Let's face it: the average American male golfer's handicap is 16; the average female handicap is 29. There are a lot of us who can use all the help our equipment can give us.
Callaway's Fusion Wide Sole irons join a growing industry trend to create a wide-sole, large-face, generously offset iron for the average golfer. The original Fusions were heralded as some of the most forgiving irons ever made. The Fusion Wide Soles took that forgiving design even further.
Do the Callaway Wide Sole irons live up to their ultra-forgiving promise? I compared these irons to the regular Fusions and the forged clubs I normally play and came to some interesting conclusions. Take a look at what I found…
Design and Technology
The Callaway website says that the Fusion Wide Sole Irons "combine Fusion Technology - Callaway Golf's innovative weight distribution technology - with an advanced multi-material design to create an oversized game-improvement iron. The result is an iron that plays longer and offers unmatched performance an playability."
There is no hiding that the Fusion Wide Sole Irons are game improvement top to bottom. Everything about this club has been designed to maximize the likelihood of hitting quality golf shots regardless of "minor" swing flaws.
According to Callaway, titanium weighs 35% less the steel used in a conventional iron clubhead. The "lightweight titanium body allows for a 25% larger clubhead than the Fusion Iron," according to a Fusion Wide Sole and Fusion comparison. Callaway has paired that lightweight titanium body to a heavy "Tunite" sole insert that lowers the center of gravity. This, in turn, helps golfers get the ball up in the air quickly. Callaway engineers also moved 77% of the clubhead's weight to the perimeter of the clubhead. This increased the moment of inertia (MOI) for increased forgiveness.
The Wide Sole's sole design "helps each iron in the set glide smoothly and easily through the turf to reduce clubhead digging or catching on missed shots."
The Wide Sole irons share the unique TPU (thermoplastic urethane) insert that tunes face feel through decreased vibration. This material and design is meant to enhance a solid feel throughout the set.
Looks and Setup
These irons are big. You'll notice the large topline, sole, and face are a clear departure from tradition iron design. You may never have seen a pitching wedge quite like this. Sitting being the ball they are definitely bulkier than your average irons. Their appearance took a little getting used to.
The irons are long from heel to toe which means the face has a lot of ball-striking real estate. The mid- and long-irons are definitely confidence inspiring as each iron, from the pitching wedge up, looks like a little hybrid. If you've ever stood over a blade-like 3-iron and started to tense up, these might be the irons for you.
White alignment aids sit to the right and left of the face and in the two lowest grooves. As a result, aligning the clubface to the target is very easy. Generous offset is clearly visible from the address position, which should help those who have trouble leaving shots out to the right.
While they do not look like your average iron, they are a good looking set of clubs which have nice styling from the ground up.
I'll be honest, I wasn't terribly excited about the Fusion Wide Sole Irons when I pulled them out of the box. They are clearly a departure from what I was used to and that large size took a little getting used to… until I saw how they perform. Callaway hasn't hidden the Wide Sole's technological assets and every ounce of forgiveness in iron design is squeezed out of the Fusion Wide Sole Irons. I was won over by how easy they are to play.
The Fusion Wide Soles have a muted but solid feel compared to the regular Callaway Fusions. You'll know if you've hit the ball in the center of the clubface, but you aren't going to get a ton of feedback on off-center hits unless you hit one off the end of the toe. This is what I expected from such a large iron. You will hear and feel a satisfying "click" when you hit a ball on the center of the clubface. I used the pitching wedge and short irons for bump-and-runs and they provided enough feel for those touch shots around the greens but nothing like a cut-muscle blade of course.
I noted a significant difference between the feel of the Fusions and the Fusion Wide Sole. The regular Fusions provide quite a bit more feel than the Wide Soles. I like the feel found in the regular Fusions. You'll have a pretty good idea of how you hit the ball with the Fusions. Not as much with the Wide Soles. Players who like and rely upon feel and feedback will find the Fusion Wide Soles don't tell them much.
Herein lies a decision any player must make in their choice of irons: Greater feel or greater forgiveness. Some irons do a better job of blending feel and forgiveness but every set of irons lies somewhere on the feel vs. forgiveness continuum. The Fusion Wide Soles are on the ultra-forgiving/not so much feel side.
Forgiveness on Off-Center Hits
The only place you'll find more forgiveness than the Wide Sole irons is at church. Towards the heel, toe, slightly thin, thick, it doesn't matter. If there is anything good about your swing, these clubs will find it. When I got less than solid contact I didn't lose much distance or accuracy.
The generous face doesn't penalize slightly off-center contact. You have to wander pretty far out towards the toe to notice a huge difference in feel or flight when compared to other irons. The Wide Soles are more forgiving than the Fusions particularly when you consider turn interaction.
Being a Pacific Northwest resident, I deal with my fair share of wet and spongy conditions. Its easy to take a massive beaver pelt hitting the ball just a tad thick around here. The Wide Soles do a fantastic job of keeping the clubhead above ground when you get too steep.
It is pretty tough to hit a terrible shot with these sticks. I could feel these irons prevent me from digging a few times during the review. Most of all they put a smile on my face when I added up the score after the round was over. When your ball striking is inconsistent these irons will help you play more consistently.
If your misses are heavy, the Wide Soles will be a real asset. They played well on full and partial shots and on chips and pitches. They were great on delicate shots around the greens because it is really hard to stub one with the sole design. You know the kind of shot I'm talking about: you get a little tentative and chunk one around the greens. The Wide Soles help you avoid that kind of miss.
I reviewed these with True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 stiff shafts installed and while I did notice the ball flight was higher it never ballooned or flew too high. A lighter shaft would allow you to get the ball up in the air very easily.
The Wide Soles are designed to get the ball up in the air quickly and they accomplish that goal. If you ever have trouble getting the ball up in the air these irons will certainly help you.
My set came gripped with Winn's V17 series ribbed grips. They are comfortable, have a design that allows you to get your hands on the club consistently, and allow you to put the club more in the fingers thanks to the ribbed design. They are comfortable and stable.
My only gripe with the Wide Sole grips is that they aren't as durable or as good in the rain as other rubber grips I use. The Fusions have stock rubber grips.
The Wide Soles are anchored by a 46° pitching wedge with a 51° gap-, 56° sand-, and 60° lob-wedge available. The remaining lofts follow: 9-iron (41°), 8-iron (37°), 7-iron (33°), 6-iron (29°), 5-iron (26°), 4-iron (23.5°), 3-iron (21°), and 2-iron (18°).
Each club is available right- or left-handed. Three graphite and eight steel shafts are available in various configurations.
You'd be hard pressed to find a more forgiving iron. There were times when I'd shake my head and say, "I'll take that" after a less-than-desireable-swing produced a great result. Don't get me wrong: you've got to swing well to play good golf, but these clubs can squeeze blood out of the golf turnip. They are easy to hit and were very satisfying to have in the bag.
Their lack is in feel and feedback. It can be difficult to diagnose swing faults when you're not really sure where on the face you're hitting the ball.
But here's the real proof: I shot a personal best with these irons after only two rounds with them. You think Callaway's Wide Sole Irons work? I do. Some may find their unconventional look and sheer size overwhelming to the eyes but I think you'll get over it quickly when you see what a difference they make on the course. Those who realize that golf is a game of low scores will consider the Wide Sole Irons a trusted ally.
You can buy the Callaway Fusion Wide Sole irons at Edwin Watts.