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ULTIMATE REVIEW – TourEdge XCG5 Driver

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tour edge XCG5 driver review

"Here's what you need to know about TourEdge's XCG5 Driver. The XCG5 offers average players an alternative to the company's CB4 lineup (designed for better players), and is among the most accurate and, I believe, most forgiving drivers we've ever tested. Most impressive is that TourEdge was able to achieve this without sacrificing any critical design elements. What I mean by that is the club looks almost traditional at address. If there's a knock on the XCG5 is that it's loud, but rather than be put off by it, think of the loud pop as the club's way of letting you know you just found the fairway."

TourEdge XCG 5 Driver

(Written By: @GolfSpy T) It wasn't that long ago that we published reviews of TourEdge's CB4 Fairways and Hybrids. While suggesting the hybrid was anything other than a stellar performer for us would be disingenuous, it was, far and away, the fairway wood that had our testers talking. Before there was the XTD or the RBZ, it was the CB4 fairway that was making some of the boldest distance claims the industry had to offer (+20 Yards Guaranteed!). If we're being perfectly honest, looking at the averages, the CB4 didn't quite live up to that promise, but when you focus on the best shots our testers hit with the club, well, it's fair to say the CB4 absolutely dwarfed the competition.

Of course, the XCG lineup is a different animal than TourEdge's CB series. While the CB4 series is targeted at better players, the XCG5 is designed with the everyday player in mind. While the CB4 features a tall, open face, the XCG5 sets up neutral, or closed (12° model). While the CB series is what you might call standard weight, the XCG5 joins the ranks of ultra light, and super ultra light drivers.

While these details are important, what really matters is how the club performs, and more to the point, whether or not the XCG5 Driver can live up to the legend established by the CB4 Fairway Woods and Hybrids.

The Marketing Angle

Rather than bog ourselves down repeating everything TourEdge has to say about the XCG5 Driver, let's skip ahead to the bullet points.

  • Features an all-new Beta titanium crown for advanced performance and sound
  • Six-point perimeter weighting system features six weight pads that position weight perfectly in the club head
  • 12% larger face features Boomerang face technology that launches the ball at impact
  • Available in three industry-leading shaft models: Graphite Design Tour AD, Fujikura Blur and Aldila RIP

 

Grip: GolfPride New-Decade Multi Compound 360/Winn Lite Exotics on Super Ultra Light Models

How We Tested

The 5 golfers (Tim was once again unavailable due to injury) for whom we collected detailed performance data were asked to hit a series of shots on our 3Track Equipped simulators from aboutGolf. As usual, testing was done at Tark's Indoor Golf, a state of the art indoor golf facility located in Saratoga Springs, NY. Detailed data for each and every shot for which we collected data is viewable just below the performance section of this review.. This data serves as the foundation for our final performance score. Our golfers were also asked to provide feedback in our subjective categories (looks, sound & feel, perceived forgiveness, and likelihood of purchase). This information is used as the foundation for our total subjective score.

Testing was done using a 9°, 10.5°, and 12° drivers in regular and stiff flex. Our senior golfer (who tested the 12° model) used the Exotics Tour AD 40 shaft. The remaining testers used clubs outfitted with the "made for" Sigma variant of the Aldila RIP lineup.

PERFORMANCE SCORING

Like the last few driver tests we've conducted, this test was conducted under our new testing protocols. Full details of our testing and scoring procedures can be found here. The short version is that scores are calculated based on a point system. Points are determined per shot using a formula of distance minus accuracy. Based on previous test results, we've assigned each of our six testers a theoretical maximum point value. The percentage of that maximum theoretical score that is achieved by each individual tester represents the individual score for the TourEdge XCG5. The total performance score for the XCG5 was determined by the average score of our top 4 testers.

Distance & Launch

With the TourEdge XCG5 Driver our testers averaged 229.86 yards of total distance. Comparatively speaking, that's quite a bit shorter than several of the drivers we've previously tested, however; as it did in our last review, Tim's absence brings the overall average down substantially. When our shortest hitter (Senior Tester) is removed from the equation, the average distance increases to 244.33, which still remains on the shorter end of our range.

Interestingly, with the stock configuration the TourEdge XCG5 proved to be a better fit for our golfers than many of the off-the-rack drivers we receive for testing.

