By Jeffrey A. Rendall, Images Courtesy of Callaway Golf
CARLSBAD, CA – “We don't necessarily chase ball speed or dramatic distance improvements in this better player iron category – it’s more about developing for the best possible sound, feel, look and consistency,” said Luke Williams, Senior Director, Global Woods and Irons for Callaway Golf.
Williams was referring to the company’s X Forged Irons, just one of several high-end irons offerings by Callaway, but near the top in terms of eye-pleasing aesthetics and quality of manufacture.
These days, all golf manufacturers seem to be producing irons with a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, but the X Forged is notable because it still looks fairly traditional. For those who are partial to beautiful forged irons, the X Forged certainly belongs in that category.
That’s no surprise -- Callaway is renowned for its irons. But how is the X Forged different than what they’ve produced in the past? Again, Williams provides the answer: “One of the elements we've added with the X Forged iron is the CG Height Progression. The CG gets progressively higher as you move down the set from longer to shorter irons. In a 9-Iron and PW, for example, the higher CG helps flight the ball down a bit and delivers a flatter trajectory, which is something better players typically want.”
“For this player type, a lot of the emphasis has been placed on elements like look, sound and feel, turf interaction, etc. And that is where I think golfers will notice the strides in relation to previous models, especially in terms of players irons.”
No doubt. And the “players” Williams was referring to in this case are Tour players and better amateurs. The X Forged is not necessarily for your average duffer, who would benefit more from irons made with game improvement features designed in.
We noticed that the X Forged irons were not quite as forgiving as some others we’ve tried in recent times, but that’s to be expected with this type of iron. You get what you order – and the X Forged is designed to offer the precision shot-making better players demand.
Would you know about the forgiveness factor just by looking at them? Not necessarily.
If you’re shopping for clubs and wonder about whether a particular model is the right one for you – just ask. “We always recommend talking to a Pro or getting fit first and foremost,” Williams suggested. “But if you go at it alone, there are a lot of factors to take into consideration. Be honest about what your game needs -- we have a broad range of irons to help all types of golfers improve.”
“And hey, don't be afraid to turn to the manufacturer to help guide you into the appropriate product. We're trying to do more of that sort of education at CallawayGolf.com.”
(Click here for Callaway’s fitting tips.)
Fitting is just one innovation that Callaway is working on. The X Forged irons, and others in the Callaway line, are measurably superior to their predecessors. Williams says improvements in performance are a result of various factors in design, engineering, and the manufacturing process.
“But as we improve at our efficient use of the premium materials we choose and the way we forged, machine, etc these products, better performance is a result. In the case of the X Forged irons, the Triple Net Forging process we use is an extensive process that offers extremely tight tolerances for consistency from iron to iron,” Williams added.
According to the Callaway website, Triple Net Forging is designed for more aggressive grooves and extreme precision to provide forged feel and high performance for the very best players.
Those “aggressive grooves” are V-shaped, which are tightly spaced on the X Forged irons so there’s more consistency in spin from different lies.
And if you’re looking for juiced-up irons with strong lofts, you’re out of luck with the X Forged. “Lofts in this set are based on where our Tour players typically set their lofts, so they are pretty traditional,” Williams said.
Therefore, don’t expect to hit an 8-iron 170 yards with these clubs – at least we couldn’t. We’ve often wondered why the trend in golf manufacturers’ advertising is for irons that offer more distance. Everyone wants more distance out of drivers and fairway woods, but irons are supposed to give consistent yardages – not long distance.
But distance is sexy – and it sells. So does performance, and that’s why Callaway continues to produce some of the industry’s best products.
“I could tell you until my face turned blue why our products our better, but instead I'll encourage you to go out and demo them for yourself. There’s no better way to best understand why Callaway makes the best iron in the business. We have a broad product offering and believe we have an iron for everyone,” Williams said proudly.
They’ll keep it up, too. Williams says there’s considerable room to innovate, especially in the Game Improvement category. (Also see below for a glimpse at the new Apex Irons.)
For our part, we were very impressed with the X Forged Irons. As noted above, they are not quite as forgiving as we’ve seen in Game Improvement models, but they’re not hard to hit, either.
Distances for each iron were similar to what you’d find in some sets from years past – and took a period of adjustment. It’s more of a throwback to the days when your 9-iron was a consistent 135 yards – with the emphasis on consistent.
Feel was excellent, and clearly the best aspect of the X Forged Irons. There’s nothing quite like the feel of a well struck shot off of a forged iron – and that’s why we keep coming back to forged models.
The X Forged irons are not inexpensive and we definitely believe you should try out several different kinds of irons from a variety of manufacturers. That’s the only way to tell what’s best for you – and as Williams says above, Callaway believes you’ll see the difference.
In other words, it’s really all about you and what you like – and in this world of customization, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The latest from Callaway: Introducing the Apex Pro Irons
Callaway Golf’s newest offering in the high-end forged category is the Apex Pro, which is described as follows: The science of the players iron is rarely advanced beyond what can currently be seen. The Apex Pro takes the category to a place that has only previously been imagined.
The Apex Pro was launched in early November, and should be widely available soon. Since it was just announced, we here at GolfTheUnitedStates.com have not seen it – therefore, we cannot do a full review at this time.
We can offer the features and benefits, however:
Premium Forged Construction • 1020 Carbon Steel forging engineered to deliver a soft and responsive feel that the best players in the world demand
Tungsten Weighted Inserts • Tungsten weighted inserts in the sole of the long irons make them incredibly easy to hit and deliver Tour type launch conditions
High Performance Wide Grooves • New high performance wide spaced groove is designed for more control and consistent spin out of a variety of playing conditions
New KBS Tour V Shaft • New premium shaft offering maximizes energy transfer for a smooth feel and faster ball speeds
• Delivers mid trajectory, piercing flight
Tungsten sole found only in 2-5 irons*
UST Recoil available through customs*
--The Apex Pro sounds like a spectacular new addition to Callaway’s line-up of products. We look forward to seeing all of next year’s products and offering our own special take on many of them.
Happy Holiday shopping!
Available at your higher-end golf retailers and club pro shops.
Check out more information about Callaway Golf products at:
Check the website for locations to demo and purchase products.
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