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Callaway Shipping X-20 and X-20 Tour Irons

Jan. 29, 2007     By     Comments (25)

The fifth generation of Callaway X-Series irons is now showing up in stores and pro shops and bringing with it a new name and new look for the player's version.

Bag DropEver since their introduction of the Big Bertha irons in 1994, Callaway has expanded their line with models aimed at the more accomplished player. This trend seemed to culminate in last year's X-Tour forged irons and this year's X-Forged models.

The X-Series began in 1997 with the Big Bertha X-12 regular and pro versions and was the company's first attempt at reaching out to the player who needed less forgiveness than the Big Bertha irons. The next generation X-14 irons became the best selling irons in Callaway's history.

With the new X-20 line, the "Pro" version becomes the "Tour" version. And with that change comes an entirely different club. Here's the story…

Callaway X-20 Back ComparisonFor the past decade, Callaway has kept to a biennial schedule of updates to its X-Series irons. Always offered in a regular and "Pro" version, the clubs have been consistently popular across a wide range of players.

Up until now, the differences between the two versions in the X-Series were fairly minimal: the "Pro" version came with less offset, slightly thinner sole and top line, and different shaft options. While different enough to matter to discerning golfers, the two clubs were essentially variations on the same theme.

No more. While the X-20 irons continue to evolve and refine the series' original design concept, the X-20 Tour irons are now much closer in design to the X-Forged blades.

The X-20 Irons
The newest incarnation of the X-20 iron continues the same look as the X-18 irons it replaces. The differences are pretty minimal.

Callaway says their "progressive wall reduction system" has allowed them to lower the center of gravity some 6 percent and that the "extreme notch weighting" has apparently become even more extreme in an effort to move weight to the perimeter of the club head and thus increase MOI (moment of inertia).

Callaway X-20 Face Comparison
The X-20 6 iron on the left bears little relation to the X-20 Tour. Different hosel, different face shape, different grind. Apparently it's now a club family in name only. Am I the only one getting confused?

In addition to lowering the center of gravity on the X-20 irons, or perhaps because it, they've tweaked the standard lofts and lies ever so slightly:

Iron         X-18/X-20 Loft        X-18/X-20 Lie
----         --------------        -------------
 2i            18 / 18              59.2 / 60.0
 3i            21 / 21              59.9 / 60.5
 4i            23.5 / 24            60.6 / 61.0
 5i            26 / 27              61.3 / 61.5
 6i            29 / 30              62.0 / 62.0
 7i            33 / 33              62.5 / 62.5
 8i            37 / 37              63.5 / 63.0
 9i            41 / 41              64.5 / 64.0
 PW            46 / 45              65.0 / 65.0

Still the X-20 retains the original S2H2 (short straight hollow hosel) design and general blade shape that has longed marked the X-Series irons.

X-20 Tour Irons
After 10 years of nearly analogous design, the player's version of the X-20 has taken a radical departure. While still cast, it is no longer a "shovel." It's a blade complete with a traditional hosel.

Callaway X-Tour X-20 Tour ToplineAs the picture shows, the X-20 Tour (on the right) is nearly identical to the X-Forged blade in shape. The X-20 Tour has a top line slightly thicker, a hosel slightly shorter, and what appears to be a touch more offset.

It also doesn't have the bore-through shaft design of the original X-Tour iron. What this means to me, although I can't confirm it yet, is that the X-20 Tour irons probably use a unitized (straight tipped) shaft while the X-Tour and X-Forged irons use a taper tipped shaft. That difference means a great deal in feel. Better players have long preferred the taper tipped shafts found in most forged irons.

So while in appearance the X-20 Tour and X-Forged irons are very similar, I think they are going to play and feel quite differently. And yet when I did a side-by-side visual comparison of them in a store, it was just amazing to me how close they were to one another.

I also think this is going to make the earlier X-16 Pro and X-18 Pro irons something of "classic" clubs in that they definitely appealed in forgiveness and design to a certain class of golfer. It seems Callaway is changing their target market for this line with the X-20 Tours.

Looking at the specifications, the X-20 Tour again is almost identical to the X-Forged irons, except that the loft is one degree stronger in the 6-iron through the pitching wedge.

Details
Both the X-20 and X-20 Tour come in a variety of graphite and steel shafts, available in custom orders. I like that you can custom order an X-20 iron set with even as few clubs as 6-iron to pitching wedge. That makes a lot of sense to me in this age of the hybrid. Unfortunately, the smallest X-20 Tour iron set is 4-PW.

