Callaway X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro irons

Callaway X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro irons.

It’s not easy to create an iron set that’s easy to hit yet provides power and feel for golfers who don’t make a consistent swing. However, Callaway says its X2 Hot and X2 Hot Pro irons have accomplished that ambitious goal.

“This is a game-improvement iron, and it’s designed for mid- to high-handicap golfers who want distance out of an iron, who want forgiveness out of an iron,” Matt Haneline, Callaway’s associate marketing manager. “It’s for people who don’t hit the ball on the center of the face every time, but when they do hit the ball well they want to be rewarded.”

To increase distance over last season’s X Hot irons, Callaway designed the X2 Hot irons with an extremely deep undercut behind the face that not only goes along the bottom, it also goes underneath the topline. This extreme perimeter weighting shifts more mass away from the face and drives down the center of gravity, which increases forgiveness and makes the X2 Hot less susceptible to twisting on off-center hits.

• Read about Callaway's entire X2 Hot & X2 Hot Pro lineup of clubs here.

Callaway also made the face and the sole of the X2 Hot irons thinner.

“What that does is allow the face to flex more effectively at impact,” Haneline said. “That’s going to give you more ball speed.”

However, some of the design features that give the X2 Hot irons more distance and forgiveness could diminish feel.

“When you make the face really, really thin to give players more ball speed, it adversely affects the feel and makes it more harsh,” Haneline said. “The irons tend to sound clanky.”

To improve the way the X2 Hot irons feel and sound at impact, Callaway gave them a large, triangular, multi-material badge it calls a stabilizing arch.

“The stabilizing arch functionally reinforces the face so you can get a ton of ball speed, but also really good feel and really good sound,” Haneline said.

Haneline also noted that designers worked hard to hide many of the features that are typically associated with irons built for less accomplished players.

“Usually when you look down and see a game-improvement iron, you see a lot of offset along with a thick topline and wide sole,” he said. “We tried to design this in a much sleeker package and make it a little more appealing to people.”

The X2 Hot Pros have slightly smaller heads, less perimeter weighting and less offset. They feature a bar along the lower portion of the back of the club, extending from the heel to toe, that lowers the center of gravity and increases forgiveness. According to Callaway, golfers should be able to draw or fade the ball more easily with the X2 Hot Pro.

Still, Callaway designed the X2 Hot Pro to provide more distance. It has a thinner face than last season’s X Hot Pro, so better players are still going to get more ball speed with the newer model.

The standard X2 Hot irons come stock with True Temper Speed Step 85 steel shafts (exclusive for Callaway) for $799 or graphite shafts for $899. The X2 Hot Pro irons come with Project X 95 Flighted shafts for $899. Both irons will be available at retail Jan. 17.

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