WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The XXIO Prime drivers, fairway woods and hybrids continue XXIO Prime’s heritage for lightweight, speed-enhancing designs for moderate swing speed players, but this year the collection adds an element that’s often been a casualty of ultra-light clubheads: forgiveness. These new models marry lighter weight with high stability on mis-hits thanks to a low density titanium construction that pushes a weight pad more than an inch farther back than in previous models.

PRICE: Driver, $1,269 (10.5, 11.5 degrees); fairway woods, $799 (15, 18, 21, 24 degrees); hybrids, $625 (19, 22, 25, 28, 31 degrees). Available at retail across Australia before the end of March.

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Lighter is faster: The XXIO Prime clubs long have targeted moderate to below average swing-speed players with ultra-light designs. The 2023 installment features drivers that weigh less than 260 grams with heads that weigh less than 190 grams. Both of those would be at the outer extremes in the current marketplace where many leading drivers easily weigh 300 grams or more. (The XXIO Prime Royal Edition women’s version weighs just 243 grams for an airy B9 swingweight. The shaft weighs barely 35 grams, or about as much as a AA battery.)

But as in recent versions, the design aims to make these clubs easier to swing not just because of the lighter weight but also because of a more aerodynamically stable head design. Called ActivWing, the crowns on XXIO Prime and Prime Royal Edition drivers, fairway woods and hybrids feature a raised section like an airfoil towards the heel side. It’s designed to stabilise the head as the club transitions to the downswing and ultimately into the ball. According to the company, the ActivWing feature “uses aerodynamics to cancel out centrifugal force and stop any unpredictable clubhead movements throughout the swing”. In short, a head that moves more efficiently along its path will yield more efficient swing speed.

Lighter is forgiving?: The problem with making a driver lighter, especially ultralight, is that there is less mass to distribute to the perimeter. Without weight on the perimeter, a design won’t be as stable on off-centre hits and won’t be able to achieve a higher moment of inertia (MOI). But that’s not what’s happening with this light design. Using a low-density titanium alloy in the construction of the body to go with a fast-flexing proprietary titanium alloy in the face, means there’s enough saved weight that can be repositioned low and deep to push the centre of gravity farther back. Specifically, the XXIO team says that weight pad is 29 millimetres farther back than in previous XXIO drivers. Combining that deeper rear weighting with a clubhead that stretches farther from front to back than previous models helps to create an MOI that is more than 10 percent greater while barely adding a gram of weight to the head. According to the company, another benefit of the higher MOI head: “It suppresses sideways head movement for square impact and improved consistency.”

Lighter is not the only thing: Swinging these lightweight-focused drivers, fairway woods, and hybrids faster is one way to improve distance. So, too, is designing these heads with extra forgiveness. But what’s just as essential is a face designed to take advantage of that speed. The drivers, fairway woods and hybrids all use the company’s family-wide face technology that uses alternating flexible and more rigid elements to get the face to deflect more effectively at impact.

The XXIO clubs use a highly flexible central face design, then stiffen the transition regions surrounding the top and bottom perimeters of the face. As the topline and leading edge transition to the crown of these woods, another flexible zone around the body and the beginning of the crown effectively creates a kind of second spring that syncs with the flexing of the first one in the face design, which is a cupface in the drivers and high-strength 1770M maraging steel in the fairway woods and hybrids. The metal woods complete the system with a stiffer region of ribs within the club to brace against a more flexible overall face-crown/sole design. According to the company, this system helps to create a larger area with the highest ball speeds that marks a 133 percent increase in the high ball speed region on the face, compared to previous models.

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