The Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at Cleveland Srixon’s XXIO Golf, Mr. Chuck Thiry, joins us for episode #256 of the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider Podcast to talk about the latest products from XXIO.
In this episode, we discuss the history of XXIO, it’s association with Cleveland/Srixon, the proper pronunciation of XXIO, the all-new XXIO X line of clubs and what golfers would benefit most from using XXIO clubs.
Tom Brassell: Welcome to the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider Podcast, episode 256. Hello everyone, Tom Brassell here. Thank you so much for joining us. This is your first time with us, or you’ve caught every episode, or maybe somewhere in the middle. Either way, we’re just glad that you joined us. Especially so today because we have a guest who is a long, long time friend of the show. He’s the Vice President, Strategic Partnerships at Cleveland Srixon’s XXIO Golf, Mr. Chuck Thiry. Chuck, thanks so much for joining us. Great to have you with us.
Chuck Thiry: Tom, I’m happy to be here. Thank you for having me.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, it’s been a long time and we have not done an in-depth podcast that I know of on XXIO, and the XXIO lines, but for the listeners who don’t know a whole lot about XXIO and the association with the Srixon in Cleveland family, can you just fill us in a little bit behind the curtain on the brand itself?
Chuck Thiry: Sure. The basics of the brand are the XXIO brand, pronounced zeksio … you pronounce it like it was Z-E-K-S-I-O.
Tom Brassell: Zeksio, okay, yeah.
Chuck Thiry: Yup, zeksio, but it’s spelled XXIO, and might as well start with that, so the meaning of the name, XXI is the Roman numeral 21, and in Japan where this brand was originated, O is one of the most significant letters in the alphabet, and it means top or king. So, XXIO is pronounced zeksio, and what it means is excellence in the 21st century. So that’s what the name stands for, and now me and you and all of our listeners know that, so if we can help spread the word, I’d appreciate it.
Tom Brassell: That’s fantastic, yeah.
Chuck Thiry: Yeah, a little bit of a history though, so XXIO started in Japan about 17 years ago, and in the year 2000 and it quickly became the number one selling brand in Japan, and it remains that way today. It’s been around since the year 2000. It makes up about one-third of all golf club sales in the country on Japan, which is significant, right, because the United States is the largest golf market in the world, but Japan is the second largest golf market in the world. So, we make up about 30% of the clubs that are sold there, and since that time since it was introduced in the year 2000, it’s become the number one selling brand in Korea. It’s probably the fastest growing brand in Australia. It’s the number one brand in New Zealand, and about three years ago we made the decision to bring it to the United States, and we’re growing very rapidly here.
We now have almost 500 authorized dealers. Certainly, the Worldwide Golf Stores, Roger Dunn, Edwin Watts are a really big part of what we do. They’re a big strategic partner. So we’ve got dealers now, not in every place in the country, but in most places, and if you’re looking for XXIO, it’s pretty easy to find by either going to the Worldwide Golf website or to our website. It’ll point you to it at a location near you.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, yeah, and it’s exciting times right now with XXIO. A little bit about what’s going on and what’s new out in the marketplace, and what’s on the horizon?
Chuck Thiry: Yeah, it’s a really exciting time. You’re actually catching us at a very good time, Tom. We’re just about to introduce our 10th edition of XXIO. We only introduce a gold club every two years, and this new line will be called XXIO X, and we use actually the Roman numeral so it looks like XXIO X, so in this case, it looks like XXIO X. So XXIO X is our newest line. The entire brand, Tom, is really committed to moderate swing speed men and women. We really focus on players that swing the golf club less than 95 miles an hour, and this new version XXIO X is no exception. It’s lighter and softer than what most people are used to seeing.
It creates instant clubhead speed, and ultimately instant ball speed and instant distance for people like me. A 56-year-old guy. I’m never going to swing it faster than I swung it yesterday. It’s going to be more and more of a challenge for me as I age, and I need help with distance, so I’m looking for things that’ll make the ball pop, and lighter golf clubs, slightly softer golf clubs will do that for me.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, it has to with the masses, like you said, most everybody out there’s looking for distance and higher launch, and like you said, our swing speeds aren’t what they were a year ago. They aren’t what they were yesterday. How about some of the features and benefits of these clubs, Chuck, because of it really, really sounds exciting?
Chuck Thiry: Yeah, that’s a great question. When you’re not concerned with the tour players, when you start with the average player in mind, you actually approach the entire engineering process of a golf club differently. When you think about most brands out there, they really start with tour players and better players, not XXIO. We kind of turn that all upside down. We start with average players, so some of the things that make us different, some of the features and benefits, our grips are dramatically lighter than other companies, where most companies use grips that weigh 52 to 55 grams, ours only weigh 22 to 25 grams. Most companies use shafts on the driver that are anywhere from 50 to 70 grams. Ours are only 36 to 43 grams.
