XXIO X Irons Review
XXIO X Irons
Teachers’ Comments: Great feel, good distance, nice ball flight.
Earlier this summer XXIO sent a pitching wedge, seven and five irons from their “X” line of irons. After a dozen rounds with the Xs in the bag, I am impressed with both the distance and the feel.
American golfers may not be familiar with the XXIO brand. Although the history is somewhat convoluted, ultimately XXIO falls under the same corporate umbrella as Srixon and Cleveland. The parent company of all of those is Sumitomo Rubber Industries (the “SRI” in Srixon).
Sumitomo has a fascinating history. Founder Masatomo Sumitomo opened a book and medicine shop in 17th century Kyoto, Japan. A partnership with his brother-in-law led to copper refining. The original copper mine operated for 283 years. Later, the ever-adaptable company expanded to textiles, sugar, coal, construction, machinery, chemicals, finances and … rubber.
XXIO as a brand launched in 2000. Today, it is the top selling golf brand in Japan and Korea.
XXIO’s “X” irons are designed to be lightweight and easy to swing, but with a nod to the better player. A similar design philosophy can be found in XXIO’s Eleven series (read GolfBlogger’s XXIO Eleven Irons review at the link)
Unlike the XXIO Eleven, which comes only with graphite shafts, the XXIO X is also available in steel. The design philosophy is the same, though.
“X takes the same XXIO philosophy – lightweight and easy to swing – but is designed for better players” said Jeff Brunski, Vice President of Research and Development. “We’re targeting golfers who have typically played ‘players’ golf equipment, but are starting to see distance declines in their game.”
Clubs that feel too light, however, can result in swing faults from a less-than-ideal balance point. To fix this, XXIO has installed brass and rubber weights in the butt of each club. This shifts the balance point to help players find an ideal top-of-swing position.
For what it’s worth, Jack Nicklaus back-weighted his clubs. He thought that it helped with the change of direction and created greater speed.
In practice, I think I am able to groove a pretty good swing with the XXIO X clubs (and the XXIO Eleven). I do feel as though I can get into a nice position at the top before dropping down and firing through.
As the advertising literature on the XXIO X says, “smooth and easy.”
If you struggle with getting the club into position and keeping it on plane, the back-weighted XXIO clubs just might do the trick for you.
The heads on the XXIO X clubs are forged, with a milled speed groove around the rear perimeter of the club that is designed to provide distance and consistency. This channel is designed to flex at impact, delivering a higher final velocity for the ball.
That means more distance, which is what every golfer wants.
The soles of the XXIO X irons have a bit of a “V” shape to them. It’s not nearly as pronounced as my Srixon 585 irons, but the family resemblance is there. (Read GolfBlogger’s Srixon Z 585 Irons review at the link). I’m a fan of that sole design. I think it helps consistency in striking balls in different sorts of lies.
As you might expect from forged clubs, the XXIO X offers a soft feel on shots hit in the center of the face, but lets you know when you have not. Feedback like that — with an eye toward improvement — is why I think that forged clubs are not only for better players, but for players with aspirations of becoming better.
I really like the look of the XXIO X irons at address. There is just a slight amount of offset, and do not look too large. Unlike many golfers — or what the manufacturers advertise — I do not think that a larger clubhead inspires more confidence. I know that I am not going to miss the ball, and a more moderately sized head inspires in me the belief that I can carve that ball off the turf.
There also is the suggestion in the XXIO publicity materials that the more compact shape enhances workability. I really don’t have the skill to consistently work a ball left and right, but I did have some success with the XXIO in moderating ball flight between straight and a hook left. I recall a couple of shots where I was pleased to be able to deliberately draw a ball into the open end of the angled seventeenth at Washtenaw Golf Club.
From a distance perspective, the XXIO eleven irons were satisfying. In my rounds at Washtenaw — a course I have played hundreds of times over the past twenty five years — I found that I was hitting greens with regularity from the expected distances. That’s all I can really ask for.
XXIO X IRONS SPECS
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I’ll take time here for an aside with a pet peeve. The interwebs are full of players who brag about hitting a seven iron 190 yards, and reviewers who gush about how a club added five yards. That’s not to mention manufacturers who advertise ten more yards with every new generation of clubs.
Success on the course is not about how far, but how consistently. Listen to the pros when they talk about yardages. Notice how precise they are. They say things like: this club goes 143 in the morning and 148 in the afternoon. The yardage itself isn’t as important as the fact that they know what the yardage is.
Circling back to the XXIO X irons, what I found in my test rounds is that I get great consistency with them. They’re not the longest clubs I’ve ever hit (although they are plenty long), but I am consistently able to get them into position and then through the ball. I was avoiding the fat and thin shots that plague us amateurs.
I cannot offer any insight as to the gapping in the irons because I only had the three to test.
In the final analysis, I think that the XXIO X irons are worth of consideration for mid to lower handicappers. I would love to have a full set of these as my gamers. I like the consistency that much. If you’re getting fitted — and you should get fitted — make sure the XXIO irons are in the mix.
Higher handicappers, however, probably want to take a look at XXIO’s Eleven irons, which has similar back-weighting technology with perhaps a more forgiving head and some more anti-slice technology.
X is available at a MAP of $199.99 for a single steel iron, $299.99 for the X Hybrids, $399.99 for the X Fairway Woods and $699.99 for the new X Driver.
The XXIO X Irons Review was first published on GolfBlogger.Com.