Lamkin Grips

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This year has marked a new attitude from Callaway golf. Rather than sitting back and letting things shake out as they may, they are now being the aggressor. Part of this mentality is about coming out with something for everyone and a prime example of that is in the driver market. Callaway has developed three separate drivers in the RAZR Fit Xtreme, the X-Hot Pro, and the X-Hot. Each driver hits a specific niche in the market and there is no denying the excitement that Callaway has for this 2013 line. That excitement is why I was eager to get the chance to put the X-Hot driver through its paces and get a feel for it for myself.

From the Company

Distance gains of 13 yards* with the new X Hot Driver have been achieved with a host of design and engineering advancements that make the new drivers fast, hot and more lightweight than their predecessors.

Callaway employed its powerfully fast Speed Frame™ Face Technology that increases ball speed, saves weight and optimizes stiffness and stress distribution across the face for more efficient energy transfer. The new face technology promotes more – and more consistent — distance, even on off-center impact.

Also, by decoupling the face performance from the rest of the driver head, Callaway R&D is able to boost ball speed without sacrificing optimum trajectory. And a tighter curvature face on the X Hot Driver (relative to the RAZR X Black Driver) offers a look at address preferred by better players, along with consistent sidespin and dispersion to promote accuracy.

Driver Options

  • 9.5 (RH/LH), 10.5 (RH/LH), 11.5 (RH), 13.5 (RH)
  • 460 CC
  • 46”
  • D3 Swingweight
  • Project X Velocity (Light, Regular, Stiff)

Technology

OptiFit Technology

  • X Hot’s adjustable Speed Frame Face allows you to set the face angle in an Open, Square or Closed position to fine tune the trajectory and appearance you’re looking for at address.
    • We’ve used our thinnest casting technology ever to create a lighter club configuration and an optimized CG that’s designed to help you rip it off the tee.
    • The Speed Frame Face creates incredibly fast ball speeds all across the face for longer, more consistent distance. This technology helps optimize the CG, offers more forgiveness, and is designed to provide more consistent sidespin for accurate drives.

Ultra Thin Wall Casting Technology

Speed Frame Face

Aesthetics

  • Finish

 The first thing that obviously grabs your attention with the X-Hot driver is the finish. Callaway has stepped outside the box by choosing to go with a matte gunmetal gray finish on the crown. There is also a singular alignment aid on the crown as well as some small red, black, and grey graphics on the rear edges of the crown. While the grey crown may catch your eye, to me the sole of the club just finishes off the entire package by presenting a well-done contrast. On the sole of the X-Hot, Callaway went with white and red as the main colors of choice. The two serve as a stark contrast to the muted grey crown and black face and the entire package works tremendously well together.

  • Head shape and Face

 This is one particular area where I really think the X-Hot stands out the most. Not because it is radical, but instead because it is so clean and classic looking. The head of the X-Hot is a nice and evenly rounded shape without any of the triangle look you see with many heads out there. There is no doubt that it is a 460cc driver, yet it is in a subdued style that doesn’t seem all that large to your eye. Obviously the finish plays a role in this though as well. All in all, this is a driver that presents a clean and classic shape.

 Performance

  • For the purpose of this review I used the X-Hot driver in the 11.5 degree loft paired with the stock red Project X Velocity shaft.
  • Adjustability

 The X-Hot driver makes use of Callaway’s OptiFit adapter. This is nice, as it allows for easy interchanging of shafts from head to head throughout the Callaway lineup if necessary (RAZR Fit, X-Hot Pro, and RAZR Fit Xtreme) rather than requiring a unique adapter. Outside of the shaft change capability, the OptiFit adapter allows for three different face settings. The X-Hot actually has a square face angle when the cog on the adapter is set to its neutral setting (S). When the adapter is set to open (O) the face angle is opened 2.5 degrees and the effective loft drops 1 degree. Finally, should the adapter be set to closed (C) then the face will sit closed 1.5 degrees and the effective loft will increase 1 degree.

In all, I’ve always been a big fan of the OptiFit because it is just so simple. You can change the shaft, you can open it, and you can close it. Very few golfers need much more than that in my opinion. With the X-Hot driver I think the adapter’s adjustability capabilities work as well as ever since the driver itself is streamlined and simplified (on the outside) to be clean and easy just as the OptiFit is. With each adjustment I could clearly see differences in my flight patterns, both from a launch standpoint as well as tendency to fade or draw more, which left me with no doubt that the OptiFit does exactly what it is intended to do. Obviously, there is more adjustability out there in some other heads, but sometimes more isn’t always better.

