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Who Makes Xxio Golf Clubs

who makes xxio golf clubs
who makes xxio golf clubs

By now, those on THP and the THP Forum have heard of the brand XXIO (pronounced ZEKS-E-OH). Over the years, each of their releases have been featured in reviews and their growing use is undeniable by golfers that frequent our online community. But where did they come from? What makes them different? And who is XXIO?

To understand the brand, we have to go back a century and across the globe to the Japanese market. The British company Dunlop, built Japan’s first modern rubber factory in the early 1900s. A few decades later, the company started production on golf and tennis balls. A few decades after that, The Sumitomo Group bought into Dunlop and quickly took over the management of the business.

Sumitomo didn’t jump into the golf business in a fly by night fashion. In the sixties, they introduced clubs and became the largest manufacturer of golf balls in the entire country. Around this time, they held more patents in golf ball construction than anybody, and that might still hold true (we haven’t looked it up recently). While this all sounds great, where is the connection to XXIO? It’s coming, we swear. As the brand continued to grow throughout the 70s and 80s, with top selling products like the Dunlop DDH and The Royal Maxfli, the next two decades brought a ton of change. We asked Chuck Thiry, VP of Strategic Partnerships, to expand on it.

“Throughout the 90’s our company was the Japanese distributor for a large equipment brand. As that agreement was coming to an end our engineers were given the task of developing the finest equipment in Golf. They were told to spare no expense, just make the finest equipment in Golf. When our agreement with the other manufacturer ended, XXIO was launched in Japan. Within a very short amount of time, XXIO became the #1 equipment brand in Japan, the world’s second largest golf market. Over the past 22 years, XXIO has expanded around the globe and today is one of the largest manufacturers of premium equipment and the leader of the lightweight category.”

Growth over those past two decades has been incredible, but how did it end up here, in the North American Market? Well, 2008 was a great year in golf. We had the birth of this website that you are reading this article on, as well as Srixon merging with Cleveland Golf and entering the US market. While it appeared on the surface to be more golf ball related, grand plans were in place. Chuck Thiry expanded on those.

“In the US, after Srixon merged with Cleveland Golf, in 2008, the decision was made to first establish our Srixon golf ball brand. Once we establish a firm distribution base for Srixon, we could now turn our attention to XXIO. We first brought XXIO to the US in 2014. Initially nobody really understood XXIO. The brand was lighter, softer, and much more expensive than anything that was selling in the US. It was not until we saw the product perform that we knew it was something special. Once we saw the ball flight and the performance of the product, we knew that we had something different. It really was all about having people hit the product. It still is.”

As the company continued to grow, and by company we mean all of the brands under the umbrella, products stand out. For Cleveland they hit their wedge stride decades ago and have not looked back, but in recent years, the offering of the CBX line to compliment their full RTX wedges really moved to the forefront of readers. Offering choices for the masses is never a bad thing and their wedge lineup is as full as anybody in golf. Srixon, came big with the Z545 line of irons and since that time have had a steady growth in the segment with each new release. The current iron line of ZX5 and ZX7 just won the Women’s US Open and were in the bag of last year’s Masters winner Hideki Matsuyama. The brand even inked a deal with multiple major winner Brooks Koepka who is playing their equipment from the current Srixon lineup. But what about XXIO? What products jumped out and started the growth and attention? Chuck Thiry offered this.

“Almost each generation of XXIO has provided brand growth. In the US we got here right at the very end of XXIO7, XXIO8 was really our starting point here, but we’ve grown pretty dramatically with each new launch. Today we are selling XXIO12 and we still have a ton of room for growth. Our XXIO team has made incremental improvements. We don’t really spend a ton of time focusing on competitors’ products, we just continue to strive to make our next model better than the previous model. That attitude keeps us focused.”

When XXIO hit the US market, it was considered a premium product. It still is, but the price difference has shrunk compared to the marketplace despite their quality never wavering. The XXIO8 product spoke about MOI in the original press release and becoming lighter in general, something that many companies have adopted since that time. A thinner crown to position their center of gravity low and deep and a look that screamed, well, luxury.

