Cognizant Classic in The Palm Beaches

PGA National (Champion Course)



Equipment

Tour Edge Hot Launch 524 drivers, fairway woods, hybrids: What you need to know

February 06, 2024
/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/TourEdgeHotLaunch524.jpg

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Tour Edge Hot Launch 524 series of metalwoods once again brings together the company’s highest levels of technology, borrowed from the top innovations in its Exotics lineup, to a more budget-conscious consumer with drivers, fariway woods and hybrids that in some cases are half the going rate of many popular models. The 524 lineup includes two families, the E524 with a focus on extreme game improvement and the C524 with more traditional, compact shaping for more skilled golfers. Throughout there’s an emphasis on more ball speed across a broader section of the face. That comes from both a variable thickness face design made of dozens of diamond-shaped indentations and a central ridge the length of the crown designed to add structural stability at impact.

PRICE: E524: driver ($250; 10.5, 12, 15 degrees); fairway wood ($180; 16, 20, 23, 25, 27 degrees); hybrid ($150; 19, 22, 25, 28 degrees). C524: driver ($250; 9, 10.5, 12 degrees); fairway wood ($180; 15, 17, 19, 22 degrees); hybrid ($150; 19, 22, 25, 28 degrees). Available at retail March 1.

3 COOL THINGS

1. Diamonds on a budget. It is not impossible or even remotely remarkable to produce an affordable set of golf clubs. You can find a boxed set that includes a bag on Amazon right now for $200. Making a collection of tech-rich metalwoods that are sometimes as little as half the price of some current top models, though, is a different proposition. But Tour Edge has been living that mantra for decades, and the latest Hot Launch offering, the eighth edition, again incorporates the learnings of the company’s higher-priced Exotics line to give budget-conscious golfers some proven concepts. Foremost among them is a variable face technology the company calls “diamond face VFT.”

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/E524-Driver-Top.png

Appearing on the backs of the forged titanium faces of drivers, fairway woods and hybrids, the design uses rows of intersecting diamond-shaped patterns (sort of a crosshatch) of varying depths designed to create multiple areas of optimized face flexibility both across and up and down the face.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/C524-Fairway-Face.png

“This is by far the most tech we have put into the Hot Launch lineup and almost all of it comes directly from our ultra-premium Exotics designs,” said David Glod, Tour Edge founder and president, who refers to the distinct face thicknesses as “mini-trampolines.”

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/C524-Driver-Top.png
/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/E524-Fairway-Face.png

“Our goal is to bring Hot Launch to the highest possible level in game improvement and extreme improvement designs. They feature the specs and the playing characteristics that the vast majority of golfers are going to benefit the most from.”

Glod says the variable diamond shapes create more ball speed potential and reduce spin. On the E524 woods, the driver face is backed 36 diamond shapes in four different sizes, the fairway wood features 34 and the hybrid 39. On the C524, there are 37 diamond shapes, the fairway wood uses 35 and the hybrid features an array of 34. The fairway woods and hybrids use three different shapes and thicknesses on their diamond shapes.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/C524-Hybrid-Front.png

In addition to creating more potential face deflection on off-center hits, the “VFT diamond” design concentrates on benefitting heel and toe hits to optimize ball speed across the face. The effect of the face deflection also helps to optimize spin, as well as providing durability for the thinner face design.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/C524-Fairway-Back-02.png

2. Crowning achievement. The crown construction is another element brought over from the Exotics 723 series of metalwoods. The driver, fairway woods and hybrid all incorporate the central ridge that stretches from front to back. Known as “ridgeback,” the I-beam shaped feature provides increased stability for better off-center hit power (or, more precisely, less loss of power on mis-hits). Specifically, Glod said the idea is to stiffen the middle section where face deflection and ball speed already are maximized, allowing for more give on the heel and toe regions where off-center hits are given more of a boost.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/E524-Hybrid-Back-02.png

Flanked by heel and toe sections on the crown with an aesthetic treatment that takes on a carbon fiber look, the ridge feature also serves an alignment function. Actually positioned slightly heelward from center, at address the angle of the ridge appears matched up with the center of the face.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/C524-Hybrid-Top.png

3. Family resemblance. The two collections serve two different player types, with the E524 exuding maximum game improvement features, while the C524 offers more traditional looks in line with what more experienced players would prefer. Those changes go beyond the visual, of course. The E524 driver, fairway woods and hybrids all feature more offset to help driver the center of gravity farther back and improve the tendency of the face to close at impact. The E524 driver also features a more upright lie angle and a shorter shaft to increase control. There’s also a heel-biased sole weight on the driver, fairway woods and hybrids to help attack the slice, and compared to the C524 there are higher lofts and larger visual footprints in the E524 to inspire more confidence.

On the C524 driver, fairway woods and hybrids, the sole weight is more centered and deep, creating a higher moment of inertia (heel-toe stability) than its predecessor. Like on the E524 woods, there’s a more pronounced sole rail that also keeps the CG lower, eight percent lower compared to last year’s driver and 22 percent lower on the hybrids.

/content/dam/images/golfdigest/fullset/2024/2/E524-Fairway-Top.png

Both the fairway woods and hybrids feature shallow face designs, although the E524 lineup is shallower than the C524 offerings. Each also makes use of an angle wedge of weight in the rear perimeter to lower the CG and provide extra stability. Known as the “Houdini Sole,” the wedge is angled away like a rudder, providing helpful weighting but heel and toe relief for better turf interaction. That angle is more aggressive on the E524 woods with more extreme heel and toe relief compared to the C524.