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Callaway Golf XHot Pro 3Deep. Different Enough, or Just Different?

Post image for Callaway Golf XHot Pro 3Deep. Different Enough, or Just Different?

Callaway Golf has just (quietly) announced the impending retail availability of what’s being called the XHot 3Deep fairway wood; presumably because it will be the 3rd version of the XHot line offered to consumers, and because the biggest feature is the deeper face (10% higher than XHot Pro).

Given the online golf connoisseur’s penchant for whining about companies releasing too much gear every year, it’s possible that Callaway might ruffle some feathers by releasing another iteration of XHot. It’s an out of the box move for a company trying to fight its way back to the top, and out of the box is more or less the story of the new Callaway Golf…at least on the marketing side.

What remains to be seen is whether the consumer will see XHot Pro 3Deep as a unique performance proposition, or whether it’s destiny is to be just another club on the rack…almost totally indistinguishable from the one next to it. For a company that has recently championed the idea of clear marketing segmentation, 3Deep would seem to blur those lines just a bit.

The Origins of XHot

As you may be aware, the XHot line was born largely from a mandate from new CEO Chip Brewer. Callaway engineers were tasked with creating a fairway wood that could match, and ideally outperform anything on the market right now. And so XHot was born.

Phil Mickelson (and probably everybody else) wanted a fairway wood that was more versatile, easier to shape, and of course, really long. To better service the needs of their tour staff (and to get that pesky competitor’s fairway wood out of Phil’s bag), XHot Pro was born too. Think of them as fraternal twins.

While the XHot and XHot Pro do a good job of covering the needs of a healthy percentage of the market, it turns out it’s not quite ideal for everyone. If one of those guys it doesn’t work perfectly for is you or me, chances are not much happens. If one of those guys happens to be Phil Mickelson…well some changes get made.

XHot Pro 3Deep is the result of those changes.

What XHot 3Deep Means for Phil Mickelson

Phil’s tendency is to strike the ball a bit higher on the face than many. Essentially Phil hits the ball above the conventional “sweet spot”, or more simply put; Phil hits it high on the face. With XHot Pro above the sweet spot contact results in a decrease in ball speed, and an increase in spin rates. Neither is really what you’re going for with a 3 wood.

With the new XHot Pro 3Deep, Callaway designers were able to increase face height, and raise the center of gravity. The result is a head that maintains ball speed for above center contact, while improving spin robustness. Spin robustness, is the variance between high and low spin rates off a given head. The lower the variance, the narrower the gap between high and low spin. As much as anything else, spin robustness is an indicator of what happens when you don’t quite hit the sweet spot.

“The most meaningful club Phil has ever put in his bag…” – Jim “Bones” Mackay

While the on-course impact of 3Deep remains to be seen, Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones Mackay is calling 3Deep “The most meaningful club Phil has ever put in his bag”. Because of the added distance from 3Deep, Mickelson’s plan (always subject to immediately change) is to hit fairway off the tee in most situations, while turning his driver into a pure bomber for those situations when he wants every yard he can possibly get.

According to Callaway’s Randy Peterson, the versatility of XHot 3Deep will allow Phil to do some experimentation with the driver. Callaway is going to look at longer (46″) shafts, as well as possibly changing the weight configuration, and even the loft. It sounds like the goal is to focus exclusively on squeezing as much yardage as they can out of Phil’s driver, even if it means sacrificing some accuracy to do so.

When you consider Mickelson’s erratic tendencies with the driver…hold on fellas…this could get interesting.

Tour Issue Comes to Retail

What’s most interesting about 3Deep’s upcoming availability is that it marks one of the rare occasions when a golf club adapted to the specific needs of a PGA tour professional will find its way to retail. Most of us realize that a good bit of what’s in the bags of the tour guys isn’t exactly the same as what’s on the store shelves. There are some who are ignorant of the fact. Some accept it. Some whine about not being able to play exactly what the pros play, and some take to eBay and a couple of other Tour Issues dealers and spend ridiculous sums of money for products that in many case don’t fit them.

Most of us…we’re no Phil Mickelson.

While I’m not certain I buy into Callaway’s claims that consumers asked for this club (most consumers are just finding out about it today), I suppose I can appreciate what Callaway’s doing. Essentially, they’re getting the jump on the any potential consumer demand for a “tour” product with the very real benefit of keeping the Callaway name and products fresh on the minds, and ideally, the tongues of consumers.

When Chip Brewer ran the show at Adams it was anything but unusual for tour issue prototypes to pop up in the golf forums on an almost weekly basis. Those images not only guaranteed Adams almost equal time, they also helped provide a legitimate meter of consumer interest in the products.

Without spending a dollar Adams was able to stay in the news, do a little bit of market research, and distance themselves a bit from the reputation of being simply a hybrid and game-improvement company.

