Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood Review

The Callaway X-Hot fairway wood is both long in the shaft and off the tee. It serves as a great second option off the tee and doesn’t do too bad off the deck either.

Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood HeroLast year, Callaway introduced its X fairway woods. That design harkened back to the old, and still popular, Steelhead and Steelhead Plus series. After carrying a Steelhead plus in my own bag for over five years I replaced it last year with a TaylorMade r7. I saw a jump in distance and accuracy that was impossible to ignore. It kept my beloved Callaway from getting back in the bag.

I had a chance last year to demo the non-Hot Callaway X fairway wood and liked it. It felt pretty good but it wasn’t quite good enough to make me think about removing the TaylorMade from my set – but it did make me think.

This year I was able to get my hands on the new Callway X-Hot fairway wood. Now I would be able to take a full and even better look at the new design. The question is, would it be enough for me to make a change after having a great experience with the r7? Read on to find out if Callaway is back in my bag.

Design, Technology and Specs
Callaway has had a long and successful history in the fairway wood and driver markets. They have continued the use of their S2H2 (Short, Straight, Hollow Hosel) technology in the X and X Hot fairway woods. This takes weight out of the hosel by boring through to the sole of the club and allows that weight to be moved to the perimeter of the clubhead.

X Hot Fairway Wood Toe
Using the X-Sole design, the X-Hot will rest on two areas.

The face of the X Hot is made of 455 Carpenter steel. This is harder than the typical 17-4 steel found in normal fairway woods. It is also lighter, allowing for a better weight distribution across the face and increased swing speed.

Another, newer technology that Callaway has employed in the X Hot is their X-Sole design. Also in a number of other Callaway woods, the X-Sole design ensures that, at address, the club rests on two distinct areas and does not rock. This allows a truer alignment.

X Hot Fairway Wood Shaft
The Fujikura Banzai is just one of many shaft options.

There are multiple shaft options in the X Hot. Well, multiple is a gross understatement. Just about any shaft you see on tour can be had in the X Hot, including the Aldila NV series, Fujikura, or Grafalloy shafts. The shaft included in this review was the Fujikura Banzai.

One big difference is that the X Hot’s standard shaft length is 44 inches, only ½ to 1 inch shorter than the standard driver shaft length.

With all the different shaft selections, there is only one loft: 15 degrees. The different kickpoints in the shafts can help a player get the ball up or down a bit more if they feel they need an adjustment.

Look and Feel
Callaway has made a very smooth and classic looking club in the X Hot. The top is solid black with a glossy finish broken only by the familiar Callaway chevron as an alignment aid. Coming from a Steelhead, the clubface is quite familiar to me.

Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood Sole
The X-Hot is a very simple and smooth looking club.

What I liked most about the Steelhead is how the face of the club rounds off at the bottom. Some fairway metals, like the Titleist 904 series, have a flatter bottom. Callaway’s rounded bottom gives me the feeling that I can hit the X Hot off of any lie, no matter how thin it may be. Others may like think that the flat bottom enables them to sweep the ball off the ground, but I prefer a sharper, deeper leading edge that makes it easier to hit the ball higher up in the face.

One big difference in feel, mentioned before, is the length of the shaft in the X Hot. At 44 inches, it is very noticeable to me at address. It nearly feels like I’m trying to hit a driver. While this gives a player more swing speed resulting in a boost of distance, it takes a bit of getting use to. Don’t worry, after a bucket of balls, you’ll get the hang of it.

There are two distinct areas that a fairway wood serves to just about any golfer. First, and most obviously, is as a club that lets you advance the ball as far as you can off of the ground. Second, as a club to hit off the tee – or a backup to your driver for some people. The X Hot performs admirably in both.

Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood Address
The X-Hot is slightly larger than most fairway woods, but not uncomfortably large.

I expected to struggle hitting the X Hot off the ground. The extra length in the shaft gave me the initial feeling that the club was too long to hit without teeing it up. My brain was telling me I had a driver in my hands, not a fairway wood. Add to this the fact that the range I use is covered in a very thin, brown, dry Bermuda grass. It really doesn’t do much for your confidence. To top it off, while not big, the X Hot is larger than the previous fairway woods I’ve owned – the Steelhead Plus and TaylorMade r7.

It only took a few swings to remind me why I loved the Callaway design. My first few balls off the tight lies got up easily into the Carolina air. I quickly looked at the face, scuffed slightly after its first contact with a golf ball, and I could easily see that I was striking it much higher into the face than I thought I would. Again, I think it is that deep leading edge that helps me get down into the ball.

Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood Face
The X-Hot has a deep, rounded leading edge.

I was easily matching the distance of my TaylorMade r7 and could control the ball a lot easier. At times I can hook the r7, but I never had that problem with the Callaway X Hot. For the most part my misses were pushes that didn’t draw back in as much as I’d like, but they were misses that were not off by much given the distance they covered.

As for the second use of the fairway wood, the Callaway X Hot is absolutely perfect. Once I teed up a ball and hit the X Hot, I was sold. I’m the kind of person that doesn’t mind pulling the fairway wood out of the bag and hitting it on shorter or tighter par fours. Normally this comes at a sacrifice of distance. Well, I can tell you that the sacrifice isn’t biblical any more.

During my testing on the range, I alternated the X Hot with my TaylorMade r7 TP driver to get a feel for carry and roll distances. I can tell you with certainty that the X Hot was carrying only a few yards less than my r7 TP driver. It didn’t roll as far, but I think that the distance loss between the two clubs was in the 10-15 yard range where it was (at least) in the 20-25 yard range with my other fairway woods.

Callaway Fairway Wood Comparison
The old Steelhead Plus compared to the new X-Hot.

On the course, it was more of the same. I was playing a shorter par four at my home course and we were teeing up from about 310 yards, slightly up hill. With bunkers left and right, instead of hitting driver I pulled the X Hot out and laced a beautiful draw down the middle of the fairway. I expected to see the ball about 30 yards short of the green but to my surprise I was only a few paces off the fringe. The guys in the group were surprised to see the ball that far and even more surprised when I told them it was a 3-wood. I’ve been around that green before, but only with a driver. I can control the X Hot better than the driver and not lose that much distance.

I guess it isn’t surprise that I really like and highly recommend the X Hot. Once I got over the initial setup issues related to the extra length of the club it was smooth going.

HeadcoverLooking at how I use the fairway wood in my game, the X Hot makes even more sense to me. Its strength is off the tee and most of the time, when I pull a fairway wood out of my bag, it’s on the tee. In fact, in all the golf I’ve played this year, limited as it may be, I have yet to hit a fairway wood off the ground. The X Hot has found a home in my bag.

For $229 at Edwin Watts, the X Hot is worth every penny. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to hit a driver, and are looking to replace an old fairway wood or driver, take a look at the X Hot. You owe it to yourself to at least give it a shot.

31 thoughts on “Callaway X Hot Fairway Wood Review”

  1. I’m not the least surprised that you’re hitting this club longer than your previous 3-wood.

    At 44″, this is a 15 degree driver.

    This is just another step in the logical progression of marketing-driven golf club design.

    There isn’t one player in 10,000 who can reliably hit driver off the deck, and going to a smaller head and slightly higher loft isn’t going to significantly change that. For the average player, this club will lead to frustration with shots from the turf, and will be quickly relegated to tee shots, and the utility club or 5-wood will become the only reliable choice for all fairway shots.

    Which will cost you distance, not gain distance.

  2. For the average player, this club will lead to frustration with shots from the turf, and will be quickly relegated to tee shots, and the utility club or 5-wood will become the only reliable choice for all fairway shots.

    For what it’s worth, Dave is a scratch golfer who uses his rescue/hybrid from the fairway (or an iron to lay up to wedge distance on par fives he cannot reach). So, his review is from the perspective of a rather skilled player.

    In other words, I agree with what you’ve said for the average golfer and think you’ve made some excellent points. Dave just isn’t average (in a good way). 😀

  3. To Clay’s points, I would tend to agree. I’m short enough off the tee that it’s really rare I need to layup with a 3 wood. This past season, after finding some hybrids I really liked, I found an 18 degree number I hit almost as far as my 3 wood but with much more reliability. I’m starting to think about ditching the 3 wood altogether and throwing another wedge in the bag.

    Still, as Erik points out, for as accomplished a player as Dave is (I’ve seen him play and he’s for real), the new Callaway number looks like a perfect match.

  4. This exactly why I carry a 4 wood, as a short straight driver, I rarely reach for the three wood off the tee, If it comes in a 4 wood variant though HMMMM?

  5. What I found when I tested the X-Hot 3-wood earlier this year was that the larger head size made for a really stable, forgiving club. This seems to offset the potential loss of accuracy that a longer shaft brings into play. The X-Hot was surprisingly easy to get airborne off the deck and very long. I flew it onto a par-5 from 230 out up a slight hill, when I was just hoping to get it within a short pitch. With the shaft length combined with the ball flight, I bet this thing would be amazing off a tee on a downwind driving hole.

