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Callaway (finally) launches new Apex MB and X Forged irons

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It’s been a long time coming for the release of Callaway’s new Apex Muscleback (MB) irons to the public. It was all the way back in January of this year when we first spotted Apex MB irons. Patrick Reed was testing the irons, and Rory McIlroy — before he joined TaylorMade’s staff — was testing a raw, prototype version of the clubs. Since then, the new Apex MB irons have popped up in the bags of other tour players, most notably Danny Lee (full set) and Phil Mickelson (8-PW).

Finally, Callaway has officially launched the Apex MB irons.

Along with the Apex MB irons, Callaway has also announced that it’s releasing another highly anticipated set of irons that are made for better players: the new X Forged, which we’ve only recently spotted in the bags of Phil Mickelson (3, 5-7) and Sang-Moon Bae (full set).

Callaway 2013 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 X Forged

Callaway 2013 X Forged (left) vs. 2018 X Forged

Callaway’s X Forged irons — first released in 2007, then in 2009, and not again until 2013 — are on a lengthy release rotation, far from the company’s Apex line that gets a new model at least every two years. The X Forged name, possibly due to that few-and-far-between release schedule, has garnered a cult-like appreciation from better players over the years, so this new release of X Forged irons will certainly be significant for those long-time fans.

Find out below what’s new and improved about the Apex MB and the X Forged irons compared to their predecessors, and see what GolfWRX members are saying here.

Callaway Apex MB ($1,299.99)

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Callaway’s Apex MB irons are the product of direct feedback from the company’s Tour staffers, according to Luke Williams, Director of Product and Brand Management at Callaway. Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel, the irons are unapologetically made for the best players in the world, and they’re designed with the needs and wishes of Tour players in mind.

These blade irons have the shortest blade lengths, the thinnest soles and the smallest overall heads in the vast line of Callaway irons. They’re designed for maximum workability, for tour-desired turf interaction, and to cut through the thick rough that tour players face week-in and week-out.

CallawayApexMBSpecsGolfWRX

With what Williams calls “classic lofts,” the irons are designed for players who know their distances and place more importance on consistent distances than hitting the ball farther. That means the clubs have weaker lofts than any of the other irons in Callaway’s lineup, and the single-piece forgings are not juiced with distance-enhancing technologies.

These irons, which are made with “20V” grooves and “optimized CG (center of gravity),” are for players who strike the center of the club consistently, and who want complete control over spin and trajectory.

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Callaway’s Apex MB irons (2-PW, AW), with a Chrome finish, will sell for $1,299.99 starting on November 3 in both right- and left-handed options.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the irons in our forums.

Callaway X Forged ($1,299.99)

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While the new X Forged irons are also designed for Tour players and better amateurs, these irons aren’t “as intimidating” as the Apex Muscleback irons, according to Williams. That’s because, although they’re also single-piece forgings, the blade lengths are slightly longer, the overall head shapes are slightly larger, and they are cavity-back irons made for a bit more forgiveness.

CallawayXForged2017specsWRX

Like the Apex MB irons, the soles of the X Forged irons are built for the turf interaction that’s desired by Tour players, and the head profiles are tour-inspired. The lofts are slightly stronger throughout the set than the Apex MB, but are still weaker than the game-improvement style irons in Callaway’s stable. That means better players will see the ball launch in the “desired window,” according to Williams.

Callaway 2017 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 Apex MB

Callaway 2017 X Forged (left) vs. 2017 Apex MB

The X Forged irons are “triple net forged,” according to Callaway, and they have progressive CGs with 20V grooves on the face.

Sets of X Forged irons (3-PW) will hit stores on November 3 in both right- and left-handed options, and they will also sell for $1,299.99.

See what GolfWRX members are saying about the irons in our forums.

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He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men's Golf team and earned a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.

65 Comments

65 Comments

  1. Stephen Finley

    Nov 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

    MB: just friggin’ _woof_.

  2. Mat

    Nov 7, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    Looks like OEMs are starting to settle into 33/37/41/45 for the long haul on 7/8/9/P.

  3. Scott

    Oct 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm

    Wonder how the X Forged will compare against mizzen jpx 900 forged? I really like the feel I have with my mizzies but I’ve always loved Callaway

  4. Tom Duckworth

    Oct 20, 2017 at 6:03 am

    The new X Forged clubs look way better than the older ones much more put together on the back side. First set of Callaways I have like the looks of in some time. The blades are OK a blade is a blade I guess. I think I like the MP-18s better but I would think they would play just the same as any other blade iron.

