XXIO Metalwoods – Key Takeaways

The new XXIO X metalwoods are designed for golfers on life’s back nine who still have some game left. The lightweight XXIO 12, which debuted last week, and the ultra-lightweight XXIO Prime are for low to moderate swing-speed golfers. However, if you’re in your early 50s to early 60s and don’t consider yourself low to moderate, you might find a friend in XXIO X.

And, not for nothing, that demographic is very, very large.

XXIO X debuted two years ago. It was XXIO’s first effort to carve out a niche with those of us approaching life’s Red Zone. And, as always, the new generation promises to be longer, straighter and more forgiving.

XXIO X metalwoods

XXIO X: Changes and Upgrades

Aging players losing the war against Father Time have very specific needs, especially if we still have some game. We may not swing it quite like we used to but we’re not ready to go all lightweight super game improvement. We still want to hit stiff shafts but a little voice keeps telling us this piece of rebar isn’t working for us anymore.

We want help without it looking like we want help.

That, in a nutshell, is XXIO X.

“What we learned from the first product is that moderate swing speed with a discerning eye and some golf skills is an underappreciated category,” says XXIO VP Chuck Thiry. “There are hundreds of thousands of players who have nice skills but can’t generate the speed they could a decade ago. They can appreciate equipment that has them in mind.”

The two headline features for the new XXIO X are ActivWing and Rebound Frame. And both take direct aim at areas where the original X struggled: forgiveness and distance.

We discussed ActivWing at length in our feature on the new XXIO 12 metalwoods, so we won’t belabor it here. The short version says ActivWing is a trapezoidal bump on the crown near the heel of the club. Its job is to help keep the club on path and the head square or even slightly closed at impact.

XXIO’s own testing shows ActivWing promotes a 17-percent tighter face impact pattern and a 23-percent tighter impact face angle.

XXIO X metalwoods

Rebound Frame and COR

XXIO X also features Rebound Frame, a signature Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO metalwood technology. Again, we’ve discussed Rebound Frame before but it’s XXIO’s way of maximizing face flex while staying within the USGA rules. A flexible cup face is backed by a rigid frame. That frame is then connected to a flexible area which is backed by the rigid rest of the clubhead.

The resulting flexible-rigid-flexible-rigid assembly’s job is to maximize face flex and ball speed. XXIO combines that with a proprietary Super TIX-51AF titanium face. Co-developed by Nippon Steel and XXIO parent company Sumitomo’s steel division, Super TIX-51AF is eight percent stronger than standard 6-4 titanium while still being a tad lighter.

According to XXIO, the combination increases what it calls the High COR area on the face of the X driver, fairway and hybrid. Srixon-Cleveland-XXIO defines the High COR area as any part of the face with a COR over 0.800 (0.830 is the USGA max). XXIO says the X driver High COR area is 21 percent higher than the previous model. According to XXIO testing, that makes the new X more than 3.3 yards longer than the original and up to five yards longer than three unnamed competitors, based on a 94-mph swing speed.

Additionally, the XXIO X driver face features what the company calls a six-segment bulge-and-roll design.

“At every impact location, there’s an optimal launch and an optimal azimuth angle to launch to maximize distance and holding the centerline,” says Thiry. “This is tuned and specific to the clubhead speeds of XXIO X players. Having multiple zones versus a consistent spec allows for true optimization.”

XXIO X Driver Specifics

While ActivWing and Rebound Frame are the headliners, XXIO X is getting an under-the-radar upgrade via an adjustable hosel. It’s the first time any XXIO driver has been adjustable. It would appear XXIO has recognized this particular golfer isn’t a one-size-fits-all kinda guy.

The 12-position QTS Sleeve Fitting System allows for fine-tuning loft up or down one degree and face angle from slightly closed (when going up in loft) to slightly open (when going down in loft). As you adjust loft, the lie angle can also be adjusted either one or two degrees flat from standard.

