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Callaway X Forged Editor Review

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EditorsChoice_13For golfers who don’t want to play a blade but also can’t bare to look down at a shovel GI iron, we have a option that impressed the editors at GolfWRX. Callaway X Forged cavity back irons for 2013 have some cool technology and the looks and feel of a forged muscle back iron.

Callaway X Forged are some sweet players irons. We are excited to have them in play. As we said in the original article about these heads: What’s better than a forged muscleback iron at address? Nothing, except maybe an iron that looks the same, plays the same and has more forgiveness. That is what we have found here with these new-for-2013 X Forged. Looks and feels like a MB but has he forgiveness of a cavity back.

Pros: Killer looks and soft buttery feel. We were suprised that a cavity back as large as the X Forged could produce such a great feel. Also the sole design has more bounce than many modern forged irons today. Roger Cleveland and the Callaway designers like to add a lot of bounce to their irons and wedges. Performance is also very good. Long irons were high and the shorter irons were flatter.

Cons: We wish there were no badges in the cavity. Callaway added two small badges that we thought at first were part of the forgings until we looked harder.

Bottom Line: Looking for a players iron that looks great, has a forged pure feel and performs as good as you can get forged iron to perform? This is one on a very short list we recommend for you launching this year. Performance packed into a great design.

Looks and Feel

The chrome finish on these irons looks fantastic. The cavity with two small badges and the face are both in a satin chrome. Combination of the shiny chrome and the satin cavity make these irons look great. You will also notice tightly spaced grooves that Callaway has been using since the groove rule regulated the size of the groove. Callaway began to space the groove tighter to allow the players to be more aggressive in shot shaping.

callaway x-forged 2013

Aesthetically, the 2013 X Forged look more like Callaway’s musclebacks as well. They have a shorter blade length than the RAZR X Forged, but it’s not quite as short as the musclebacks. The 2013 X Forged irons also lose the high heel and sharp toe that gave the RAZR X Forged a polarizing appearance, opting for a face profile closer to the musclebacks.

“Pretty much every player that puts the muscle back iron down like the way it looks,” Williams said.

The heel to toe is compact to help move players that are used to using muscle backs into these cavity backs. We learned that Callaway has attempted to create a PGA Tour-inspired forged cavity back designed by Roger Cleveland that offers cleaner looks and better performance than its predecessor, the Callaway RAZR X Forged.

callaway x forgedcallaway x forged 2013
callaway forged iron x forged

All you will have to do is demo this set to understand why we rated it so high for feel. During testing we compared the X Forged to Mizuno’s MP-64, Epon’s 302, Scratch Golf’s irons, Miura’s 501 and also the current cast offerings on the market. We will not say they felt any softer than the Mizuno MP-64’s, but we can say they are comparable. Don’t believe what we are saying? Go and see for yourself and demo a set.

There was a “black and white” difference between these and the cast offerings. Cast gave us a click sound vs. a thud and also the cast was not as sensitive to provide feedback as these forgings were. The solid feel at impact left you with a clear understanding why some golfers prefer to play forged. The forgings will provide you a clear report with the slightest hit off the sweetspot. An instant report card about the hit.

We believe that the small pocket badges in the cavity helped offset the reduced mass behind the sweetspot to allow a softer feel. More mass behind the sweetspot typically translates to a softer feel at impact. Callaway has for years used different polymers in the badge construction to optimize the “feel” and “sound” of an iron. Callaway does this typically in cast offerings. So when you see them appear in these higher end forged CB’s we chatter around the water cooler that this was an effort to make them feel even better. Possibly to tune them to satisfy the very picky Tour players that can feel the most minor differences.

Performance

What we saw in testing on Flightscope was very predicable distance control as well as some great trajectory numbers. Long irons were going higher and the shorter irons were flighting lower. Spin numbers were average and on the higher long irons we were seeing some great numbers that suggested they dialed the designs in right and with purpose.

According to Williams, Callaway’s recent musclebacks have been a hit because of what the company is calling CG Height progression. CG (center of gravity) Height Progression puts the center of gravity lower in the long irons for the higher trajectory that Tour pros want. It also places the CG higher in the short irons for a flatter trajectory. Callaway’s previous forged cavity back irons, the RAZR X Forged, had the opposite CG progression. The center of gravity was actually the lowest in the short irons.

