Callaway Golf's newest irons — X-Forged CB, X-Forged UT and Apex MB — refine traditional blade and cavity-back construction
Until now, the most skilled players who prefer forged irons have been limited to blades and cavity-backs made in a solid, one-piece construction. While it’s easier to preserve the look those players demand, there wasn’t much room for innovation or technology.
Callaway’s new irons offerings have what nearly every better player is looking for. The new X-Forged CB have added technology; the X-Forged UT are long iron replacements with extra distance packed in; and the Apex MB is an updated classic. All three are inspired by feedback from touring professionals.
The X-Forged CB deviates from the norm in forged irons in that it is a hollow-body, multi-piece construction instead of the usual forged irons, which are solid and one piece.
“When you are working with a single piece forged cavity back, there’s only so much you can do to manipulate materials into shapes that stay consistent with that better player look and feel but which provide any form of performance advantage,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s head of research and development.
“Essentially taking the construction apart and building it with multiple pieces, we can get access to the inside of the head and start to hollow out areas that would normally be carbon steel and replace them with other materials.”
In this instance, the other material is tungsten, which is used in two places in the X-Forged CB. One is low in the toe inside the club, using a method the company calls Metal Injected Molded (MIM). Placing the tungsten weight in this location lowers the center of gravity and moves it slightly more centered on the scorelines.
“We think that’s a very subtle but very important advantage for better players in terms of consistency of launch conditions,” Hocknell said. “These players hit the center of the face a lot but they mishit it from time to time, so we’re giving them an extra bit of forgiveness and an extra bit of ease of launch, especially in the mid- and long-irons to make sure they hit the trajectory window they want.”
A tungsten weight has been placed on the outside of the clubhead, which helps to lower the CG but its primary function is to fine tune the club for the individual player. The available weights are 12 grams (light), 17 grams (medium) and 22 grams (heavy). They can’t be changed by the player; they’re only used for custom club-building.
The face plate on the X-Forged CB is what the company is calling Tour Tuned. It’s not a full face cup that Callaway uses for game improvement irons but it has a little more speed than a regular forged club. It’s not a player’s distance iron, either. The lofts are stronger than usual on a blade club but distance is not the priority.
“In this middle ground, we have a very high priority for the consistency of the speed and consistency of launch angle and spin,” Hocknell said. “That’s going to make the clubs accurate for this type of player who plays a very targeted game. The Tour Tuned face plate has proved through testing to be the best option for this type of demand.”
The stock steel shaft is the new Project X IO, which is optimized for each shaft in the iron set. The Mitsubishi MMT is the graphite shaft offering, along with Golf Pride’s Z Grip.
The X Forged UT has more of a speed profile than the CB, using a face cup technology, while maintaining launch and spin conditions that better players, particularly tour players, desire. The sole is a little wider and top line a little thicker but still has a player’s shape.
The Project X U is the brand’s first shaft made strictly for utility clubs. The brand’s HZDRUS Smoke Black HY is the graphite choice.
The Apex MB has long been the iron of choice for many of Callaway’s tour players. “So many players love the Apex MB and players tell us, don’t screw it up,” says Dave Neville, Callaway’s senior director of brand and product management.
The most obvious change to the Apex MB is the circular weight in the back of the club that is neutral to the center of gravity. Like the X Forged CB, the weight is changeable by Callaway, not the consumer. “We do a lot of custom builds for these types of irons and want to be able to handle that in the most elegant way possible,” Hocknell said.
Otherwise, the changes to Apex MB are subtle – progression of blade lengths and differences in bounce angles.
The manufacturer’s price for the X Forged CB is $200 a club, the X Forged UT is $250 and the Apex MB is $185. They are currently available.
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