Callaway X Forged iron's unique heritage

Callaway’s X Forged iron

Callaway’s X Forged iron for 2013 has an intriguing heritage.

Back in 2009 and into 2010, a Callaway forged muscleback iron stamped with the name Prototype appeared in the bags of some tour players and low-handicap amateurs. In general, players loved the look of this iron. What they loved more than anything else, though, was the sole.

Good lie or bad, the sole seemed to glide through the turf. There were no diggers here. As it grew in popularity, the iron eventually became known as Tour Authentic X-Prototype.

Fast forward to late October 22, 2012, when Callaway made its first major golf club introduction under new CEO Chip Brewer. That introduction was a muscleback iron called X Forged, and immediately some players were saying, “Ummm, that sole reminds me of the Prototype.”

Well, it should, because designers listened closely to the players who were using Callaway forged irons.

“We went back on this design (2013 X Forged) and pulled the best from our forged irons of the past,” explained Luke Williams, Callaway’s senior director of global woods and irons. “Our players tend to like our muscleback (Prototype) irons -- with a smaller blade, and a little different CG (center of gravity) height progression, they really took off on Tour.”

So out with the cavity back Razr X Forged and in with the muscleback X Forged.

“The overall shape (of X Forged) is reminiscent of that shape (Prototype),” Williams said. “The blade is a little bit longer, but still a bit shorter than Razr X Forged.”

Razr X Forged featured a high heel and sharper toe, which is a much different profile from the more traditional looks of the Prototype, X-Prototype and X Forged family.

In early 2013 we also will see a new generation of fairway woods from Callaway, along with an enhanced version of the Razr X driver used by Ernie Els to win the 2012 Open Championship. There will be other new products as well, as Callaway stages its biggest, broadest introduction in years.

Brewer, Callaway’s new CEO, is a genuine golf guy. He is a skilled player. His father, O. Gordon Brewer, is a two-time winner of the USGA Senior Amateur. As Brewer paraphrased his message to his troops: “I told them, ‘Don’t hold anything back. Let’s take our best ideas and use them right now in all our golf clubs. The future will take care of itself, because we will have more great ideas.”

As for the newest irons, the X Forged: What, you might ask, is CG height progression? It’s a fancy way of saying the center of gravity is lower in the long irons and higher in the short irons. This obviously promotes higher long-iron shots and lower short-iron shots.

Most golfers think the tricky part of height progression lies in the long irons. Everybody wants to hit higher 3-iron and 4-iron shots, and lowering the center of gravity can really help. The problem is that long iron blades don’t weigh very much, so there isn’t a whole lot of discretionary weight to move around.

Based on early reports from Phil Mickelson, designer Roger Cleveland and his team have done a pretty remarkable job with CG manipulation in the long irons.

Raising the center of gravity in the short irons actually can be the most difficult assignment in moving CG. Because short iron blades are heavier and have so much weight concentrated in the sole, these irons tend to produce higher shots. So Callaway engineers had to solve the riddle of designing short irons that produce a lower trajectory.

Callaway expects most of its PGA Tour players to have the X forged in play for the 2013 season.

True Temper Project X Pxi steel is the stock shaft for X Forged. This constant weight shaft is some 15 grams lighter than the original Project X steel shaft.

X Forged lofts are one degree stronger than Razr X Forged lofts in the 6-iron through pitching wedge. This is done to mirror the exact lofts used by most Tour players. So here’s the loft configuration (4-iron through pitching wedge): 24, 27, 30, 34, 38, 42, 46.

The X Forged retail cost is $999.99 for a set of eight irons. Availability is Jan. 25, 2013.

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