Callaway X-20 Irons Review: Do They Live Up to Their Heritage?

So, what about Callaway X-20 irons? Through all the years and different versions, Callaway’s “X” series of irons have always delivered strong performance. And year after year, many golfers consider Callaway Golf to be the maker of that year’s top-rated irons. Do their X-20 irons live up to that impressive heritage?

Sure, their looks are stylish. And, they’re made by one of the foremost golf club companies. But are these irons more than just a pretty face?

There are actually two versions of them: the “standard” version, which I review here; and the Callaway X-20 Tour, which is intended to be used by highly accomplished players. The set I tested included the 4-iron through sand wedge and was fitted with Callaway’s steel “uniflex” shafts.

Callaway X-20 irons Review

I warmed up by hitting the clubs on the range and then took them straight over to my home course and played them for a round. Read the following review of Callaway X-20 irons to learn about some of their features and how they performed out on the course.

There’s no doubt that these clubs are lookers. There’s something about the way the deep blue “X” graphics on the back contrast with the silver that makes these clubs look, well, regal. But Callaway knows looks aren’t everything. It designed Callaway X-20 irons to give serious golfers an overall high level of performance, including accuracy, feel, distance and enhanced forgiveness.

Introduced in 2007 and still being actively marketed as of 2010, Callaway X-20 irons use something the company calls “Extreme Notch Weighting.” Basically, this design shifts weight to the perimeter of the club head to create a high Moment of Inertia (“MOI”). As a general rule, a higher MOI increases both forgiveness and control.

The center of gravity (“CG”) of Callaway X-20 irons is lower than that of the set’s predecessors, the very successful Callaway X-18 irons. A system Callaway calls the “Progressive Wall Reduction System” lowers the CG progressively through the set, with the lowest CG in the long irons and the highest CG in the short irons and wedges. A low CG in your long irons helps you launch the ball higher, but it also improves feel and distance on your flushed shots. And naturally, those things all improve your confidence.

And, because the clubs are Callaways, they naturally include Callaway’s “Core Technologies.” The company’s vaunted “VFT® Technology” uses variable face-thickness to promote maximum ball speed and distance, while its S2H2® (“Short, Straight, Hollow Hosel”) design removes weight from the hosel and repositions it in the perimeter, increasing the MOI. Callaway’s “Tru-Bore Technology®” (which is actually part of the S2H2® design) dampens vibrations and promotes terrific feel by extending the tip of the shaft through the head all the way to the bottom of the sole. You know the black oval that’s on the bottom of most Callaway clubs? That’s actually the end of the shaft showing through.

Even more perimeter weighting is provided by Callaway’s “180-Degree Undercut Channel,” which also increases the size of the sweet spot by moving the CG back and down in the club head. The result is a hotter, more stable, forgiving club head.

These “Core Technologies” are tried-and-true designs that have stood up to the test of time. They’ve been used quite successful in many of Callaway’s clubs, and they’re in the Callaway X-20 irons.

These irons are game-improvement clubs, and they’re aimed primarily at average- to high-handicap players who are serious about wanting to improve. They look good in the bag, but they look even better at address. They’re very well-balanced and they swing almost effortlessly.

I never lost track of the head while I was swinging, and hitting the ball on the sweet spot was easy, even with the longer irons in the set. When I flushed the ball the feel was pretty sweet and pure for cast clubs (as opposed to forged), and I was rewarded with a high trajectory and good distance. I’m not sure I’ve ever hit a 4-iron quite as high. I didn’t need to hit any knockdown shots during my round (was it the Callaway X-20 irons that kept me out of trouble?), but because of the high ball flight it might be difficult to keep the ball low with these clubs.

These irons are straight, and even my miss-hits stayed pretty much on my target line, with the main penalty for a poor shot being a loss of distance. Of course, that type of forgiveness means working the ball can be difficult.

The Bottom Line: You’ll get plenty of distance out of Callaway X-20 irons, and they’re also plenty forgiving. If you try these irons, you might find yourself hitting a lot more greens in regulation. Think of them as the perfect blend of playability and forgiveness. You can still find Callaway X-20 irons in many golf shops and online stores.

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