    • OB

      Oct 20, 2017 at 9:54 am

      If they “look way better” then they must be better because the look of your WITB is half the game.

  5. AB

    Oct 19, 2017 at 10:59 pm

    TM came out with their fake ‘forged’ P790s…. and now Cally with their mystery forgings. What’s happening?

  6. jgpl001

    Oct 18, 2017 at 5:02 pm

    Both look really good

    MB’s so like the mp69’s, unreal..

    • 2putttom

      Oct 23, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      ya ya ya Mizuno has a lock on look a likes.

  7. Kool Aid

    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:05 am

    No cup face?

  8. finish it

    Oct 18, 2017 at 12:04 am

    Andrew Tursky is the Assistant Editor at GolfWRX. He played on the Hawaii Pacific University Men’s Golf team while earning a Masters degree in Communications. He also played college golf at Rutgers University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism.
    ————-
    ….. and he forgot to ask where the forging is done ….lol

    • Thomas A

      Oct 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

      Lol. Like any company is going to admit where their club heads are made.

      • OB

        Oct 20, 2017 at 9:55 am

        Then we must assume the forging was done in Bangladesh for ¢¢¢¢¢¢ ….

    • AB

      Oct 19, 2017 at 10:57 pm

      If the clubs are expensive forgings by Endo as has been suggested ,without proof, then Cally should proudly declare it.
      If not, and the clubs are forged in Bangladesh for a couple of dollare each then I can understand why they would want to keep it secret.
      All the forum gearheads are so proud of their Japanese-made clubs and know all about the forging factory in which they are made.
      If Cally keeps it a secret then we must suspect the worst… and they are overcharging for inferior forging with their name on the clubs to exploit the gullible golfers.

  9. Miz

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Who stole my MP-69 designs

  10. MB

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:27 pm

    “Classic” lofts they say, yet the 9 iron is at 42, then the PW at 47, and then an AW at 51????? NOT classic at all. lol

  11. Milo

    Oct 17, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Meh, no reason to upgrade my 13s, actually been thinking about getting some Maltbys to try out.

    • etc.

      Oct 17, 2017 at 5:50 pm

      But the Maltby forged clubs will not feeeel the same as the Cally MBs or X-Forged…. and then there is the staaaatus. Do you really want to bag Maltbys when they have never won a tournament? After all, you are what you own.

      • Milo

        Oct 17, 2017 at 6:50 pm

        I probably would of bought the maltby DBM forged if i knew about them when i purchased by 13s. I like the look of the DBM forged. If i needed status i would get PXG irons, haha.

      • 2putttom

        Oct 17, 2017 at 10:25 pm

        say’s a guy gettin round town on a skate board

  12. Luke

    Oct 17, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    Was confirmed that these are forged at the Endo Forging House. The creme de la creme of forging.

    • LenG

      Oct 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm

      Anti-MAGA Callaway clubs. No wonder they are so expensive and useless.

    • Jim T

      Oct 17, 2017 at 9:06 pm

      I want Tursky to tell us where the clubs were forged and finished. You say “confirmed” but by who? It’s Tursky’s job to be open and transparent in his reporting on a most important question.

    • 2putttom

      Oct 17, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      ya stepped in what?

  13. Jerry

    Oct 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm

    Bounce on both sets?

  14. Jim T

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:32 am

    “Forged from 1025 Carbon Steel” ….. “triple net forged” …. “Forged 18” …..
    Okay, Tursky, now tell us where were they manufactured, where were they forged?
    No mention here or on the WRX main forum. Seems like nobody knows.

  15. Dat

    Oct 17, 2017 at 11:19 am

    Take $300 off those prices and MAYBE they will sell.

    • etc.

      Oct 17, 2017 at 5:52 pm

      But that $300 is what Cally will pay Tiger for playing their clubs.

  16. Scott

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:19 am

    I’ve always liked Callaway. I’d try the x forged to compare against my miz jpx forged which I’m happy with.

  17. Tim

    Oct 17, 2017 at 9:06 am

    More Callaway product?!?!??

