XXIO X Irons – Key Takeaways
- Second-generation XXIO X irons
- Designed for better players looking for lightweight help
- $199.99 per club in steel, $224.99 per club in graphite
- Available at retail Feb. 11
The new XXIO X irons are completely, totally and utterly different from the rest of the XXIO line. The recently announced XXIO 12 is a super-lightweight iron set designed for the moderate swing-speed, or aging, golfer. The XXIO Prime line is a super-duper lightweight iron set designed for the slow-swing speed—or really aging—golfer. If you have the cabbage to pay the freight.
The second generation of the XXIO X, however, is merely a lightweight iron set designed for the on-the-verge-of-aging golfer who has some game and swing speed left.
And the cabbage. Never forget the cabbage.
OK, so maybe XXIO X isn’t that different. But it’s different enough. Today, XXIO is giving us an X refresh of its on-the-verge-of-aging-player lineup. How does it stack up? Let’s take a look.
XXIO X Irons: A Touch of Grey
Any self-respecting Dead Head can tell you aging is one of the ABCs we all must face. XXIO X is different from its stablemates in that it’s specifically designed for golfers who still have some swing speed. The target golfer isn’t over the hill yet or even near the crest of it. But he can see it coming.
“XXIO X has the DNA of every XXIO product: lightweight and easy to swing,” says XXIO GM Brian Schielke. “However, it’s for the more accomplished player.”
There are plenty of similarities between XXIO X and its lighter-weight stablemates but there are a few key differences. First off, there’s a steel shaft option. There’s also the signature Srixon-Cleveland V-Sole. And XXIO is paying a little more attention to spin in this edition.
If you’re nearing or even over 60 and still post low-70 scores, XXIO X won’t do much for you. But for the aging high single-digit to the mid-teen player, you might find a bit of a silver lining in XXIO X.
And every silver lining, as we all know, has a touch of grey.
XXIO X Iron Technology
We gave you the full lowdown on Rebound Frame in last week’s piece on the XXIO 12 irons so we won’t do a full rehash here. Let’s leave it at this: Rebound Frame is XXIO’s way of maximizing face flex, something every OEM in the game-improvement space is chasing. Since the XXIO X player theoretically has more swing speed, its face doesn’t need nearly as much flex to get ball speed.
So, where the XXIO 12 has a large, L-shaped groove where the bottom of the face meets the bottom of the frame, XXIO X features a thinner etching in the frame it calls a “Speed Groove.” The goal is to amplify flex in the lower portion of the face. Srixon used similar technology as far back as the Z-85 iron series.
Another difference is in the face material itself. Where XXIO 12 features a super-thin titanium face, XXIO X features something XXIO is calling High Strength Specialized Steel. For a company like Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO that usually comes up with pretty slick names for its tech, that seems like a weak effort. In reality (we did some digging), High Strength Specialized Steel is a low-carbon, high-vanadium steel called DHA1 made by Daido Steel in Japan.
Low-carbon steel is common in golf clubs because it combines strength with ductility (it flexes). For you budding metallurgists out there, adding vanadium to the mix makes the alloy even stronger and more ductile. For you golfers out there, it allows XXIO to thin the face to 2.1 millimeters.
The 5- through 9-irons have high-strength specialized-steel faces with forged S25C (Japan’s 1025 carbon steel) bodies. The pitching and gap wedges are SUP10 steel, a springy, forgeable stainless steel. Those bodies are forged S20C or 1020 carbon steel.
MircoMilling, Heavy Butts and V-Soles
While other XXIO products have, to put it kindly, spotty performance in MyGolfSpy’s Most Wanted Testing, XXIO X irons buck that trend. In 2020’s game-improvement iron shootout, XXIO X finished fourth overall. It was one of the leaders in overall distance and finished first in Strokes Gained for long irons. Short irons finished, however, near the bottom.
To improve short iron performance, XXIO X is borrowing some tech from both Srixon and Cleveland. Along with progressive variable-face thickness and loft-optimized CGs, XXIO X features loft-specific grooves. As the irons get shorter, XXIO X grooves get deeper and closer together which enhances spin. To give spin a further kick, the entire set features the same full-face laser micro-milling you’ll find on Cleveland’s new Launcher XL irons.
XXIO X also features XXIO’s signature Weight Plus counterweighting. An extra weight is installed in the butt of the shaft to add mass which has the net effect of making the club feel easier to swing.
The new XXIO X irons also feature Srixon-Cleveland’s signature V-Sole to help with turf interaction. The X is the only model in the XXIO to feature V-Sole for one simple reason: XXIO X players need it. XXIO 12 and XXIO Prime players don’t. As mentioned, XXIO X is designed for better players who still hit down on the ball. The other XXIO options feature a wider sole for sweepers.
As is the norm with XXIO, you can get any shaft you want with the new XXIO X irons—as long as it’s one of the two offered. Since XXIO designs its clubs grip to tip for the specific target golfer, it views custom fitting as customarily unnecessary.
On the one hand, you could say fitting is a way of making one head work for a wide variety of golfers. On the other hand, if the XXIO package doesn’t work for you, both Srixon and Cleveland—and every other OEM—have plenty of other options that can be custom-fitted.
You do get to choose between steel or graphite shafts and stiff or regular flex. Which is nice.
So, XXIO X either works for you or it doesn’t. There’s no third option.
The steel shaft is the mouthful that is the Nippon N.S. Pro 950 GH Neo DST. XXIO co-developed this shaft with Nippon and it’s designed to work with XXIO’s Dual Speed Technology—basically a heavier head combined with the Weight Plus counterweight.
Nippon does have a similar shaft on its website, the 950 GH Neo, which Srixon uses as its stock shaft for the ZX4 game-improvement irons. It’s a lightweight shaft designed to work with stronger lofted game-improvement irons to provide enough spin.
The Miyazaki AX-II is the stock graphite shaft.
“Miyazaki does a great job combining light and stable,” says XXIO VP Chuck Thiry. “Other manufacturers struggle with this combination. When they go lighter, they tend to lose stability.”
XXIO X Irons: Specs, Price and Availability
Yes, XXIO X is a game-improvement iron geared for distance. So, yes, the loft police will yelp. But given what we’re used to with game-improvement lofts, XXIO X isn’t what you’d call overly jacked. While a 29-degree 7-iron isn’t exactly weak, in today’s world it’s comparatively mild.
We told you about the available shafts and the grip is the XXIO Weight Plus grip. The grip for graphite shafts is actually one gram lighter than the grip for steel shafts. That’s reflective of XXIO’s grip-to-tip philosophy but you could file it under “Does It Really Matter?”
In brief on-course tests before the snow started flying here in New England, we can say a few things for certain. First, XXIO X certainly hasn’t lost any distance from the previous go-round. They’re long, very easy to swing and have a high, game-improvement launch with seemingly enough descent angle and spin to hold a green. If you fit the target demographic, they’re definitely worth trying.
Provided you have the cabbage.
XXIO X irons will retail for $199.99 per stick in steel and $224.99 in graphite. A six-piece set goes for $1,199.99 in steel and $1,349.99 in graphite.
They’ll be available starting Feb. 11.
For more information, visit the XXIO website.