Callaway has released a new iron set in their high performance, high technology “X Series” line of clubs that has had forum members here at THP buzzing for several months. The Callaway X-22 irons that we reviewed over a year ago are a huge fan favorite and were even a finalist for our Readers Choice Awards for 2009 as the favorite iron set based on THP Reader Voting. With all the love that the previous line was getting what could Callaway possibly do to up the ante? Well THP decided to put the new X-24 Hot irons to the test and find out.
From the Company
Callaway developed the new Callaway X-24 Hot Irons for golfers who seek to gain distance not just with the longest clubs in their bag, but also when pulling out an iron on a long par-3 or flying the water to reach a par-5 in two. The stealth PVD Finish, which is the result of a cutting-edge process designed to reduce glare and produce a distinctive look that is darker than most irons. Callaway X-24 Hot Irons were also made with Callaway’s core technologies including S2H2, Precision Notch Weighting and Modified Tru-Bore, all working together to provide total performance for a wide range of golfers.
Complete with a new Stealth PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) Finish that reduces glare, the new Callaway X-24 Hot Irons utilize Callaway’s proprietary VFT Face Technology, 360-degree undercut channel and a precise center of gravity to create a large and effective hitting area for golfers of all abilities. The result is maximum distance while maintaining the same accuracy, even on off-center hits.
“Callaway X-24 Hot Irons are the latest evolution of our award-winning X-Series Irons, but not discount golf clubs, which have helped make Callaway the No. 1 Irons company in the game for the last 13 consecutive years,” said Dr. Alan Hocknell, Senior Vice President of Research & Development, Callaway Golf. “We recognize there are golfers looking for distance gains throughout their entire bag, and thus employed our core technologies and faster ball speeds into the design of Callaway X-24 Hot Irons, a longer, more accurate set than any of their predecessors.”
•VFT Face Technology: A robust, hot clubface with a large sweet spot generates faster balls speeds for maximum distance, even on off-center hits.
•Precision Notch Weighting: More weight in the perimeter of the clubhead promotes pinpoint accuracy and control and enables an optimal CG position that provides strong trajectories.
•Stealth PVD Finish: Dark Physical Vapor Deposition Finish comes from a high-tech process that produces a distinctive, non-glare finish.
•Callaway Core Technologies: S2H2, a 360-Degree Undercut Channel and Modified Tru-Bore® work together to provide total performance and enhanced feel for a wide range of golfers.
Steel Uniflex Shafts (graphite also available)
Price – $699 steel & $899 graphite
Looks & First Impression
There are a few things that stand out when you first take a look at the Callaway X-24 Hot irons. Immediately you are drawn to the darker finish in comparing it to previous models. As mentioned above, the darker finish is used to prevent glare, and while it wears after use, the clubs have a distinct and classic look to the faces that give off instant feedback on where you are making contact. The second thing that stands out is the newly designed badge on the cavity. Last year the X-22 had a nice looking blue badge that had a modern & edgy look and had a nice clean appeal to them. The X-24 Hot has a totally different feel by offering a flame like orange color marked with platinum and black that makes you think “HOT”. The cavity looks similar in design with its notch weighting that resemble fangs and its overall “high technology appearance”. The pictures do not do justice to the clubs in hand and their striking good looks overall.
I was able to put these in my bag for 12 rounds of golf, as well as countless range sessions and each time out I found myself trying to find flaws and nitpicked every little detail. Long, high, and straight seems to be the trend each time I took them out on the course. One thing to note is that in my testing, I was hitting these irons about 5 yards longer than my current set, so there will be an adjustment period. This could be due to stronger lofting, shaft length, or the incredible hot face technology that Callaway is using in these. My bet would be that it is a combination of the three working together. A few months ago, THP reviewed the Callaway Diablo Edge irons and came away extremely impressed with the overall forgiveness and performance packed into the new set. The X-24 Hot irons are a different animal altogether in both feel and performance and offer the golfer another choice when looking at new irons. The X-24 Hot irons are still extremely forgiving, however, where these irons really shined and set them apart from the others was in the performance category. In a rare case with GI (game improvement) irons, our testers were able to move the ball in every direction around the course: left, right, high and low.
The dark finish of the club head does exactly what it is supposed to do and that is eliminate glare that can be caused by the suns reflection off of different types of metals. Another aspect to the dark finish that has not been discussed and was a nice bonus was the fact that while the X-24 Hot irons have a thicker (GI Type) top line, the darkness of the iron had a slight slimming effect and did not bother a single golfer that had a chance to try these out. The confidence that this adds to the golfer is phenomenal because they can not only enjoy what they see at address but also benefit from all the added technology of the GI irons. Most went into the testing thinking they would have issues with the wear of the face during play, but when testing completed not a single person had any issue with it. In fact something one golfer noted, was that with the wear after each shot, it really does give you an idea of how well these irons are fit for your game.
The shafts in the X-24 Hot Irons that we tested were the Callaway Uniflex shafts and we felt they worked very well with the irons. The only issue that came up is when we had a THP Forum member with an incredibly fast swing speed try them, but outside of that, most of the golfers thought the shaft and the club head worked very well together to produce nice high, but still penetrating, ball flights without any ballooning issues. THP does still strongly recommend getting a fitting done before buying any irons to make sure that the shaft, as well as length and lie, are working with your swing rather than against it.
The weighting that these offer really work hard to square the club face up at impact on each swing, but when it does not work in that way (we all do it), the added forgiveness in the heel and toe areas of the club were excellent to keep the ball high and straight without sacrificing too much in the distance department.
One issue that myself and a few others had with the clubs was the stock grip. It was a little too slick for some of our testers, especially for those who live in areas with higher humidity. While better than some of the stock grips we have been trying of late, these still caused some slippage during our hotter and more humid days. This isn’t too big of a problem, however, because grips are an easy and inexpensive fix.
Callaway Golf has put out another strong contender this year and the X-24 Hots are aptly named as both a followup to the wonderful X-22 irons from last year but also the “Hot” distance that we were achieving with each swing. Some will argue that stronger lofts mean little and people can always club down, but there is a certain confidence that many golfers have with shorter irons. These new irons should be on everybody’s short list if they are in the market for a high technology GI iron that offers incredible distance without sacrificing the performance and feel that golfers are looking for with their new sets. While we preferred the blue badge in the back compared to the new orange look, that is merely a personal preference and with how “HOT” these new irons are, the color is fitting to say the least. For more information on these or any of the other Callaway Golf products, check out their website at www.callawaygolf.com.
Till Next Time