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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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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2021: Welcome to Irons Week!

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A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.

These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring, and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player – this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2021: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you the reader determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2021: The categories

Monday: Most Technology Packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the Technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers—it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Tuesday: The Shotmakers

Each one of these irons was designed with a single purpose: to provide the ultimate shotmaking weapon. You don’t have to be a tour player to appreciate the pleasure of hitting a well-struck shot with a club engineered to offer superior feedback. This category is all about control—and that doesn’t mean it “has to be a blade.”

Wednesday: Pure Enjoyment

It’s no mistake that we are seeing overlap in the way the top irons are defined by fitters in this category. The most playable irons are most likely to be higher launching, and shots that fly higher make the game more enjoyable for everyone. This reiterates the point previously made that your iron selection should not be defined by your handicap but instead what gives you the greatest opportunity to play your best golf.

Thursday: Easiest to launch

This category of irons is aimed to help players who need height. With today’s modern golf ball, creating proper flight widows and spin can be difficult for some players- especially those at lower speeds, and this is where technology can really help. All of these irons do everything they can to create shot-stopping trajectories regardless of clubhead speed.

Friday: Best blade

This is by far the most straightforward category because it is defined by a single style of club—the blade—AKA the muscle back or MB for short. Although modern variations offer a lot more playability than they did decades ago, blades are still defined by their workability, compact shaping, and lower ball flight. If you are looking for the ultimate test or just prefer something in the more traditional vein, these are for you.

Friday: Overall Top Performer

This category is the perfect place to start if you’re not quite sure what you are looking for. Distance? Check. Forgiveness? Check. Sleek looks? Check. The top five in the “best irons overall” category are perfect for those golfers who appreciate technology and want something that is going to give them shot options.

Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
 Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

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Equipment

Best irons in golf of 2021: Most technology packed

Published

on

A new set of irons is the single biggest investment you can make into your set of golf clubs. At GolfWRX, to determine the 2021 best irons and their categories, we have compiled an expert panel of fitters to help you find out which of 2021 irons is best for your game.

In 2021, OEMs have continued to push the engineering envelope of iron design by utilizing new technology and manufacturing methods to create clubs that offer forgiveness, along with faster, more consistent club faces and launch windows. Not only that, but we are also seeing more segmentation of models from equipment manufacturers to help you determine your best set and/or set combination thanks to fitting.

These fitting options are important because irons are the key to better scoring and by building the perfect set, you create a cohesive group of clubs in your bag to help you reduce dispersion and hit it closer to your target.

That being said, ultimately the best way to find your personal iron set is to work with a professional fitter using a launch monitor. The difficult part is a lot of people don’t have easy access to fitters, launch monitors, and club builders—so at GolfWRX, we have done a lot of the work for you.

We are in the era of not just maximizing distance but also minimizing the penalty of common misses for each player—this applies to irons just as much as it does with any other club in the bag. This is why, now more than ever, custom fitting is essential to help you see results on every swing you make.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

The methodology is simple: We want to give you the tools and information to go out and find what works best for you by offering recommendations for your individual iron set wants and needs with insight and feedback from the people who work every single day to help golfers get peak performance out of their equipment.

Best irons of 2021: How we did it

Before starting the process of building our best iron survey, we reached out to our trusted fitters to discuss how they sort through the endless number of iron options available to golfers. The consensus was clear—the best fitters in the world see all the options available in the marketplace, analyze their performance traits, and pull from that internal database of knowledge and experience like a supercomputer when they are working with a golfer.

It’s essentially a huge decision tree derived from experience and boiled down to a starting point of options—and it has nothing to do with a handicap!

Modern iron sets are designed into player categories that overlap the outdated “what’s your handicap?” model, and at GolfWRX we believe it was important to go beyond handicap and ask specific questions about the most crucial performance elements fitters are looking at to help golfers find the best set of irons for them. From overall performance to shotmaking, to helping players achieve better trajectories and speed, we strived to ask the right questions.

These are the best iron categories we have developed to help you, the reader, determine what rankings are most important for your swing and game.

