CALLAWAY Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha drivers might be getting all the praise right now, particularly the latter, but don't forget about the new X2 Hot driver.
X2 Hot, as its name would suggest, is twice as hot as last year's X Hot. Like the 2013 X Hot line, the X2 Hot comes available in different options of 460cc standard and 440cc Pro, but for this review we're simply going to look at the former because it fits the wider range of abilities from high to low handicappers.
While it's not exactly a shock to see a brand explaining us that a new driver offers more forgiveness, easier launch and longer distance than last year, I can safely say the new Callaway X2 Hot, tested in the same 10.5-degree driver spec, does exactly that.
Flagging up my shot data up from last year's 2013 Golfmagic drivers test with the X Hot driver, I averaged 243 yards off the tee from 10 balls with a longest drive of 255 yards. Spin rate was a little high at 2700 RPM and offline dispersion was a little less than 20 yards.
This time around, and using GC2 shot data at City Point Golf in Moorgate, I hit 10 drives to an average of 261 yards - so a dramatic 18-yard gain on the X Hot driver - and spin rate was pleasingly a little lower than the X Hot at around 2400 RPM.
Placing these results up against my recent shot data with the Big Bertha driver and Big Bertha Alpha driver, X2 Hot proved three yards longer than Big Bertha (2250 RPM) but three yards shorter than Big Bertha Alpha (2100 RPM).
X2 Hot driver features a slightly larger, more-forgiving face than the pro version and consequently leads to a higher-launching ball flight. That brings with it a little higher spin than I crave. I'd like to see my spin rate down to around 2200 RPM like with the lower spinning Alpha option, but then again, 261 yards on average is a decent return. Ball flight was perhaps a little too high at times, but there are certainly are no problems getting this chap airborne.
Like X Hot, the new X2 Hot proved to be a very forgiving driver with an average dispersion pattern of 14 yards. This slightly tighter dispersion pattern has something to do with the X2 Hot's new Hyper Speed Face that the brand says produces a 10% larger sweetspot for more forgiveness.
Placing clubhead down at address and there's a beautifully clean crown that looks a little more pear-shaped than on the X Hot. I love the traditional Callaway chevron alignment mark in the centre - alignment is something I pay close attention to. That's something I like to see on a driver, just to aid a little more confidence before pulling the trigger. The darker grey colour looks better and the logo is also brushed in titanium which is a nice touch.
In terms of feel, it's hard to fault. Springy off the revamped sweetspot and the sound off the face was much more pleasing than both Big Bertha and Big Bertha Alpha. It's a real solid thwack and offers great feedback on off-centre hits.
As with all new drivers these days, the adjustability on offer is endless. It's not quite as groundbreaking as the new Big Bertha Alpha - the Gravity Core for me, is incredibly simple and clever - but you do have Callaway's OptiFit hosel at your disposal - first seen on the company's FT Optiforce driver of 2013.
If you're unfamiliar with the OptiFit hosel it helps you optimise better launch conditions by adjusting loft and lie independently. The loft of the driver can be adjusted 2-degree up or 1-degree down and you can also set the club to neutral or draw to make the lie angle more upright. Changing the driver’s loft will change the face angle slightly, but most golfers will not notice a difference at address.
X2 Hot also features a Progressive Draw Bias that means higher-lofted models have more draw bias than lower-lofted models. The head weight is just short of 200g, while the total weight is little more than 300g. It's available in three different lofts of 9-, 10.5- and 13.5-degree, and comes stock with a 46-inch Aldila Tour Blue 55 shaft in light, regular and stiff flexes.
If you're struggling to get the ball airborne and want some extra firepower, look no further than the X2 Hot driver. A much better total performance driver than the X Hot of last year. It's available for a decent £250 and a much better proposition than the extra £100 splashed out on the Big Bertha.
Callaway Reviews 2014
Click this link for Callaway X2 Hot driver owner reviews