For most people in the UK, Tour Edge may not be a brand they are familiar with, but our friends in the USA will know that they are renowned for their Exotics range of high spec woods and irons.
The theory behind the Exotics range is to bring the latest technologies and materials to market in high quality products that are hand assembled. Their fairways are well respected and the latest model to get the treatment is the Tour Edge Exotics E8 Tour fairway.
As the name suggests, this is a Tour level fairway for better players that comes in a compact 150cc head made from 450 stainless hyper steel.
It has quite a rounded look at address with a very clean matte black crown and just a single white aligment line on the bottom groove of the face that gives it a classy clean look.
However the face is where the latest technology is employed through a stronger 475 Carpenter Steel cup face that is micro-bonded to the clubhead using a laser beam welding process. The edges of the cup face where it is welded to the face wrap around the edge of the face rather than being part of it, which in turn helps increase ball speeds.
The laser beam ensures the welding is the most accurate possible and Tour Edge claim that the E8 Tour is the first product sold in the USA to use this process.
Also on the sole is what Tour Edge call the Power Grid, which is the mesh like structure behind the face that is thinner and larger than in the previous E8 Beta fairway.
Combined with the smaller head this helps to move the Centre of Gravity (CG) higher and closer to the face to reduce spin and increase ball speed.
Certainly the speed and feel from the face was excellent and the sound was very good. As you might expect this is quite a low spinning club, so you will need a decent swing speed to get the ball going on a suitable trajectory and that will depend in large part on the loft you choose.
Thankfully you don't have to guess what loft to buy as the Exotics E8 Tour comes in a single 3-wood head with an adjustable hosel that can change the loft from 12° to 15.5° in standard or upright lie settings.
The adjustable hosel is maybe not the slimmest around, but it blends in very well to the dark looks of the head and the shaft and combined with the sole weight gives you those extra loft options to get the right trajectory for your swing speed.
This will of course change the lie as you adjust the loft as the table below shows, but this is standard for most adjustable clubs and it is good to see Tour Edge publicising this information on their site.
I have a swing speed with a driver of around 100mph and I found the 12° and 13° settings a little hard work as they gave a low penetrating trajectory that would be good for tee shots on firm fairways. Once I moved into the 14° and 15° settings the Exotics E8 Tour came to life and gave me the mid to high flight trajectory I would expect from a fairway that I want to use from the tee and for approach shots into the green.
Clearly all this will depend on your own swing speed with a driver, so if you are over 100 mph then this club will suit you well and if you are anything less than 95 mph, then you may struggle.
There is also a removeable 9 gram weight in the sole that can be replaced with a choice of 6, 12 or 15 grams from the optional $50 E8 weight kit or you can get them invididually for $20 each.
One of the heavier weights would lower the CG a little and may make this more playable at the lower lofts as the ball would launch a little higher, but you should work with a custom fitter and a launch monitor to get the best set up for your swing.
You may not want to mess with the sole weights that much anyway because one of the key features of the Exotics E8 Tour is how light it feels. The head is not that heavy and is paired with an excellent Mitsubishi Diamana +Plus shaft that is just 61 grams in a stiff flex. The +Plus version is the next generation of this popular Diamana shaft that has a higher balance point for a little more versatility.
Overall I do like the Tour Edge Exotics E8 Tour as it looks the part and certainly should do judging by the premium price. It is a serious piece of kit and I loved the light feel, great sound and variety in performance, which were all excellent.
This is a high swing speed, better players' fairway due to the low spin nature of the head design, so if that is you and you have the money, then the Tour Edge Exotics E8 Tour fairway is definitely worth trying out.