If you were a golf enthusiast during the end of 2016, there is a pretty good chance that you heard about the XE1 wedge.
The advertising and infomercial for it was admittedly quite aggressive, and you might have stumbled upon it anywhere from watching Golf Channel to browsing the web about golf.
Our review today will be an in-depth discussion for the XE1 Wedge. Is it the real deal or just a scam? Let us take a deeper look.
The XE1 wedge was the most talked-about wedge in 2016, with bold claims during the infomercial like: "get out of bunkers in one shot, every time" and "eradicate fat pitches", it is sure an interesting and controversial item.
First things first, we shouldn't expect a Cleveland or Ping out of the XE1. It doesn't have the history, technology, big brand name, and especially, overall quality. They have recently released another product, the C3i Wedge, which we will be reviewing in another article.
So, if we compare it to say, the Ping Glide 2.0, it is definitely unfair because of Ping's tech and known quality. There are, however, quite a lot of unique things about the XE1 wedge, especially when compared to other wedges at its price range.
Let us forget the outrageous infomercial claims for a moment, and focus on looking at the XE 1 as a wedge objectively. Is the XE1 Wedge the best sand wedge? Let's find out.
First, let us summarize what we liked and disliked from the XE1-Wedge.
Pros Of XE1 Wedge
- Unique, very high loft angle (59-degree or 65-degree)
- Bounce is very good with the auto-glide sole
- Very easy to align with square-to-square design
- Well-spread center of gravity across the club face, allowing bigger sweet spot, thus more forgiveness
- Decent looking
- Very affordable
Cons Of XE1 Wedge
- Being a cast iron, lack of feel and response
- Not very durable, feels flimsy at times
- Some of the claims are overstated
- It will only cater a high-handicap player
After we have discussed the pros and cons of the XE1 Wedge, let us take a deeper look at its key features.
Key Features Of The XE1 Wedge
Key Feature #1: Unique Design
There are several design approaches that set the XE1 Wedge apart from other wedges in the market. What really sticks out, however, is the very high loft angle.
Extreme Loft Angle
The XE1 Wedge is technically a sand wedge, especially with the "get out of bunkers in one shot, every time" claim in its advertisements.
The loft angle of the XE1 Wedge is very high for a sand wedge, 59-degree or 65-degree, while the standard for sand wedges being 55-degree.
It is, to a lesser extent, also higher than the lob wedge's standard of up to 64-degrees. As a result, chipping the ball with the XE1 Wedge is much easier compared to its competitors.
Loft Angle Options
So, the loft angle is definitely unique. A loft angle of more than 64-degree is commonly known for an issue: it will not be able to avoid digging into the ground.
A loft angle beyond 64-degree will also make it harder to fully slip under the ball.
So, how did the XE1 Wedge tackles this issue? The answer is the exceptional bounce thanks to the auto-glide sole, which we will discuss further below.
Square to Square Head
The square-to-square method is developed by 12-time PGA Tour winner Doug Tewell, and the principle is applied to the XE1 Wedge especially with the slightly heavier head than your typical wedge.
So, to make the most of the XE1 Wedge, we should completely forget the modern full turn swing, and instead use a limited turn, three-quarter length vertical swing to squarely address the ball.
Photo by XE1 Golf
This technique is actually very easy to use for beginners, and especially with the XE1 Wedge.
As a result, the head of the XE1 Wedge is extremely forgiving, and aligning to your ball for a square address is very easy. Even if you opt to use the standard, full turn swing, this assisted alignment will certainly help you.
Key Feature #2: Auto Glide Sole
Let us take a deeper look into the Auto Glide Sole technology, which complements the extremely high loft angle for the better bounce.
The extra-wide auto glide sole achieves two things in general: first, wider means even bigger sweet spot, which in conjunction with other features it has, will produce an extreme level of forgiveness.
Second is the exceptional bounce. With a 65-degree loft angle or even the 59-degree option, the high bounce feature is more than necessary. Without it, the head will dig to the ground all the time, and it will be really hard to correctly hit the ball.
