For 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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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:
- The clubs have one degree stronger lofts (20-degree 3 iron, 46-degree pitching wedge)
- 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:
Here is Branden Grace WITB photo. You can see a full gallery by CLICKING HERE.
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:
Below are images and comparison pics of this year’s X Forged and last year’s RAZR Forged irons.
Scott Stallings WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Kai’li 60 TX
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Red
5-wood: Titleist 917F2 (21 degrees)
Shaft: UST Mamiya LinQ Proto
Irons: Titleist U-500 (4), T100 (5-PW)
Shafts: Mitsubishi MMT 125 TX (4), KBS Tour S-Taper X
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design TVD (52, 56, 60)
Shafts: KBS Hi-Rev 2.0
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport Prototype
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x
Brian Harman WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 5 S
3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (13.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661 Evolution II S
5-wood: Titleist TS2 (16.5 degrees)
Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 757 Evolution II S
Irons: Titleist U-500 (4), Titleist 620 CB (5-PW)
Shafts: Project X HZRDUS Smoke Black 90 (4), True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 (5-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM7 (50-08F, 54-08M, 60-04L)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold S400
Putter: TaylorMade Spider OS CB
Ball: Titleist Pro V1
Matt Wallace WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed (9 degrees) (standard N/S cog setting)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch)
3-wood: Callaway Epic Speed (16.5 degrees @15.2)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 7 X (42.75 inches, tipped 2 inches)
Hybrid: Callaway Apex Pro (20 @19.4 degrees)
Shaft: Aldila Rogue Black 105 TX
Irons: Callaway Apex TCB (4), Apex MB ’18 Chrome (5-PW)
Shafts: Nippon Pro Modus3 120 X
Wedges: Callaway Jaws MD5 Raw (52-10S, 54-10S @55, 60-08T)
Shafts: Nippon Pro Modus 120 X
Putter: Odyssey 2-Ball Ten
Ball: Callaway Chrome Soft X (2020)
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Scott Stallings WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees) Shaft: Mitsubishi Chemical Diamana Kai’li 60 TX 3-wood: Titleist TS3 (16.5 degrees) Shaft: UST Mamiya Elements Red...
Brian Harman WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi2 (9 degrees) Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD IZ 5 S 3-wood: Titleist TSi2 (13.5 degrees) Shaft: Fujikura Speeder 661...
Matt Wallace WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Callaway Epic Speed (9 degrees) (standard N/S cog setting) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X (45.5 inches, tipped 1 inch)...
Peter Malnati WITB 2021 (May)
Driver: Titleist TSi3 (9 degrees) (A1 hosel setting, SureFit weight H2) Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Blue 6 X 3-wood: Titleist TSi3 (15...
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