It would be theoretically possible to swap shafts with an adjustable hosel. If you do, however, you’re on your own. The only shaft available through XXIO is the proprietary Miyazaki AX-2. As you’d expect with XXIO, it’s light (46 grams in S, 43 in R) and is made with high-end TORAYCA T1100G carbon fiber.

XXIO X metalwoods

XXIO X also features Weight Plus, XXIO’s counterbalancing method that adds weight to the butt end of the shaft to make the club easier to swing. To maximize the benefit, XXIO is making the head heavier as well. The entire club is built to a D3 swing weight, despite an overall weight of 300 grams.

As a representative of the target demographic who has gamed both the old and the new XXIO X, I can say the adjustability is a huge step forward. It’s also a driver that rewards a smooth tempo. If you ever feel the urge to really get after one, you will pay the price.

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XXIO X Fairways and Hybrids

The XXIO X fairways and hybrids both feature ActivWing and Rebound Frame with bonded hosels and the Miyazaki AX-2 shaft.

But that’s not the big news.

Where the XXIO X driver features a reasonably classic look (despite the crown graphics), the fairways and hybrids look, well, different.

It’s either different as in, “Hey, that looks kinda cool,” or different as in, “What the hell is that?

“It’s kind of where cosmetics and tech become intertwined,” Thiry explains.

Both feature a signature Cleveland technology: the Step Crown. Its job is to promote face flex (it’s technically part of Rebound Frame) while also lowering CG. What XXIO has done, however, is to make the top line and ActivWing area a satin chrome color and the rest of the crown a glossy black.

“The light color gives the top line more pop and makes it easier to align the club squarely,” says Thiry. “The cosmetic color change helps the player visualize launch angle, inspiring confidence at address.”

XXIO says ActivWing, Rebound Frame and a high-strength HT1770M steel face increase the High COR area on both the fairway and the hybrid. The fairway High COR area is 31-percent larger in the new XXIO X compared to the old. The hybrid High COR area is 13-percent larger.

And our own unscientific on-course trial can verify that if getting fairways or hybrids airborne ails you, XXIO X is the medicine. While the sound may take some getting used to, we can verify the fairway and hybrid launch high.

Really, really high.

As for the look, well, I guess it does give you confidence that the clubs are easy to launch. But aesthetically, from this point of view, it’s a big step backward.

XXIO X Metalwoods: General Thoughts

XXIO remains one of those interesting brands that elicits strong reactions, whether you’re a fan or a hater. It’s not surprising the first-generation XXIO X metalwoods didn’t fare well in Most Wanted testing. Since they were non-adjustable with only one shaft option, they either fit you or they didn’t. There was no tweaking allowed.

XXIO won’t ever veer away from its prime directive which is designing products from grip to tip for that slow to moderate swing-speed golfer. But this second-generation XXIO X does indicate a willingness to course-correct. An adjustable hosel in the driver may sound like a small step for an OEM but it’s one giant leap for XXIO.

“The goal for the first generation was to introduce a lightweight product with fine lines, the look and the performance that would satisfy the target player,” says Thiry. “We will be expecting more from this generation. We have our first-ever adjustable XXIO driver and we think that will matter to the consumer.”

Specs, Price and Availability

As mentioned, the new XXIO X driver is adjustable and will be available in 9.5- and 10.5-degree heads. The Miyazaki AX-2 shaft is the only option, in S- and R-flexes, with the 43-gram XXIO Weight Plus the only grip option.

The fairway woods are available in only two lofts: a 15-degree 3-wood and 18-degree 5-wood. The XXIO X hybrids come in three lofts: an 18-degree 3-hybrid, a 20-degree 4-hybrid and a 23-degree 5-hybrid.

As mentioned, neither the fairways nor hybrids are adjustable. Maybe next time.

Oh, if you’re left-handed, sorry to report the entire lineup is right-handed only.

The XXIO X driver will retail at $699.99, the fairways at $399.99 and the hybrids at $299.99.

XXIO X metalwoods will be available at retail and online starting Feb. 11.

For more information, visit the XXIO website.