Our head is actually slightly heavier, so we start with lighter grip, lighter shaft, slightly heavier head, and then we move the balance point on the golf club way up towards the grip. And what this does is it creates more lag in the golf club throughout the swing, and it makes the head kind of fire right at impact. Think about you’ve been in shops all over the country. Think about this product called the Orange Whip.
Tom Brassell: Oh yeah.
Chuck Thiry: It’s a warm-up tool, right? But basically when you swing that, the head kind of lags behind, then it fires right at impact, and creates a lot more speed and that’s really what XXIO does, so by using lighter grip, lighter shaft, slightly heavier head and a balance point that’s moved way up towards the grip, we create more speed. And what we claim, and I’m comfortable saying this on any podcast or radio or TV, anywhere in the country, is that your listeners will swing our golf club faster than the golf club they have. Every single one of your listeners, not part of them. All of them will swing our golf club than the one they have, strictly because of the way we make it, so, one, they swing the golf club, they’ll instantly gain clubhead speed, which translates into ball speed and distance.
The other thing again, that’s dramatically different is we’re kind of focused in an area of the golf business where other companies aren’t focused. We’re focused on men with moderate swing speeds, and women. We’re not concerned with what tour players are playing, or what the club champion is playing. We’re really looking at the average everyday player, and how to help them.
Tom Brassell: Not only are you going to feel the difference when you hit these … when you go into your Worldwide Golf Shops locations. You’re going to feel the difference when you, like you said, just in address, picking the club up, putting it in your hands and setting it down, correct?
Chuck Thiry: You’re so right about that. For years, I’ve been watching people pick up golf clubs and they claim that one is lighter, or one is whippier, or something like that, but when you really check those golf clubs, they weigh the same and they’re similar in stiffness. Not with XXIO. With XXIO you will feel it as soon as you put it in your hands. The grip will feel, oh, a little bit thinner maybe, and the golf club will definitely feel lighter, and when you waggle it or wiggle it, you’ll see that it’s a little bit softer, so it’s noticeable the minute you put it in your hands, and then when you hit it, it’ll feel and sound different and you’ll see the ball go in the air like you haven’t seen it go in a long time. You kind of see instant trajectory with the golf club.
Tom Brassell: Well, it sounds like just a paradigm shift from what the market is used to. You’re used to seeing what the guys play on tour. You want to put those in your hands. You get some lighter shafts in it. And you go do it. This is so, so different, even probably more so the importance of being custom fit, and getting into a location and getting fit for these, am I right?
Chuck Thiry: Yeah, the fitting process with the golf club is quite simple, but I would advise all your listeners to get into a Worldwide Golf Shop. They’ve got demos in there. They’ve got our golf clubs in there. We make two or three different models in addition to XXIO X. We also have a line out there called XXIO Prime, which is even lighter, softer, so you really want to get in there and work with the staff at the Worldwide Golf Shops, and ask them to help you pick out the right loft, and hit a couple of different options. When you do that, you’ll hone in on it really quickly, and they’ll be able to help you really select the right model for you, so not a difficult process, but our XXIO golf clubs, we use premium components, so they’re a little bit more expensive. You want to make sure you’re getting the one that’s fit exactly right for you.
Tom Brassell: And as far as timing, whenever we release this podcast, we’re probably right on top of the release of XXIO X. When is that, Chuck? When is that date?
Chuck Thiry: Yeah, our official launch date is December 9th, so you’ll see it … you’ll see our product in all the Worldwide Golf Shops beginning on December 9th.
Tom Brassell: XXIO X with the Roman numerals. It’s like a Superbowl, right? I mean, a Superbowl club with a note and everything. Yeah.
Chuck Thiry: It either looks like a Superbowl or a tic-tac-toe board. I don’t know which, but it does … that’s exactly right. I was thinking about the Superbowl when I looked at our logo, so it’s easy to … tougher to pronounce, but easy to be different. Easy to differentiate when you see us, we look different than the other brands and we believe we perform different, and we’re focused in a different area than the other brands, so get out there and try it and I’m sure you’ll love it.
Tom Brassell: Chuck, hey, thanks so much. It’s right in the wheelhouse. It’s right in my wheelhouse. You gave away your age. I got a couple years on you. You weren’t even driving when I was at my proms, so I’m right there, and I can’t wait to hit them. Thanks so much, Chuck. It’s always great catching up with you, and we’ll see you soon.
Chuck Thiry: Thank you, Tom. I appreciate you having me on.
Tom Brassell: That’s exciting stuff. When you really think about it, completely the opposite way of thinking, as far as looking at what these young twenty-something-year-old tour players are playing, and try to copy it. How about making something for the masses. It will give us some of us with slower swing speeds a little higher launch, and a little faster ball flight, which equates to more distance. They’re doing it. Check it out. It’s the XXIO X, released this December at your Worldwide Golf Shops locations.
Well, special thanks to Chuck Thiry for joining us, and to you, our listeners. We’ll do it again next time we have another episode of the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider Podcast here at WorldwideGolfShops.com. So long everyone.