  • Feel and Sound

 I’m a believer in sound and feel being intertwined with each-other, and far as that qualifier goes, Callaway knocked it out of the park with the X-Hot driver. I can honestly say that on a well struck shot the sound is unlike any other I have heard in a driver. It’s the ultimate combination of being muted yet solid and without the harsh metallic tendencies some drivers have. It should be stated though that the sound is not the same tone on extreme misses across the face, which is not to say it becomes a bad sound. It just means that you can hear a difference that gives plenty of feedback as to where the miss was. You really do get the feeling of the ball launching off of the face thanks not only to the sound but also the Callaway “speed-frame face” design. This design is intended to increase ball speed across the face. In my time with the club I certainly think it achieves this goal along with still allowing plenty of feedback.

  • Shaft

 The non-pro X-Hot driver comes paired with a Project X Velocity shaft. which is available in light, regular, and stiff flexes in all of the different lofts. This is an area that has definitely drawn some talk out there, as this pearl and red version is a “proprietary” shaft, or what many would refer to as a “made for”. It bears to keep in mind that these shafts are designed to not only pair with the head, but also reach the broadest spectrum of golfers out there. Just because it is not a “real deal” shaft, it should not be written off for everyone before they try it.

For the purpose of this review I was using the stiff version of the shaft and put it through its paces on the range and on the course. I found the shaft to be a high-launcher with a mid-spin level and a pretty smooth feel to it. I will add however that this version of the Velocity felt to play a bit weak to flex for what I am used to and lagged a bit through the zone for me. Again, I think it is important to try it before you knock it since every golfers swing is different.

  • Forgiveness

 The X-Hot was designed to be the most forgiving of Callaway’s 2013 line of drivers. I hit the ball all over the face of this driver and can safely say it is impressively forgiving, especially off of the heel. Obviously, all misses will be met with distance losses of some sort, but the thin walls and “speed-frame face” of the driver really seems to combine well to minimize the amount of ball speed that is lost on extreme miss-hits. For the part of the market this driver is aimed at, this should prove incredibly beneficial for helping to keep the ball in play.

Additionally, the X-Hot line has interior weighting that is meant to promote a draw, as most average golfers struggle with losing the ball right. The good thing about this is that Callaway has not put out a wonky looking offset driver. Instead they altered the interior weighting to keep the head-shape clean and attractive. Additionally, Callaway’s research led them to see that as more loft is needed in a driver then typically more draw bias is needed as well, so as the lofts increase in the X-Hot, so too does that interior weighting. I know that some have put a lot of concern into this aspect out of fear of hooking the ball. I can safely say I still saw no issues working the ball to the right or hitting cuts using the 11.5 with the highest draw weighting.

  • Distance

 The X-Hot driver was designed to be 14 grams lighter than past models in order to help increase swing speed and therefore ball speed and distance off the tee. Coupled with the thinner casting walls and the speed-frame face, the X-Hot can certainly move the golf ball out there. I saw solid distance in my time with the driver. Distance that would make the game more enjoyable for many golfers and that is the exact goal of this driver.

I will add that in Callaway’s 2013 lineup the X-Hot does spin more than both the X-Hot Pro and the Razr Fit Xtreme. When coupled with the stock shaft, this is definitely something to keep in mind. It will undoubtedly help a large portion of golfers that lack the spin to consistently get the ball up in the air, but it may be a bit too much for a high spin player. No matter the side of that spectrum you sit on, this driver can definitely move the golf ball.

Parting Thoughts

The decision by Callaway to bring to market not just the typical two levels of drivers, but instead three was a truly wise one. There are far too many different golfers to pigeon hole them into one category or the other. The broader spectrum that you can cover, the better. The X-Hot is a prime example of that. The amount of tech and R&D that went into this design stands out here not just through hype, but through performance as well. It is certainly a club worth going and hitting so you can see what it is bringing to the table.

The X-Hot driver comes with an MSRP of $299.99. For more information, check out www.callawaygolf.com.

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Category: Drivers, Equipment, Headlines & News

About the Author ()

James is a staff writer for The Hackers Paradise along with being a professional educator. With his background in education James seeks to broaden his own knowledge while also sharing it with all those who share his passion for the game.

