Callaway is a U.S-based golf equipment manufacturing company.
Founded by Ely Callaway Jr. in 1982, Callaway has been providing the U.S golfing market with high-quality, high-performance golf equipment for nearly 4 decades.
Consequently, Callaway is one of the most well-loved and trusted golf equipment manufacturers both inside and outside of the U.S.
Callaway’s range of products is impressive, ranging from golf clubs to golf balls, and even including a variety of golfing apparel such as sweaters, gloves, and shoes, amongst many other accessories.
Today, however, we’ll be reviewing one particular Callaway product that first emerged onto the gold market in 2013, and has since helped to support and improve the play of a great many golfers worldwide: Callaway’s X Hot irons.
These X Hot irons form part of Callaway’s X Hot series, which also includes fairway woods and hybrids. However, the X Hot irons are a particularly stand-out product amongst the series, and against much of the competition in the golfing industry.
In this article, we’ll break down the key features of Callway’s X Hot iron design, weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of this model, and answer some frequently asked questions so you can decide for yourself whether these irons are what you need to step up your golfing game.
Wide Steel Clubhead
Callaway’s X Hot irons have been designed with a wide-set steel clubhead.
Stainless steel is the most popular material for use in golf club manufacturing. The incorporation of this material in the X Hot iron construction, therefore, suggests that Callaway has prioritized tried and tested design elements as well as innovative technology.
The face of the club has a large surface area, meaning that the ‘sweet spot’ (the point of optimal energy transfer) is expanded. This is a really great feature for mid to high-handicap golfers because it ensures that energy is transferred efficiently from the clubhead to the ball, even in instances when the ball is hit slightly off-center.
The clubface itself isn’t the only part of the X Hot ironhead that has been expanded for optimal performance.
The sole of the clubhead has also been widened. This is a feature typically seen in iron hybrids, which many golfers prefer due to their increased loft, trajectory, and distance. The incorporation of the wide sole feature in the design of the X Hot irons is ideal for several reasons.
First, a wider sole usually means that the club’s center of gravity is lowered. Callaway has incorporated another feature into its X Hot irons to pull down their center of gravity (see below), but a wide sole in and of itself sets these irons off to a great start in terms of ball elevation, even on mishits.
The second advantage brought to the table by the X Hot irons’ wide soles is the forgiveness of this feature in terms of bounce.
Narrower club soles are traditionally favored by more experienced or professional players, but they’re not easy to hit a clean shot with. In fact, the narrower the sole, the more likely the clubhead is to dig into the ground when it comes into contact with the turf.
This, of course, is far from ideal when you’re trying to take a clean shot. With a wider sole, the clubhead is more likely to bounce off the turf rather than cutting into it.
Ultimately, the wide-design, stainless steel clubhead featured on Callaway’s X Hot irons is a significant contributor to the overall forgiveness and performance-enhancement of these clubs.
Deep Undercut Cavity Design
The deep undercut cavity design of Callaway’s X Hot irons is part of what makes these irons so easy to play with.
An undercut cavity is a hollowed-out portion on the back of an iron’s clubhead. These cavities can be deep or shallow.
A deep undercut cavity is a highly sought-after club feature amongst higher handicappers. This is because a deeper undercut cavity helps to lower the center of gravity of the club.
As we’ve already mentioned, a lower center of gravity, such as that enabled by the clubs’ wide soles, can help to achieve better shot elevation, even when the ball is hit slightly outside of the usual ‘sweet spot’.
By repositioning the clubhead’s center of gravity further towards the sole for this model, Callaway ensures that the X Hot irons provide more controlled shots with a higher trajectory, even when the club makes contact with the ball lower down on the clubface.
Speed Frame Face Technology
Speed Frame Face Technology has been incorporated into the clubfaces of Callaway’s X Hot irons.
This technology provides stiffness across the clubface, making for efficient transfer of energy from the clubhead to the ball.
Better energy transfer translates to cleaner, more powerful, long-distance shots.
Therefore, because of their use of Speed Frame Face Technology, Callaway’s X Hot irons are perfect for taking accurate, long-distance shots across the fairway.
The Feel-Management Technology used by Callaway is another great feature of the X Hot irons.
This technology has been designed to refine the sound created by the club on impact. Not only does this improved sound make more a more satisfying and pleasant golf experience but it is also better for providing vibrational feedback.
With Callaway’s Feel-Management Technology, the X Hot irons promise to improve both the satisfaction and consistency of your golf game.
The X Hot irons also incorporate V Grooves on their clubfaces.
V Grooves, as opposed to Square or U Grooves, are thought to be more consistent in terms of the amount of spin they apply to the golf ball on impact.
As you may or may not know, there has been some controversy in the golfing world during the last decade or so surrounding clubface groove configurations, particularly in tournament or competition environments.
U Grooves, or Square Grooves, are thought to be easier to play with in the sand and rough of a golf course. As a result, there has been some theorization that using Square or U Grooves may provide players with an unfair advantage in competitive play.