Callaway also got feedback from Tour pros that the RAZR X Forged irons had a tendency to dig through impact, while the muscleback irons went more smoothly through the turf. So the new X Forged were designed to have what Williams called “a slightly wider muscleback sole.”

Here is a photo of the new Callaway X Forged on the left and last years RAZR X Forged on the right.

x forged vs razr forged

This is part of the review that is more objective for us. GolfWRX like to make sure to blend in facts and objectivity to our editorial reviews.

That is why we are trying to distance ourselves from very subjective criteria. Callaway designed a very forgiving sole design here. The bounce on the irons are more than a typical set you will see in this category. This isn’t new for Roger Cleveland and the design crew at Callaway. Here is a picture of the generous bounce on the Callaway X Forged 7 iron:

x forged sole

As an example, the bounce on the Callaway X Forged starts in the 3-iron at 3 degrees and increases by a degree for every club ending at 10 degrees for the PW. Compared to the Mizuno MP-64 bounce progression starting at 2 degrees for the 3-iron and ends at 6 degrees for the PW. That doesn’t sound like a lot but four degrees of added bounce or a difference from 6 degrees and 10 degrees for the X Forged on the PW is a lot. So much you will have to consider that when you buy the gap and sand wedge to match the set.

The X Forged irons go farther than the RAZR X irons as well. They do so, according to Williams, for two reasons:

  1. The clubs have one degree stronger lofts (20-degree 3 iron, 46-degree pitching wedge)
  2. CG height progression

Despite what many believe about modern iron design, the lofts were not strengthened simply to make the ball go farther. Stronger lofts are a result of Tour feedback. Williams said that Callaway had set the lofts on its Tour irons based on Tour trends. And it’s vital for Callaway to follow the loft trends on Tour, since changing the loft of an iron also reduces the bounce on an iron, which can lead to digging. Bending an iron one-degree strong won’t change a iron’s response to the turf that much, but bending a club stronger than that can certainly change things.

“We really design a forged iron product like the X Forged for the Tour,” Williams said. “But we know if we get them right, they will work for amateurs as well.”

CG Height Progression makes the X Forged long irons go farther because since they’re launching higher, they’re also carrying farther. It also makes the short irons go farther thanks to a more piercing trajectory.

Williams expects that the X Forged will become Callaway’s most popular iron on Tour, knocking some muscleback irons out of the bags of Callaway staff players.

Luke Williams, senior director of global woods and irons for Callaway, said the most popular irons on the PGA Tour and European Tour right now for the company are not its forged cavity backs. It’s the company’s muscleback offerings — last year’s RAZR X Muscleback irons and its predecessor, the Tour Authentic X-Prototype irons — that Callaway Tour players are trusting in their bags.

Jim Furyk one of the most particular equipment aficionado’s on Tour, switched to the new Callaway X Forged cavity back. Furyk has a history of playing what works the best for him even if it means playing manufactures other than his sponsor. Luke List, Branden Grace and now it looks like Furyk made the switch to the new X Forged cb’s. Here is a photos of Jim Furyk testing the clubs in March at the WGC:

furyk witb

Here is Branden Grace WITB photo. You can see a full gallery by CLICKING HERE.

branden grace

The reason is not necessarily that Tour players don’t need the added size and forgiveness of a forged cavity back, either. Yes, one of the reasons musclebacks are more popular with Tour players than forged cavity back irons is because of their clean looks. But there are also performance reasons.

Golfers looking for a Tour-quality ball flight will also be happy to learn that the new X Forged irons come stock with a Project X PXi shaft, a lighter weight model of the popular Project X shaft with similar flight characteristics.

“We felt that PXi was the best fit, given the trend of going lighter with iron shafts,” Williams said. “Players are recognizing the value of lighter shafts if [those shafts] can maintain the consistency.”

The 2013 Callaway X Forged irons will retail for $999.99 per set. Here are additional specs:

Screen Shot 2013-03-10 at 6.37.12 PM

Click here for more discussion in the “Tour/Pre-release equipment” forum. 

Below are images and comparison pics of this year’s X Forged and last year’s RAZR Forged irons.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Lawrence Sacharuk

    Jun 24, 2014 at 12:53 am

    Was at the driving range, I hit my buddies forged x callaway irons….I’m playing x22’s …I loved the forged clubs ….

