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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