Best irons of 2021: The categories

  • Overall performance
  • Easiest to launch
  • Pure Enjoyment
  • Shotmakers
  • Most technology-packed
  • Best blade

Best irons of 2021: Meet the fitters

Nick Sherburne: Founder, Club Champion
Clare Cornelius: Fitter,
 Cool Clubs
Eric Johnson: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Shaun Fagan: Fitter, True Spec Golf
Kirk Oguri: PGA Professional/ Club Specialist, Pete’s Golf
Sue O’Connor: Fitter, Cool Clubs 
Scott Felix: Owner, Felix Club Works
Mark Knapp: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Ryan Johnson: Club Fitter, Carls Golfland
Eric Hensler: Manager & Fitter, 
Miles of Golf
Brad Coffield: Fitter Carls Golfland
Nick Waterworth: Fitter, Haggin Oaks Golf Super Shop
Adam White: Co-Founder & Director of Club Fitting, Measured Golf
Scott Anderson: VP of Sales, Fitter, True Spec Golf
Matthew Sim: Director of Operations, Modern Golf
Ian Fraser: CEO & Founder, Tour Experience Golf
Mike Martysiewicz: Director of Club Fitting & Building, Tour Experience Golf
Shawn Zawodni: Fitter, Miles of Golf
Ben Giunta: Owner, The Tour Van

Best Irons 2021_Most Technology Packed

2021 best irons: Technology packed

This is the “give me everything you got” list. These irons are the cream of the crop for offering technology to improve feel, distance, and ball speed. The great thing about the technology category is it’s not reserved for higher handicap golfers—it’s for anyone looking to get everything they can out of their game in an iron that also suits their eye.

Callaway Apex 21

Their story: The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged irons were created with one goal in mind: optimization, not only through the set but into each specific iron. For the first time, Callaway used A.I. to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving.

In this newest iteration of the Apex iron, the focus was on control and “spin robustness,” which is another way to say spin optimization. Callaway was able to not only increase ball speeds and forgiveness across the face but with a new weighting configuration, also able to control and optimize spin. Each iron face is tuned to complement the loft (i.e. long irons = high launch/low spin, mid irons = mid launch/mid spin, short irons = lower launch/higher spin).

From the fitters

  • The Callaway Apex irons have been a staple in fittings since they were originally released, and golfers of all abilities can get a lot out of these irons.
  • For the 2021 version, Callaway really stepped their game up by improving the appearance, feel, and overall performance of this iron and truly packed it with technology. For its shape and size, it’s pretty amazing what they have done with this club—and the results show up in our fittings.
  • Not only is the Apex great, but it’s also a great foundation to build a set with other irons in the line including the DCB and the Apex Pro. If you are looking at the Apex, make sure to at least consider building a combo set.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Cobra King RadSpeed

Their story: The Cobra RadSpeed irons are packed with technology. They use a 3D-printed medallion comprised of nylon to increase strength while also reducing weight in the middle of the head to improve forgiveness, and just like the RadSpeed driver, the irons derive their name from newly positioned weights around the radius of the iron head designed to increase stability. By placing weight on the extreme perimeter of the head (away from the center of gravity), Cobra can both lower the CG and make the club slightly more compact while not sacrificing forgiveness.

The 7-4 iron faces also have what Cobra calls PWRShell technology, which used forged high-strength 17-4 stainless steel to increase compliance—a fancy physics term for an object’s ability to flex, which in turn increases the ball speed retention around the face to create a larger area of maximum energy transfer.

From the fitters

  • The RadSpeed is beyond easy to launch and very forgiving. I don’t think Cobra gets enough credit for how much technology they pack into their game improvement irons, and the innovations they bring to the marketplace.
  • This has been our top game improvement iron this year. It’s the highest launching and longest distance iron we have tested, and beyond that, it feels really good too.
  • I hate to make bad puns but the RadsSeed truly is “the king” right now when it comes to everything it offers to create performance for golfers.

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Callaway Apex DCB

Their story: The 2021 Apex DCB is Callaway’s most forgiving forging ever. It is specifically designed for the golfers who want the full Apex Forged experience but with a bit more forgiveness.

Just like its smaller cousin the Apex, Callaway used A.I. to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications, created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving. The iron offers more offset, a thicker topline, a wider sole, and a longer blade length—all with the goal of creating higher launch and top-end forgiveness.

