If you’re familiar with equipment and keep up on the latest trends you are no doubt familiar with the Exotics line by Tour Edge. They have made quite a name for themselves in the woods categories without spending a boatload on marketing and 7 figure deals with tour players. With a nice showing on the PGA Tour Champions circuit, most of the dollars are spent on research, design, and development. Because the fact of the matter is Exotics clubs are expensive to make. When they first launched years ago and struggled to gain popularity, it was tough to ask $300 for a fairway wood nobody ever heard of…until you hit it. Their woods and hybrids truly are among the best on the market today. I have played an Exotics 4 wood for years now and added a 3 hybrid last year.
The Hot Launch family has always been the brand’s more-bang-for-your-buck, game improvement, value line if you will. Not lacking in tech or materials, the HL clubs always performed well and held their own against clubs twice the price tag. At times separating themselves from the “package set” or “box set” category has been difficult to the casual player and shopper. But department store clubs they are not. The Hot Launch offerings are the real deal; especially in the brand new 521 series.
First and foremost, to show that the Hot Launch line can service the serious player, they offer customs in a 48 hour shipping window and come with a lifetime warranty. There will also be a HL521 fitting cart at more than 850 golf retail/fitting locations once they launch. The series will offer two different lines: Extreme (E) and Competition (C). Both will be unique and particular to their specific player with different looks, lines, shapes, specs, and shafts. “This is the biggest launch in our 34-year history” said President David Glod. That’s saying something for your supposed “value” line.
E stands for Extreme Spec Game Improvement and is more similar to what you would expect from the Hot Launch line. These clubs will boast a very low center of gravity, shallow faces in the woods, more offset, and lighter shafts; all geared to get the ball up in the air as easily and as quickly as possible. C stands for Competition Spec and while still offering forgiveness and a high MOI (moment of inertia), the feel and sound will be increased due to the addition of premium materials. “We have been able to achieve an MOI that’s comparable to the drivers that cost twice as much and are in play on the major tours” added Glod. The higher the MOI, the less the club twists on off-center hits, resulting in higher, straighter, and longer drives. In the E, the company shallowed out the face and created an MOI boosting shape. In turn comes increased ball speeds, even on miss-hits. Even higher than the former HL4. But the real star of the E line is the new Houdini Sole. This unique design and shape allowed for a center-of-gravity placement that is 14% lower and 10% deeper than the previous model. The brand’s patented Shallow Cup Face design and heel weighting is perfect for the player that struggles with squaring the face and hitting a slice.
Months ago I spoke on driver shaft lengths and industry’s obsession with making them longer and the pros and cons that come with that. Long story short: yes you will swing a longer shaft faster but it also makes it tougher to hit the sweet spot consistently. So the speed does you no good if you have made the club harder to hit. Tour Edge listened, did the research, and is now unveiling Control Shaft Length Technology. The E521 driver is a full inch shorter than the average driver on the market. This length also maximizes the efficiency of energy transfer between the club head and the ball. The shaft is a Mitsubishi Fubuki which will vary in weight from 45 grams to 55 grams depending on flex. This model also reaches the USGA limits on back to front and heel to toe lengths. That is one vast hitting area. The E521 will be available in 10.5°, 12°, and 15°.
The C521 driver changes the narrative even though distance and forgiveness is still present. With minimal offset and a deeper face, it contains a fixed rear weight and a sloped crown which increases the MOI. The C model will spin slightly less than the E. Just like the Houdini Sole is the star of the E, the Diamond Face steals the thunder in the C version. Once only available in the more expensive Exotics line, 39 different thick and thin diamond shapes behind the face increase the ball speed even when you miss the center. Does it work? I have hit toe shots with my Exotics fairway wood that went distances they had no business of going. A power channel behind the face offers reinforcement and allows the face to flex at impact. This imparts more speed and less spin when you miss it low on the face. After extensive robot testing, Tour Edge found that a mid to high launch Aldila Rogue shaft was a perfect match. Shaft weight varies from 50 grams to 60 grams depending on flex. Slightly lower lofts are offered at 9.5°, 10.5°, and 12°
Cost will be $229 for both models and it will be a lot of fun to see a driver at that price compete with the $500 competitors. We have enjoyed great success with the HL line at Golf HQ and we can’t wait for the launch of November 1st. More details and pics of the irons and hybrids will be released as we receive them.
Fantasy picks Well 2 of my 3 picks last week missed the cut and Doc Redman grabbed a top-30 finish. To make things worse, Sergio Garcia got his 11th career tour win and first since the 2017 Masters. Whoopie. Let’s regroup and head to the perfect place to back on the fantasy pick horse…Las Vegas. Here are my picks for the Shriner’s Hospitals for Children Open. Winner Colin Morikawa TPC Summerlin is a 2nd shot golf course so you have to hit a lot of greens. Colin is top 5 in strokes gained greens in regulation on tour. Will contend Bryson DeChambeau Has won here and finished 4th last year. He hits the ball 600 yards and is making his first start since winning the US Open. Sleeper Cameron Smith Hasn’t missed a cut since July and finished T-13 last year. He’s a very good putter.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Written by Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional
Design & Published by Craig Walton