  18. Ian

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Blades have changed little in what the last 30 or 40 years?
    So basically zero RnD and they still try sell them for $1300

    • 2putttom

      Oct 17, 2017 at 10:37 pm

      oh ye of little faith. Google and research and get back to us.

      • Ian

        Oct 18, 2017 at 3:45 am

        Lol if you think these will do anything different

      • LD

        Oct 18, 2017 at 9:38 am

        Are you seriously stating that there is new “tech” in blades? SMH

        • Thomas A

          Oct 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          Forging processes have improved to allow for stricter tolerances. So yes, there is “tech” in new blades.

          • LD

            Oct 18, 2017 at 3:20 pm

            Forging processes have not improved dramatically in 40+ years. You bought that marketing trash hook, line, and sinker.

            • 2putttom

              Oct 18, 2017 at 9:44 pm

              ” Not only did this 5th forging step improve the density consistency of the raw forgings, which in turn tightened the +/- weight tolerance of the raw forgings, but this additional forging step further reduced the number of internal voids and improved the consistency of the grain structure of the carbon steel. “

              • etc.

                Oct 18, 2017 at 10:14 pm

                Tell them about that “soft buttery feel” after the 5th forging step…. which requires more ‘soaking’ in the furnace to keep the forging temperature up….. or do they only do the ‘custom’ forging for the pro’s who endorse the clubs?!!

                • 2putttom

                  Oct 23, 2017 at 2:06 pm

                  etc checked in with Mr. Wishon.

                  Tom Wishon October 20, 2017

                  The 5th forging step is to hit the head after the flashing is removed one more time with a die that packs the steel more densely and reduces the final flashing to a very small and narrow line of material that is removed very easily from the outer edges of the head. So not only are there fewer and much smaller voids in the grain structure of the steel which makes the raw forgings MUCH more consistent for weight but it also reduces the amount of grinding to clean up the heads to prepare them for machining and plating. That results in more shape consistency of the heads.

              • LD

                Oct 19, 2017 at 6:06 am

                They added another die (5th) to the process. Nothing new under the sun. The rest of that statement is marketing gibberish.

                • 2putttom

                  Oct 19, 2017 at 9:00 pm

                  etc good question and one to research I’ll ask Mr. Wishon. LD oh wow… do you have some info to share that will support your mood?

    • Dave

      Oct 20, 2017 at 10:01 pm

      You know what they could do? Make the chrome and nickel plating thicker so they never get wear spots. That’s about the only thing that could improve the mizunos/endos/etc.

  19. Dj

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:32 am

    $1300 for a set of blades? Hard pass

  20. ibogeyalot

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:22 am

    these companies want people in golf , yet are still charging over 1,000 for clubs! it is insane!

    • Thomas A

      Oct 17, 2017 at 11:01 am

      These clubs aren’t exactly aimed at people just being introduced to golf.

    • Grandpa Gord

      Oct 20, 2017 at 4:37 pm

      The only people playing golf nowadays is the “baby boomers” born between 1945 and 1966…. because they are retired or near retired and they have all the money and time to play. These expensive clubs are aimed for that market because the next generation, the X-generation, is too poor to play golf. They are squeezing the last $$$$ out of the dwindling golf club market before the Big Collapse takes full effect…. and you better believe it’s happening now.

  21. Carmen Sandiego

    Oct 17, 2017 at 8:03 am

    I could have sworn they said they were going to release the MB’s in raw finish….Another chrome blade. Hrmph.

    • Matt Schulze

      Oct 17, 2017 at 11:19 pm

      There is a raw finish as well.

      • Sam

        Oct 18, 2017 at 12:35 pm

        Will they release a raw version? Will that be limited quantities? Where did you hear this? I’m interested in the raw finish set.

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Equipment

WRX Spotlight Review: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

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Product: TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3

Pitch: The TaylorMade M5 fairway Rocket 3 is a stronger-lofted version of the standard TaylorMade M5 3-wood. The Rocket is 14 degrees. The standard M5 is 15.

Our take on the TaylorMade M5 Rocket 3

“WOW, you really hit that 3-wood like a rocket!”

” Not like a rocket… an actual Rocket!”

The beloved 3-wood. A favorite club of both average golfers and pros alike, a club that many will hold onto well after what some might consider their “best before” date. But with new options and improved technology, these old faithfuls are getting the boot quicker for a lot of reasons including the ability to better dial in a fit and help minimizing misses.

