Tuesday, August 20, 2013
We Tried It: Callaway XHot Driver
Callaway's Pro Long Driver Edition
|This Article Features Photo Zoom|
In case you haven't paid much attention to long drive competitions, here's what you've been missing. Last year's RE/MAX World Long Drive Championship included a handful of bombs that flew more than 385 yards into a 20 mph headwind. Impressive, huh? Imagine how far they would have flown with no wind. Callaway Golf, known for producing some long drivers in their own right, has taken special notice of long drivers this year and has codeveloped a new driver with Sellinger's Power Golf that's destined not only for long drive competitions, but the hands of would-be competitors who have big dreams of hitting it big. How do I know? I tested the Callaway XHot Pro LD ($279) driver myself, and here's how it went down.
First, ordering the Pro LD is simple. Log in to longdrivers.com, and you'll see it's easy to pick the right head for your game. By head, I mean the club can be bought without a shaft (although you can get one already assembled, if you want). Reason being, long drive competitors tend to be a fickle bunch when it comes to shafts, and Sellinger's Power Golf wanted to make sure each customer has full control over what shafts they put into this Callaway head. Other than the lower loft, the Pro LD has the same tech specs as the regular Callaway XHot—a Speed Frame chassis, Hyperbolic Face and two versions of an adjustable hosel. I chose the 7-degree model (5- and 6-degree models are also available) with the dual COG adjustable hosel, meaning I could choose from nine face angle/loft configurations over the three options that come from a single COG hosel. And while most long drive competitors use shafts designed specifically for long-drive competition (that are as stiff and long as telephone poles), I went with a more suitable shaft for my swing speed. I choose the nVentix NUNCHUK with its unique, uniflex, heavier-than-normal properties. I kept it at 46 inches so I could emulate a long driver as much as I could. I also put the new Winn DuraTech grip on there. Not to elaborate on the grip too much, but it felt awesome. Enough said.
The NUNCHUK, in my opinion, is a pretty strong shaft to begin with. Jhonattan Vegas uses it on the PGA Tour, and he isn't exactly a soft swinger. At 46 inches with a 7-degree clubhead, I have to be honest, I was a little intimidated. Knowing I had an adjustable hosel helped a little, but the added length and low loft made me feel as though I had to swing a little harder to make the club work for me. The charcoal finish actually looks really cool with the purple shaft, and I liked the clean, no-nonsense, modern shaping of the clubhead. I wished the head had a small alignment dot or something, so I could assure myself of a setup that placed the ball directly in front of the sweet spot.
While testing the driver, I made a point to do two things. I wanted to swing the driver as I do normally using my normal swing speed and tempo, and then again as though I was trying my best to mimic a professional long driver.
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