gain. There’s a lot going into these.”

Specs, Price and Availability

XXIO Prime drivers are available in two fixed hosel lofts (10.5 and 11.5 degrees). Fairways come in 3-, 5-, 7- and 9-woods (15, 18, 21 and 24 degrees), and the hybrids are available in 23-, 26-, 29- and 32-degree lofts.

XXIO Prime irons are available in 5-iron through sand wedge. Lofts are typical of modern game-improvement irons, based on a 28-degree 7-iron.

As mentioned, XXIO is engineered from grip to tip and the shaft is no different. The new XXIO Prime SP-1100 shaft is made from TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber and NNOALLOY resin. XXIO says it’s extremely lightweight with an extra-soft tip that makes it easier to close the clubface and strike the ball squarely.

Each club comes with its own unique XXIO Prime Weight Plus grip. The driver grip is feather-light at 26.5 grams while the fairway metal grip is 27.5 grams. Hybrid and iron grips are heavier, at 40 and 42 grams respectively.

XXIO pricing isn’t for the faint of heart. It’s positioned as a premium product and if you want a premium product, be prepared to pay a premium price.

The XXIO Prime driver will retail for $899.99 and the fairway metals will sell for $399.99 each. XXIO Prime irons sell for $274.99 each and a four-piece set will go for $1,099.99.

They’ll hit retail on Feb. 12.

XXIO Prime Royal Edition – The Queen’s Gambit

Just in case the standard XXIO Prime isn’t premium enough for you, please allow us to introduce you to the XXIO Prime Royal Edition.

And while XXIO Prime isn’t gender-specific, the XXIO Prime Royal Edition is for women only.

“It’s performance-driven,” says Brunski. “But it’s expensive for a reason.”

Brunski says XXIO has thrown the proverbial kitchen sink of tech into the Royal Edition, including a super-flexible (and super-expensive) STAANF titanium alloy face. The Royal Edition has primarily been sold in South Korea but XXIO feels the time is right to bring it to North America. The line will compete with the likes of Honma’s Beres and Maruman’s Majesty lines.

“It’s for the ultra-premium, luxury segment of the market,” says Brunski. “It’s dialed up a bit. Royal Edition is extravagantly designed but we don’t de-emphasize performance in any way.”

Pricing is also ultra-premium and luxury. The Royal Edition driver will retail for $1,199.99, the fairways for $799.99 and the hybrids for $449.99. The XXIO Prime Royal irons sell for $299.99 each, $1,799.99 for a six-piece set and $2,399.99 for an eight-piece set.

They go on sale March 12.

XXIO Prime — Final Thoughts

There are two truths about XXIO.

One is that we know there are readers out there who will scream bloody murder over the pricing.

The other is that the product will sell. XXIO’s business has been growing steadily and profitably since its introduction into North America. The brand started out as a high-end country club brand but now you’re seeing it grow into traditional retail channels.

And the demographics don’t lie. There’s a sizable market for lightweight options. OEMs call them moderate swing speed players but what we’re really talking about are senior golfers. And while many seniors are retired and on fixed incomes, XXIO believes there are enough who’ve retired to the country club life, are well-heeled and want to enjoy their remaining golf-playing years. A pre-pandemic trip to Palm Springs bore this out. At Indian Wells Country Club, we found two things: a fleet of customized, blinged-out, member-owned golf carts and a ton of XXIO in those carts.

To borrow a phrase from Hank Williams, if you got the money, honey, XXIO has the time.

For more information, visit XXIO’s website.