Unlike most name-brand equipment makers, Tour Edge doesn’t pay pros to play its clubs. Yet the company maintains a decent-sized presence on the PGA Tour – and pros don’t play junk, especially not for free.
Matt Kuchar is one of the stars with a Tour Edge fairway metal in his bag. In fact, fairways are the company’s calling card. I figure if you can build a high-performance 3-metal, then it shouldn’t be too tough to craft a decent driver, right?
I recently put that theory to the test, and here’s what I found.
The model tested was the firm’s newest driver, the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5. The specs: 9° loft, 46-inch Fujikura Blur shaft, S flex, 56 grams (ultra-light). The shaft is one of three stock offerings in the lineup; the others are Graphite Design Tour AD 40 (super ultra-light) and Aldila RIP 60 Sigma (ultra-light).
Here’s the thing about the Exotics XCG5 driver: It’s not very exotic. The club sports a fairly traditional look, with a rounded, pear-shaped head that sets up nice and square. The muted black crown, which features a small alignment guide in the shape of the Tour Edge logo, provides a pleasing contrast with the satin face.
With a powerful tailwind blowing slightly from the right, testing conditions were less than ideal. That said, my typically low ball flight tends to mitigate the wind’s effects (for better or worse). As expected, my swing paired with a 9° loft produced a series of tracer bullets, though I was pleasantly surprised to successfully attempt a couple of draws. Plus, the few balls I caught above the center line flew considerably higher – just like they’re supposed to.
Conditions made forgiveness difficult to judge, as mishits and curveballs often get a lengthening/straightening boost from the breeze.
Traditional-looking, yes. The sound and feel, however, were decidedly modern. That’s not a plus in my book, so the Tour Edge driver’s somewhat clangy sound and feel clashed with my sensibilities. If you’re used to a driver with a similar metallic feedback, this factor probably won’t bother you.
At $329.99, the Tour Edge Exotics XCG5 is priced a little higher than you’d expect for a brand of such modest marketing means. Clearly, the company pours those savings into R&D, as the XCG5 boasts the technological innovation Tour Edge is known for. For my money, the Cobra AMP is a better buy at $299.99 but – as with any piece of golf equipment – your experience may differ considerably.
The XCG5 uses a brazing process that welds the titanium face and body to a ultra-thin beta titanium crown for enhanced sound and feel (this process is unique to Tour Edge). The face itself also features variable thickness designed to enhance MOI. The oval-like shape of the head is indicative of the add forgiveness benefits of this club. Tour Edge was able to re-position weight from the crown to the deepest part of the oval-head shape to increase forgiveness on off-center hits.