Edwin Watts is selling both versions of the irons here and here in multiple configurations. In general, a full set of X-20 irons are about $100 less than the X-20 Tour which, in turn, are about $100 less than the X-Forged.

If you are an X-18 Tour fan, and still would like to get a set, Edwin Watts has some specials going on both the regular and Pro versions. The sale prices are only available if you call them. Must be a pretty good deal.

In the End…
I've played X-16 Pro irons on and off for the past three years or so. They've always been my "go to" irons… easy to hit, forgiving, and reliable.

It remains to be seen whether the X-20 Tour design is going to be forgiving enough for me. Right now, I think if I were going to a blade design, I'd want a forged one.

So is anybody besides me going to miss the "Pro" version?

Posted in: Bag Drop Comments (25)

Discussion

  1. bravehahn says:

    Hi Jack!

    TheSandtrap is by far my favorite golf review site and I come here quite frequently for all the hard and simple questions I have before my big purchases. I think this is a great report of what Callaway has brought up for 2007 but I was wondering if you're going to be writing a review for the new, highly anticipated X-Forged blades.

    I've been trying to decide whether or not I want to switch to blades and the X-Forged, even though it almost resembles a muscle-cut design because of Callaway's notch-back system, are #1 on my list right now. HOWEVER, I'm still not sure how these clubs will measure up because they haven't been widely played yet. I was wondering what you think about the new X-Project Rifle Flighted Shafts they're putting on these babies and if any of you good people at TheSandtrap.com are going to be writing a review on them. A breakdown of the "Top Choices for Irons of 2007" maybe?? Please let me know or email me.

    In my opinion, I think the X-Forged will be perfect for the better player desiring the playability and workability found in forged irons, yet still desiring a decent amount of forgiveness in their irons - thanks to Callaway's distinguished reputation for forgiveness in their technology, not to mention how these sticks look as sweet as some brand spankin' new 17" chrome wheels!

    And YES, I will miss the "Pro Series" line-up. I'm an X-16 Pro Series user myself and nothing sounds as cool as the letters P-R-O on your clubs! So I'm with ya there. Well, thanks for reading. Please let me know about these beautiful babies - these X-Forged irons obviously. Much appreciated and keep up the great work!

    Best,
    Bravehahn...

    - Titleist 905R, Proforce V2
    - Taylormade r7 TP, 3 wood
    - Taylormade r7 Rescue Dual TP, 3 hybrid
    - X-16 Pro Series, 4-AW
    - X-Tour Wedges, 52*, 56* & 60*MDs
    - Scotty Cameron, Newport 2

  2. Jack Waddell says:

    Thanks for the response and kind words, Bravehahn!

    The X-Forged irons are definitely the kind of club we'd love to review here at thesandtrap.com. Getting our hands on Callaway products is something of an issue right now. New management at the company has made it very difficult for sites like ours to get their new stuff in a timely fashion. That said, I'm sure we'll be working on it.

    I personally would love to do a side by side demo of them against the X-20 Tour irons. They are so similar in appearance, it would be very interesting to note the performance differences.

    One difference I have noticed between last year's X-Tour irons and this year's X-Forged models is that last year there was clearly a bore-through shaft. This year it's a blind bore. The X-Forged irons are also a little less expensive than the X-Tour's.

    The X-Project Rifle flighted shafts are definitely a favorite among stronger players right now. Still, they are one of seven steel shaft options and two graphite shaft options Callaway is offering with the X-Forged irons... which, by the way, are set to reach stores on February 15. Our buddies at Edwin Watts say they'll have some limited availability on that date.

  3. Mike Griffin says:

    So are you saying that you would purchase a used set of the X-tour irons over a new set of the X-20 tour.

    I am considering that very option. I currently have a set of X-16's and want to upgrade. The X-forged donot appeal to my eye, so I have not considered them.

    I plan to get fitted, so that may cause me to purchase the X-20 Tour.

  4. Mike Griffin says:

    So are you saying that you would purchase a used set of the X-tour irons over a new set of the X-20 tour.

    I am considering that very option. I currently have a set of X-16's and want to upgrade. The X-forged donot appeal to my eye, so I have not considered them.

    I plan to get fitted, so that may cause me to purchase the X-20 Tour.

