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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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GolfWRX is the world's largest and best online golf community. Expert editorial reviews, breaking golf tour and industry news, what to play, how to play and where to play. GolfWRX surrounds consumers throughout the buying, learning and enrichment process from original photographic and video content, to peer to peer advice and camaraderie, to technical how-tos, and more. As the largest online golf community we continue to protect the purity of our members opinions and the platform to voice them. We want to protect the interests of golfers by providing an unbiased platform to feel proud to contribute to for years to come. You can follow GolfWRX on Twitter @GolfWRX and on Facebook.

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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What GolfWRXers have spent more money on – Drivers vs Putters

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In our forums, WRXer ‘2down’ has got our members talking about their purchase history and whether drivers or putters have taken more of their money. For ‘2down’ the answer is putters, who has a respectable seven flat-sticks sitting around his home, and our members divulge their history with drivers slightly edging it so far.

  • getitdaily: “Putters, but I change drivers more frequently…how does that make sense? When I change putters I will go through 7-10 of them until I find my bride. Then I stick with my bride for a while. I’ve had 2 brides…an old scotty newport beach studio stainless. Took about 10 putters to find it and then played it for like 12 years. Current bride is a spider tour plumbers neck. It’s been in the bag for 1.5 years now. Took about 8 putters to get to it, including a somewhat long term relationship with a 2ball fang. Since 1996 I think I’ve had 10 drivers total. 4 in the last 4 years.”
  • platgof: “I would say 24 drivers and 12 putters thereabouts. Took a long time to find what I wanted. I am still looking all the time though, it’s a disease, totally incurable. Now it is the wedges, and the SM7’s have my eye for now!”
  • CDLgolf: “Thats a really good question. At the moment I have 4 putters and 2 drivers. Over the last 25 years I’d have to say I’ve bought more drivers.”
  • Ray Jackson: “Definitely drivers as have used the same putter for at least the last 5 years. In that time frame I’ve probably had 4 drivers.”
  • dekez: “Drivers for sure. I go 6 – 7 years before even thinking about a putter switch.”

Entire Thread: “Your history – Drivers vs Putters”

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Whats in the Bag

WITB Time Machine: Phil Mickelson WITB, 2016 Waste Management Phoenix Open

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  • Equipment is accurate as of the Waste Management Phoenix Open (2016).

Driver: Callaway XR 16 Sub Zero (8.5 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 60 X (tipped 1 inch, 45.5 inches)

3-wood: Callaway X Hot 3 Deep (13 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Fubuki J 70 X (tipped 1.5 inches)

Hybrid: Callaway Apex (18 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana S Hybrid 100 TX

Utility iron: Callaway Apex UT (21 degrees)
Shaft: KBS Tour-V 125

Irons: Callaway Apex Pro ’16 (5-PW)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Wedges: Callaway Mack Daddy PM Grind Wedge (56-13, 60-10, 64-10)
Shafts: KBS Tour-V 125

Putter: Odyssey “Phil Mickelson” Blade
Grip: Odyssey by SuperStroke JP40

Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft (2016)

Grip: Golf Pride MCC Black/White

WITB Notes: Mickelson uses the rearward weight setting in his XR 16 Sub Zero driver.

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Equipment

Greatest Adams hybrids of all time

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It’s almost impossible that, over the past decade, you or someone you played golf with didn’t own an Adams hybrid. The fact that they can still be found in the bags of players on the PGA Tour demonstrates the kind of cult-like dedication some players have to those clubs.

They were in everyone’s bags—from low handicaps to golfers just trying to break 100. Simply, Adams was hybrids in the early-to-mid 2000s. In an age when many would still call them “cheater” or “old man” clubs, Adams pushed the envelope of design and ushered in a new era of small, workable-yet-forgiving, anti-left clubs.

Adams was also one of the first companies to do exclusive combo sets off the rack for better players with the initial Idea Pros and then later with the Idea Pro Golds. It’s a common practice now, but at the time it was revolutionary.

Here is a list of some of Adams’ all-time great hybrid designs.

Original Idea Pro – 2008

This is the one that started it all. After going through a number of tour issue prototypes leading up to the retail release, the Idea Pro had a lot of buzz, and it delivered. It wasn’t that other companies weren’t producing hybrids at the time, but the sheer popularity of the Adams outweighed what others had in the market thanks to it working its way to become the number one hybrid on the PGA Tour. It also came stock with an 80g Aldila VS Proto Hybrid shaft that was directly aimed at better players, and considering the aftermarket price of the shaft on its own, it made the Idea Pro a no brainer for those looking to replace harder-to-hit longer irons.

XTD – 2014

This was the final hybrid ever made by Adams and was packed with technology: all-titanium construction, crown, and sole slots for greater face deflection and ball speed—along with an adjustable hosel. TaylorMade had taken over ownership at this point and engineers at Adams took advantage by using the proprietary TaylorMade adjustable sleeve—this allowed for more shaft options for many golfers that had used TaylorMade hybrids in the past.

The entire XTD line from Adams was premium by design and from the driver to the hybrid, offered real-deal shafts and tight quality control. This is still a hard club to beat.

Idea XTD Super Hybrid Ti – 2012

You could argue the 2012 Super Hybrid XTD was the original bomber hybrid. Thanks to the multi-material titanium construction, it produced a higher-than-expected launch, along with exceptionally low spin. For faster players, this was a perfect control club off the tee and easily replaced a 5-wood (in the 19 degree). Don’t believe it? Check out this historic review from the GolfWRX Archives: GolfWRX.com – Adams Super Hybrid Review (2012)

Super 9031 – 2013

The Super 9031 was released the year after the original Idea Pro Blacks and featured an updated white paint job along with a technology upgrade that included both sole and crown slots for faster ball speeds compared to the original (hence the “Super” designation). It has a high toe, flatter lie angle, and open appearance from address—something better players love! Although I should attempt to be unbiased, I will admit that not only did I love these hybrids, but I still hold a place in one of my travel bags.

It’s not just me that has a sweet spot for the Super 9031, you can still find these in the bag of PGA Tour player Brian Gay.

Boxer A3 Idea – 2007

You might be wondering that after all of the others on the list, how the A3 earned its spot. Well, it’s quite simple. Just before the launch of the Idea Pro, the A3 and A3OS (oversized) were massive sellers at the retail level. The sets offered classicly shaped irons alongside easy-to-hit hybrid clubs into the longer clubs. Although never marketed towards better players, it did have a bit of a cult following to the point that even Vijay Singh was using one during the 2008 season in replacement of a 5-wood. They came stock with Grafalloy ProLaunch Red hybrid shafts and in both right and left-handed to outfit almost any player.

GolfWRXers, did you have any of these clubs? Check out the Cult Classic Clubs Discussion in the GolfWRX.com forums.

 

 

 

 

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