Marketing and messaging is so critical with any launch, combining that with a brand new product from a company most casual golfers had not heard of before, and the challenge was real. To this day, the name is still a bit confusing as XXIO is not just mispronounced, but misunderstood from an origin stand point. The XXIO name comes from the Roman numerals for 21st Century followed by the O, which in Japan signifies a leader or King. Launching a brand in a new market, while also having to explain the name is not an easy task. Doing so while also explaining a price difference is even harder. Chuck Thiry added this.

“We had a few members of the XXIO team that were golf professionals in the US that knew golf equipment was being way undersold. Essentially you had all these people who demanded and expected the most from their purchases. They were paying top dollar to belong to Country Clubs, and they were paying $149 for Drivers. Quite frankly it never made sense. Golf is made up of some of the most discerning shoppers you’d ever want to come across. They demand quality and performance. If you give them that, price becomes secondary. Show golfers 15 yards and they’ll pay for it. We’re all golfers…..that’s just how we think. We want to play better.”

Has this led to sales? The answer is yes. Speaking to the company and looking over some data, XXIO has grown each year since 2014. Not just in dollars, but distribution as well. This means more chances for golfers to find their products, hit their equipment, and see if it works for them.

XXIO has positioned itself differently than most brands. It hasn’t come out and said they are the best for everybody, the most used on tour, etc etc. They have stuck to their message that the equipment is the best on the market for moderate swing speed men and women. You can make the case that moderate is a bit vague, but it sounds better than saying slower, right? We asked Chuck Thiry to explain how the company differentiates itself in marketing from Srixon or Cleveland.

“We are lighter, softer, and make the game much more enjoyable for those of us that struggle with speed. With this brand, we don’t try to be all things to all people…we just try to have great equipment for moderate swing speed players. If we maintain that attitude and keep our focus, it’ll always differentiate us from other brands, whether they be our own, other brands or somebody else’s. There are plenty of great brands out there like Srixon that serve the needs of better players. It’s women and baby boomers that have been underserved. Now they’ve got XXIO.”

If you are an equipment nerd like we are, its probably time we dissect a bit of what they release, because XXIO has multiple lines that cater to different players, yet all share the same message discussed above, moderate swing speeds. Currently there is XXIO12 men’s and women’s line, which is the bread and butter, or meat and potatoes, of the brand’s lineup. There are also three other lines that stand out and should at least get your attention.

A few years ago, XXIO introduced XXIO X. This is their “better player” lineup while still staying true to the roots of being for a moderate swing speed. Maybe a player that still plays well, has always used a forged club or player’s iron, but feels the market isn’t “talking” to him or her. XXIO offers a really good look for even the discerning player that probably fits the bill.

This leads us to XXIO Prime and Prime Royal Edition, and I could go on and on about this lineup, but Chuck Thiry explains it perfectly.

“XXIO Prime and Prime Royal Edition are kind of the “XXIO of XXIO”. They are our lightest, softest options for men and women. There is nothing else quite like them for players who really struggle with speed. We have seen countless players who were ready to quit the game switch to Prime or Prime RE and see ball flight, trajectory, and distance that they haven’t experienced in years.”

We have spent much of the time talking about the birth of the US market, but globally they have shown continued success. With the growth of the game overall and their equipment specifically, what does the future hold in a global sense? Chuck Thiry with the insight.

“The sky is really the limit. The brand is very established throughout Asia. It’s extremely strong in markets like Australia and New Zealand, and it’s really just getting rolling in two of the most important markets – Europe and North America. Currently the brand trajectory is very strong and we’re strong on how things look for us globally over the next decade. If we continue to innovate and exploit the benefits of lightweight, we’d expect to see plenty of continued growth.”

This brings us pretty current with the brand. Multiple lines making up XXIO with a mission to help moderate swing speed golfers. Is the brand at the forefront as you consider new equipment for your bag? Are you starting to see more of it at courses? Now that we have covered the history, we want to hear your thoughts on everything XXIO.

For more information on any of their products, check out their website at www.xxiousa.com.