  5. Dave from Southbury, CT says:

    I have a set of X-20 tour on order. I am a 9 handicap and have been playing X-16's for the last three years. I loved the long irons in the x-16's, but the shovels lacked feel in the 9 -pw and were too clunky around the green.

    The X-20 tours come standard with flighted rifle project x, which should help provide more of a player's trajectory on the shorter irons, yet maintain high ball flight and forgiveness on the 3-6. In demoing both the x-tour forged and x-20 tour, I found the x-20 tour more forgiving. And altough better players like to rave about "forged" feel, the feel of both clubs was indistinguishable on well hit shots.

    I think Callaway will have a hit with the combination of the hottest shafts and a head that is less of a beginner's design. My local shop was handling a lot of custom orders for them and I understand production time is 3-4 weeks due to the number of orders they are getting.

    The x-20 tours are $100 more than the X-20's, but the shaft upgrade alone is worth $20/club.

  6. Saad says:

    Hello,
    very good golf review site. I am a 34 year old golfer from Casablanca and would like some help on my future purchase.
    I am still hesitating on buying X 20 Tour. I have tried them this weekend and they were amazing. I hit them very well and they gave me allot of confidence. I had no idea at the time they were the replacement of the pro series. Now that I know, I am a bit worried that they are too hard for me since I am a 14 Handicap. The X20 looks a bit bulky tome and maybe heavier clubs. So my question is X20 Tour or X20. Please help!!!

  7. Alan Falk says:

    I have broken 80 a handful of times but normally shoot in high eighties. I like to draw the irons on occassion. I have used Ping Eye II for 20 years but grooves are getting quite worn. I was leaning towards some Callaway irons. I would appreciate some advice on what would be ideal for me.

  8. Dave says:

    I have been playing the x-20 tours for 3 months now (10-15 rounds). They are definitely not as forgiving as my X-16's (and I assume the X-20's). They are considerably longer due to the more penetrating trajectory, and easier for chipping and pitching.

    But, I hit more hooks and fades unintentially than with the x-16's.

    If you are happy with straight shots and chip with your wedges, I'm not sure the X-20 tours will help your score. If you want to work the ball and have a handicap of 12 or lower, they are terrific clubs. They will give forged club feel and performance, and some additional forgiveness.

  9. Frank says:

    Hello Guys,

    I've been reading your post and it really helps me to understand some points. But then i couldn't decide which series of iron club should i buy. I'm a beginner and i want to buy the new series since i can't tell which one is better feel when it is used.

    I appreciate your advise.

    Thanks.

  10. Dave says:

    Frank,

    I have been playing the X-20 tours for 6 months now and have probably 40 rounds in. I traded in X-16's. If you are a beginner you should definately get the X-20's or the Big Berthas and not the X-20 Tours.

    The tours are a super club and provide penetrating trajectory and workability. They won't help you get the ball up in the air or hit it straight.

    I wouldn't recommend the tours unless you consistently shoot in the low or mid 80's or better.

  11. Frank says:

    Dave,

    Thanks for the advise and you're just in time giving me some thought to consider coz i almost get the X-Forged. I am a beginner really so i have to take advantage with your recommendation and i hope i would feel the difference.

    Pardon my ignorance with the terminology being used to describe the performance of every club and if not that too much to waste your time, can you briefly tell me what thus "Forgiveness" means? And i supposed you prefer to recommend me X-20 rather than X-Forged, am i right?

    Thank you once again.

  12. Dave says:

    Frank,

    Forgiveness is a measure of how accurate the clubs are when the ball isn't struck exactly in the middle of the clubface. Golf pros and scratch golfers hit the ball on the sweet spot almost every time. Beginners hit it infrequently. The X-forged are designed for pros like Phil Michelson and Ernie Els and would be a very bad choice for you.

    The x-20's and Big Berthas have larger clubfaces, thicker soles and toplines and more offset and will slice and hook less. The will also hit the ball higher and prevent help fat shots.

    You should really go to a golf shop and demo different clubs with a pro. You wouldn't buy a car without a test drive would you?

  13. Frank says:

    Dave,

    Yeah, i'm with you there... and you hit it right (test drive before buying).

    I really thank you for the information you've shared. You're recommendation allow me to feel at ease to choose which club is suited for me (novice) and hoping to have a grasp with my first sets of club a few days.