Therefore, while the X Hot irons are very forgiving clubs in general, their incorporation of V Grooves removes the potential for reliance on Square and U Groove designs, encouraging better accuracy and consistency.
Additionally, V Grooves are thought to provide better control and precision.
True Temper Steel or Project X Graphite Shaft
Callaway’s X Hot irons feature a choice of shafts and are available in either True Temper steel or Project X graphite. These shafts can be purchased with either left or right-hand orientation, and regular or stiff flex. They are also available in men’s and women’s designs.
The manufacture of the X Hot iron model in two different shaft materials, hand orientations, and flex ratings speaks to Callaway’s commitment to customer-focused versatility.
The Project X shaft design is trusted by professional golfers worldwide. These shafts are high-performing due to their short length and stout profiles, which help to reduce spin and increase control.
True Temper’s XP shafts, meanwhile, are built for power and consistency.
There is some debate amongst the golf community regarding whether steel or graphite shafts are ‘better’. However, this is actually an unhelpful way to approach the choice between graphite and steel for shaft material.
Ultimately, because so much of golf comes down to figuring out your individual style of play (and which accessories best enhance it), the better way to approach this dilemma is to figure out which material complements your play most effectively.
The primary difference between graphite and steel shafts is their respective weights. Steel shafts are significantly heavier than their graphite counterparts, which many golfers consider to be a disadvantage because it can potentially reduce swing speed.
However, steel provides more feedback than graphite in terms of vibration.
Therefore, if you struggle with consistency in your play, you may benefit from the feedback provided by a steel shaft in addition to the steel clubhead of the X Hot iron. Conversely, if your main play issue is in achieving ball speed and distance, a graphite shaft is likely to suit you better.
Ultimately, the multiple X Hot iron shaft materials and orientations offered by Callaway make these irons incredibly versatile and easily customized for individual compatibility.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which clubs are included in the X Hot series?
Callaway has included all the club types you need to make up an incredibly high-performing set in its X Hot series.
The X Hot series of clubs includes a driver, a 3-wood, a 5-wood, a 3-hybrid, a 4-hybrid, and, of course, the X Hot irons.
These clubs are configurable for men and women, left and right-hand orientation, and stiff, regular, or light flex preference.
Each club in the X Hot series has been innovatively designed for high performance in its intended shot type.
The X Hot fairway woods, for example, are built with shallow clubfaces for improved launch and greater stability.
The X Hot driver, meanwhile, incorporates Variable Face Thickness Technology for efficient energy transfer and fast ball speeds right off the tee.
The X Hot hybrids, like the fairway woods, have shallow clubfaces. Like the irons, they also have low centers of gravity for optimal elevation and consistency.
What is the difference between the X Hot and X Hot Pro series?
As you may already know, in addition to the X Hot series, Callaway has manufactured a series of X Hot Pro clubs.
The differences between the X Hot and X Hot Pro club models are subtle, but depending on your individual style of play, you may find one series better suited to your needs than the other.
Whilst there are various differences across the X Hot and X Hot Pro series between all the individual clubs, for the purposes of this review, we’ll be focusing on the differences between the X Hot and X Hot Pro irons specifically.
The Callaway X Hot Pro irons offer a couple of features not included in the X Hot irons.
First of all, the X Hot Pro irons use J Face Technology, which is a relatively new technology in the golf world.
The term ‘J Face’ refers to the shape of the cavity on the back of the clubhead. This cavity shape is designed to enhance the long-distance performance of the club to a greater extent than the X Hot range.
The X Hot Pro irons also have smaller heads and more closely spaced grooves for increased spin. These features make the X Hot Pro series more suited to advanced or low-handicap golfers.
Some customers and reviewers have reported preferring the design, feel, and play of the X Hot Pro irons to the standard X Hot models. However, once again, this will largely come down to the individual preferences and skill level of the user.
- Deep Undercut Cavity design expands the ‘sweet spot’
- Speed Frame Face Technology provides better energy transfer
- Feel-Management Technology for better sound and feedback
- V Grooves encourage consistency and accuracy
- Graphite and steel shaft options available
- Shaft available in left and right-hand orientation
- Choice of regular or stiff shaft rating
- Available in men’s and women’s models
- Some players prefer the look and feel of the Pro design
Overall, Callaway’s X Hot irons are very forgiving golf clubs that are likely to significantly improve the play of mid to high handicappers.
These irons have several corrective features, such as the lowered center of gravity provided by the undercut cavity design, and the efficient energy transfer ensured by the Speed Frame Face technology. These features help the user to execute better shots, even when contact is slightly off-center.
The accurate performance of these irons across long distances challenges the claim of fairway woods and drivers to the title of best distance-performing club type.
Moreover, the versatility of the X Hot irons’ material, orientation, and flex combinations make these irons a versatile choice of club that can be adapted to suit most any golfer’s preference.
More experienced or low-handicap golfers may prefer the X Hot Pro irons over the X Hot series. However, we definitely recommend Callaway’s X Hot irons to any mid to high-handicap golfer looking to improve their game.