Equipment

Equipment

Tour Edge Hot Launch 523 woods: What you need to know

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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: Tour Edge’s Hot Launch 523 lineup of woods (two drivers, two fairway woods and two hybrids) again adopt many of the technologies first introduced by the company’s higher-end Exotics brand, but package them at more affordable prices. Those features target two levels of game-improvement with more traditional game-improvement shapes in the C523 line and more extreme, high-forgiveness shapes in the E523 line.

PRICE: Drivers: $270. Fairway woods: $170. Hybrids: $150. Available at retail Nov. 1.

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THE DEEP DIVE: Tour Edge’s Hot Launch lineup of game-improvement woods are nothing if now persistent in their approach to affordable forgiveness for average golfers. Fact is, this third-generation of the Hot Launch lineup (following on the heels of the 521 models in 2021 and the 522 models in 2022) features technologies (like its distance-enhancing face thickness patterns or high-stability shaping and weighting) that got their start with the company’s higher-end Exotics clubs.

Just as importantly, though, the new Hot Launch 523 woods target the specific game-improvement needs of many average golfers: higher launch, lower spin, slice correction and better turf interaction to improve results on fat shots. The range includes two options, the standard game-enhancement C523 models and the extreme error-mitigation designs of the E523 versions.

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“We continue to bring as much innovation to this line from our ultra-premium and tour-inspired Exotics lineup,” said David Glod, Tour Edge founder and president. “With Hot Launch, our goal is to bring as many performance benefits as we can to the budget-minded golfer, and to add in the custom fitting element that matches the unprecedented demand the marketplace is experiencing for game-improvement clubs.”

Tour Edge’s solutions to average golfer problems may seem simple (define problems, offer direct solutions), but they are not simplistic. The higher-priced Exotics lineup of clubs originally featured face thicknesses variably dotted with rows of diamond-shaped depressions. They were aimed to help accentuate both on- and off-center ball speed, and that technology finds itself now a key part of the solution for the entire Hot Launch 523 wood family, starting with the C523 and E523 drivers, which are four-piece, all-titanium designs.

Both models feature faces with 39 cross-hatched diamond-shaped indentations for better flexing across the face. Also designed to enhance ball speed is ridge on the crown stretching from front to back. Originally part of the Exotics 722 drivers from last year, that feature aims to provide structural support to the overall frame of the driver, said Matt Neeley, vice president of product development for Tour Edge.

“We found that this ridgeback going down the center was kind of able to act a little bit like a corrugated structure where it really helps strengthen up that area,” Neeley said. “We found that it also was a massive help as far as sound goes, too, a nice stiffening for the crown to kind of help damp out some of those sound vibrations. That was probably one of our biggest improvements this year.”

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Also working to enhance speed is a depression in the front part of the sole on both the C523 and E523 drivers, called the “Power Channel.” Just a few thousandths of an inch deep, Neely said it provides an assist to the way the face can flex for more ball speed.

“We found it to work similar to the way Ridgeback works on the crown,” he said. “It gives us that corrugated effect, almost like the way a car has crumple zones, allowing the face to deflect a little bit more by getting that area to kind of fold inwards.”

As throughout the series of woods, the E523 driver offers the most game improvement. That starts with a focus on a high moment of inertia for stability on off-center hits and includes the draw-biased benefits of a weight pad deep in the rear of the sole. That feature, called the Houdini Sole, helps the driver achieve the highest moment of inertia of any driver in the company’s lineup while also keeping the center of gravity low. Even the more traditionally-shaped C523 driver uses a weight pad in the sole to push its moment of inertia over 5,000 grams-centimeters squared.

Again, the E523 driver features a stock shaft length that’s an inch shorter than most drivers on the market to give that struggling player a little more control. The drivers also feature a 360-degree wraparound cup face construction for improved flexing.

Many of those distance-enhancing features crop up in the E523 and C523 fairway woods, including the variable face thickness pattern of diamond-shaped depressions. The E523 features extra weighting in the heel to counteract a slice, while the raised area of the rear part of the sole (the “Houdini sole”) aims to improve turf interaction by reducing ground contact area. The E523 uses a more confidence-inspiring shallow face design, with more offset, Neeley said.

“Everything on this design is there to help somebody get the ball going straight up in the air and not too far to the right, with a little bit of closed face and a little more draw bias,” he said.

The C523 fairway wood uses a sole rail that runs from front to back to help lower the center of gravity for a more effective launch.

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Many of those fairway wood features and distinctions carry over to the hybrids, including the sole rail and the deeper face, more compact shape on the C523 and the larger, heel-biased, shallow-faced design on the E523.

The Hot Launch 523 woods come in an extensive collection of 23 lofts between drivers, fairway woods and hybrids. The C523 (9.5, 10.5, 12 degrees) and E523 (10.5, 12, 15 degrees) drivers come in three lofts each ($270). The C523 fairway woods are available in lofts of 15, 17, 19 and 22 degrees, while the E523 fairway woods come in lofts of 16, 20, 23, 25 and 27 degrees ($170). The C523 and E523 hybrids ($150) are available in lofts of 19, 22, 25 and 28 degrees.

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The Hot Launch 523 woods will be available at retail Nov. 1, including a custom fitting program that guarantees orders will be processed in 48 hours or less.