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.
Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (04/22/21): Custom BB1F Bettinardi putter
At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.
We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.
Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a custom Bettinardi BB1F.
To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Bettinardi putters and Titleist irons
Best irons in golf of 2021: Easiest to launch
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.
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
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
2021 Best irons: Easy 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.
Their story: The key element of the Ping G710 irons is in the materials used to build them. Thanks to maraging steel’s high strength and durability attributes, engineers can push the face thinner, which in turn creates more discretionary mass to move around the head to raise MOI and increase forgiveness. Beyond that, each face of the G710 iron is machined with variable-wall thickness to increase ball speeds around the whole hittable surface to help with those pesky mishits and keep ball speeds and distances consistent.
Just like with other hollow irons from Ping, the body of the iron is maximized to flex along with the face to assist in energy transfer to the ball while also being built to provide a solid and pleasant feel. It’s one thing to offer more forgiveness, but if golfers don’t like the feel, all the effort is wasted.
From the fitters
- The G710 irons offer supreme forgiveness and a low center of gravity. They just want to get up in the air, which is great for those golfers who struggle to stop shots coming into greens.
- These irons are really forgiving and pack a ton of ball speed. With as well as they perform, I still feel they fly under the radar for their ability to throw the ball up in the air.
Callaway Big Bertha B21
Their story: The Callaway Big Bertha B21 irons appeal to higher-handicappers and players who tend to slice the ball. The irons contain a large amount of offset, wide soles and a thick topline, and feature a Visible Tungsten Energy Core (VTEC) for the very first time which deepens the CG in design to make these irons extremely easy to launch.
The irons also feature a unique Flash Face architecture in each iron in a bid to provide high balls speeds and increased spin robustness throughout the bag on each loft. Complimenting the Flash Face Cup is a 360 Face Cup that flexes and releases at impact to help increase ball speed further.
From the fitters
- Probably the most forgiving iron out in the market for golfers who need to both get the ball up in the air but also to help stop the dreaded fade. The matching hybrids are the perfect complement to build a high launching combo set.
- This iron is hot and forgiving and just launches to the moon for slower players
Cleveland Launcher HB Turbo
Their story: The Launcher HB Turbo irons feature a redesigned HiBore Crown, which pushes the center of gravity low and deep within the sole – a placement that is designed to allow golfers to launch their ball higher. The clubs also contain progressive shaping throughout, as the designers at Cleveland sought to provide players with a smooth transition by offering maximum forgiveness on long irons to optimal control on short irons.
From the fitters
- The Launcher HB Turbo irons are a straightforward high-flying set built to maximize launch. The wide sole also helps glide the iron through the turf.
- They are super easy to hit, super high launch, and pack a lot of distance. The only drawback is the full hybrid look can be a bit too much for some players, but most change their tune very quickly after seeing the results they produce.
XXIO Eleven Series
Their story: Thanks to their low profile geometry along with a forged titanium faceplate, tungsten sole weight, and intricate composite construction the XXIO Eleven Irons are easy to hit and very easy to get up in the air.
It’s also not just about the materials, but also how they use them. The thin titanium face is designed to create maximum flex resulting in additional ball speed and two slots cut behind that face, form a double undercut cavity to help get shots hit lower on the face up in the air faster to promote extra carry.
From the fitters:
- The Eleven series is a great lightweight game improvement iron that helps slow-speed players. It works exactly as advertised to boost launch and feels unbelievable.
- Every golfer that I have fit into these has raved about how great this iron set has been—total game changes.
- Incredible height and ball speed. XXIO really has designed an iron that delivers the whole package by having the head and shaft pair so well.
XXIO Prime Series
Their story: XXIO and its whole Prime line of clubs are one of the leaders in the world of lightweight golf equipment. With the 2021 Prime line, XXIO continues to offer some of the fastest and most forgiving clubs on the market for golfers in the moderate-to-slow speed category looking for speed and height.
The key to the XXIO Prime irons is strategic weighting and mass saving at every possible step without sacrificing forgiveness. The faces of the Prime irons are made of the same Super-Tix Plus titanium, as the fairways and hybrids – how’s that for speed!
From the fitters:
- Premium materials, top-end technology, and designed with the singular goal of making the game easier for players who have lost distance and need height.
- It’s always fun to hand this iron to a golfer who you know it is going to benefit and see their face light up when they see a trajectory that they didn’t think was even possible.
For more photos/info, read our launch piece.
Best driving iron of all time – GolfWRXers discuss
In our forums, our members have been discussing driving irons. WRXer ‘Kyengtae3’ is on the hunt for a driving iron and isn’t interested in the latest or fanciest but only the best, saying
“Currently using a Titleist 712U 3-Iron (21*) and want to look for some more like that driving iron but want like a 2 or even willing to a 1 iron.
I’m not looking for the newest or the fanciest technology, just want to know what the best driving iron of all time is.”
And our members have been sharing what they feel are the best driving irons ever released.
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.
- ashpga: “Nike Vapor Fly Pro.”
- MPAndreassi: “There’s not going to be a consensus as one is best for everyone. The Gapr Lo is pretty similar to the SIM UDI, which I found to be very good. The Titleist stuff, U500 and U510, seem to be well received here.”
- jcvanndamme: “I have a Callaway X-Tour utility that I bought off a previous pro at my home course. It even has an AD-DI shaft in it. I don’t swing fast enough to get much out of it now, but it’s a club that I’ll never get rid of.”
- golfinbrand: “I’m still gaming the Ping Rapture DI. It is the oldest club in my bag – 7 years. Keep debating a hybrid, but can’t seem to find anything better.”
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