  2. Mike

    Jan 17, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    Just picked up a set of these yesterday. Callaway just released the new Apex irons and I stumbled into a Golftown and saw a brand new set of these for $300. I have been looking for a second set of clubs to keep around my parents place for those times I’m visiting and don’t have room to bring my set. Needless to say I would have bought these regardless at that price. Will be interesting to see how they compare to my TaylorMade MB’s.

    • Ray

      Jan 29, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Was it 300 for used open box or new.

    • garth blain

      Apr 26, 2014 at 9:46 am

      which city was this golf town in l,m in calgary and was going to buy a set callaway forged irons at my golf town,same as yours new for 599.00 .l would love to pay 300.00

    • Dennis

      Sep 22, 2014 at 5:38 pm

      I have the set with Project X95 Flighted. Are you familiar with this set versus the PXI? I am trying to figure out which is best for me. The PXI’s are supposed to be lighter and softer but I have not been able to hit them. I have the 5.5 in my x95’s that are supposed to be between the regular and stiff but I cannot tell. Could you help? Do you have the PXI’s in your set? Know where to go to try them (I am in MA)?

  3. golfing badger

    Aug 18, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    anybody know if Callaway will go w/ less grooves/wider spaced grooves in the future? I am going to the Mack Daddy 2s and cannot stand looking @ tight spaced grooves & wide spaced grooves in the same bag.

  4. aaron

    Jul 21, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    Phil Mickelson has put these in his bag the last 2 tournaments and has had some of the best ball striking of his career not to mention winning both tournaments (scottish open and open championship)….I picked up my irons yesterday and cant wait to get out tomorrow and compare them side by side to my Mizuno MP59s

    • matt

      Aug 9, 2013 at 11:17 pm

      Aaron, have you had a chance to compare the 59’s and xf side by side because these are the only 2 left on my short list. I’ve played the xf and really like them but have only hit the 59’s in the store, like them there but that doesn’t compare to the real world. Almost feel like I cant miss the xf and the 4 iron usually is weak for me but now I actually have a lot of confidence when I have to pull it out. Cant wait to read feedback

      • frank

        Aug 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm

        Matt, the mp59 is not as soft as the X forged. Mp59 makes a clicky noise at impact. X forged wins hands down based on looks and performance.

    • Michael

      Aug 18, 2013 at 11:58 pm

      I’d love to know your feedback 3-4 weeks out. I’m buying either the MP-59’s or XF’s this week. The high bounce on the XF’s worries me a bit with none of the other club manufacturers going as high as Callaway has on these.

  5. Jeff

    Jun 8, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Just picked up my Cally Forgeds yesterday, custom fit and pured. Wow…I’ve always been a TM man but everything changed with these girls. 15 to 20 yards more on the lower irons. 4&5 were the same with lower flights. The feel is butter. I’m over 50 with a 90mph iron swing, yet my trusty 6 was 190 carry, 200 with roll. Well worth the change. Blew rocketbladez off the mat! Only thing better is EPON. (save your lunch money for those)Rem: it’s not the arrow…it’s the Indian.

  6. David

    Jun 2, 2013 at 12:25 am

    Just got my new Calloway Forged 2 days ago I went with PXI 5.5 I was really wanting the 6.5 or 6.0 , Man was my guy right these clubs are awesome. My current 2011 Ping Answer forged are a little harsh for me “SHAFTS I Think”, theses cally’s are smooth babies I feel I will be bagging these a while.

  7. Robert b

    Apr 10, 2013 at 4:08 pm

    Wonder why Furyk & Grace stopped playing them. They sure playing the prior model.

  8. Gary Whittington

    Mar 16, 2013 at 8:10 am

    Surprised you did not include specs on the offset for the irons. How do the X Forged compare to musclebacks in offset?

    • Greg

      Mar 18, 2013 at 6:50 pm

      Has anyone been able to compare these with the Titleist AP2 ‘s I tried hitting the X-hot pro’s and liked them but if these have some forgiveness I think I would like to try forged irons again.

  9. John

    Mar 14, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    “For golfers who don’t want to play a blade but also can’t bare to look down at a shovel . . .” I’m one of those. I, honestly, can’t take my clothes off to look down at a shovel!

