Pros: Heel, toe weighting, sole rails keep ball in play. | Exotics for mid-HDCP players.
Cons: Other fairway woods have hotter faces.
Craft-shop club maker Tour Edge has achieved a cult following for its Exotics line, especially the fairway woods. In recent years, PGA Tour pros such as Brandt Snedeker use the Exotics fairway metals because they work - the pros get no TE endorsement money for playing them.
Well, TE has expanded its Exotics line with the XRail driver, FW, and hybrid. These are pegged for everyday golfers who are willing to trade a little distance for a long club that keeps the ball in play.
The XRail has a v-sole design to cut through grass and help stabilize the clubhead; the face view looks similar to the TaylorMade Raylors from about 2007, although not as radical. The FWs have extra heel and toe weighting to increase its MOI and stability on offcenter hits.
Here is the mix available in XRail:
|Shaft length (inches)||43||43||42.5||42||41|
Face angle is square, and swingweight is D1. Stock shaft is Graphite Design G-Series 60 with 5 flexes available (L through X). Shaft weight varies from 53 to 62 grams. For more XRail technical details, see: http://www.touredge.com/products/exoticsxrailfwy.asp
I am no stranger to Tour Edge products. From 2002 to 2009, I played the TE Bazooka BetaTi low-profile fairway woods. Although the heads don't look much alike, they play the same. A faded shot comes in high and fairly soft; a drawn shot can give you a little extra run-out as long as the target area isn't too tight.
The 20* 7W proved itself the first time I played with the clubs, a nine-hole jaunt a couple days after purchase. On the 390-yard uphill 18th hole at my home course, my drive left me 175-yards from the green going into a slight headwind. I hit a high fade that carried the front bunker of the elevated green, and bit 12 feet from the hole. I missed the putt, but it ended up with my first ever GIR par on the hole. Also the 7W has become my go-to tee shot on a couple of the short par 4s on the course - get a draw into the narrow landing area.
The 16.5* 4W has paid off also. Someone else's FW from last season frequently got me into trouble with hook misses. This 4W is much more stable, and has proven useful on par 5s and longer par 4s. Yesterday, on a long par 5, I had a low pull of a drive that hit the rough about 150 yards from the tee. I faded the ball back to the fairway with the 7W, and turned to the 4W. From 205 yds. out going into the wind, I hit a high fade off a feet-above lie that bit on the green pin-high. Despite blowing my drive, I was able to save par courtesy of the XRail brothers.
For trouble time, the pair cover each other. The 4W can pick up distance out of shorter rough, and the 7W can ax its way out of bushier stuff.
Average distance for the 7W is 190 yards, for the 4W is 210.
Now, as earlier mentioned, the XRail is not the longest fairway wood out there. My old 4W sometimes went 15 yards longer. But, XRail shots are still in-bounds when they land. If I got to where I was breaking 90 frequently, I might upgrade to the more aggressive Exotics XCG line - this would boost my distance. But for now, the XRails suit me fine.
Note: I tried the XRail hybrids, but went with a competitor's model that has a lower launch - sometimes I need a lower shot.