PLAYING WITH … CALLAWAY X FORGED UTILITY IRON
Cost: $349.99. Tested by: Jimmy Emanuel, Golf Australia Writer (GA Handicap 9.4)
The X Forged offers an inoffensive look that blends well with better player iron sets but how did it perform?
MODEL PLAYED: 18° loft, fitted with KBS Tour C-Taper stiff shaft. FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The look of the X Forged UT matches perfectly with Callaway’s new forged iron models. The back of the Utility is almost identical to the X Forged iron and at address it looks like a slightly beefed up version, with a thicker topline and slight bulge at the back.
Off the clubface I instantly noticed how powerful the X Forged UT felt, with the ball really jumping off the face and the ball flight low and strong. HOW IT PERFORMED: I have always been a fan of utilities and regularly have one in the bag – and this model is right up there with my favourites that I have tried thanks to its powerful flight, which is also workable and reasonably forgiving.
The X Forged isn’t going to turn a terrible long iron player into a great ball striker but for players, like myself, who still prefer to carry a longer iron that can be hit low and be relied upon to find a fairway when the longer clubs aren’t behaving, it is a very solid performer.
The ball flight is on the low side but doesn’t go underground by any means. When hit side by side with an equivalent hybrid the flight was noticeably more penetrating and just a fraction lower than my older model Callaway X Prototype Utility, which has been a long time servant. The slightly lower ball flight combined with a livelier feel off the face to produce a longer flight for me when compared with the hybrid and my older model.
When testing the X Forged on the course, a couple of good strikes really took off and kept running when they hit the fairway and finished near where my driver typically finishes on the same hole.
Ball flight changes can be easily achieved with a slight setup and swing adjustment, with the low, fading fairway finder my favourite shot during testing.
Mis-hits felt different enough to know you haven’t made your best swing but the result is typically decent and the loss in distance is far less than it would be with the same lofted iron.
With its livelier face than other utilities I have used, the X Forged did on occasion have a big miss closer to that of a hybrid or fairway wood than an iron. But the distance gains both off the middle and on mis-hits were enough of a positive for me to overlook the occasional wide shot, that was the exception rather than the rule.
Overall, the X Forged does as one would expect. Offering some added forgiveness and power to a long iron, with an inoffensive look that blends well with better player iron sets. The ability to still work the ball and not be severely punished for making a less than perfect swing on most occasions make the X Forged UT a great option for non-hybrid users or anyone who hits plenty of long irons off the tee or fairway but wants a little extra forgiveness.