The Lead-In

Over the last week, I’ve been sharing a couple of press releases regarding the latest product launch from Tour Edge Golf. In this launch, which is the most extensive in the Batavia, Illinois golf manufacturers 34-year history, the golfing world was introduced to the Hot Launch 521 Series. A series that is actually dissected into two distinctive model categories.

With the new Hot Launch 521 Series, golf consumers have two options from Tour Edge Golf. The E521, which stands for Extreme Spec, is targeted towards players that are looking for extreme help and extreme game-improvement characteristics. Meanwhile, the C521 or Competition Spec is designed for golfers that need help but may more inclined to lean towards a more traditional profile.

The Extreme Spec is loaded with all sorts of technology to help the slow to medium swing speed player gain yards and assist in lowering scores. Among the design features that we see is a shallow face design which helps to make launching the golf ball easier, an offset for killing the slice, and a heel sole weight which further bolsters the anti-slice characteristics of the E521 metalwoods.

Also adding to the forgiveness category is the shaft. Measuring 44.5″ long, the Mitsubishi Fubuki lightweight shaft is shorter in comparison to the 45″+ shaft that we typically see in the industry. A shorter shaft equates to greater consistency with a tendency of strikes coming more often from the middle of the face. The by-product of this is an increase of Smash Factor or the ratio between clubhead speed and ball speed. The higher the Smash Factor the more distance that you’ll achieve. How fast you swing your club isn’t the “be all, end all” in determining how far your golf ball will travel. Smash Factor and being able to properly load the shaft in relation to tempo also play significant roles.

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No shortage of loft options if you prefer higher-lofted fairway metals. The E521 fairway metals pictured.

Headlining the design of the Hot Launch E521 is the newly introduced “Houdini Sole”. Towards the trailing edge of the head, the design team at Tour Edge Golf placed an “area of mass concentrated on the trailing edge of the sole of the clubhead, as well as a curved leading edge under the face”. Resulting in a newly-shaped head that’s both very stable and one that features very high M.O.I. numbers (resistance to twisting at impact). I also wanted to point out that the V-Shape of the sole also could be a contributing factor to shots where the turf has “gotten in the way” of the golf ball. Yes, the Hot Launch E521 is a “fat fighter”.

Meanwhile, the Hot Launch C521 metalwoods are targeted towards the player that might be a little more discerning. While they might need the help, this golfer doesn’t necessarily want to go to “Extreme” lengths. The “Competition Spec” features a head shape that is more traditional in appearance, especially when compared to the Extreme Spec. What you don’t see in the C521 metalwoods are things like the shallow face and the offset in the design. Instead, you get a deeper face where “Diamond Face Technology” was employed like we saw in their very successful Exotics EXS 220 product range. That range of products finished very well when I handed out my Teezy Awards.

While the Hot Launch C521 metalwoods are geared towards players that are medium to fast swingers, that doesn’t mean that we don’t see game-improvement advents. A weight in the sole towards the trailing edge boosts M.O.I. creating more stability at impact, a cup face design that promotes more ball speed and distance via more face flex (even on off-center strikes). Sticking with face flex we see a “Power Channel” introduced on the Hot Launch C521 adding more potential for greater ball speeds and more distance.

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The C521 driver in the foreground, with the white Fubuki-shafted E521 in behind. Note the difference in offset.

Tour Edge Golf made great headway in the acoustics department with 2020’s Exotics EXS 220. In saying that, the C521 metalwoods also feature internal ribs that are meant to enrich the sound and feel.

The shaft is 45″ which is, in a way, almost an industry standard for driver lengths (remember the E521 is shorter). The Alilda Rogue is the chosen shaft through their robot testing (known as “T.E.D.) which is a mid-launching shaft weighing in at 55 to 65-grams depending on flex.

My Take

In my opinion, I think that there is great potential for Tour Edge Golf to move a lot of the Hot Launch 521 Series metalwoods.

When it comes to golf equipment and the correlation to the consumer, the ego of the respective consumer often gets in the way. There are a lot more golfers that could benefit from the type of help that the Hot Launch 521 Series metalwoods offer than they’d like to admit. Moreover, there is plenty- a-golfer that falls into the category of slow to medium tempo and swing speed. Not to play too much on the ego, but, often there’s the misguided perception of one’s clubhead speed and distance versus what it truly is.

I think David Glod and his team have done very well to recognize this segment of the golf equipment consumer sector. There are other manufacturers that have also created lightweight, forgiving designs for the slow to medium swinger, however, here is where Tour Edge Golf and their Hot Launch 521 Series sets them apart.

In one case, just the other day, I was at a large golf box store (Golf Town) just seeing what has come into stores that I haven’t seen in hand. Amongst them was a product similar to the E521 3-wood. The cost of that product was $299.99 USD or $349.99 CAD. In comparison, the Hot Launch 521 fairway metals are retailing for $149.99 USD or $199.99 CAD (basing that on an approximate 33% exchange rate). Almost two for the price of one. The driver, again using the same product model, is $229.99 USD for the 521 Series versus $499.99 USD for the other. In Canadian funds, since I am based in Canada, the latter is $649.99 CAD whereas the 521 Series driver would be about $300 CAD.

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The cost alone is where the Hot Launch 521 could potentially change the landscape just a little bit. I don’t know about you, but the price tag means something to me. In saying what I’m about to say, I hope that I don’t shoot myself in the foot. But, it’s my honest and genuine opinion. The golf industry has gotten to a point where the cost of new equipment has nearly gotten out of hand.

Just because the Hot Launch 521 Series doesn’t cost the consumer “big bucks” doesn’t mean that these products are cheap. Inexpensive yes, but definitely not cheap. These products feature new technology or technology that’s been showcased in a very successful product range and with premium components (shaft and grips). Could the Hot Launch 521 Series metalwoods be considered a “no-frills” offering seeing that it’s void of carbon fibre or adjustability? I suppose, but is that really a bad thing? Those features would no doubt put this series into the same sort of price point as say, the EXS 220. Which isn’t horrible, but it would be counterintuitive.

The “Lifetime Warranty” that traditionally comes with all Tour Edge Golf products is a nice safety net and is nothing to sniff at. All products from Tour Edge Golf are hand-assembled in the U.S.A. Factor in that Tour Edge Golf has 850 fitting locations with a mobile Hot Launch 521 fitting bag and suddenly getting properly fit is very accessible. Not to mention that anywhere in the continental US customers will receive their custom-built club within 48 hours. In my experiences during my relationship with Tour Edge Golf, shipping to Canada has been pretty darn quick too!

There are a lot of reasons to like the Hot Launch 521, but the question is this. Will the Hot Launch 521 Series perform and live up to the advertising? Only time will tell.

Until The Next Tee!!

#fightandgrind #seeuonthenexttee