Since making a club faster off the middle is becoming more and more difficult thanks to the limits set forth but the USGA, OEMs are changing the way we think about clubs and putting a greater focus on decreasing dispersion and optimizing misses. TaylorMade is doing this with TwistFace, which was originally introduced in drivers a generation ago, and has now been included in the M5 and M6 fairway woods.

I got to spend some time with the knowledgeable crew at TaylorMade Canada in their new indoor facility just north of Toronto (lets call it Kingdom North) In that time, we went through a driver fitting, and then to the new M5 fairway woods to try and replace one of my oldest faithfuls: a 14-degree SLDR Tour Spoon. To say I have a unique ability to elevate a fairway wood is something that even my fitter was a little surprised by. My numbers with my cranked down to 12 degree (measured) fairway off the deck were good but could be improved. I can hit it both ways (as much as a 6-handicap can actually claim that) but my trusted go-to shot is a slight fade with some heel bias contact because of my swing. I am willing to sacrifice some distance but usually hit it where I want.

What I saw at the end of the fitting was a club that produced longer shots along with a tighter dispersion without having to make or to try and make any changes to my swing. The final fit was a 14-degree “Rocket” M5 fairway set to 12 degrees. It beat out my SLDR by a total of nine yards, which is an increase of just over a total of three percent, including an additional six yards of carry.

To say I was honestly surprised would be an understatement. The SLDR TS is a club that the first time I hit it I went WHOA! Low spin, workable, looks exactly how I want that club to look (small and compact). You can see from the numbers below when it works it works.

Why does TwistFace work?

Let’s explain and get a little deep in the technology weeds for a second. Bulge and roll is not a new concept. In fact, it would be a lie to claim that all OEMs haven’t done something similar to this is the past or played with these two variables to help golfers hit better shots. Fact: Every OEM optimizes the bulge and roll on their clubs to increase speed and maximize performance. Tom Wishon actually had a line of woods at one point that went the other way had VERY limited roll from the top tine to the sole. With this design, more loft on the bottom of the head helped players who miss low or need help elevating the ball off the deck increase launch and spin. It worked. Cobra also has what it calls E9 technology to tweak bulge and roll to help maximize the speed and forgiveness of their woods. It also works.

What makes TaylorMade’s TwistFace different is that it is the most aggressive iteration of this bulge and roll tweaking yet, and by introducing it into the fairway woods and hybrids, it’s proving to be a winner — even for this now-proven wrong skeptic.

At the end of the day, the M5 Ti “Rocket” was a measurable improvement over my previous 3-wood. Now it would be disingenuous to say “if you aren’t using TwistFace in your fairway woods you’re not maximized,” but if you are someone that struggles with fairway wood dispersion and looking to find some extra distance for taking on par-5s, taking a look at the new M5 and M6 fairway woods as part of your next fitting should be very high on your list.

 

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Forum Thread of the Day: “Low handicapper switching to game improvement irons”

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Today’s Forum Thread of the Day comes from jasonTel3 – a low handicap player who plays blades but who has had his head turned by game improvement irons. According to jasonTel3, every ball was hit straight when testing out a set of Ping G400’s at a simulator, and he’s been asking fellow members for advice on whether he should make the move to GI’s.

Here are a few posts from the thread discussing jasonTel3’s conundrum, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • balls_deep: “My first thought is to say don’t do it.. but then if you’ve hit them, liked them, and the numbers were right, it could be a good option. A friend I play with uses G400 and they have too much offset for my liking. I also don’t like that you can see the cavity on the 4 and 5 iron. Top line is actually very nice for a SGI iron. I just read the Ping Blueprint article on Golf Digest where they were talking about how some players hit small heads better. I definitely fall into that category. That said, I just ordered a set of i210 to try as I had really good luck with the i200 and should never have sold them. Have you tried the newer I series? IMO it’s GI help in a players look with an acceptable sole width. Long story short though – if you felt comfortable and the fit was right, why not try them? If you don’t work the ball a ton, I don’t see any issue with it. High and straight is a good way to go!”
  • hammergolf: “I’ve been playing Ping G25’s for 6 years. Still can’t find anything I like better. I can hit any shot I need to whether it’s my stock draw, fade, high, or low. And when I hit it a little thin, or on the toe, it still lands on the green. My thought is why play golf with a club that will punish you for mishit when you can play one that will help you.”
  • azone: “Everyone has an opinion, and here is mine. If you are/have been a good ball striker with a sound mental game, your mind will keep writing checks your body may not be able to cash as you get older or don’t practice enough. Those “ugly” forgiving irons look beautiful when a miss ends up on the green, and you are putting– not in rough or deep in a short side bunker. Those irons won’t be AS ACCURATE as, say, a blade, BUT if you aren’t as dependable as in the past, your results will be better. I used to keep two sets of blueprinted irons; blades for practice and CB for play. I play with guys that have cashed checks playing…and they don’t care how ugly the iron is.”
  • Jut: “As a decent player (and ball striker) and a sweeper/picker (I could hit off of a green and not take any landscape with me), I’ve found much success with the F9s (which, with the wide sole, are very similar to the G410 irons). In the past 4 years I’ve gone from Mizuno MP-68 to Callaway Apex CF16 to Ping i500 (a brief and bad experience) to the Cobra F9’s. For what it’s worth, the Cobras have been the best of the bunch by far.”

