Sad news: the TaylorMade V-Steel has left the bag. As of today its place has been usurped by Callaway X Hot 3 wood and, to rub salt in the wound, it has brought a friend with it, in the form of an X Hot 5 wood. I had fancied filling the 5 wood shaped gap in my bag for a while but couldn’t decide whether to seek out a 2005 vintage V-Steel from Golfbidder or Ebay or to embrace the advancing fairway wood technology of the last couple of years. Cynicism about the reality of the latter, as well as an instinctive reluctance to part with the kind of money such clubs command when new were strong influencing factors in my thinking.
But the Callaway X Hots certainly have been garnering rave reviews this year so, when I found a 3 and a 5 wood, stiff flex and only lightly used, for less than half price advertised on Ebay by The Carnoustie Golf Shop, I was very tempted. A quick phone call established the clubs in question were ex-rental and in vgc, so I coughed up via PayPal and within 18 hours the clubs were on the doorstep. Good work by Parcelforce, given the length of their trip from the top of Scotland to the bottom of England! The woods were indeed pretty immaculate, with only some light cosmetic scuffing to the leading edge of the sole; in fact, the 5 in particular looked brand new.
Did they live up to the hype? Well, put it this way. When I took them up to the driving range this afternoon and hit my first shot with the 5 wood, I laughed out loud. Not, for once, because I had wildly sliced, hooked or topped the ball, but because it just flew off the face with a satisfying crack and disappeared into the floodlit gathering dusk. I take it all back, the technology does work. The 5 wood has a shaft length the same as the V-Steel 3 and a head about the same size and, despite a higher loft, it travels at least the same distance. The X Hot 3 has a shaft half an inch longer and a slightly bigger, flatter head and just goes forever. Or so it seemed on the range. Let’s see what happens when they get let loose on the realities of the course. But I’m excited already.