I have had the pleasure of checking out a set of Callaway X-20 Irons over the past month or so. With the cold weather rapidly approaching (heck it’s snowing today) the pressure was on to put up some good scores to close out 2007. So here we go…
The X Series is about giving serious golfers total performance with enhanced forgiveness for the ultimate in confidence. The new X-20 Irons deliver in every way by offering technology, innovation and playability that will take your game to a new level.
Using the Progressive Wall Reduction System, Callaway Golf engineers lowered the center of gravity (CG) 6 percent more than in the X-18 Irons. Progressive Wall Reduction means the CG gets progressively lower throughout the set. The CG is lowest in the long irons, helping you get the ball airborne more easily.
With its traditional styling and Callaway Golf core technology the X-20 Irons provide the performance and forgiveness to play the game with enhanced confidence.
Short, Straight, Hollow Hosel. The breakthrough Callaway Golf design that shortened the traditional hosel length, allowing weight to be moved lower and to the more useful perimeter area of the clubhead. The hollowed-out or Tru-Bore Technology is part of the S2H2 design, and allows the shaft tip to extend through the clubhead to the sole, which improves feel and control.
Look and Feel
I have always loved the look of Callaway irons. When the X-14 irons were released, I so wanted to get a set of them. The price, at the time was restrictive, and I settled for a set of used TaylorMade clubs. There is just something about the little notch in the back, and the color scheme that cries out…play with me.
While the X-20s do not fit into the ‘super-game improvement’ category, they are considered game improvement irons, to be sure. That being said, they are not radically different than the older X-Tour irons. As you can see in the pictures above and below, the X-20s are slightly longer heel to toe, have a slightly wider sole, and a slightly thicker top line. Overall, they really just seem like a meatier X-Tour iron…looks wise at least.
Feel wise, you get what you’d expect from a cast, game improvement offering from Callaway. Do not expect the feel of a forged Mizuno iron here. They are quite muted, though more vocal than the Nike Sumo irons I tested earlier, or other ‘super-game improvement’ irons. That being said, you can tell when you have hit a significant miss…thinned shots in the cold do still hurt! You just do not have that same kind of buttery soft feel on flushed shots or distinct feel on slight sweet spot misses.
It’s hard to argue with the performance of a Callaway iron. Their slogan, ‘A better game by design’ generally holds true. These irons are remarkably easy to hit straight. Thin, fat, little toward the toe…the heel…the ball wants to go where you were aiming. Thin shots still get a lot of distance. The sole of the club really resists digging, so hitting fat shots is a little more difficult. The only real problem with this excellent forgiveness…is that when you do hit one off line, say you come inside out, and don’t get the clubface square, your push/slice is still going to go that much further off line.
At address the X-20 looks quite beefy, as you can see above. Perhaps a little less chunky than the super game improvement irons, but significantly more beefy than a blade. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Align this clubface behind the ball, and you certainly will be very confident. How could you possibly think of hitting a poor shot with this big face behind the ball?
In the pictures below you can see the X-20s next to a range of other irons, Adams Idea Pro Forged, Callaway X-Tour and Nike Sumo irons. You can see they really aren’t that much larger than the Idea or X-Tour irons, and slightly smaller than the Nike Sumo. When it comes to the sole, yes, it’s a little wider, but next to the Nike Sumo, the X-20s look like blades.
In the pictures below you can see the Callaway X-20s next to the TaylorMade Burner XD irons and R7 CGB Max irons. These three irons are quite similar in terms of size. However, if you’re looking for an iron that is slightly more playable, I’d go with the X-20s. If you’re looking for sheer distance, I’d go with the Burner XDs.
These irons are good enough for Rocco Mediate to play on the PGA tour…they should be good enough for the average weekend golfer to bag. If you’re looking for a set of irons that will get the ball up in the air, and straight, without worrying too much about the thicker topline or sole…by all means go hit some x-20s at your local pro shop. They definitely should win some awards on their looks alone!
You can find the Callaway X-20 irons at Paragon Sports for $699 retail with steel shafts. If you don’t mind playing slightly used clubs, have a look at Callaway Preowned ($500-$800). They have some great deals on lightly used iron sets. Or you can always goto search for X-20s on eBay ($350-$500) as well, just watch out for fakes..make sure the seller has good feedback.