  10. Rob

    Mar 14, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    I recently purchased a set of these forgoing my AP2’s. I found the AP2”s just a little too big and with less feel than some other forged irons I’ve played. I have 5 rounds played with the new Callaway X Forged and I must say they are as good as the review says if not even better! I used to play blades a couple years ago and was looking for more forgiveness. Most cavity backs made it way more difficult to work the ball in comparison though. The X Forged play like blades when it comes to working the ball but are just as or more forgiving than their counterparts in this category! I’m amazed at how accurate I am with these! Props to Callway for stepping up and putting great shafts in them too! If you get the chance to hit them I highly recommend it! You’ll be very pleasantly surprised at how great these really are!!!

  11. Guy

    Mar 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    Anyone notice that Branden has 15 clubs in his bag — and I don’t even see a putter.

  12. mike robertson

    Mar 14, 2013 at 12:41 pm

    Agree re supply issues – attended callaway demo event this week and liked the XHOT Pro’s but the fitter did not have any of the new forged heads so not able to demo them to compare. So no sale that day. Will now have to wait for them to return later in the year to see if they bring them with them on that occasion. If you are releasing new clubs, the first thing to do is ensure your travelling demo fitters have all the new range with them, surely!!!

  13. Graeme Clark

    Mar 14, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Lovely irons but going to be ruined by a supply issue for these heads…ordered a custom set of these three weeks ago and Callaway now telling me its likely to be May or the end of May before I see them…I am in the UK but that will kill this iron release dead. Callaway needs to get its house in order – big release of new irons has to be backed up with product. I dont imagine this issue is simply limited to the UK.

    • Patrick

      Apr 3, 2013 at 7:04 am

      It’s not because I ordered my set on feb 6 and to date, the set has not arrived. Something about a back order on the 8 or 9 heads. Why release them if they weren’t ready to fulfill orders?

  14. Villa

    Mar 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    BTW, Branden Grace’s wedges are AWESOME!

  15. MG

    Mar 11, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Can you further explain how bounce works? I hear a lot about bounce in wedges but never in like a 3 or 6 iron. Who would benefit from higher bounce in their irons? What is the bounce designed to do in your longer irons? I know the Wilson/Staff fg tour v2’s have the same amount of bounce as well.

    • Jack

      Mar 12, 2013 at 1:06 am

      Bounce is there so it’s more forgiving on shots you hit fat. Imagine if the leading edge (the bottom of the face) was the lowest part, then if you were to hit into dirt then it would be a pretty good shovel. All’s good and well if you hit it perfectly ball first then ground and take a nice divot, but when you time it wrong and hit the ground early before the ball, then lots of distance is lost as a result. If there is more bounce, then the club does exactly that, it bounces a little when you contact with the ground because the lowest part of the club is not the face. So more forgiving. Another advantage to have less bounce is that it’s easier to hit out of the rough (assuming again that you contact the ball first).

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Equipment

What It’s Like: TaylorMade Golf’s “The Kingdom”

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One of the best parts of this job, beyond the people we get to meet, is the facilities. All of the core OEMs have a “place” that is exclusive, away from anything normal, and you gotta know someone to get a ticket in.

That’s what the “What It’s Like” series is about. Those certain OEM places with no doors open to the public. Those places that if you happened to sneak in, there is no way you can Fletch your way around into two steak sandwiches and a bloody mary.

I never admit this, but I used to manage a night club in Los Angeles called Les Deux (it was cool for a minute). It was a fun although soul-sucking endeavor but the thing that made the experience stick out was the exclusivity of it. If you got in by knowing someone, greased the door guy (me), or got invited, it was four hours of awesome. Yes, it’s a lame example, but there is, unfortunately, something about getting to the other side of a closed door that is just awesome.

TaylorMade Golf’s Kingdom is location No. 1, and as you would expect, it’s nothing short of pure golf ecstasy.

My Experience

I have been to TaylorMade HQ quite a number of times, and typically those visits involve time at what I call the gear junkie mecca (short of Tiger Woods’ garage or the Nike Oven graveyard now called Artisan) AKA The Kingdom.

The coolest thing about it is how subtle the location is. Located just steps away from the front door of TM HQ (and a very random corporate basketball hoop) sits a small-yet-elegant building that if you didn’t know was there, you would fly past it. Once you pull into the side parking lot, unload your sticks, and head to the door, there is still that feeling of “will they actually let me in?”