    I didn’t get to take my demo home, Dave, so I’m still in Steelhead Plus-land. But as a member of the Callaway fairway wood team, it’s good to have you back in the fold.

  6. I’ve had TE Exotics 3W’s, Adams, TM’s, Cleveland’s, etc. The X-Hot is a hands-down winner for me. I don’t mind the extra inch, maybe because I’m a smooth swinger that doesn’t go after it very hard. As most of you know, a shaft that fits you is paramount. For me the stock Banzai seems just fine — so I’ll stick with it as the season revs up. What I like best about the X-Hot is its size — mid face height that’s easy from tee or turf, not so low to worry about pop-ups from the tee or in light rough. The total size as you look down also inspires confidence. Nothing negative to say — it simply rocks as a 3W.

  7. The X-Hot found a place quickly in my bag. Matter of fact, I’ve ditched and sold my driver a couple of months ago and haven’t replaced it yet. I ordered the X-Hot with the Proforce V-2 shaft which is a good fit for me. I can hit the X-Hot off the deck, but I mostly use it off the tee and the yardage it very good. I’ve found the club very forgiving and if my swing is off for the day, I’m not punished too bad. This weekend I’m off to demo day and will try out all the new drivers and I’ll compare the accuracy and distance to my X-Hot, because that’s how good it works for me. Great club for a (13) index.

  8. I’m not a scratch golfer like Dave, however, this is the best 3 wood that I ever used

    I have moderate swing speed and gained 15-25 yards with this club

    On my home course the ninth hole is 435 yards, par 4

    My tee shot landed next to the 200 yard marker and my next shot with this club landed on the green and rolled to the back of the green

    I’ve played this hole more times then I can remember and this was the first time that I was on the green in 2

    If you are looking to replace your driver, this is the club for you

    P.S. I pared the hole

  9. I had replaced all of my irons and driver and the only thing left to replace was the 3 wood. So I started by demo-ing this club.

    It is the most amazing golf club i have ever used. I’ve had more GIR’s than ever before with this club.

    My club has them for $199 and I’m already setting back the $$ to get one in a couple of weeks. You HAVE to try out this club. It is a stinger.

    Simply amazing.

  10. About me: I’m a mid-capper with a very wild long swing, not very big at 5’7″ 150lbs. I can shoot 85 one day and 105 the next. Your basic inconsistent mid-capper.

    My initial thoughts were the same as Clay’s in that this would be difficult to play off the turf. Given my somewhat unreliable swing and the fact I’m not very tall, and I figured for sure no way I’d be able to hit this 44″ inch beast off the deck with any consistency.

    My course had a demo day a while back, and for giggles, I decided to try this club out because my 3w at the time (an X Tour 15*) was just too inconsistent in my hands. I went into it expecting that the X Hot would not work in my wild hands. Well, I can attest that this club is the real deal. This is easily the most forgiving 3w I’ve ever played, and I’ve played a lot of them. The extra length of the club is something you simply adjust too, and surprisingly it doesn’t take more than a few swings. After about a month of owning it, I have acheived a level of confidence in this club that I’ve never had with *any* fw wood in the past, regardless of loft. Off the deck, off the tee, the club is simply a cannon, and a *very* forgiving cannon at that. I find myself using this club off the tee just as much as driver, and I’m certainly not at all afraid to use it off the deck. Sometimes I choke up on it a little, sometimes I don’t. This club just flat out performs.

    If you are in the market for a new 3w, take this thing out for a test run and form your own opinion. Forget all the “it’s a 44″ 3w and you can’t hit it off the deck” talk and try it for yourself. This club is really that good.

  11. I recently attended a demo day and tried pretty much every 3-wood available. For me this 3 wood ranked number 1. I found this club to be incredibly easy to hit off the deck as well as the tee and found the distance to be unbelievable. My only suggestion for Callaway is to release this club in a 13 degree version. I do not play Callaway irons, however, I feel their woods are far ahead of the competition.