Entire Thread: “Low handicap going to game improvement irons”

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WRX Spotlight: Stitch headcovers

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Product: Stitch headcovers

Pitch: From Stitch: “Your game should match your style. At Stitch, we aim to merchandise our line of products so you can easily put together items that not only match your bag and what is it in it, but also match your style and personality. We want to make it easy for you to have a unique and color-coordinated golf bag. We have designed unique products that have defined color schemes so that choosing which items to put in your bag becomes easier. We aim to provide you with various looks, mixing and matching our head covers to give you confidence that the purchase you make for your bag will take you to the course in style. Let us help you dress your game.”

Our Take On Stitch Headcovers

Stitch is a relatively new company – founded in 2012. The company initially only created premium headcovers but has grown into so much more, with all sorts of golfing accessories now on offer on their site StitchGolf.com. Their bags, in particular, are now some of the most popular amongst golfers, with the quality and uniqueness provided leading multiple Tour players to sport them in tournament play.

That sign of quality in the bags bodes well for what the company was founded on – their headcovers. Stitch provides both leather and knit headcovers in a variety of designs that do as good a job as any in covering the needs of all golfers.

Stitch describes the companies Monte Carlo headcover as being their “classic, timeless design”, and for those looking for that vintage style to add to their set up then they can’t go wrong with this headcover. A mainstay in the likes of multiple tour winner Paul Casey’s bag, the Monte Carlo headcover, as with all of the companies leather covers, is hand-crafted from 100% leather and is both water and stain resistant. The cover comes in four color codes: Black, White, Navy and Red, and at $68 is the most affordable of all their leather headcovers.

Other options in the leather department range from their intricately designed Camo cover which comes in a multiple color design, as well as Stitch’s tribute to “The King”, through their Arnold Palmer headcover.

The AP cover comes in a minimalist black with white stripes for a classic feel, but it also comes in a white color code decorated with red, white and yellow stripes which, for myself at least, looks even more alluring. Part of an exclusive collection, the only issue with the AP cover is that only those located in the U.S. are currently eligible to get their hands on one. But for those in the states, the company is now offering a set of three AP leather covers for $128 instead of $298 should you use the code APLEATHERS on their site.

From their Tour Racer, USA, Shamrock and Bonesman editions, Stitch provides a great choice when it comes to their leather covers, and as previously mentioned, all are hand-crafted from 100% leather, water and stain resistant and will assure an excellent fit on your clubs.

Stitch also provides knit headcovers which contain not only excellent designs but also the same quality which has gone into their leather covers. All of the companies knit covers are made from Techno Wool, which is 100% acrylic and designed in order for your clubs to stay entirely dry. Another feature of the knit covers from Stitch is their smart fit design which ensures all of the covers retain their shape over a long period, as well as providing for a cover that will reliably stay on your club.

The knit covers from Stitch cost $68 ($72 for the limited AP cover), and there are currently seven different designs available to choose from over at StitchGolf.com. The leather covers are, unsurprisingly, a little pricier, but still very affordable, ranging from $68-$98. The covers deliver in both style and performance, and for a relatively new company, it speaks volumes that the likes of Jim Furyk, Paul Casey, Bryson DeChambeau and many more tour pros are now sporting the company’s creations.

 

 

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