Photo by XE1 Golf
The auto glide sole, in combination with the extremely high loft angle, allows very easy chip shots. In turn, the advertising claims that the XE1 Wedge will allow effortless time to escape bunker and lies is correct.
Key Feature #3: Extreme Heel-to-Toe Weighting for Repositioned Performance Mass
Heel-to-Toe weighting is an approach used to increase forgiveness, especially in putters. The basic principle of this method is to spread the center of gravity evenly across the face, effectively widening the Moment of Inertia (MOI) or the sweet spot.
With the XE1 Wedge, the heel-to-toe weighting is indeed, a bit extreme, where the weighting is definitely visible or rather, bulky.
As a result, the center of gravity distribution across the face is excellent, if not overdoing it. The overall center of gravity is also very low, further increasing the forgiveness.
With the combination of all the features designed for forgiveness, mishits are almost nonexistent with the XE1 Wedge since the sweet spot is so big.
As we can see, the key features of the XE1 Wedge are designed especially for forgiveness. In turn, it is one of the most forgiving wedges available in the market, especially to escape tough lies, traps, and bunkers.
After we have understood the key features and the principles behind the XE1 Wedge, let us discuss the actual review below.
Our Review for The XE1 Wedge
To do this review better, we will discuss all the different aspects of the XE1 Wedge separately. We will begin by discussing technology, arguably the most important aspect for any golf clubs nowadays.
There are several core technologies of the XE1 Wedge, which most of them are geared for more forgiveness. The technology behind the XE1 is rather unique compared to its competitors.
The extremely high loft angle and auto-glide sole make chip shots with the XE1 Wedge extremely easy, just as advertised.
The head is slightly heavier than your usual wedge, allowing easier alignment before, during, and after swing for a square-to-square approach.
Also, there is the heel-to-toe weighting that distributes the center of gravity evenly across the face, and lower for more forgiveness.
It might not be conservatively high-tech as a Ping wedge, for example. However, the unique technological approaches made the XE1 Wedge a stand out among its competitors.
Forgiveness is where the X1 Wedge truly shines, fulfilling its purpose as an easy fix for beginners. With advertisements claiming that it can "eradicate fat pitches and chips", it is indeed the case with the XE1 Wedge.
The sweet spot, or also often known as Moment of Inertia (MOI), is extremely big with the XE1 Wedge thanks to two key features.
First, the auto glide sole itself is very wide compared to wedges' standards, which obviously widen the sweet spot.
Second, the heel-toe weighting is also extra large, distributing the center of gravity evenly across the club face. As a result, it is actually very difficult to get a mishit with the XE1 Wedge, and that is not an overstatement.
As a wedge, the combination of extremely high loft angle at 59 or 65 degrees with the excellent bounce of the auto glide sole make chip shots extremely easy and consistent.
Although the advertisement claim of being able to escape any traps without practice is, in our opinion, an overstatement, it is still extremely easy to escape tough lies with the XE1 Wedge compared to most wedges in the market.
Last but not least, there is the specially designed club head, which is bigger and slightly heavier than the norm. Bigger head means bigger sweet spot, automatic increase in forgiveness. With the heavier feel, it is also easier to squarely address the ball before and during the swing.
Considering the XE1 does not belong to a big brand company, and especially considering its price tag, it looks pretty decent by the modern golf standard.
The head looks high-tech, much like most of the high-end, modern clubs from respectable brands like TaylorMade, Cobra, or Callaway. It is mostly covered with satin silver finish, with hints of reds and blacks on the sole.
The extremely high loft angle feature of the XE1 Wedge actually contributes to the unique and modern look. Paired with the auto glide sole and heel-toe weighting, the sole area of the XE1 looks bulky and solid.
Regarding the face, it is significantly bigger than today's standard, which might not appeal to everyone. The leading edge, as well as the overall looks of the face, is rounded. In our opinion, the face size might be a letdown for most players, so it is worth noting.
Although it is well-designed and is very modern-looking, we can definitely see the cast iron looks from the XE1 Wedge won't appeal to everyone. From a purely design perspective, the XE1 Wedge is not the best sand wedge.
