Tour B X-HI Driving Iron
I’ve been on the hunt for a particular club for some time now. I want something I can take off the tee on long par-3’s and tight 4’s – a fairway finder if you will. I also want distance off the deck from a variety of lies. Most importantly though, I want a club I can keep lower than my naturally high ball flight.
I’ve experimented with hybrids and I tried to fall in love but to no avail. For the last 5-years I’ve carried a 5-wood but found it difficult to keep low in the wind. The longest iron in my bag is a 4 and whilst I like its accuracy, distance was an issue. I’ve hit a number of driving/utility irons but when the opportunity to test the X-HI presented, I jumped on it.
Model Tested: 20’ 3-iron fitted with a Tensei Blue CK Series 80-gram Hybrid Shaft. It also comes in a 23’ 4-iron. Tech Talk; the TOUR B X-HI is described as “an excellent long iron replacement for players of all skill levels”. Driving or Utility Irons with a hollow body construction seem to be “all the rage” in the golf industry at the moment. All of the big manufacturers are making a club which falls into this category as they look piggy-back a market segment making a resurgence.
The hollow body increases the size of the sweet spot allowing off-centre strikes to still fly reasonable distances. The clubs wider sole helps to prevent digging and moves the centre of gravity low and away from the face. All these features aim to make a traditionally difficult club to hit, well, easier to hit.
Performance; modern technology is great and simulators are amazing for all types of statistics but I like to take products to the course for testing – and test it I did. I put the X-HI in every situation I could think of; off the tee, off the deck, from the rough and around the green. 1st impressions are important and according to my eye, it sat beautifully behind the ball. The wide sole and the shallow face promote confidence.
How It Performed
OFF THE TEE - The distance was impressive and the dispersion was tighter than a fairway wood – more loft creates more back-spin so I expected this. My usual miss is towards the toe but I still gained acceptable distance on toe-ish strikes. When the stars did align though, the ball took off like a rocket.
OFF THE FAIRWAY - From off the deck it was a treat to hit. I gave myself variable lies and positioned the ball in my stance accordingly and the club performed beautifully. When the ball was sitting up there was no issue and the tighter got the better it went. The thick sole design definitely helped when I could the ball a little heavy.
FROM THE ROUGH - Ok so I spend more time here than I want to so shots I can punch back into play and still gain some distance are a critical part of my game. Shots that needed to be hit low and turning from the rough did what they were supposed to do, mostly.
Bump and runs from the fringe were a surprising bonus and given the right circumstances, the “driving iron” made a good option. Many pros sing the praises of hybrids in these situations and I found the X-HI a suitable option.
My only criticism is that I found the ball ballooned on me into the wind. I just couldn’t keep it as low as I would have liked but that’s probably a shaft thing (and a probable lack of ability). Due to the nature of its limited release, the X-HI is only available direct through the Bridgestone Website.
I think I’ve found what I’m looking for, maybe I’ll put a different shaft in it but it’s in my bag as of today.