XXIO 12 driver, fairway woods and hybrids: What you need to know
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The XXIO 12 driver, fairway woods and hybrids feature aerodynamic technology designed not merely to make the clubs easier to swing faster but easier to keep square to the target at impact, too. Designed for moderate swing-speed players who generally fight a slice, these metalwoods feature a raised section in the heel section of the crown that aims to stabilize the head in the downswing while making it more aerodynamically sleeker approaching impact for better speed and more consistency.
PRICE: XXIO 12 driver, $700; XXIO 12 fairway woods, $400; XXIO 12 hybrids, $300. In stores Feb. 11.
THE DEEP DIVE: The challenge of golf is that it values speed, accuracy and consistency, almost in equal measures. That’s particularly onerous for moderate swing speed players who have trouble squaring the face at impact with the long clubs. XXIO, which has targeted this group for years, thinks its latest XXIO 12 metalwoods might have found a solution to all three challenges by focusing on aerodynamics.
On the surface, focusing on aerodynamic features for clubs designed not for elite swing speeds might seem a bit misdirected. Only fast swingers can take advantage of the small gains in speed a slight aerodynamic tweak might provide, right? Perhaps, but what if the feature is designed to optimize speed, accuracy and consistency, in essence producing better, more efficient impact more often? This is what XXIO’s “ActivWing” feature seems to be about. A slight sloping protrusion on the heel side of the crown of the XXIO 12 driver, fairway woods and hybrids, it’s designed to create beneficial aerodynamic lift and drag forces that enable a moderate swing speed golfer to deliver the clubhead to impact more consistently and with the face angle more closed.
Basically, the feature creates more drag when the club is in the middle of the downswing and not moving at its fastest speed. While drag would tend to slow down the clubhead, it matters less at a slower speed, according to engineers at XXIO. Instead, at this juncture, the ActivWing feature stabilizes the clubhead so it can move more efficiently. That efficiency translates to more clubhead speed at impact with the face more easily closed. It’s about how the clubhead and player interact, said Jacob Lambeth, senior research engineer.
“Halfway through the downswing any sort of forces that are felt in the club are going to be transmitted to the player and has the potential to nudge the player in a certain direction,” he said. “I think it’s a balance between the drag helping with the face closure, but knowing that too much drag is going to have a negative effect on head speed. We’re trying to find a balance where we’re giving just enough drag to help close the face but not have a significant effect on the headspeed at impact.”
Of course, as they have for years, the XXIO 12 clubs also attack the issue of speed through other areas. First, all the metalwoods feature a series of stiff-flexible-stiff regions in crown and sole immediately framing the flexible face. That effect is designed to create more rebound across a larger area of the face for more distance. There’s also the XXIO tradition of lighter weight. The total weight of the XXIO 12 driver is 282 grams (as light as 260 grams for the women’s version), including a 41-gram shaft. Finally, the clubs also again feature counterbalanced weighting in the butt end of the grip. That weight plug is designed to require a smaller effort to get the club into a proper position at the top of the swing for a more efficient downswing.
The metalwoods have other distinct distance and forgiveness technologies. That includes an exclusive high-strength titanium alloy in the large “flat cup face” for better spring across a larger area. The fairway woods and hybrids utilize a high-strength HT1770M steel alloy, and both include an arched internal weight pad in the front part of the sole that creates a low center of gravity while allowing for better face flexing on low impacts.
The driver ($700) is available in 9.5, 10.5 and 11.5 degrees in men’s and 10.5, 11.5, 12.5 and 13.5 degrees in women’s (XXIO 12 Ladies). The fairway woods ($400) come in five lofts (15, 16.5, 18, 20 and 23 degrees for men’s; 16, 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees for women’s), while the hybrids ($300) are offered in four lofts (18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees in men’s; 22, 25, 28 and 30 degrees in women’s). The XXIO 12 lineup is slated to be in stores Feb. 11.