For wedges, performance in distance might not be the most important factor. Nevertheless, it is worth noting that thanks to the extremely high loft angle, the XE1 Wedge produces high natural flight trajectory, which in turn translates into great performance in distance.
In fact, XE1 Wedge is one of the longest wedges compared to other sand or lob wedges available in the market.
The XE1 Wedge is also quite unique where the ball went approximately as far as how high it was launched.
So, if for example, you lobbed the ball 10 feet high in the air, it will also reach roughly 10 feet in distance. This, way it is also relatively easy to control distance, an important factor for wedges.
We should address one of the advertising claims for the XE1 Wedge where people seems to be able to hit the ball 60 to 90 feet away without practice.
Is that truly the case? You can indeed produce 60 to 90 feet in distance with the XE1 Wedge, but it will take sometime getting used to, due to the unique design and feel of the XE1.
Trajectory, on the other hand, is an extremely important factor with wedges. The overall purpose of the XE1 Wedge is not to reach the maximum trajectory, but to reach decent trajectory with ease. In that, thanks to the combination of design and technology we have discussed above, the XE1 Wedge excels.
Thanks to its extremely high loft angle, producing high flight trajectory is very easy with the XE1 Wedge.
Without much effort in your swing, you can easily produce enough height to escape thick grass or sand traps. Thanks to the auto-glide sole, it also bounces really well and won't dig into the ground, further increasing performance in flight trajectory.
Another important factor regarding trajectory for wedges is control, where we should be able to control the trajectory according to our needs.
With how forgiving the XE1 Wedge, this is also a relatively easy thing to do.
Also, considering the head is relatively heavy, it is also easier to control the power of your swing as needed.
Adjustability and personal customization are the current trends in golf clubs technology nowadays, along with the center of gravity placement. However, adjustability features for wedges are quite limited, even for high-end ones, and we can arguably say that it is not (yet) an important aspect to rate wedges.
This is the case for the XE1 Wedge,
We're not sure if this is a company decision to exclude adjustability, in order to remain simple to use. We will soon review another product from the same company, the C3i Wedge and we will then be able to draw more conclusions.
With the XE1 Wedge, there is zero adjustability that comes with it.
Cast wedges and irons are often dreaded for its loud, banging sound, which when paired with their shocking responsiveness, can produce a very annoying feeling after a swing. Fortunately, that is not the case with the XE1 Wedge. It's not to say that it is particularly quiet, but it's also not as loud as most cast wedges out there.
The sound the XE1 produces is also not particularly dull or sharp, so we can say that it is relatively modest in every way. It does still sound like a cast wedge, and we shouldn't compare it to high-end forged irons and wedges with their exceptional, soft sounds.
As with the sound aspect, many golfers often prefer forged irons from cast irons for their feel.
Cast irons are known for the rather harsh and loud response, where the vibration can often numb the hands after a swing. With the harsh feedback, it is also hard to precisely assess whether you are making a correct shot or off center hits.
Fortunately, the responsive feedback given by the XE1 Wedge is not that harsh, and as with the sound aspect, it is about on the middle ground. The feedback is still not as soft as forged irons, especially the high-quality ones, but is rather modest by a cast iron's standard.
Assessing your shot accuracy with the XE1 Wedge is still pretty decent, especially considering the massive sweet spot and overall forgiveness.
So, it is not a forged iron, but the feel and response the XE1 Wedge provides are pretty decent.
To score the overall performance of the XE1 Wedge, we should first remember its purpose.
The XE1 Wedge is designed for maximum forgiveness, acting as an easy fix for beginners. The forgiveness is also especially focused on escaping bunkers and tough lies, so, the XE1 Wedge is all about easy trajectory and speed.
On the other hand, it would be unfair to compare the XE1 Wedge to high-end forged irons with tremendous shot shaping playability, as well as overall feel.
So, while rating the overall performance of the XE1 Wedge, we should compare it to other game-improvement wedges with similar purposes.
In that regard, the XE1 Wedge performs really well, almost as well as the obnoxious advertisement claims.
Yes, you will still need a bit of practice to get used to the XE1 Wedge, since it feels a bit different than most wedges thanks to its slightly heavier head. However, once you get the hang of it, the XE1 Wedge is indeed, very easy to use.
