Despite being around and in the golf market for years, one of the lesser heard of companies here in the U.S. is Yonex Golf. Interestingly, Yonex has been around for years, and year after year continues to push the envelope not only in actual clubs, but in graphite shafts as well. While they may not be a household name to most of the weekend warriors out there, make no mistake that they are a player in the golf industry. This year they are bringing to market their new XP lineup of clubs, equipment that they believe will catch people’s eyes with their looks and with their performance.
For the purpose of this review Yonex sent their new XP driver at 9-degrees and paired with the stock EX300 shaft in stiff flex.
Information on the Yonex XP Driver from the Company:
Revolutionary Dual Tungsten Power [DTP] System delivers ultimate power output.
The EZONE XP range features the YONEX Dual Tungsten Power [DTP] System – an innovative engineering breakthrough that produces maximum power and distance. The newly designed DTP System, featuring Tungsten in both the grip and club head, works in conjunction with the Lightweight Shaft.
The result is a swing that delivers an explosive power breakthrough with the same effort, adding more yards to your game.
- The carbon composite head realizes lower weight within the club head and shifts the sweet spot to the center of the face.
- Newly designed Sound Rib and stiff sole reduces vibration and creates a solid sound off the club face.
- The Lightweight and counterbalanced shaft works in conjunction with the Dual Tungsten Power [DTP] System and has been engineered to generate higher swing speeds for added power off the tee.
- The composite 20g Tungsten Powder at the grip end works in conjunction with the Tungsten screw in the club head to produce an explosive power breakthrough. The Dual Tungsten Power [DTP] System and Lightweight Shaft counterbalances to retain a D2 swing balance, making it just as easy to hit as a conventional driver but with more power.
- Custom tune your clubs through the YONEX Quick Adjust System. Easy and intuitive to use, the Quick Adjust System allows you to refine launch trajectory and club face angle through 8 settings, allowing you to conquer even the most demanding tee shot.
Yonex seems to always put out some very clean looking drivers with the occasional twist as far as the aesthetics are concerned and the XP driver is no different. At its absolute root this is an incredibly clean design with a traditional headshape and dynamic looking accents on the soul. The XP driver features a relatively deep face with a black finish that gives it a nice contrast from the unique paint scheme the head has. The crown of the XP is undoubtedly its most noticeable feature. Yonex chose to take this driver in a different direction, and paired with the black finish of the main section are two portions of a very deep metallic orange. These two sections outline the toe and heel of the driver from the face to the rear of the head and are intended to serve as additional alignment aids to go with the double site arrow. All in all, this is one of the better looking drivers seen in some time. Rather than the somewhat obnoxious crown graphics we see on some clubs today, the dual paint scheme here looks like it belongs without ever being distracting.
The XP driver features a composite crown (carbon) and as with any composite driver it has a very particular sound quality to it. Traditionally composite drivers are notoriously loud and possess an almost hollow quality. While the XP does have a hollow sound to it, it is not as loud as other carbon drivers, as it is lower pitched comparatively speaking. This can likely be attributed to the “sound rib design” which Yonex has implemented into the sole of the driver in order to reduce overall vibrations and tone down that hollow composite sound. Even with the sound qualities the ball really “feels” like it jumps off of the face – always a confidence inspiring quality in a driver.
Yonex paired the XP driver with their EX300 lightweight shaft and utilized tungsten weighting in the head and 20g in the butt end of the club in order to provide more power through what they are calling their “Dual Tungsten Power” (DTP) system. Essentially, Yonex believes that by weighting the clubs like this the same effort will result in a gain of power and distance.
On the course the XP driver, even at 9-degrees of standard loft, provided a mid to the lower end of mid-high launch with the EX300 shaft. The shaft itself was incredibly responsive to a variety of swings and transitions and lives up to what many have come to expect from. The counterweighting was enough to allow the club to feel extremely connected throughout the swing without feeling heavy or awkward. There is a reason so many professional golfers believe in counterweighting their clubs and time spent with this driver definitely gives some revelation as to why.
The XP provided solid ball speeds off of the face and seemed to produce a low-mid spin characteristic. When these things are taken into account it is no wonder that from a distance standpoint the Yonex XP driver can definitely move the golf ball. On well contacted tee shots the driver provided ample distances that will certainly compete with the offerings from the more known (in the U.S. at least) OEM’s out there. As we know when it comes to distance however, proper fitting through launch angle and spin is the ultimate key as to how much the individual will get out of a specific set up. Fortunately to aid in that, the XP driver features full hosel adjustability to help fine tune face angle and loft.
Even with the distances seen out of the driver, the most impressive area of performance for the XP was in the area of overall forgiveness and dispersion. The utilization of the carbon fiber in the head of the driver has allowed Yonex to move more weight down in the XP, which has shifted the CG in the head to allow the sweet spot to be more centered in the club face form a vertical (up/down) standpoint. However, the fact that the CG was not moved forward in the head means that it also retained an ample amount of forgiveness.
During testing the head performed particularly well on shots struck higher and lower on the middle portion (non toe/heel) of the clubface, often resulting in a surprising lack of significant distance loss while maintaining a playable direction and line. Interestingly enough however, misses both on the toe side as well as the heel side, while resulting in some twisting at impact, were not nearly as penal as anticipated given the forgiveness on misses up and down the clubface. The result of this is that the XP driver head provides a significant amount of forgiveness and ranks quite well in comparison to many other drivers on the market today. It should still be understood however that a miss is a miss and no matter how forgiving a club is it will not mask a bad swing, but Yonex XP seems to be able to certainly make it more playable.
It has to be admired that Yonex is willing to step out there on the ledge when it comes to their clubs’ appearance knowing that if they can catch someone’s eye and get them to try the club out the performance is solid enough to impress. Yonex as a company has been making solid golf equipment for years. It just so happens that they get lost amongst all of the companies that we have pounded into our heads time and time again. It is evident that the company has applied a significant amount of technology and research into the XP line and the performance backs it up, but the only issue might be getting it into the hands of golfers to try out.
For more information on the Yonex XP line of drivers, be sure to take a look at www.yonexusa.com.