With their preferred lofts, our testers averaged 12.82 (adjusted) degrees of vertical launch, which is actually slightly higher (and closer to ideal for most of our testers) than we've seen in previous reviews. Not surprisingly, the higher launch produced one of the highest trajectories we've seen to date (max height 41.15) yards.

Accuracy & Spin

What the TourEdge XCG5 lacks in distance, it more than makes up for in accuracy. Yeah...I know everybody likes to hit the damn ball as far as they possibly can, but I play on a tight course, and I've come to appreciate the value in hitting fairways.

As a group our testers missed the target line by an average of 15.76 yards. That would stand by itself as a really solid number. However, when we drop our least accurate tester (he was launching low, spraying the ball all over the place - and for once it wasn't me) from the average miss improves to 13.33 yards, which if you're keeping score at home, is nothing short of excellent.

If we look at the biggest misses (again, dropping our single wayward golfer from the discussion), not a single ball landed more than 28 yards from the center line. And eyeballing it, only 8 shots total were more than 20 yards offline. Look, we all want to be center of the fairway, or better yet, we want the ball to land exactly where we had in mind. That doesn't always happen, however; so it's important to find a driver that's not simply accurate, but more accurate on your worst swings.

What I personally find very exciting about the TourEdge XCG5 is that it produced some of the lowest spin numbers of any driver we've ever tested. If you follow these reviews closely you'll see that I often generate far too much spin with my driver. I know what's causing it...and I'm working on it, but historically it's not uncommon for my average backspin numbers to creep up around 4000 RPM. Yeah...it's bad.

With the XCG5, I averaged 3118 RPM. A good number of the shots I hit were in my near ideal range, while one was actually below 2000 RPM. We're talking about the good stuff here, so I'm not going to talk about the shot that had 3936 RPM of backspin, and I'm certainly not going to discuss my last shot, which generated 5071 RPM.

Enough about me...when I add the other testers to the equation (and remove our wild hacker), the average amount of backspin for the group was 2638.85. While not ideal for everyone, in a broad, general sense, it's a number I like more than most.

Ideally we'd be talking about rifle spin rather than back and side spin, but most people are accustomed to seeing data presented a certain way, so...with respect to sides spin, our testers averaged 506 RPM. That number is actually pretty good on its own, but when we subtract Nick (that's right, I'm calling him out), side spin improves to 440 RPM, which is basically really awesome (comparatively speaking).

Overall Performance

The formula we use to calculate performance is basically distance - accuracy (or yards offline). While I can't, in good faith, tell you the TourEdge XCG5 is one of the longest drivers we've ever tested, I can tell you that it is most certainly one of the most accurate. It does a phenomenal job of controlling spin, which goes a long way towards keeping the ball on-line. Yes...you might lose some total distance, but I'm telling you ...fairways matter more than total yards, and the XCG5 can help you stay in the short grass.

MGS OVERALL PERFORMANCE SCORE: 89.63

The Interactive Data

The charts below show the individual and group averages (black dotted line) for each shot our golfers took during our test of the TourEdge Exotics XCG5 Driver. If you click on the "TourEdge XCG5 - Test Range tab, you can see where each shot came to rest on our virtual driving range. Hovering over any point will give you all the details of that particular shot. You can use the filters on the right-hand side to show and hide individual golfer based on handicap and clubhead speed. Clicking on the "TourEdge XCG5 - Raw Data" tab will show you the individual numbers and group averages for our testers.

SUBJECTIVE SCORING

Looks

There certainly isn't anything ugly or hideous about the XCG5. At address, a passing glance might lead one to call it traditional in shape. A closer examination however, shows the XCG5 to be slightly elongated, slightly round. The face has a brushed finish that appears slightly more raw than most. It's a subtle feature, but one I think looks pretty good. The paint is a traditional high-gloss black.

The alignment aid is TourEdge's Exotics logo. While logos don't always make the best alignment aids, this one actually works pretty well.

The sole graphics are, I think, a curious choice. Unpainted metal is surrounded by a mix of red and white. To a degree it feels a little like TourEdge wanted to get in on some of the white club action without actually painting a club white. That's not meant to suggest it looks bad. I don't love it, but I don't hate it. Basically, I'm fine with it.

The shaft maintains the look of a "real" Aldila RIP. The only giveaway that it's a made for variant is that the Sigma doesn't actually exist in Aldila's aftermarket lineup. Though it doesn't have the elaborate graphics that some others on the market do, the RIP is visually among my favorites.