Here’s the thing. The best (all of them) have been in here. To test, practice, hang out, get fit, get wowed to potentially be on staff and everything in-between. A schmuck like me should get nervous, but then it happens, the door opens and you are not only let in but you are greeted by the master of ceremonies and a man I truly adore Tom “TK” Kroll.

With the passion to match not only yours but anyone else who walks in, he makes sure every nuance is seen and experienced. From the lobby with current TM athletes on the wall to the locker room with your custom locker that sits next to an exact replica of Tiger’s bag. There are snacks, extras shoes, gloves, swag, coffee, beer, and all your wildest dreams…and we are barely in the facility.

From a 35,000 foot view, The Kingdom has everything a golfer would ever want, need, or wish for. Starting with Duane Anderson’s putter studio that has tested thousands of strokes from players ranging from a 20 handicap to Rory McIlroy. The data compiled in this room is staggering. We did a video (link below) that gives you the full rundown.

There are three (one with an Iron Byron for testing) main inside hitting bays with all the bells and whistles you would assume. TrackMans, cameras, big screens, fresh gloves hanging on the wall, and a club fitting matrix with every TM combination you could think of.

The outside hitting area is heaven on earth. There is no other way to describe. Huge hitting area with multiple styles of grass, lies, pins, etc. Any shot you would need to hit can be recreated here on grass with a ball flying into the air and not into a screen. My favorite area is the Flick Tee. In honor of the great teacher and longtime TM staffer Jim Flick. Its tucked up high and privately in the corner of the range under a tree and this may sound ridiculous but you can almost feel Mr. Flick standing there with you as you look out onto the facility. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

As mentioned, the man who manages your experience is Tom Kroll. He’s about as respected and beloved as anyone in the industry and for good reason. You combine passion with service you get an awesome human to hang out with. Everyone that has been through these doors has a TK story, which includes a chuckle and a smile.

I chatted with him recently about The Kingdom, and this is what he had to say.

JW: Walk me through how The Kingdom came to be what it is now? Basically origin to current day…

TK: Back in 1994, I was in R&D, running player testing, and we needed to find our own testing range. We built our headquarters in Carlsbad in the 1990s and added the range in 1998. Only robot, cannon and player testing were done at the start. Once in a while, a tour or staff pro would come out and test, but it was all operated from one building. At the time, what’s currently the clubhouse at The Kingdom was actually a maintenance building. But in 2010, The Kingdom was reimagined to the layout we have now.

Over the last three years I’ve been at The Kingdom, we’ve added GEARS, Quintic high-speed cameras, and a Foresight simulator bay. We transformed the putting lab with a Perfection Platforms articulating floor and SAM technology. Last year we resurfaced the main tee, redesigned and dedicated the Flick Tee, underwent a complete renovation of the short game area with new bunker complexes, redesigned the targeting downrange, and developed a par-3 routing. We partnered with Kurt Bowman Design, a longtime designer under Jack Nicklaus.

Our superintendent Mark Warren and his crew have done incredible work with our current maintenance equipment, and I can’t wait to see the conditions after we deliver a brand new fleet of brand new Toro equipment. We structured a long-term partnership with Toro and Turf Star Western.

JW: What is the simple function of The Kingdom? 

TK: We still have the robot bay and R&D does development work almost every day. We are mostly a resource for the entire company: Global Sports Marketing (Tour), developmental pros and ams, AJGA standouts, our Crusaders (club professionals), and commercial teams. We host pre-lines to introduce new product to our at-large teams and training events. We’re even a PR resource, hosting media, social influencers, celebrities, and professional athletes.

We also act as a hub for our Crusaders. They send their members to us, and we wholesale back to the staff account. I’ll do a significant amount of corporate events, charity events and have had “Flicks at The Kingdom” where we set up a giant projector and our employees bring their kids, beach chairs and blankets to watch a movie out on the range. Really a fun and cool event.

JW: Give me three awesome stories or experiences from your time there that you are cool sharing.

TK: It’s tough to only pick three! From Reggie Jackson stopping by to Matt Ryan, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Albert Pujols, Mike Trout, Jake Arrieta, Zack Greinke, President Bush. Those may be the most haughty name drops of all time! What can I say, it is beyond the coolest job I have ever had! It’s truly tough to pick, but here are my three…

Story 1: Tiger was preparing to make his first PGA Tour start after fusion surgery and he just spends the day grinding out here. He was testing an early proto of the TW irons and to see how much speed he still had. There’s a sound that only he and maybe two or three others make when they center it up. That sound is something that goes through your body, I can still hear it. It sticks with you.