By bringing what legitimately qualifies as a Tour prototype to retail, Callaway, under Brewer’s influence, appears to be engaging in a similar strategy, even if the consumer demand piece feels a little more contrived. Unlike the Adams days, it’s not like pics of the 3Deep were being drooled over in every golf forum on the planet. Buzz is being built…retroactively.

Nevertheless, I’ll give Callaway plenty of credit for demystifying the product (toning down the Tour Issue mystique) and drawing some clear and easy to understand distinctions between the XHot Pro and the XHot Pro 3Deep.

It’s simple really. If your tendency is to hit the ball below the center of the clubface, XHot Pro is the better choice. If you’re like Phil…you like flashing thumbs up, and you strike the ball above the center of the face with your fairway woods, 3Deep will likely be the better choice.

The challenge comes in letting the consumer knows he has options, and doing it without causing confusion.

As is always the story with XHot, Callaway maintains that both the Pro and Pro 3Deep models are Longer from Everywhere.

Availability and Options

XHot Pro 3Deep will be available in 13° and 14° (RH) and 13° (LH). Stock shaft is a 43.5″ Project X Velocity.

Look for the XHot 3 Deep to hit store shelves sometime next month. Retail price is $229.99.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

d.ronsky March 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

great write up but the most surprising part of the whole story is that price!

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ms1195 March 26, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I like the looks of this, but it makes me wonder how much difference there is between this club and their driver (besides length)? I suppose the lines between driver and 3w are being blurred across all companies now anyway, so this shouldn’t be a surprise to me.

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Chal March 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

The thing that stinks about this is I would have loved the deep but already purchased the pro version. Have not even had it on the course yet.

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Tony March 26, 2013 at 5:16 pm

I think it’s great, sick of every fairway being made having only shallow faces.

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RussT March 26, 2013 at 7:02 pm

There were quite a bit of inquiries about this club on “the other golf forum” sent to Harry. And according to many little birds, these will release in very limited numbers as they are not for everyone.

I personally cant wait for this thing. I’ve never been able to hit shallow fairway woods, they always ballon on me, hence I’ve been gaming my Nike T60 13* for years now.

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TwoSolitudes March 26, 2013 at 10:46 pm

No way that would work for me, and I can’t see them selling many. I don’t know anyone that regularly hits FWs high on the face. But if the point is to get press and keep the staff happy, I guess it will be OK. It certainly got my attention.

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frank March 27, 2013 at 5:36 am

Great write up. here is my take on a deep face. the GBBII had a pretty deep face (at the time) and that thing was a Pain in the butt to get airborne from the fairway. off the tee is was a beast.. hot face and with the roll sometimes as far as my big dog. that being said it looks like this is being made for phil for the tee so doesn’t that go against the purpose of the advertising for Callaway saying that their Xhot fairway is longer from EVERYWHERE?????

do like the tour issue but I would say the majority of US hit it low, heel, and toe rather than high on the face so following your statemnt I don’t think it would fi tthe majority. BUT THE PEOPLE WANTING WHATS IN PHILS BAG CAN GO BUY IT AND INCREASE THEIR CAPS BY 2-4 STROKES IF THEY LIKE.

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golfercraig March 27, 2013 at 7:14 am

These are the most limited release I’ve ever seen in retail history. The first release allocation for each of Callaways 75 outside sales reps is less than 40. Think about that. 40 for an entire territory. All the golf shops, all the clubs. 40 total. If you want one, you better get in line NOW.

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GolfSpy T March 27, 2013 at 7:30 am

Now that’s actually compelling information. You’d think Callaway would want to publicize that. I suppose you could argue that with such a limited quantity available, there’s no need to hype it because they’re going to sell anyway, but at the same time, not much builds buzz like the notion of limited edition…more so when limited actually means limited.

It’s also unfortunate for some (like Chal for example) that Callaway didn’t have this ready to go when XHot hit shelves. There are going to be guys who want (because it’s what Phil plays) or need (it’s actually the better fit) the 3Deep, but bought XHot Pro because it was the only thing available at the time.

If this was a late summer release, I’d get it, but so soon after the original product hit retail…

Where this could get interesting…if this proves to be a runaway success for Callaway, you might see more of it. We know there is some demand (probably the same type of demand that 3Deep caters to) for the Tour models of TaylorMade’s woods. It could lead to others following the trend.

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golfercraig March 27, 2013 at 11:58 am

As of now–the plan is 6000 heads, and no more. This is it. 2 allocations of 3000 each. Just a limited run for the better player. I like it.

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Yohanan March 27, 2013 at 9:47 am

Super write up. This has been one of the most interesting topics to follow.

