Roughly 33% of wood and iron sales revenue in Japan is generated by a manufacturer few Americans are familiar with.
Likely a result of economic and cultural differences, the equipment Japanese golfers use to swat their pill is often very different to that of Americans. A number of highly reputable brands in Japan—the world’s second largest golf market—do fantastic business across Asia, Australia and New Zealand but don’t fare so well in the States, assuming they operate here at all.
Mizuno is an obvious exception, and another name hoping to establish itself in the US market is XXIO (pronounced zek-si-oh) whose name comes from the Roman numerals for the 21st Century and the ‘O’ sound which in Japan means ‘king’ and signifies a leader.
The No. 1 selling brand in Japan for the last 14 years, XXI0 is also highly successful in Korea and the Antipodes, and first arrived in the US following a soft launch in January when it appeared in approximately 100 stores and green grass locations in California, Florida, New York and Hawaii.
Built specifically for the 70-90mph swinger, XXIO has proven especially popular among high-income, 50+ year-old golfers for whom, it says, “price is generally not an object”. Part of the same Dunlop Sports stable as Cleveland Golf and Srixon—all owned by Sumitomo Rubber Industries—XXI0 began life in 2000 after Dunlop Sports’ contract as Callaway’s distributor in Japan came to an end.
“The company risked losing 20% of its bottom line,” says Keith Patterson, the trio’s Media & Public Relations Manager. “So it developed its own high-end, high-quality brand which soon reached No. 1 in market share in Japan. Cleveland is our short-game brand, Srixon is a player’s brand, and XXIO is ultra-premium.”
On December 8th, a number of XXI0 products will be launched in the US, and Colorado golfers will be able to test and purchase them at the PGA Tour Superstore in Greenwood Village.
Creating the most buzz will, of course, be the XXIO9 driver which utilizes some of the same technology found in the Srixon Z355 we featured in August. The driver’s MP900 graphite shaft, developed in-house alongside the Tokyo and Osaka-based Toray Company which produces fibers, textiles, resins, plastics, films, chemicals, ceramics, composite materials, medical products, and electronics, features a graphite fiber called T1100G that is used for aerospace applications. The shaf also utilizes Toray’s Nanoalloy material, which creates a shaft 2g lighter than that in the XXI08 driver and one whose balance point is 2cm closer to the grip.
This high balance point and light shaft combination, together with a forged face and heavier head (the heaviest XXI0 has ever made) constructed from 8-2 titanium and a stainless steel weight, alters the club’s swingweight significantly and, says XXI0, helps the golfer improve his swingpath without consciously altering his swing as well as increasing clubhead speed.
Greater ball speed is also generated thanks to the newly-developed Wing cup face whose expanded flare from toe to heel results in a 10% larger sweet spot than on the XXI08.
As with many other drivers on the market today, the CG is pushed low and deep and the clubhead’s COR is maximized – a recipe that increases launch angle and ball speed, decreases spin, and gives you carry distances you’ve probably never achieved before. XXI0 calls this blend of increased swing speed and elevated ball speed ‘Dual-Speed Technology’, and it’s just the thing for golfers who may not swing the club as speedily as they once did but who want to remain competitive.
The XXI09 Fairway Woods feature the same high balance point/heavy head combo as the driver, and also what the company calls a ‘Power Wave Structure’ in the sole which possesses thicker outer edges than the center lowering the CG and enabling you to get the ball airborne easily.
Also scheduled for the December 8th launch date are three XXI09 utility clubs, XXI09 Irons which feature much the same distance-generating features as the driver and fairway woods, and an entire line of women’s clubs featuring the driver, fairway woods, utility clubs and irons.
XXI0 will be a new name to many readers. Give it a try though, and you may soon be ending it a lot of X’s and O’s.
$649.99 + tax
Available in: 8.5°, 9.5°, 10.5°, and 11.5°
$429.99 + tax
Available in: 15° (3), 18° (5), and 20° (7)
$279.99 + tax
Available in: 19° (U3), 21° (U4), and 23° (U5)
$1,049.99 plus tax for a 5-club set (6-PW) – with XXIO MP900 graphite shaft
$849.99 – with N.S. PRO 890GH DST for XXIO steel shaft.
Additional irons (4, 5, AW, SW) will also be available for $210 + tax each.
(Right hand only. Left hand models available on January 16th, 2016. Men’s and women’s models are the same price)