Escaping tough lies and sand traps are extremely easy with the XE1 Wedge. Thanks to its extremely high loft angle and excellent bounce, you get a very high natural trajectory and ball speed. Pair that with the excellent forgiveness with its very big sweet spot and well-distributed center of gravity, and you get one of the easiest sand wedges available.
To rate a club's performance on the driving range, there are generally two things we should look for: style points and performance in distance. So, we will have to review the looks and distance aspects we have discussed above.
The XE1 Wedge looks pretty decent, especially considering its price. The modern, high-tech design is aligned with the current trend of modern golf clubs, so it's definitely an eye pleaser on the driving range.
Distance wise, as well as regarding trajectory, the XE1 Wedge is also exceptional, being one of the longest, and highest wedges in the market.
With those points being said, the XE1 Wedge is definitely viable, if not a very decent choice on the driving range.
So, here is how the scores lined up for the XE1 Wedge.
How Does The XE1 Wedge Compare To Its Competition?
Below, we will discuss several other products that are often compared to the XE1 Wedge, and how they are to each other.
XE1 Wedge VS Callaway Mack Daddy 3 Grind Wedge
Callaway's Mack Daddy is one of the most prominent brands for wedges in today's golf environment, being synonymous with Callaway's take on the modern high-tech market.
So, we can expect all the high-end technologies and features from this wedge.
The Mack Daddy 3 Grind is a forged wedge. First, let us take a quick look at the Mack Daddy 3 Grind's key features.
The key difference over the XE1 Wedge is the adjustability features found on the Callaway Mack Dady 3 Grind, which comes in the form of 3 different grinds.
One of the grinds, dubbed the S-Grind, is actually very versatile, and you can use it for almost any surfaces, shot types, and various swing angles. For more adjustability, there is an adjustable weight in the back, which can be useful for shot-shaping purposes.
The Mack Daddy 3 has a relatively normal loft angle when compared to the XE1, but the profile is very balanced with a high-toe and a relatively straight leading edge. The groove is progressive, which is intended to increase its spin.
So, the Mack Daddy 3 is more designed for versatility and shot shaping rather than forgiveness, a very different approach compared to the XE1. We should also note that the Callaway Mack Daddy 3, being a Callaway, is significantly more expensive than the XE1.
So, to summarize the comparison between the two: although there is some forgiveness with the Mack Daddy 3, it is definitely not as forgiving as the XE1 Wedge. However, the Mack Daddy does offer more versatility, adjustability, and shot shaping playability.
For beginners looking to first improve their ability to escape traps, the XE1 Wedge is definitely a better, and more affordable choice.
For those looking for more playability and improving their overall game, the Callaway Mack Daddy is a better choice.
- 3 grinds for every shot, every Condition and every swing: we've developed 3 unique grinds to suit the shots you hit, the courses you play and the Swings you make. It's the versatility and selection you need to get up and down from anywhere
- S-grind: our most versatile option. It's great for a wide range of conditions (Normal, soft or firm), shot types and Swings (moderate to sweeping attack angles)
- Progressive groove optimization: the MD3 milled line has progressive groove optimization - a 3 groove package milled into the Face of these wedges that optimizes spin as you Go up in loft. It creates a smoother spin transition from your irons to wedges
- Advanced shaping and design: Legendary Callaway wedge designer roger Cleveland took Tour Input and blended that with advanced cad design. The result is a balanced wedge with a high toe profile and a semi-straight leading edge
- Advanced weight ports: the weight ports in the back of the wedge gave US the freedom to reposition the weight for better shot-making, especially out of deep rough
XE1 Wedge VS Cleveland Golf 588 RTX 2.0 Cavity Back Wedge
Cleveland is also one of, if not the biggest name for wedges, up there with Ping and Vokey. The 588 RTX 2.0 is not their latest flagship product, that honor belongs to the new RTX 3.
Being released in mid-2015, the 588 RTX 2.0 is still pretty viable today, especially considering it is more affordable than the RTX 3.