MGS Looks Score: 79.55

Sound & Feel

Here's the understatement of the year; the TourEdge XCG5 has some pop to it. It's loud...really, really loud. It is perhaps the loudest driver we've tested since Nike's Machspeed. It's eerily reminiscent of early composite models from Cobra and Callaway. There's not a doubt in my mind that the louder-than-anything-else-we've-tested-in-a-long-time noise impacted the score for the worse.

"This f$%ker's noisy, I can tell you that" - Mark C.

Once you get past the noise it's actually a very solid club. It's reasonably consistent from swing to swing, although there is enough of a difference found in sweet spot impact for me to tell you that the XCG5 provides ample feedback...loud, but ample.

This is the rare driver that actually feels appreciably better than it sounds. Though one tester told us he didn't care for the shaft, most said they found the driver to be smooth, and that it felt pretty good.

Though we chose the lighter weight shaft for our senior tester (believing he'd get better results), he told us that he thought the club was too light for his tastes. Oh well...we tried.

MGS Sound & Feel Score: 76.33

Perceived Forgiveness

Unfortunately our testers, and probably golfers in general tend to think about forgiveness in terms of distance. If a driver is long on mis-hit balls, it's forgiving. If it's merely straight on mis-hit balls, well...golfers are more apt to notice that it wasn't as long as their best struck shots.

Where the XCG5 is concerned, while it's almost certainly as straight as anything on mis-hit balls, there was some comparative distance lost when contact wasn't on the sweet spot. Me, I'll take 230+ in the fairway over 260 in the woods, but apparently others want the raw yardage (and lyme disease). I had Lyme disease along with Bell's Palsy a couple of years back...trust me...you want to stay in the short grass.

Tester Perceived Forgiveness Score: 75.97

Likelihood of Purchase

Though the accuracy numbers were excellent, distance is what moves drivers - and our testers didn't appear to be moved at all by the XCG5. Whether it's the loud noise at impact, or the false perception that the club might not be quite as long as some others, or the fact - as one tester pointed out - it is not adjustable, the XCG5, with the exception of a single 9, didn't rate highly with any of our testers where LOP is concerned.

Tester Likelihood of Purchase: 70.95

It's hard to pin down exactly where this club missed with our testers. Not to keep pounding away at it, but the XCG5 is loud, and while that will turn a few heads, it also turned a few of our golfers off. It's certainly not a bad-looking club, and while our testers may have been looking for more, as far as I'm concerned, it's one of the more forgiving drivers we've tested this season. So left with no concrete explanation for the sub-par subjective scores, all I can offer is a theory.

This is the same group of guys that absolutely loved the TourEdge Exotics CB4 Fairway Woods and Hybrids (so you can take any sort of brand-bias off the table). What I suspect is that our testers were expecting to love the XCG5 as much as they did the CB4 series clubs we tested. When that didn't happen there was a bit of a let down...and the subjective scores likely suffered for it.

TOTAL SUBJECTIVE SCORE: 76.84


CONCLUSION

There's nothing wrong with an overall grade of B+, and based on performance alone I'd say the overall results are a fair assessment of the XCG5. Golfers looking for more accuracy off the tee (and really that should be most of us) should give the TourEdge XCG5 a serious look. Those simply looking for the longest driver they can put in their bag (a fool's folly for certain), will likely need to look elsewhere.

Though my testers might not agree, what impresses me most about the XCG5 is the forgiveness. This is a driver that absolutely wants to put the ball in the fairway, and does a better job than most of achieving its goal - even when your swing is less than perfect.

On a subjective level, we found the looks of the club to be good, though certainly not exceptional. Unfortunately, the thing that our testers will most remember about the XCG5 is the impact sound, which is substantially more in your face than that of most drivers we test these days. On the plus side, if you're hoping to call attention to yourself out on the golf course (which not being overtly disruptive), the XCG5 offers an opportunity to do just that.

It would be disingenuous of me to suggest that the XCG5 is among my favorites, but generally speaking it's a club I like. And I have no doubt, in the proper hands, it's a club that will be loved.

MGS TOTAL SCORE: 88.35


 

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Review Summary

B+
88.35

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

Gregh March 15, 2012 at 8:57 am

I think you made a mistake using the the made for RIP. I am familiar with this driver and the Fuji Blur hits it much further for the majority of players. Just this change alone would move the distance numbers significantly higher.