I am not an engineer i just have been blessed to have grown up in a town full of them and work for/with them for years. It has been said that ball speeds have been increased 2-3 mph with this verision vs the others. More mass spread out over the face for more pop.

Its well documented that the reason i started lurking here and elsewhere was to look for a replacement of a club that had a very short product cycle and in turn is no more. Wore the face out on a 9* 360 cc 44″ driver that for me was magic for about 5 years. 270 where ever i wanted it go. Amazing. Never had that in my bag before or really since.

I think that is the point of this club as it is pointed out here and elsewhere. Its a fairway finder first and fairway cannon 2nd.

I have a couple things in common with Phil and currently its not as big of a tax problem here in California. I am very inconsistent with clubs with length over 44.5″ and i hit the ball higher on the face.

I have pre/pre-ordered a 13* and 14.5* from a Cally Performance Center and can’t wait for 4/19 to get here AND start the learning process.

All i am looking for is more consistency off the tee and more distance off the deck (now with a 14* Rapture) and a shot at breaking 80 as i was prior with the magic wand. Really dont want to be laying 2 or 3 AND i am still 250-300 yards out on Par 4 or 5 once or twice a round.

Thanks Callaway, Chip, Harry and all the folks at Callaway for making Phil’s club/science project available to mere mortals. I really appeciate it.

And I am amazed at the price point-Thank you!

Here’s to getting better and the love of the game.

Cheers

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Jonny English March 27, 2013 at 1:11 pm

At last!!!

Meaning the groves and face marks. Much prefer an un-busy face on my clubs. Didn’t like the x on last few Callaways, don’t like the symbol on Nikes. I know I shouldn’t be looking there, but I do, I know it shouldn’t bother me, but it does.

Love the look of this club. I’ll bag one for when the Driver goes cold

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Bobtrumpet March 27, 2013 at 1:39 pm

This would be a nice fit for players who: need more loft off the tee to get the ball in the air; need shorter than 45″-46″ shafts; can’t stand the “balloon on a sick” look of most all 460cc driver heads.

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Jeff March 28, 2013 at 8:41 am

When is the 2013 driver review being released?? I have money to spend but want your input first!

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william Pucci March 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

If you can’t get your hands on a 3Deep find a Cobra Long Tom 2 wood. Many of the same qualities,very deep face.

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jim March 28, 2013 at 4:58 pm

i play all x hot clubs and amazed at the quality and length of these clubs my question is that are the xhot pro and deep just for the more seasoned players or for anyone i am about 10 handicap and would like to know if these are beneficial for higher handicappers thanks jim

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Bill March 29, 2013 at 7:59 am

I heard about this about 3 weeks ago on another forum and was intrigued. I don’t care about the “Phil” connection, I love the idea of a deeper face fairway wood that has a shorter shaft than a driver. When I asked the Callaway rep about it he gave me a smarmy reply and pointed to me to the 2013 catalog and said “that’s all that’s available this year”. I can understand wanting to sell what you have in the store but he (and his assistant) knew nothing about it.
The Cobra Long Tom is a longer shafted club (48inches), which doesn’t appeal to me. The Razr Fit Extreme driver is 45.5 inches and I bought it due to my ability to control it while getting great distance. A 43.5 to 44 inch deep face 3 wood holds a lot of appeal to me. Like others have mentioned, the very low profile of current 3 woods on the market makes it’s use off the tee less desirable. I am tall and a little upright in my swing and the thin profile requires me to flatten my swing considerably to make consistent contact. I look forward to hitting the 3Deep X Hot.
I think many golfers play too long a shaft in hopes of distance gains but they lose accuracy and often don’t hit it any further. I used a steel shafted, 44 inch length 8 degree driver for a couple years that I could hit 320 and keep in play. If I can hit this new club off a fairway, it will have a place in my bag.

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gunmetal March 29, 2013 at 8:11 am

From what I understand about ball deflection properties, it’s much more difficult to get the face to flex with a shallow face. This is why you see most “hot” 3 woods that claim to have a COR approaching a driver with deeper faces. The only shallow face 3 wood I know that has a really high cor is the Wishon 929.

With that said, I own the X Hot Pro and it’s not leaving my bag for a long long long time. I’ve cut it down to a reasonable 42.5″ and am absolutely bombing it. Cally has put some great stuff out this year…once you get it fit to your swing.

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Bill April 13, 2013 at 5:57 pm

Looking forward to April 19th…This was an excellent write up and the comments are equally interesting. I remember back in the old days when Phil credited his new Razr Fit Xtreme for his last win. Then for a week the X Hot 3 Deep was the most important club in his bag. Now it’s Frankenwood…Give him credit, he captures the imagination better than any other spokesman.
I mentioned a couple weeks ago that I love the deeper faced 3 wood although I suspect I’ll bag the 14 degree in hopes of being able to hit it consistently off the turf also. The new Cleveland Classic 3 wood appeals to me for the same reason. It sets up great and I get the feeling I can hit it off both tee and fairway with equal success. Can’t wait to see it.