    This thursday! I'm going to test how forgiving all my clubs :-)

    Have a nice day and God Bless.

  14. Allan says:

    I am on the crest of the "game improvement" era and have come down from 14 to 8 as i start to get serious. i was playing taylormade os II for a number of years but have fell out of love with the fat top line. I went today to be fitted for the x-20 tours but the pro has suggested the x-forged. i didnt hit the ball exceptionally high or straight with my rac's but the forged feel i just couldnt get enough of! the are on order with 6.0 project x flighted shaft which im sure made a big difference also!!! i will yet you know how i get on

  15. Chris says:

    I am a 2 handicap and i must say that the only callaway iron worth talking about right now is the x-forged. Everything else Callaway has put out has a huge topline and that includes the x-20 tours. There is no comparison, the x-forged has a much more solid feel and looks a lot better than anything else callaway has put out to the general public.

  16. Chris says:

    Hmmm.... I play as a 5 handicap and used to play 690CBs. I know play X-20 TOURS. I was a bit embarrassed to play a club that does look a bit too game-improvement, but I can draw it, fade it, up, down, etc. Also, I am 10 - 12 yards langer with these. Maybe that's due to the Rifle Flighted, but I love hitting my 5 iron 205 - 210... I shot a one-under 35 the other day with these and hit 8 greens in regulation with these. They may not be traditional but they work.

  17. Chris says:

    I have a general question. I have Callaway X-12s, but I don't play that often and am looking for more forgiveness (as well as distance if that is possible). My question is whether the newer irons will provide more forgiveness than the X-12s and which irons should be considered.

  18. Chris says:

    I have Callaway X-12s, but I haven't played much the last few years. I recently started playing on a regular basis. I'm looking for more forgiveness (as well as distance if that is possible).

    Do the newer irons provide more forgiveness than the X-12s and which irons (any brand) should I consider? I've been looking at X-20s, Big Berthas, Ping G10s and Raptures & Taylor Made R7 CGB Max.

  19. Phil says:

    I'm only a 10-capper, but I've played the X-Forged, R7TP's and Mizuno MP57's. The X-20 Tours are by far the easiest and most forgiving of the bunch and I have NOT lost any touch or workability due to the head size or anything else about the irons.

    You owe it to yourself to demo a set, or a 6-iron if possible.

    Plus.. Don't fall for the you must be a 5-10 handicap to play these. I have and know many people with higher handicaps playing these same irons.

    The standard X-20's will over exagerate a draw to a hook and the top line is significantly thicker.

    Phil

  20. Rich says:

    On a recent business trip to San Diego I was able to have a club fitting at the Callaway headquarters in nearby Carlsbad. A great experience that I highly recommend to golfers of all caliber. I am a former club/teaching pro whose playing time has been extremely limited the last few years and haven't had new clubs in over 10 years. I thought this would be an objective way to find out which clubs that are available today fit me without the pro shop bias. For about an hour and a half I hit variations of many Callaway woods and irons, as their computers recorded every possible statistic of each swing and ball flight. Iron wise it came down to either the X-20 Tour or the X Forged. When hit on the sweet spot they were both about equal distance and control wise. Of course the X-Forged had a much better feel to it, as a forged iron should. The difference came with the off center hits. The X-20 Tour was more forgiving by between 4 and 9 yards on miss hits. That is what sealed the deal for me. I don't play as much as I would like to and would give up some feel for the chance to hit a more accurate shot. Now I just have to go to my local pro shop and demo the irons. I demoed the recommended woods and they were right on. I have hit a lot of woods, but never (and I mean never) have I hit woods with more distance, accuracy and ease then I did the FT-5 Tour driver, X-Tour 3 wood and FT Hybrid 2H. I found the driver on Callawaypreowned.com. Now I just have to find a way to afford the rest of them!

  21. Bill says:

    Last year I began the latest installment of the, "I'm going to find a better club this time" journey. I had gotten to a point with my old irons where I knew something was amiss. I had never been fitted and had read/heard of how this is necessary if you want to get better. So, in I plunged. I studied different brands, went to demo days, and finally decided that Callaway was going to be the brand of choice. I anxiously awaited the release of the x-20's. I had become a student of swings and studied my own and the dynamics of the swing itself.

    Anyway, what I found was that different companies have different standards about lie angle (one company's lie angle for a particular club is not the same as another-even Callaway is guilty). Nevertheless, the experiamnt had to be engaged. Statically, my measurements were that I needed a 2* up with standard length shaft.

