Reengineering the face of an iron to make it behave with the same flexibility idea seen in drivers has been a big story with some of the introductions we've already seen this fall, and Callaway is the next to embrace this idea of bringing distance to the iron game.
The company's new X Hot and X Hot Pro irons employ a thinner face design for improved ballspeed. That's not new, but through a unique undercut cavity, the X Hot and X Hot Pro are designed to lower the area of the face that is most flexible in an effort to put it in line with where most iron shot impacts occur: low on the face.
"The X Hot Irons have been meticulously engineered - both in terms of physical characteristics and club configuration--to increase ball speed and promote overall distance optimization," said Alan Hocknell, Callaway's Senior Vice President, research and development. "And in doing so I think we have raised the bar and created the standard in distance for the irons category."
The new irons borrow a piece of technology long seen in its driver technology. The irons look to increase energy efficiency on hits by optimizing stiffness to different degrees across the face.
The X Hot iron line's deep undercut cavity is meant to allow engineers to lower the "sweet spot" on the club. The redesigned face is meant to increase ball speed on off-center hits. But both the X Hot and X Hot Pro have removed the undercut from the top line, an effort to lower the most compliant section of the iron. The X Hot features more offset and a wider sole than the X Hot Pro, and the latter features a more compact size and blade length. But the X Hot sole utilizes a rear chamfer that reduces the actual ground contact area, and the X Hot short irons are more compact than the RAZR X irons, introduced two years ago.
Along with the irons, Callaway's also introducing its X Hot and X Hot Pro hybrids, which feature a thin-faced design for distance and a reconfigured sole plate with more relief in the heel and the toe meant to increase forgiveness on a variety of lies.
The new irons, which join Callaway's X Forged irons in its 2013 products
, will be available Jan. 25, 2013. The X Hot irons, which in a departure for the company will feature two flex options on the True Temper Speed Step 85 lightweight steel shaft as standard, will be available on Jan. 25 for $700. The X Hot Pro irons, which will be offered with the True Temper Project X 95 shaft in three flexes as standard, will sell at $800. The X Hot hybrid, available in 3- to 6-iron lofts, and the X Hot pro, with a more compact head in lofts of
16, 18, 20 and 23 degrees, are priced at $180.