From the fitters

  • This iron is a little rocket ship. The ball flies high, goes long, and comes off with a lot of speed—even when mis-hit.
  • You are going to have a hard time beating this iron when it comes to forgiveness. Good hits are fantastic, and misses are still great with this iron.
  • The sound is solid and the feel is pleasing. It has a much thinner look with a classic shape than I think many people expect from an iron built to maximize forgiveness. Callaway has a winner here.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Srixon ZX5

Their story:  The Srixon ZX5 iron uses what the company calls Mainframe face to optimize each club through the set based on tested strike patterns and was refined using machine learning. The face is composed of varying thickness patterns, which are all individually milled into the rear to expand the COR. The irons combine this Mainframe face made of strong and elastic SUP10 steel to the iron’s forged 1020 body to provide feel and elasticity, resulting in ball speed in an iron that appeals to a large group of golfers.

The ZX5 irons offer an extremely clean look from address, and the topline profile matches closely to the popular ZX7—square and sharp! Not only that but the blade lengths and sole widths have all been finely tuned so golfers who plan to build combo sets will see a smooth transition from one iron to the next—even into the utility.

From the fitters

  • The ZX5 is very playable and extremely good-looking. The cambered VT sole results in lovely turf interaction no matter the attack angle of the player—it’s a bit of a Swiss Army knife.
  • This iron fits a wide range of handicaps even though it looks a bit more like a players club. This iron is a chameleon because it has the look of a smaller compact club yet offers the forgiveness associated with a larger one (chef’s kiss).
  • We have been blown away by the ZX5. For the size, it sounds and looks great and has top-end ball speeds. It is our top-fitted forged cavity back iron across the board.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

TaylorMade P770

Their story: The TaylorMade P770 irons bring together the distance of the extremely popular P790 with the precision of a midsized player cavity to offer distance and control to an iron unlike TaylorMade has ever produced.

The iron has a SpeedFoam-supported forged 4140 high-speed steel face attached to a soft forged 8620 carbon steel body, and a Thru Slot to help the mishits lower on the face retain ball speed in the 3-7 irons. Those same irons (3-7) have 46 grams of tungsten positioned as low and as far back as possible towards the toe to boost MOI and launch in the longer clubs while precisely locating the center of gravity.

From the fitters

  • Without a doubt, this is one of our top-selling irons. The P770 has been a go-to for a variety of golfers thanks to its easy-to-launch performance along with the distance it produces. 
  • Simply calling this iron a smaller P790 doesn’t do it justice. It has a really clean look on its own but also allows players to easily add extra forgiveness and speed to their long irons if they are combo-ing with another iron like the P7MC.

For more photos/info, read our launch piece and check out this forum thread

Join the discussion about best irons 2021 in the forums!

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Equipment

Dustin Johnson changed putter and shaft for final round at RBC Heritage

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Dustin Johnson made the surprising choice to switch out his trusty TaylorMade Spider for the final round of the RBC Heritage and doubled down on the change by gaming a new shaft too.

On Sunday, DJ replaced his regular gamer in favor of a TaylorMade winged TP Bandon 1 Prototype putter, equipped with a multi-material LA Golf TPZ 135 shaft.

The move worked wonders for the final round, with Johnson holing over 145 feet of putts on Sunday.

Speaking after his round, Johnson told media:

“I put a new putter in today, and yeah, it felt good. It would have made a few more I feel like, just a little more speed. The first day using it, I just got it in yesterday, so rolled a few on the putting green. I really like it. It’s got a different shaft in it and a different head, but rolled good, so we’re going to keep it up.

I feel like I haven’t putted really well for the last few weeks, so that’s kind of really why I’ve just been struggling with my putter. I kept with it, kept practicing, kept grinding, but it wasn’t really getting any better, so sometimes it’s just time for a change.”

Johnson was following in the footsteps of Tommy Fleetwood, who also decided to play a TaylorMade Bandon 1 with a LA Golf TPZ 135 shaft at Harbour Town.

In his piece last week, our Ryan Barath described the putter as a “combination of the Truss TM1, along with a traditional plumbers neck hosel. It is also fitted with a Pure Roll insert.”

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