    So, my experiment began with a 2* upright x-20 7-iron. This was very close and made a tremendous difference. I was amazed. But, dynamically, it was determined that the shaft was too short. The shaft was lengthened by 1/2". This was almost perfect. It is unbelievable when you can truct that you won't hit thin anymore. (It still haunts me.)

    But, that was the trick. So, the rest of my irons were obtained. I played the season and had some of the best ball-striking rounds ever! The x-20's have great feel and distance. And, you can spin when you need to. They do tend to draw a bit, but that is controllable.

    But, why do I love my x-20's? Wel, the rest of the story is this. I had a heart attack in November. As I was recovering, at every visit back to my doctor, I begged for and worked toward his release to once again play the game I love. When I finally was allowed, I found that I had lost a lot of strength which is normal for heart patients. But, I was determined to play again. It ws decided that I could try grpahite shafts.

    Well, you know how we golfers are. NEW stuff came out this year and I thought I would try some-with graphite of course. The new offerings from Cobra and Callaway looked appealing. The x-20's would have to earn their way back into my good graces.

    I tried out the Cobra s-9 with an Aldila VS Proto HL shaft and a new Big Bertha with graphite. I also, re-shafted antoher x-20 with a UST RV2. I also had a 5-iron x-20 with an Aldila NV.

    The Cobra felt awesome! The Big Bertha was aweful! It is shameful. It felt unbalanced and boardy. The x-20 with UST RV2 was very good. And, so did the NV shafted 5-iron.

    After much trial, it came down to the Cobra and the NV shafted x-20. And, the x-20's jsut felt better. So, I had my x-20's re-shafted with NV 85gram shafts. And, I can play again. The flight is a bit lower, but is longer more boring.

    And, I haven't regretted if for a moment.

  22. Phil says:

    I have a set of x-20 tours with px 6.0 shaft. The pro talked me into the set and I am a little scared. I am about an 18 handicap and looking to improve. HELP

  23. RYAN says:

    he all, been reading your posts..good info i was a 12 handy cap back in the early 90s havent played a lot since then last year i went out with an enlaw and found my swing that i once had ,,now i have vigor to go back on the course like old times so i decided to buy a new set of x-20 irons and the hyper x driver and fairway woods...my old set was tommy armmour eql they great at the time ,,i had only been playing about 9 months so they helped with the learning process..hope these will be a good choice what do yall think

  24. Morgan says:

    Last year I decided I was taking golf more seriously and really get after it. I sold my bass boat (see $4 a gallon gas prices) and set out to get the best golf clubs money could buy. I was not a great golfer, 98 or 100 was not uncommon for me. I'd only broken into the high 80's once. So I joined a club, bought a golf cart, rented a shed and started my hunt for new irons. It came down to X20's or Pings. Both great clubs, but it ended up being the X20's. I hit countless balls at the pro shop, inside as I live in Iowa and it was winter, awaiting spring. While it's easy to become comfy at the fake grass and same old surroundings and computer simulators telling you you're the next Tiger Woods (they are there to sell you product after all) I was ready for the real thing. It's now one full year later, dead of winter again, and my review of the X20's, not the pro X20's, is here. I now shoot low 80's on a regular basis. While I also bought a new driver, I can tell you the X20's easily took 10 strokes off my game. They are forgiving for a local hack like me, I rarely hit the sweet spot just right. But my X20's still hit it straight and nearly to target. When I do hit the sweetspot it's the shots that bring you back for more. While I rarely use the 3 or 4 Iron, the rest are very forgiving, way longer than my last set of hign end Wilsons and very SOLID at impact. No more vibrating hands, even on bad hits, and that gives me tons of confidence to just hit the ball. I paid $700 for my irons and they did everything that everyone said they would. Worth every penny and they'll be in my bag for 10 years easy.

  25. Phil says:

    Read some of the comments. Am glad I found this webpage. I am presently thinking of buying new Callaway irons. I now play X18 Tours. I am about to turn 67. I have a four handicap. My question is what shaft do I need? I don't think I want the uniflex. If I buy the rifle shaft, do I get a 5.0 or 5.5. If I buy graphite, do I want stiff or regular? My swing speed is about 80 mph. My seven iron is about 165 yards. Please help with my decision. Thank you.
    --The Doctor

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