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GolfSpy T March 15, 2012 at 9:03 am

It’s hard to say with any degree of certainty. Our guys haven’t done well historically with Blur variants (although it seems like the shaft is largely available in “Made for” variants so it’s hard to compare one to the next). Conversely, those clubs we’ve tested with RIP variants (Callaway RAZR Hawk, TourEdge CB4 hybrids and Fairways, and Adams 9064LS) have generally been above average performers for us. We played the percentages and went with what has worked in the past. It very well could be that the shaft simply doesn’t perform as well in this particular head.

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Justin March 15, 2012 at 10:19 am

I think the mistake was with the human testers. Perception is key, and even though Tour Edge is moving up in the world, they’re still not going to garner the same scores as Titleist, Cobra, etc. They’re just not as visible on the PGA Tour. Trust me, I understand the cost issue of using robots- but I’d bet the results would’ve been different if Tiger, Phil, or Rickie were using this driver.

“I’m telling you …fairways matter more than total yards”. Agree 100%. Too bad not enough people are on board with this line of thinking.

The shaft is important, but only in as much as it allows the golfer to bring the clubhead back to square in a consistent manner. It’s the specs of the shaft that are important- those have to be fit to the individual, not ‘If you’d have used a Blur, or whatever, the test would’ve been better’. Take the senior golfer- the light shaft may have been a good idea in theory, but if it made the swing weight lighter than he’s used to, of course he’ll have trouble. Anyone would.

I would love to see how many people that believe the shaft is the most important factor of a driver think that belly/long putters should be banned.

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GolfSpy T March 15, 2012 at 10:29 am

Justin – As much as we try to avoid them, there have, and no doubt will continue to be instances where a club doesn’t do as well as it should based on the brand name. Probably the single biggest example I can provide is our test of the Dynacraft Phophet Tour Forged irons. Had those been stamped with a big name OEM’s logo, I’m all but certain the subjective score would have improved.

Here, I honestly don’t think that’s the case. What’s important to recognize is that this is the same group of testers who nearly to a man rated the TourEdge CB4 Fairways and Hybrids extremely high. The guys absolutely loved those TourEdge models. It didn’t matter who played them on tour then, and I don’t believe it does with the XCG5. If anything, the club suffered from lofty expectations. I think the guys missed the boat a bit on the forgiveness aspect, but as far as the rest of it goes, I think they mostly got it right.

The lighter shaft was a recommendation from TourEdge, and I understand why they did it. For me it’s fundamentally a big picture issue that’s not unique to TourEdge. One of the latest industry trends I’ve observed is that OEMs are making the shafts longer and the loft of the head increases. I guess it plays to the idea that slower swing speed players choose higher lofted clubs, and longer shafts generate more speed, which in theory (though I don’t believe in practice) creates more distance.

From a marketing standpoint it’s brilliant. From an actually playing golf, hitting the ball far, and keeping it in play aspect…umm…probably not so much.

I also agree with you on the head being fundamentally the most important piece of the equation, and having the greatest impact on ball flight. When guys ask me what longest driver is, or what they should buy, my answer is always “find a head you like, and get fit for the details”.

Many golfers, however, don’t listen to anything other than the TV.

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Bro Bill March 15, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I’m a big believer in the Tour Edge Fairway woods and purchased the XCG5 as soon as it hit the shelves in GA. I was surprised that my distance not only didn’t increase but actually decreased, not exactly what a senior golfer is looking for. Seniors as a rule hit most clubs straight, so that isn’t an issue, almost all of us are looking for increased distance. I purchased the XCG5 3 wood at the same time, here is a shocker, I hit it on average about 12 yards farther than I hit the driver. My solution was to return the driver and trade it for another manufacturer’s product which I hit longer than my 3 wood.

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Gregh March 16, 2012 at 6:38 am

In my earlier comment I mentioned that the Blur probably would have produced better distance results and I must say that the reson I said this is a higher up at Tour Edge told me that this shaft produced better distance results for a wider range of players. While Tour Edge doesn’t seem to have a predisposition towards any shaft company, they do seem to offer several options. I tried the CB4 with the RIP and couldn’t hit it at all. I then hit the CB4 with the Fuji Motore Tour(same as the F3) and hit it very well. I believe your comment that certain shafts perform better in some heads. The RIP might be a better shaft for players with real high swing speeds.