Comments (31)

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  1. Michael Dean says:

    Great writeup Jman, a few things that stick out to me. You hit it dead on with the sound, not metallic at all.

    Secondly, I had no idea about the interior weighting promoting the draw flight. The first time I hit this I was hitting a nice high draw, which is something I never do and honestly had no idea what to chalk it up to.

  2. afwcardinal says:

    Very nicely done Jman. I really like the direction Callaway has been going this year. Bringing out the X Hot to go along with the X Hot pro and the Xtreme is a great way to allow the avid golfer to have a driver that fits with their game.

  3. adwillingham says:

    Very nice review Jman. There are a lot of design decisions with the X Hot that I can really appreciate. The Opti-Fit adapter is probably my favorite one across the brands I’ve tried. Not only does it work as intended, but it also lets you change the setting, while keeping your grip and shaft in the same orientation.

  4. Cookie says:

    Great review James! Liked how you touched on the sound and it not being metallic but also that you can tell audibly where a miss is on the face, I like that. I was not aware that they had moved weight around inside the head to promote the draw bias, very smart to do instead of just putting a nasty offset in the hosel. Add in the shaft options via the adapter from last years line and they have done a great job of putting out an offering that the tinkerers out there can enjoy as well.

  5. DevRickus says:

    Terrific write up JMan. I absolutely love mine. The sound of the club is like a loud smash (if that makes any sense). I didnt think I could like the sounds of a club more than the G20 but this is even deeper and more full. I know its not a big thing to some people but its part of the reason I went away from TM.

  6. Golf Ghost says:

    Jman with another great review. Love how nothing was left untouched.

  7. DawgDaddy says:

    Great job Jman, very through review. I have already hit this driver and am in serious ponder mode. I agree with your findings.

  8. ole gray says:

    This driver has everything that I am looking for in a driver. Draw bias, high spin, and the opti fit makes it a bucket list item for me! I want it :o) Great job Jman!!!

  9. Nate says:

    Believe it or not, I have still not hit this driver outside on a range on during a round of golf. I know this must change really soon. So much good information in there James. Thanks for taking it out for a spin buddy!

  10. TheDue says:

    Great job James, I’m really enjoying the your reviews as you bring out the detailed complexities in a very readable format. I can’t say I was overly interested in the X-Hot until now, but sounds like that would be an injustice to my game.

  11. Kobey says:

    Excellent review. This will definitely be on the list to try when I’m looking for a new driver.

  12. T0AD says:

    Great stuff. I starting reading and wondered if the shape of the face would not make it very responsive to heel misses, which is where I miss the most, but, gladly, you nailed it and came out with the fact that this is especially where it’s forgiving. Can’t wait to swing this thing. I am a big fan of Cally Drivers in general, so this should be a giant hit at a demo.

  13. dhjkelly says:

    Great review JMAN. It’s very interesting to hear peoples thoughts on the standard shaft

  14. Puttin4Bird says:

    Great review Jman. I spent some time with the X Hot while down in Dallas for the THP Texas Invitational and I came away very impressed. I definitely think a proper fitting is needed for be to be able to decide between which of these 3 drivers will find a spot in my bag for this season, I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for the great info!

  15. Kapsularian says:

    I have one of these on the way, so looking forward to hitting it. Thanks for the insight James.

  16. lcsmrtn says:

    Great writeup Jman, I’ve never been a fan of Callaway clubs, but this may be the one which could convert me. I can’t wait to try one of these.

  17. JeffReedMO says:

    Other than Callaway’s continuing insistence on using goofy graphics in the middle of their driver faces, this thing looks sweet as sin. Love the low profile look of that crown. With the right shaft (Maybe I can borrow Harry’s Oban Kiyoshi Black), this may be a bad dude.

  18. Freddie kong says:

    Jman I’ve hit this club and you know how fond of it I am. I was thinking of the way your described the sound made at impact. I liken it to a silencer, a distinctive sound that represents power and accuracy.

    The shape and color combination really stands out to me. Both quite striking to say the least. Good job on your review.

  19. Troy Vayanos says:

    I love the look of the new Callaway driver. I’ve seen these in the golf shops and it’s an impressive looking club. I like the fact that Callaway have gone back to some of the traditional routes and made a driver that doesn’t appear all that large standing over the ball. Too many of today’s drive heads just appear too large!