  12. For someone who has been playing only about 6 months and plans to use this both as driver and fairway wood, would you recommend the Hot or the standard version? I’ve hit the non-Hot and loved it, but saw the Hot today and it looks like a big difference between the 2 clubs. The Hot looks HUGE in comparison and seemed to be a tiny bit longer too. Any advice would be appreciated. (I cannot hit my driver at all, so I usually end up hitting fairway wood both off the tee and for my second shot too)


  13. I bought a Big Bertha 5W and was very impressed with the forgiveness and feel. The only thing that was lacking was the distance. I was out-hitting the BB with an Adams 3 hybrid even on solid shots, about 205y. So I took it back and tried out other F-Woods.
    I tried just about everything in the store and went back to the Callaway stuff just to see if that same feel was constant throughout the Callaway line. I saw an X Hot 3W and took some swings in the store and it had the same feel with a slightly larger head , and a sharper sound. I took a chance and bought it and went straight to the driving range, and WOW!
    I am an 18 HPer. 45yo, 5′-9″ with a 94mph swing speed. on a good drive I can hit my Genex TriMax 460 About 240 to 275. Well, the first hit with the X Hot 3W was off the deck with 1-1/2″ uneven bermuda. It went 220+ And slightly right about 12 yards. The next was dead straight 230+. Off the tee was about 235-240. These are good numbers for me. The most striking thing was the ball flight. I never thought that kind of ball flight would ever come from my club face, even with range balls. I am looking forward to the course with this in my bag.

  14. Well , It’s been a couple of weeks with the X-Hot 3 Wood and I’ve had several occasions both at the range, and at the course to use it, and in either case, this club is so much fun to use. I thought I’d have trouble in the rough with its large head , but out of a 3 inch + rough I was still able to hit this about 210y, very good for me.
    I went from hitting a slightly withheld driver that I hoped went straight on an up hill 200y hole, to a dead straight 3w shot that would more that not make the green.
    Tee shots go straight with about 20-30 yards less than my driver. On most tee shots this club makes it worth it to sacrifice the yardage. Best fairway wood I have ever hit. I guess a new driver is called for… maybe an X-Tour. I was never a Callaway fan but their woods seem ok. This coming from a Mizuno fan.

  15. I’m really liking this club. I did have a hard time adjusting to the length, so I cut it down to 43″ which has given me more control. The head size doesn’t bother me a bit. The reason drivers are tough to hit off the deck is because they have a tall/deep face. The X hot doesn’t. It looks like a fairway wood behind the ball.

    This club works equally well for me from the deck and off the tee which is critical if it is going to earn a place in my bag…which is where X Hot will be for a long time.

    My index is 10.3

  16. Just an update – I still have this club and still love it. I’ve only hit it off the deck once…mostly because I haven’t needed to.

    Off the tee this is a great, great club for me. In an amateur tournamentI used it off a couple longer (410-430ish) par 4’s and didn’t feel like I gave up that much.

  17. I liked the review for the X Hot. I have only had the club for one week, yet it already gave me two oppurtunities at an eagle on both par 5’s. Being able to hit of the deck 270-280 yards is a huge advantage and I was so happy like never before.
    In fact I felt like a kid again. My buddies thought I was just hitting my old R7 better then ever, since I kept the old head cover as I bought the demo model X without the cover.
    I took my R7 TP out and replaced with X Hot.
    I could have never hit my R7 more then 245 yeards. May be it’s the shorter shaft, I don’t know./
    X Hot is awesome.

  18. I just purchased an X Hot this morning at the pro shop before a round of 18. I took it straight out to the course as a replacement for my driver (I formerly used a Callaway FT-3 Fusion Driver 9 Deg).

    I was completely sold in its hit-ability and versatility.

    This is a GREAT club.

    (FYI I golf in the 90’s)

  19. This is an outstanding club. I am a tall senior with a low swing speeed and can now reliably hit 185 yds off the tee and 170 yards off the deck, and no longer need to look for balls in the woods. Had gone through Daiwa, Taylor Made, Titleist and Cobra drivers and 3 woods over the last 20 years without success…now bliss.

  20. I am a mid-capper and have previously used Adams Tight Lies off the fairway. I lost all confidence in those clubs a while back and just couldn’t get them to hit right, probably because they are not angled right for me and are so flat. The X-Hot has completely renewed my confidence that if I need to cover a lot of territory on a par 5 or a mis-hit on a par 4 I can do so. The Callaway reps were out on the driving range and let me try out the X-Hot and the non-hot and I picked the X-Hot without question. It’s very forgiving and shoots the ball like a bazooka.

    I am 5’ 4” but the 44-in shaft is perfectly usable. In a situation where less than 230 is needed, you just choke up on the club. I’d rather do that than hit a 5 wood Tight Lie.