Besides, the 588 RTX 2.0 is still one of the most popular wedges today.
There are two different versions of the 588 RTX 2.0 wedge: the blade and the cavity muscle back.
For this comparison, we will focus on the cavity muscle back version for the comparable forgiveness with the X1 Wedge.
The RTX stands for the Rotex face, where a micro-milling and laser process are done to the face to create additional roughness in between the grooves.
This way, the 588 RTX 2.0 creates more friction than your usual wedges, which translates to more spin. More spin has been the characteristic for Cleveland wedges in the past, famous for their excellent shot shaping ability.
Being a cavity back wedge with a relatively wide sole, it is also quite forgiving. The 588 RTX 2.0 is not designed for maximum forgiveness and extreme flight trajectory like the XE 1 Wedge. However, it is still pretty forgiving with large enough sweet spots.
One thing you should consider about the 588 RTX 2.0 is the feel, a classic Cleveland response. It is definitely one of the finest wedges in the market for responsive feedback, feel, and style, and it is worth every penny if you are looking for a classic Cleveland wedge. Also worth noting is that the sound it produces is very nice. It is slightly higher-pitched than older Cleveland wedges and thus, livelier.
So, how does it compare against the XE1 Wedge? We feel the result is pretty similar to the Callaway Mack Daddy 3 VS XE1 Wedge above: The Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 is a better choice if you are looking for more versatility and shot shaping playability. In fact, it is one of the best wedges out there if we are talking about shot shaping.
On the other hand, the XE1 Wedge is definitely a more forgiving of the two, but it doesn't have the feel, looks, and playability of the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0. The 588 RTX 2.0 is still decent regarding forgiveness, but the XE1 Wedge is on a whole other level.
The XE1 Wedge will again be a better pick for beginners looking for an easy fix on their bunker game, being one of the easiest wedges to use available. For those looking for shot shaping versatility but with some amount of forgiveness, the Cleveland 588 RTX 2.0 is a better choice.
- Deeper grooves and a new micro-milled Rotex face pattern give these wedges the most surface roughness the USGA will allow
- Forth generation Tour Zip Grooves feature larger walls and sharper radii than ever before
- Advanced, 2-pass micro milling pattern provides a strategically designed roughness close to the USGA limit
- Fine tunes the micro-roughness for more consistency and texture across the face
XE1 Wedge VS Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge
While in two previous comparisons above we discussed two wedges from premium, high-end brands, this time we will discuss a product similar in affordability.
Wilson is a brand synonymous with affordable, yet good quality sports equipment, and the Harmonized Golf Wedge definitely fits that description.
In fact, it is even more affordable than the XE1 Wedge, and that is saying a lot.
The Wilson Harmonized Golf Wedge is technically a bladed wedge, which usually translates to a less forgiving wedge.
It is surprisingly forgiving thanks to the sole grind feature. With the sole grind, we can open the face more than usual, which translates to more accuracy in hitting higher shots.
Also, the biggest difference in performance comes from the backspin. While the XE1 produces an exceptional spin, the Wilson Harmonized produces very little spin. With less spin, shot shaping ability is compromised in return for better control.
So, here is how we will compare the two: the XE1 Wedge is still more forgiving, but it is slightly harder to control the ball with the excessive spin. The Wilson Harmonized Wedge is definitely a great choice if you are looking for an affordable forged wedge, and it does have better sound and feel compared to the XE1 Wedge. However, regarding performance and forgiveness, XE1 Wedge is the better choice.
The XE1 Wedge is a very affordable wedge with excellent forgiveness.
It is indeed very easy to use, just as advertised by the commercials. However, we have to be clear: the XE1 wedge is not the best sand wedge available today. It doesn't have the feel, sound, or response of high-end wedges, but it does its job really well in being an easy fix for beginners.
Did you enjoy the article? We hope now you have a better understanding of the XE1 Wedge, and can make a better purchase decision.
If you do have any question or suggestion, please don't hesitate to leave it in the comment section below. Also, please do share this article with your fellow golfers, and stay tuned for more articles and reviews! We will be soon reviewing another product from the same company, the C3i Wedge so stay tuned for it!