He’s playing old school lofts, which are three degrees weaker than any other tour pro, but the carry distances were still there, the windows he hits it through, holding it against the wind, flighting a 6-iron even ripping a 5-wood 275 yards. His feedback and ability to discern the most minute details working with the advanced teams developing the irons was fantastic to witness.

To come full circle, I played with him in the Southern Cal Amateur when he was 16-years-old and had a front-row to his 62 at Hacienda, I was keeping his scorecard so he has my autograph. To again be standing three feet from him while he goes through the process is just special.

Story 2: I’m going to put two guys in the same bucket (because The Kingdom is so magical, I hope the golf gods are okay with it). Rory now spends a day out here the week of Farmers–he has for the last two years, and with the U.S. Open there 2021, I think he’s a lock for the next few. He went through two sets of irons in a wind quartering off the right at 20-25 mph. The consistency of launch, speed and spin were shockingly close! It was one of the greatest ball-striking exhibitions I’ve ever witnessed. We handpicked the range after his day, it took us 10 minutes He’s also the most gracious, down to earth person.

Jon Rahm stops by five or six times a year. To watch his sessions in the putting lab, to see Duane show him what’s changing and getting Jon back to baseline and see his confidence, to the 4-iron flop shots after we tell our Seve stories. Jon is part of the family. His brother and dad came out before Jon and Kelly’s wedding. He’s one of the two or three others where the sound goes through you.

Story 3: Has to be Operation Game On (OGO). We have partnered with  Tony Perez for over 15 years, we are the cherry on top of a 6-10 week program where wounded veterans take lessons and the graduation is a fitting at The Kingdom. I had a dear friend, Joe Horowitz, who’s a golfer and a musician, here late one day and I mentioned the OGO guys were coming the next day. It’s Veteran’s Day and the Marine Corps Birthday. Not to mention Jon Rahm would be here for a last tweak before he left for Dubai. Joe shows me a video of him singing the national anthem at the Jaguars game a few weeks before, and we both say let’s do that for the OGO guys. I get in early and send an email to all employees to be on the tee at 9 a.m. sharp. We have the OGO guys arrive and Jon is hanging in the locker room. I’m stalling to get all the employees onto the tee through the side gate, I walk the boys into the bay and hit the roll up door. Outside are 250 employees cheering these guys on! Joe sings the anthem (goose bumps every time), then happy birthday to Jon and the marine corps. There’s fittings, a pizza truck, Jon Rahm signed U.S. Open staff bags for the OGO boys. Then, get this, Jon goes on and wins that week in Dubai!

JW: If you could change anything about the property or the experience what would it be?

TK: At TaylorMade, the relentless pursuit of improving is in our DNA. The Kingdom is no different. We’re constantly innovating and reimagining the downrange experience. From targeting, to conditions and turf types, we’re always nuancing and squeaking out ways to be better. One example, we’re designing each of our targets with a specific purpose. When players are testing at The Kingdom, we want them to feel that every shot has a consequence. So, we want to deliver a real-world experience in every testing situation. We went through a massive redesign last fall and are currently still working with the advanced research team on new ways to enhance our testing and fitting experiences to meet the way that players perform in competition.

When it comes to the overall experience, The Kingdom has transformed from a predominantly R&D and fitting facility to the most capable environment to test, measure and understand how equipment performs and how golfers interact with their equipment. I call it the ultimate truth machine. We help golfers at every level uncover the insights they need to improve. After each session, we’re going to know everything about the club, the player and the ball flight.

So we came from a place where we were mainly focused on research, fitting, and selling. Our goals have changed. Now we obsess over how to help golfers get better.

What would I change? If you’re curious and passionate about making change, the answers are out there. The first thing we do is listen. We’re going to change everything that needs to be changed in order to meet our goals. I have an incredible focus group to bounce ideas off of. To ask our tour pros, club professionals, and teachers for feedback on the design ideas and what they like and prefer is fortunate. We’re constantly learning, we’re constantly improving, and if there’s a better way do something, then we’re going to figure it out and do it.

JW: What does the kingdom look like in 10 years?

