Feb 12th, 2016
XXIO 9 Driver
Japan's Number 1 Driver
Words: Daniel Owen
We’ve been to lots of golf club launches over the years; from Dubai, to Connecticut, to the top of the BT Tower. But we’ve never been in a basement in Soho, chatting with Denise Van Outen, while Georgie Bingham wanders round extolling the virtues of these shiny new golf clubs. This is not your standard golf equipment. Welcome to the XXIO launch.
XXIO. You may have seen the name before, but you may not know how to pronounce it correctly. For future reference it is not ex-ex-e-oh; or ex-ex-one-zero; or even SexxyOh. It’s zek-si-oh. Now you can say it properly, XXIO is the leading brand in Japan with over 30% market share, and sister brand to Srixon and Cleveland.
It is massive compared to brands like Callaway and TaylorMade in its home Asian market. Rather than focusing on tour players as most brands do, and letting things trickle down from there, XXIO is first and foremost designed with your average player in mind. Everything about these clubs is designed to hit the ball further and more consistently if you have a slower swing speed.
Japanese Technology doesn’t come cheap. But if you want some of the best equipment in the world, you need to give XXIO a go. For years we’ve been taught about golf club MOI, which is basically the clubs resistance to twisting. Well XXIO have looked into how important swing MOI is. Essentially, when you look at all the best players in the world, their hands stay close to the body during the downswing.
Visualise Sergio’s lag before impact, and you’ve got a good idea what we are talking about. The XXIO clubs have been designed to stay close to the body during the downswing, lowering the swing MOI and help you generate more clubhead speed. How you ask?
Even without the golfer trying to change his or her swing, or even consciously noticing anything different, the lightweight, flexible shaft and the heaviest head in XXIO’s history combine to delay the uncoiling of wrist cock at the time of swing transition from the backswing into the downswing, causing the head to pass closer to the body. This optimised head path naturally increases the arm rotation speed and thereby increases swing speed. Think of them as self-correcting golf clubs!
XXIO design and manufacture all their own graphite shafts, and the MP900 in the XXIO driver weighs in at just 41 grams in the regular flex. The balance point is nearer the grip, which allows them to make the head heavier, and in turn increase the mass behind the ball at impact. Everything in the driver design has been created to help hit the ball further.
Then there is the head itself. The newly developed Wing Cup Face design really helps make the club hit the ball further when you’ve missed the sweet spot. Its variable face thickness design means its just half the width towards the perimeter of the face, producing ball speed on miss-hits, and thicker in the centre to stay within the legal limit. Even the paint job is more like that of a high-end sports car, with a pearlescent effect unlike anything else on the market.
This isn't the driver for everyone, but if it fits you this driver could be an absolute beast. We hit it and found it felt very powerful at address. We aren’t the target player, and the shaft felt light and soft, but it was very easy to hit a nice draw when we put a smooth swing on it. It looks great, a touch closed maybe, but a serious bit of kit. Don’t be a lemming by just picking a driver because it’s used on tour. Find one that could be best for your game, and if you are a slower swinger that could well be this Japanese rocket launcher by XXIO.