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March 26 2013

4:40 PM

Callaway unveils new fairway woods

Mickelson has reportedly hit the X Hot 3Deep 3-wood upwards of 300 yards on a number of occasions. (Getty Images)

By Jonathan Wall, PGATOUR.COM Equipment Insider

HUMBLE, Texas — Phil Mickelson's Callaway X Hot 3Deep 3-wood is a secret no more. On Tuesday at the Shell Houston Open, the first batch of 3Deep heads arrived at the Callaway TOUR truck, giving the Carlsbad, California-based company three different fairway wood models on TOUR this year.

The new version, which also happens to be the longest and lowest-spinning of the three currently on the market, was designed with one player in mind — that player being Mickelson, who started working with the fairway wood earlier this year at the Northern Trust Open.

"Phil [Mickelson] came to us and said, I need a fairway wood that I can hit off the tee with a little more distance and is a little more workable and versatile — but one that I'm also be able to hit it off the ground," Randy Peterson, Callaway's Director of Fitting and Instruction, said during the latest edition of "Callaway Talks."

Looking for a 3-wood with a little more versatility, Callaway built a deeper faced version of X Hot for Mickelson that could act like a "driving 3-wood," thereby giving him multiple options off the tee and from the fairway.

"Phil impacts a little higher on the face, so what we did is make a second iteration called 3Deep. We raised the face height a little bit — it's about 10 percent higher than X Hot Pro — and that moved the CG up a little bit, so the CG is more in line where Phil hits the ball. The design increases his ball speed and his spin robustness."

There are a few differences between X Hot Pro and the new X Hot 3Deep model, namely the deeper, or taller, face that's about 10 percent higher (about 25 cubic centimeters larger) than the shallower X Hot Pro head.

Considering how far most players on the PGA TOUR hit their driver, the thought of having a 3-wood that goes nearly as far seems a bit excessive. But for Mickelson, the new 3-wood completely changed the way he attacked the course.

The current weight setup in Mickelson's Callaway RAZR Fit Xtreme driver is designed to produce a right-to-left ball flight off the tee to keep the ball in play. With the addition of 3Deep to the bag, he can leave shots he needs to turn over to his new 3-wood, which he's reportedly hit upwards of 300 yards on a number of occasions.

The new 3-wood has been so good, in fact, that Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay took a couple minutes to call Peterson the week of the WGC-Cadillac Championship to sing X Hot 3Deep's praises.

"I got a call from Bones last Thursday, which doesn't happen that often, after they'd played Monday and Tuesday at Augusta and then went over to Doral. He called me Thursday after the first round at Doral and said, 'RP, I gotta tell you, this is the most meaningful club Phil's ever put in his bag in my 20 years of caddying. He was so ecstatic."

With X Hot 3Deep, Mickelson's driver now becomes his "bomber club," because he doesn't need the versatility or workability now that he has it in his fairway wood. The new 3-wood may not make a huge difference at Masters where players can freewheel a bit with the driver and get away with it.

However, at tight courses like Merion, site of this year's U.S. Open, Mickelson's X Hot 3Deep 3-wood could play a critical role in allowing him to keep the ball in play without sacrificing distance of the tee. In other words, the club could be a game-changer.

Callaway X Hot 3Deep measures 43 1/2 inches — 1/2 inch longer than the current X Hot fairway wood — and comes in two lofts for right-handed golfers (13 degrees and 14.5 degrees) and one loft (13 degrees) for left-handed golfers. It will be available in golf retail stores starting on April 19 for $229. 

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