    The only problem I have is getting around to prevent the ball from sliding right. It is a long shaft, and I have needed some time on the driving range to learn how to get around and square up at impact. Not that the club is not forgiving (it most definitely is), it just takes a little getting used to.

    Completely recommended.

  21. I found the x Tour 3 wood at Play it Again Sports for $89 in excellent condition. For that price I just had to grab it and put it to the test on 18. I must say that I’m impressed with how quickly I learned to use it. It just felt “right” to me and I am a 20 handicap. The small club head reminded me of my hybrid so I was comfortable with it.

    I used it off the tee, out of the rough, and the fairway. The one time out of the rough wasn’t great, but wasn’t disastrous either. Blame the user and not the tool for that one

    I’ve read some reviews that suggest that this isn’t the club for high handicappers. Whatever! My handicap is probably due to my short game and not my long stroke

  22. I also bought the Callaway X Hot to replace a hard to hit driver. Unlike some others though, I have a bit of a problem hooking it. However, when I hit it right, it flies as far as I used to hit my driver and I have gained about 15 yards when hitting it from the fairway. All in all, a great value. If you can find a cosmetic blem, they go for around $170 new. Easily better than the BB Stainless FW I tried, though not quite as forgiving perhaps—-but DEFINITELY longer. I am a happy customer.

  23. The Callaway, X-3 Wood’s look is stunning! I love the “ping” sound when the ball makes contact with the clubface. That “ping” tells me along with a good follow through, that good ball contact was made. This club replaced a more traditionally designed 3 wood in my bag. My old woods were too unreliable for me. It was like a gambling hitting my old woods off fairways. It felt like perfection was required to accomplish the right shot. It’s as if Callaway designed this club just for me. I now have “no fear” of that long second shot in the fairways. Thank you Callaway you just shaved the most frustrating points off my game!

  24. I have a shortish, low speed swing. Also (because of other swing issues) I tend to hit the ball relatively high. Because of this, I use a 9.5 degree driver and have used an old “Deuce” Callaway BB 2W for a couple of years.

    I really don’t have trouble getting the ball up with the lower degree clubs. For instance, I can occassionally hit the driver off the deck and get the ball going pretty well in scrambles.

    I have been shopping for a replacement 13degree fairway wood. I like the extra distance and the low(er) trajectory that the 2W provides.

    Is the Hot with the 15degree a good option to consider? Possibly I could lower the ball with a better shaft match?

  25. My club’s pro shop hat the x-hot marked (erroneously, I believe) for $164 last spring. I picked it up thinking it could be a good replacement for my older steelhead. with the difference in the distance of the two, I now carry both in my bag. With a tendency to swing to hard sometimes it took a bit to get this beast under control, but once I relegated myself to the slow smooth swing this club hits with more consistency than any wood I have ever used. Plus, this club has the most AMAZING sound when hit on the screws!

  26. After I shaved some weight from the club head by sand papering bottom of club, this 3 wood is longer and straighter than my Cobra s9 driver!!

    The 44 inch shaft is perfect length for hitting off the Tee. I focus on making a slightly inside out hit to the ball and it splits the fairway and rolls more than any club I have ever hit. A smooth swing is necessary to get max benefit.

    I do not get max distance from the deck however. My Cobra 5 wood is easier to hit and more predictable. The 3 wood is very useful however for hitting a low fade to get around trees with hanging branches.

    I now use the driver only on wide open holes where I can take a vicious swipe at the ball.

  27. My local Golf Galaxy graciously allowed me to get the X-Hot 3W for a $1 when they were doing the special with the FT-9 drivers earlier this year. The X-Hot is a beast and it sounds so good when you hit it right. I did end up having an 1″ taken off so I could use it more effectively on the turf because my driver is pretty forgiving.

  28. I inherited the Callaway XHot 3W from my Dad in 2011. I played it all of 2011 with the factory Banzai A-flex (Amateur flex, which is rated below Senior flex) shaft and it would consistently hit 230 yards off the deck with a slight fade due to the shaft flex; which came in handy on approach shots on par 5s or when hitting under over hanging tree limbs. This club is a beast! Like other posters here I’ll also hit it on tight par 4s with pretty accuracy.

    I’ve recently upgraded the shaft to the UST V2 X-stiff shaft. I took it out to the range, and tee’d it up with drives traveling around 270-280 yards. Haven’t tried hitting off the deck yet. Since it has a X-Stiff shaft a more downward strike is needed I suspect to see accuracy and distance. This is a true classic that Callaway should be proud of!

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