TK: We have a lot of incredible plans for new targeting, bunker complexes, and refining the purposeful design of the range and short game area. Beyond that, we have designs for new teeing areas, a new short game complex, adding another GEARS system and Foresight Simulator, along with other new technologies. I can’t disclose all we do, since the R&D guys get a bit jumpy when I start going on about all the cool stuff and high science! I don’t know exactly what The Kingdom looks like in 10 years as technologies and our understanding continue to improve, but I do know give me six months, and we’ll have done something new. Always grinding to get better!

JW: Tell me a little bit about your career at TaylorMade.

TK: 31 years is hard to do in a “little bit” but I’ll try to give you the Clif Notes! Bob Vokey ran our Tour department and had me running his repair shop in Vista after George Willett took a job driving the Tour truck for TaylorMade. I was refinishing wooden clubs and repairing clubs for the local country clubs. I told Bob I was going broke making $4.50 an hour and driving all over San Diego. I asked if he could get me a job at TaylorMade and I started on the custom line with Wade Liles! Get to work at 2 p.m., off at 1 a.m. and golf in the morning. It was the life! Not to mention, I was lucky enough to meet my wife who worked for the company.

I started our player testing and worked for the great Dr. Benoit Vincent–the smartest man I know. I was a pretty good player, and I played a bunch of USGA and national amateur events. But when I did a TV commercial, I lost my amateur status and made the decision to turn pro. I quit my job and started that journey. Our CEO wanted me to take a leavem and I said: “I need to be all-in on this.” I had two children, a mortgage, car payments and had to buy health insurance while getting through all three stages of Q School. I realized I was a better amateur than a tour pro. We had our third child, and then I got the sales rep job in San Diego. After 10 years of sales, I moved inside the building and the ran innovations department before taking over our metalwoods category when we hit our highest market share in history. I spent a few years in product creation, ran global experiential for a few years and then got the best gig in all of golf here at The Kingdom. Been here for three years, and we’re just getting started!

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Puma Golf teams up with Ernie Els in support of Autism Awareness Month

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Puma X Els Autism

April is National Autism Awareness Month, and Puma Golf has teamed up with ambassador Ernie Els in support of the Els for Autism Foundation.

Throughout April, Puma will donate a portion of every individual sale of the brand’s Ignite Pwradapt Caged shoes with the proceeds going towards the Els for Autism Foundation.

Puma X Els Autism

Every pair of Caged shoes sold this month will include a blue Els for Autism shoe bag and puzzle piece ribbon lapel pin – with the color blue and the puzzle pieces representing Autism Awareness.

Puma X Els Autism

The Els for Autism Foundation helps deliver and facilitate programs designed to serve individuals with autism spectrum disorder. You can purchase the shoes here.

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What GolfWRXers are saying about “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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In our forums, our members have been discussing both boutique brands and major OEMs and why the former “trail the OEMs in drivers and woods”. WRXer ‘gr8 flopshot’, who plays a bag full of boutique clubs bar woods, poses the question and it’s got our members talking in our forum.

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

  • DaRiz: “Irons, wedges, and putters don’t change much, and for all the technology OEMs try to pack in there, it’s more about how they look and feel. So boutique can fit in nicely here. Drivers/FW, on the other hand, definitely benefit from the millions of dollars in R&D, and it is probably really hard to compete. You can argue that COR is maxed out, but the tiny changes in launch conditions, spin rates, and forgiveness add up.”
  • MattM97: “One reason why I and most other lefties don’t go boutique is options. At least with OEM’s for drivers and most woods we get the most of what is released, some versions and loft we don’t get but better than nothing. I’m not against boutique; I love my putters, I love the look of a lot of wedges, I would absolutely love a set of Japanese forged CB irons one day. Just woods I’ll stick to OEM options.”
  • sniper: “The Wishon 560’s I had built years ago were as good (or better) as anything I’ve had. My current set of MP-18SC’s and Wishon’s are the best feeling irons I’ve played. Both came from a club builder and not built by the OEM. Obviously on the Wishon’s.”
  • RogerInNewZealand: “Genuinely good point. It’s like why we buy JDM, Yonex Ezone 420…and the famed J33 Bridgestone driver from long ago! T.E.E is another one..always a surprise there. With your wood/driver if your sorted that’s fine! You don’t have to bag an exotic club to hit fairways.”

Entire Thread: “Boutique brands vs Major OEMs”

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