In an era when more and more players are taking long irons out of their bags, it was quite refreshing to see Callaway Golf introduce its X Utility Prototype irons to its players on tour this summer. They’re proving so popular among the pros that Callaway has decided to bring them to retail – they’ll be available at select retailers on Dec. 1 and, presumably, more widely next spring.
Famed club designer Roger Cleveland created the X Utility irons – there are three, in lofts of 18, 21 and 24 degrees – and they were seeded to Callaway staff pros ahead of the U.S. Open. Players from Phil Mickelson to Branden Grace put some of them in their bags, and their real breakthrough came when Ernie Els used all three to win the British Open at Royal Lytham.
“I didn’t expect the [PGA Tour] players to gravitate much towards the 24-degree version,” said Cleveland. “I thought that loft would more address the needs of the Champions Tour, LPGA and skilled amateur golfers, but the guys on the PGA Tour put them right into play. Ernie Els immediately adopted all three and asked, ‘Where is the rest of the set?’”
The X Utility irons are forged from 1020 carbon steel, and contain a tungsten sole to precisely dial in the Center of Gravity location as well as a high-strength maraging steel face that promotes high ball speeds. Each iron also features removable sole weights that range from two to eight grams in two-gram increments that allow players to make swingweight adjustments to fit their individual length, shaft and grip options.
“Many players have replaced their long irons with hybrids, which are easier to hit, but the X Utility protoypes offer a level of precision that our tour staff has been very pleased with, plus these clubs offer a tighter dispersion than hybrids on mis-hits,” said Luke Williams, Callaway’s Global Director of Woods and Irons. “The amount of excitement that our X Utility prototype irons have generated on Tour and among the avid followers of golf equipment has been overwhelming.”
The X Utility prototype irons will carry an introductory retail price of $199 per club with steel shafts and $229 with graphite shafts.