We really shouldn’t be surprised when Tour Edge unveils yet more good-value golf clubs, but here we are. And the two affordable drivers are part of its largest ever product launch.
By Tony Dear
They’ve been doing it for well over 30 years. Tour Edge, founded by entrepreneur David Glod in the Chicago suburbs in 1986, has consistently created quality golf clubs that sell for significantly less than those of the top brands. But, with the introduction of the Hot Launch 521 Series, it really has outdone itself.
Like any other company—probably more than most actually—the Batavia, IL-based manufacturer has had to evolve in order to stay afloat, and now offers two distinct club lines—high-tech Exotics aimed at better players but consistently priced more affordably than top brands’ clubs (the EXS 220 Driver began life at just $349, the Limited Edition EXS Pro at $399), and the more basic, unadorned Hot Launch which may offer fewer tech advancements but which invariably gets high marks from game-improvers on a budget.
The E521 and C521 drivers fit the Hot Launch manifesto perfectly. Each is priced at a remarkable $230 but will appeal to two very different golfers even though, as buyers of Hot Launch clubs, they might both be considered ‘game-improvers’.
Tour Edge’s VP of Marketing Jon Claffey explains:
“We’ve found the Game Improvement market actually falls into two distinct categories. We aren’t limiting these drivers to specific handicaps, but we expect the C521 to appeal mostly to mid-handicappers who take their game seriously, play competitively, and are more concerned with forgiveness and distance than they are feel or control, while the E521 will be for newer golfers who aren’t yet entering competitions and need all the help they can get.”
“There are players who need extreme ease of use and help launching the ball, and those who want the benefits of game improvement clubs, but with more classic head shapes.”
Indeed, the C521 certainly has the more sophisticated look, and is described by Glod as “a game improvement driver for the competitive mindset” (the ‘C’ stands for Competitive Spec while the ‘5’ denotes the fifth generation of Hot Launch and the ‘21’ next year).
There may be no adjustability via either the hosel or track-weighting, and the club is not a multi-material design. But the list of features is impressive nonetheless. Let’s start with the face, the rear of which possesses the same diamond pattern found on Exotics drivers. Thirty-nine of the diamond shapes, with some parts thinner than others, act like ‘mini-trampolines’ according to Tour Edge, increasing ball speeds across the entire face. Likewise there to help boost ball speeds is the Power Channel just behind the club’s leading edge which helps the face flex at impact ensuring maximum energy is imparted to the ball.
To improve the club’s acoustics and the sound and feel of contact, ribbing channels are incorporated into the 6-4 titanium head. And a rear sole weight sends the Center of Gravity (CG) low and deep which facilitates launching the ball high, and gives the club a Moment of Inertia (MoI) well in excess of 5,000g/cm2—8% higher than the last generation of Hot Launch drivers in fact.
Aldila’s mid-launch, mid-spin Rogue shaft comes standard—a very worthy choice for a club at this price.
The stock shaft for the E521 (‘Extreme Spec’) is the Mitsubishi Fubuki HD45 or HD50 and is actually shortened to just 44.5” (Bryson DeChambeau is hoping to play the upcoming Masters with a driver shaft that’s 3.5” longer) in order to help higher-handicappers make consistently better contact.
The most notable design feature of the shallow-faced (11% lower than its counterpart) E521, however, has to be the Houdini Sole which features an area of mass concentrated on the trailing edge and a curved leading edge under the face—a combination that creates an incredibly low and deep CG (14% lower and 10% further back than in the Hot Launch 4). That, along with higher lofts, makes it much easier for slow-swinging golfers to get the ball airborne and increase carry distance. The slightly offset design together with a heel-sole weight makes it easier to square the face at impact and impart a little drawspin.
The Hot Launch C521 and E521 launches also include fairway woods (both series), hybrids (both), irons (E521 iron-woods) and wedges (just E521). Find them on the Tour Edge website—touredge.com. Presale of all clubs begins on the website tomorrow (Thursday 15th). Orders will be met and the clubs will be available globally on November 1st.
Hot Launch C521 Driver
Lofts—9.5˚, 10.5˚, 12˚
Hot Launch E521 Driver
Lofts—10.5˚, 12˚, 15˚
Right-hand only though 10.5˚ model is also available in left-hand.
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