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Tony May 1, 2013 at 10:03 am

I hit this new 3 xhot deep and was amazed how far I was hitting it. I asked the largest retailer in US which club has best response and she mentioned this model. I hit my 910 d3 driver with graphic design adi7x. I swing arround 105-112 swing with driver. I was hitting taylormade, ping, cleveland on machine and was averaging 245 on machine. I hit first the callaway deep model and hit first shot and it went 281 and I thought it was mistake. I then hit another one and it went 282. I was hiting arround 265-272 without even trying. I then hit the shallow version and hit 260-270. I was speechless with these 3 woods. I have 910 13.5 propped to a 15 and not totally happy. This callaway was super long. I dont think the shaft I was using was strong enough on callaway. I thought the shallow face was sufficient and hit it higher. I was in shock with this club. I don’t need 3 wood off tee because my driver is excellent. I have had for 2 plus years and will not change unless thing breaks. If you are looking for distance, the callaway is scary. I don’t know how accurate until you play it on course. Food for thought.

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Bill May 9, 2013 at 7:12 pm

I went with the 14.5 degree and I’m curious as to how they are selling. I love this club..Took me a little while to learn how it likes to be hit off the turf, but once I got it…OMG. Off the tee I knew I’d hit it well but it’s within 15-20 yards of my driver (the razr fit xtreme). The nice thing is that it’s dispersion is much tighter. The xtreme driver is super long BUT it’s not automatic. Good swings are incredible but haven’t grooved a consistent swing that will leave me in the fairway yet. The 3Deep tempts me to dump the Extreme. It’s nearly as long and much easier to keep in play. I’ve hooked a couple but my percentage of straight bombs is great.
Struggled with it off the turf at first but read a good article on an effective 3 wood swing. Once I adopted it’s tips it was off to the races. It was one of those moments you look forward to..Had two late 20′s/ early 30′s guys hitting in the spots behind me on the range at my club. They were both very good (better than me by a good margin). They were talking non-stop as they hit..until I started hitting the 3Deep off the turf. 280 dead straight once. Twice. The third time they stopped talking and hitting and were watching…the trajectory was identical all three shots. Perfect. It was funny..did it one more time and decided to enjoy the moment and gave it my best “I do this all the time” shrug.

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Bob July 28, 2013 at 11:25 am

The 3 deep represents one of the greatest advances in fairway wood technology I think I’ve seen in my golfing career. First of all, as many that own it will tell you, it is the ONLY fairway metal that goes nearly the same distance as a driver. I hit my xhot 9.5 only 10 yards longer than this club (swing speed 102-104). I briefly owned the standard xhot 3 wood (15 degree) and it had the typical pop the ball up in the air trajectory – in comparison, 3deep has more of a boring, low trajectory. Though my clubs are square and this is an open face, it is still very easy to turn it over. Only shortcoming for perhaps high handicappers is the larger face, though it’s still as easy to hit off the deck as most 3 woods. This club is a game changer.

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rogero August 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I have just pre ordered the x hot deep 13 degree 3 wood L/H as I cannot get on with my callaway razr driver I have a callaway diablo edge 3 wood which is more consistent off the tee so with the 13 degree x hot I am hoping this will give me longer drives off the tee. Hope to receive it by Wednesday

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flaglfr August 12, 2013 at 10:44 am

I just got one of these (14.5) last week. I took it out this last weekend and was quite surprised to find it’s close in distance to my R1 Black and was very accurate. I know there are many distance claims with fairway woods, but this one really has potential as an alternative to a driver particularly for a shorter, tighter course. It is quite easy to hit and hit long. I also had no issues hitting it off the ground.

I am a big fan of smaller club heads. Mickelson was using a driver (Phrankenwood) with a smaller head at the Masters. From most of the info I have seen, this small driver will not be released to the public. I was wondering if anyone was sure of this? I too have read there are no plans to release it, but was hoping they might change their mind based upon forums such as this one.

I am considering buying a 13 and having it bent. Does anyone know answers to the following:
Can it be safely bent to about 10 degrees or so?
How does bending affect the overall look and playability of the wood?
How far can it realistically be bent without severely affecting its playing characteristics off the turf?

I am fairly certain part of the bending answer will be when it is bent to 10, it will not perform the same off the turf. I am thinking of trying it as a driver substitute, but (based on the performance of the 14.5) want to hit it off the turf as well.

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allister December 2, 2013 at 10:09 am

any one tried demoing a real phil’s club i.e left handed you might as well platt fog

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