2021 Callaway X Forged – Key Takeaways
- Callaway has launched two new offerings in its X Forged CB Series.
- The X Forged CB iron is a technology-driven iron designed with PGA TOUR players in mind.
- The X Forged UT utility complements the CB with a higher-launch, more forgiving utility iron.
- Retail Price is $200 for the X Forged CB iron and $250 for the X Forged UT Utility.
At the most basic level, Callaway’s objective for the new X Forged CB iron (and X Forged UT utility) was to bring a little bit of innovation to a category where we typically don’t find it. To do it without sacrificing consistency, control or feel … all the better, I suppose.
That’s not to say Callaway is alone in this endeavor. The case can easily be made that options like the Mizuno MP20 HMB and the TaylorMade P770 represent the same sort of irons.
Callaway puts the X Forged CB in the (better) player’s iron category and, by any reasonable measure, it’s a legitimate TOUR iron. It doesn’t get much better player’s than that but there’s enough technology to suggest the design straddles the player’s side of the player’s distance category.
Callaway X Forged CB – A True TOUR Iron
With consideration for the category and the audience, X Forged CB shaping is exactly what you’d expect.
The blade length is short, the sole is narrow and the topline is thin.
Everything about the design is intended to appeal to better players. That includes an emphasis on workability. It’s a vague descriptor that speaks both to a comparative lack of forgiveness (it’s not a game-improvement iron) and the shorter blade length, which keeps the center of gravity closer to the shaft axis.
While that’s all part of the accepted vernacular for a Tour iron, it’s reasonable to wonder if, as the artistry of the game is coldly stomped by the unyielding truths of hard math and analytics, the language of the elite player will adapt to reflect that reality that the shortest, most efficient and best-scoring distance between two points (the ball and the flag, for example) is almost always a straight line. The shaping of shots may become the rarest of sales pitches.
I’ve digressed earlier than usual. Let’s move on.
By no small measure, innovative opportunities in the category are stymied by geometry but like everybody else, Callaway seeks to make the most of the limited real estate.
To that end, Callaway has paired a forged 1025 mild carbon steel body with a 17-4 “Tour Tuned Face Plate.” Let’s table the discussion about whether the forged piece should be the one that hits the ball for a later date and instead focus on the faceplate.
From a performance perspective, the plate sits in a space between a single-piece design and a speed-oriented face cup. Callaway’s supercomputers were tasked with creating something that provides better players with a bit more speed without sacrificing consistency. The center of the face prevailed though there’s some help to be had on the edges of center. The design emphasizes spin consistency (what Callaway calls “spin robustness”) across the face.
Callaway X Forged CB Construction
Callaway is from the school of thought that believes hollow-body irons should be filled. To that end, the X Forged CB iron features a MIM’d tungsten internal toe weight. Weights range from nine to 14 grams depending on the iron.
The primary purpose of the toe weighting is to offset the weight of the hosel by pulling the center of gravity down and away from the heel. Let’s call the result low and reasonably centered.
Urethane Microspheres – Callaway’s Cavity Goo
Callaway’s increasingly ubiquitous urethane microspheres are injected into the cavity to improve feel.
Our brief departure in today’s story is this: While there’s almost always a Speedy McSpeed story around the various goo fillings manufacturers inject or otherwise cram into their irons, in reality their purpose is almost entirely to dampen vibrations and improve feel.
Tungsten Cavity Weighting
The bit of visible tech on the X Forged CB back cavity comes by way of tunable tungsten weights used to dial in swing weight. The standard weight plate is 17 grams. Twelve- and 22-gram versions are available. I’d be remiss not to point out that these aren’t designed to be user swappable. It’s a factory operation, guys, though I suspect somebody will offer aftermarket options eventually … maybe something in a bold purple.
It should go without saying that Callaway isn’t the only brand offering this particular flavor of swingweight tuning but, frankly, every company should be willing to forgo innovation points in favor of a common-sense approach that allows for easy swingweight adjustment without having to rely on tip weights which pull the center of gravity toward the heel.
To its credit, Callaway isn’t claiming any speed benefit from its microspheres in the X Forged CB. Feel is the whole of its story.
Top to bottom or, I suppose, toe to heel, it’s a package designed to appeal to better players because it’s designed to be played by the best players in the world. It’s a design that emphasis shot-making control over, though not to the complete exclusion of, forgiveness.
Callaway X-Forged CB – Who It’s For
While Callaway’s Alan Hocknell says the X Forged CB offers a surprising amount of forgiveness, all things in the golf equipment world are relative. Is it more forgiving than the new Callaway Apex MB? Sure. As forgiving as standard Apex? Not even close.
Your audience here is Tour players, elite amateurs and single-digit handicappers who are willing to forgo forgiveness in favor of a more appealing shape.
Callaway X Forged CB – Specs, Pricing, and Availability
While lofts are a tick stronger than Callaway’s new Apex MB, X Forged CG lofts should rightly be described as modern but not jacked. That’s driven by the lower center of gravity (and the resulting increase in dynamic loft). Bottom line: the 33-degree 7-iron and a 45-degree PW are perfectly reasonable for the category.
Stock shafts are the Project X IO steel and Mitsubishi MMT graphite.
The stock grip is a Golf Pride Z Grip.
Retail price for the Callaway X Forged CB Iron $200 per iron. The quick math puts us at $1,400 for a seven-piece set.
Callaway X Forged UT
As you’d expect from a namesake utility, CB inspired X Forged UT are designed to pair with new irons. Much of the tech is the same. Hollow-body construction? MIM’d tungsten? Cavity tungsten? Urethane microspheres?
You betcha. Check, check, check, check.
It’s a pretty simple story here. Relative to the X Forged CB iron, the X Forged UT is just bigger (in all directions), a little more forgiving, and easier to hit – especially with respect to higher launch and the softer landing that comes with it.
X Forged UT – AI Flash Face Cup
With the X Forged UT, you get the full benefits of an AI designed Flash Face Cup. In addition to all of that juicy spin robustness, there’s a greater emphasis on speed with the utility iron but the lower center of gravity should produce higher launch and more stopping power into greens.
Mind Your Speed
Bear in mind that, in addition to a more speed-centric design, X Forged UT lengths are ½” longer than the comparable X Forged CB long irons. That’s going to create more distance versus an iron with the same number on the sole. Spreading out your gaps on the long end is often advisable – especially for average golfers – but it’s something you’ll want to keep an eye on.
Consider this a casual reminder to check your gaps, particularly at the long end where things can get messy in the spaces between fairway woods, hybrids, utilities and long irons.
Callaway X Forged UT – Specs, Pricing and Availability
The Callaway X Forged UT is available in 18, 21 and 24 degrees.
The stock steel shaft is the Project X U, which was specifically designed for utility irons. I should probably mention that Callaway is the exclusive launch partner for the PX U.
The stock graphite shaft is the Project X Smoke Blacky HY. Aimed at aggressive swingers, it features a low-launch, low-spin profile.
Retail price for the Callaway X Forged UT is $250. Retail availability begins on Oct. 29.
For more information, visit CallawayGolf.com.