The Tour Edge Exotics EXS 220 metalwoods are dedicated to the proposition that golf is mostly a game of misses, and that is mostly true with the longest clubs in your bag. The challenge in making a driver or fairway wood forgiving, though, is that while the simplest solution is increasing the size of the clubhead and extending more weight to the perimeter, those often present other problems when it comes to maximizing your overall distance potential. In other words, that simple solution is actually quite complex.
The Exotics EXS 220 metalwoods embrace that complexity with both new materials, new structures and an intricate new variable face thickness configuration that chief designer and founder David Glod refers to as “a bunch of mini-trampolines” stretching across the hitting area.
“We wanted to focus on making this driver more forgiving, the most forgiving head we’ve ever made in terms of moment of inertia,” Glod said, also alluding to the increased forgiveness in the EXS 220 fairway woods and hybrids, all of which feature versions of the new face design. A crucial contributor to that boost in MOI, or forgiveness on off-center hits, is a face that flexes better on mis-hits, as well. That’s where the cross-hatched, diamond-shaped face indentations come into play. The collection of 42 linked shapes is even more complicated than it might first appear. For example, the rows of individual diamond shapes vary in size and depth from one to the next.
“We took the basic idea and began expanding on it through our testing,” Glod said, referencing Tour Edge’s recent enhanced research and development efforts including the purchase of a new swing robot to further aid analysis of design changes. “With the new face design, it’s like there are now all these little hot spots all over the face.”
While the hot face design is an upgrade from last year’s EXS driver, so, too, is the commitment to an MOI on the EXS 220 drivers that reaches as high as 5,400 g-cm2 when past EXS models did not crack the 5,000 mark. According to Glod, that MOI number is 20 percent higher than last year’s EXS driver.
“We took a lot of what we had with a really successful EXS driver, and just extrapolated it so it’s a complete departure toward high MOI,” Glod said of the driver. “We use a lighter density titanium to help that. We’re using more carbonfiber to help that, and we’re seeing some pretty big numbers as far as the CG location back from the center of the face.”
The EXS 220 driver uses carbonfiber in three places: the crown, as well as toe and heel sections of the sole. A 9-gram external weight chip in the rear perimeter adds even more stability and that chip can weigh as much as 14 grams depending on swingweight and shaft preferences. The adjustable hosel allows loft to be tweaked by plus/minus two degrees.
A bar structure within the head is designed to diffuse unwanted sound and vibration for a better feel.
The EXS 220 fairway woods employ similar ideas to the driver. That includes a slightly larger footprint, the internal bar for sound control, as well as carbonfiber sections in the heel and toe of the sole. Most notable, of course, is the variable thickness, diamond-patterned face design. The wraparound cup face is made of a new high-strength steel that is 14 percent lighter than the Carpenter 460 steel used in last year’s EXS fairway wood. The face pattern allows the steel to get as thin as 1.7 millimeters, and like the driver it covers approximately a third of the total area of the face from heel to toe.
Like the driver, the EXS 220 fairway wood includes an external weight chip in the rear perimeter. The standard option is 9 grams, but it can increase to as much as 14 grams.
The update from past Exotics fairway woods continues the ribboned structure on the sole to improve turf interaction. The new design, which first appeared back in 2013 and 2015 with the Exotics CB Pro and CB Pro F2 fairway woods, features wider spaced rails that are designed to allow the leading edge to stay lower to the turf.
Like the fairway wood, the EXS 220 hybrid also incorporates the sole structure, as well as a high-strength steel cup face design and the internal bar for improved sound. It’s also deeper front to back for a more stable size with increased forgiveness on off-center hits. Once again, the face features the variable thickness, diamond-shaped pattern of the other metalwoods, getting as thin as 1.7 millimeters.
The entire family of EXS 220 metalwoods also benefits from new Tour Edge research on matching specific shafts to specific flexes. Rather than having the stock shaft be the same model shaft in multiple flexes, Glod used research from the company’s new swing robot to determine which shaft brand and model worked best with the EXS 220 heads at different speeds. For the driver and fairway woods, it’s a combination of the lightweight Fujikura Air Speeder, Fujikura Ventus and Project X HZRDUS Smoke Yellow, while for the hybrid, it’s a combination of KBS TGI Tour graphite and Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black shafts.
The EXS 220 family of metalwoods continues the trend of the EXS models of last year, which featured extensive technologies at relatively low prices. The driver (9.5, 10.5, 12 degrees) will retail for $350, the fairway woods (13.5, 15, 16.5, 18, 21 degrees) will be $250 and the hybrid (17, 19, 22, 25, 28 degrees) will be $200. The EXS 220 metalwood family will be available at retail Feb. 1.