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gunmetal March 16, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I’m curious as to why a “higher up” at Tour Edge would say a head would perform differently with a specific shaft. Must not fully understand the role of the shaft. The shaft behaves DIRECTLY as a result of the golfers swing moves, NOT the clubhead. Maybe he meant the people who hit the Blur combo, by chance, were better suited to that shaft and therefore had better results. Anyway, I profiled the aftermarket Blur and the Exotics blur. Completely different shafts (not surprisingly). The Exotics was actually stiffer in the butt section and through the mid but the aftermarket had a much firmer tip section.

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Yohanan March 17, 2012 at 10:20 pm

Hey Gunmetal
You must be a fitter? It is sooo hard to find a good fiiter that BOTH highly knowledagble and well stocked to fit the variety of golfers and their swings AND while keeping up with the differences betwwen shafts types within a manufacturer. i walk into a pga super store in englewood co friday, hoping to see a ust vts red anywhere for any club in any cart or on the rack by chance and no dice. I guess i am off to a ust fitter in loomis ca and maybe he has one in a club i can hit?

Or something to help my high spin swing with a high angle of attack?

Anyone who has any info on either issue please reply. As i have been looking for help since september and havent gotten back the payback yet.

I am trying to replace a 9 degrre NEXT 360 cc driver with the old blue and white ust shaft. Wore the face out. Killed it 270 down the middle and could work it both ways a bit. The driver had a production run of a few hundred before the owner took off to mexico with all the cash from the golf channel commercials and left his partner with nothing but pissed off people.

Anyway Love This Site for all the info!

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Gregh March 18, 2012 at 7:13 am

Hey Yohanan
The driver in this article is by design low spin. The other Exotics driver is even lower spin. However since you are descibing a swing that seems to have a very steep angle of attack, I doubt that the Exotics CB4 driver that is 2 degrees open would work for you. Perhaps others here can recommend a low spin driver. something that doesnt require an excessively stiff shaft to bring the spin down. If you can find one the previous Exotics Tour CB3 which I am sure you could find at a low price would be a good choice. I played with it 2 years ago and I could hit really far into the wind

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HunterThompson3 March 21, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Here’s what I can offer. I am a 12 handicap, and, the later part of last year, started using the XCG-V 15 degree for teeing off. At about 245 yards I was pleased, but, was 20-30 yards short of my buddies. In the short grass, mind you (rarley miss fairways), but, short.
I saw the XCG5 11.5 Deg 3+ wood. Bought it sight unsee and untested. Used it may last round ,and, got 20+ yards off the tee. Had the GD Tour AD Stiff shaft. It’s a wonderful club. It’s small. It sounds great. it has great response, and, if I have to step on it, I can, and, it goes. You need a driver replacment? This is the one.

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Yohanan March 21, 2012 at 11:13 pm

Thanks – I though I hit them both. I just read the dally RZF review and I am hoping I see the same results. I am waiting for my golf shop to get there custom shafts from cally for their cart. Bombs and straight sound nice? I will check out the tour edge suggestion just to make a sure and of course the adams club s that will be hard to find in a few wreaks or months.

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john savko January 18, 2013 at 6:28 am

i would like to purchase a a flex shaft for my xcg5 club head

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Thomas Ray June 2, 2013 at 4:58 pm

I love my Tour Edge XCG5 driver. I bought the 9 degree with the Fujikura Blur regular flex shaft because I am 65 years old with a swing speed under 90 mph. I get a medium ball flight with lots of roll and most importantly I am hitting way more fairways. The first time I used this driver I only missed two fairways. I disagree with those who say the driver is not long. Maybe it is not crazy long for younger players who want to hit the ball over 300 yards but for me at age 65 it is the longest driver I have ever hit. I have tried every major brand and the Tour Edge out performs all of them. I have found most metal drivers sit closed at address but not the Tour Edge XCG5. It sits perfectly square which give me a lot of confidence that I am going to hit it straight. The sweet spot is huge so on off center hits I still get good distance. I also disagree with those who say the club is loud. Maybe I can’t hear as well as I once could but the driver to me is no louder than any other metal driver on the market and personally I love the way it sounds. The only thing I don’t like about the Tour Edge XCG5 driver is the alignment guide on the crown which looks like an x written in italics. I give the Tour Edge XCG5 driver an A+ for any senior player wanting to improve their distance and accuracy.

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