    A must to try to out!

  20. Dave Cross says:

    I have had my X Hot now for just a month and I have fallen in love, it looks great but it goes so much deeper than just that, I play off 18 and am prone to a slice,sorry, was prone to a slice, what a wonderful driver this is, I changed the hosel device to closed from the default straight and suddenly I am hitting straight or with just a hint of draw, and a good 10 yards longer overall.
    What magic Callaway have packed inside this driver I have no idea, nor do I want to know I am just grateful that we have found each other and will remain so till death us do part.

  21. Canio says:

    Excellent review. A club definitely worth trying out.

  22. Pete says:

    Superb review. Can anyone tell me if the loft changes by 1 degree when changing the setting from neutral to closed and your preferred loft is say 10.5 does that mean you should be looking at the 9.5 model knowing that you require the closed setting? If that makes sense!

  23. kenricj says:

    Just picked mine up witht he Fubuki Alpha 60 shaft and man is it nice. I could not hit my RAZR Fit straight to save my life, but this one does nothing but go straight and far. Too bad I had to go with the custom shaft but nothing else worked as well.

  24. Frizb says:

    Just got this X HOT yesterday, I actually went to buy the TaylorMade RBZ Stage 2. I was setup on the monitor and no matter what I did when hitting the RBZ it would fade out 25 to 30 right. The Pro ask me if I would care to try another club, The X-Hot by Callaway, I said sure I play Callaway irons but had never really found a driver they made that worked for me. WHOA! I was driving the ball 20 to 25 yards further instantly and staying straight down the center with a fade of no more than 10 yards on a few hits. So not always believing what I see in the monitor, this 58 year old head, just kept thinking is this for real. I bought it right there in Dick’s and my hat is off to TYLER for advising me on it. Went straight to the driving range and hit 25 balls with it, the first 3 in the S setting went straight and faded maybe 12 yards, I adjusted to C setting and that was it , consistant 225 yards straight down the center keep in mind my swing speed is at best 85mph. I must say it is impressive because I am getting a lot more roll out now than I had with my TM SUPERFAST and I’m not worrying about where this shot is going left or right. I think your review is spot on and I would have done research had I read it first but I guess things work out for the best sometimes.

  25. Adrian Couzens says:

    Great review ! And a great club

  26. Great review ! Tred one up the range with a 60 gram stiff shaft and it does all it said in the right up !

  27. Shidy98 says:

    Excellent driver, sold my R11s to by the X Hot lost 5 metres in distance but after 3 rounds I’ve only missed 4 fairways and not bad misses feels great to be playing second from the fairway
    Drivers tested at purchase
    Xhot, razr fit xtreme and R1

  28. Matt says:

    Bought the xhot a week ago after trying ping g25, RBZ stage2, amp cell and amp cell offset, and Adams speedline. Xhot was the easiest to hit consistently. Use to fight a slice, now I’m hitting off the back of the driving range with a handsome draw.

  29. Pat says:

    46 in. is long. Can I trim the butt end an inch and get similar performance?

  30. Aussie Dave says:

    I am going to buy a new X Hot driver can anyone tell me if there is a difference in the draw bias from the 11.5 to the 13.5 drivers I’m sure I read somewhere that the 11.5 had the maximum.I hit the 13.5 the other day very straight set to the closed position as slicing is my fault if the 11.5 has the same draw bias I am thinking about getting it as it should hit longer shouldn’t it.

  31. Ian says:

    Bought the 9.5 degree X-hot with a regular shaft recently to replace my fairly old Srixon 9 degree with a stiff shaft. I had tried one at a Callaway demo and liked it but bought it primarily because I was so happy with my X-hot four wood with a regular shaft (best club I ever bought!). I’ve always been a long hitter (around 240 to 250 metres with a good drive and up to 220 with the four-wood) but being 64 I thought my swing was probably slowing down a bit so I should get a regular shaft. However I’ve been a little disappointed in the distance I get with the new X-hot driver — it’s probably hitting 10 metres or more less than the old Srixon (although it is more forgiving on the bad shots). Also didn’t find the draw your review mentions. I generally draw all my clubs but not this one! It is inclined to come out a bit right or with a minor fade. I’ve been using it on the S setting but am thinking I might try the C next visit to the practice range. Is this likely to help bring on my draw?

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