Which Callaway iron suits me?

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Which Callaway irons should I buy? Your guide to each iron in Callaway's line-up, and who they are aimed at

Most major brands have five, six or even seven irons in their 2019 line-ups, which shows the importance of having solutions for all golfers, irrespective of ability or personal preference. Choices range from slimline musclebacks to hollow heads and cavity backs, and while some are forged, others have springy faces just like a driver.  

So with such a huge amount of choice out there, we felt it was far too easy for golfers to get confused about which model best suits them. Even golfers who have a good idea of which iron suits them probably don’t realise what they put on the line in terms of ball speed, carry and forgiveness by choosing a set above their station.

So as 2019’s irons hit pro shop shelves, we felt the time was right to show how a brand’s whole iron range compares against each other.

As well as launch monitor data from our pro, we’ve given every iron a forgiveness rating and a handicap guide to spell out simply what sort of players should be considering what sort of models, and why.

ROBOT TESTED: Which golf ball suits my game?

Callaway Apex MB iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 34°; Offset: 2.3mm; One-piece forged from 1025 carbon steel construction

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Apex MB iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed:116 MPH Launch Angle: 21.2° Backspin: 6067 RPM Peak Height: 36 Yards Descent Angle: 49° Carry Distance: 162 Yards

Who are they for?

When Callaway first started out it took them an age to get a player to win a Major with their irons in the bag. They even changed founder Ely Callaway’s original philosophy (of making new products demonstrably better) to make it happen with a forged iron. What’s our point? Well, it demonstrates how much Tour pros love their forged irons, and shows how the very best players appreciate what forged irons, in particular blades, bring to the party.

To put it bluntly, unless your ball striking is like Sergio Garcia’s, don’t even think your game’s good enough to live with the MBs - they’re a serious piece of kit, with absolutely no game improving tech at all. Giving up more than 7mph of ball speed and 18 yards of carry with a seven iron to the brilliant forged Apex 19 isn’t a worthwhile trade-off for virtually any club golfer.

Which TaylorMade iron suits me?

Foresight GC Quad

Why we use a Foresight GC Quad launch monitor

Callaway X-Forged iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 33°; Offset: 2.8mm; One-piece forged from 1025 carbon steel construction 

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway X Forged iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 116.9 MPH Launch Angle: 20.7° Backspin: 6186 RPM Peak Height: 36 Yards Descent Angle: 49° Carry Distance: 163 Yards

Who are they for?

With Phil Mickelson having the X-Forged in his own bag, this really is as far as club golfers need to look down the Callaway iron line-up. The head has very straight lead and top edges which are specifically aimed at very good, clean ball strikers. There’s no cup face, and the difference the tech makes is stark (4mph ball speed and six yards carry) comparing X-Forged to an Apex 19 Pro 7-iron (with cup face) of the same loft.

As seductive as the X-Forged are, with their beautifully simple heads and satin finish, we reckon 90% of category two club golfers will be better served in terms of ball speed protection and playability by one of Callaway’s Apex 19 models. Be warned.

Which Ping iron suits me?

At a glance comparison

Callaway Iron Comparison

Callaway Apex Pro 19 iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 33°; Offset: 2.8mm; Forged 1025 mild carbon steel body, with Cup Face in the 8 - AW construction

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Apex Pro 19 iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 121.4 MPH Launch Angle: 20.1° Backspin: 6327 RPM Peak Height: 38 Yards Descent Angle: 50° Carry Distance: 169 Yards

Who are they for?

Judging by our website traffic Apex irons were the most eagerly awaited iron launch of 2019. Apex Pro didn’t waste any time getting down to business on tour, either, winning their first week out (Xander Schauffele). Unlike the previous model there’s cup face technology in the long and mid irons (3-7 irons). In our opinion the tech adds some seriously needed zip which makes the Pro longer irons slightly more playable than some of the competition.

If your game’s on the fence between the Pro and Apex 19, think about what you want from your irons. If a few extra yards are on your radar, you have to be looking at Apex 19. The 2.5° 7-iron loft difference and 20g lighter shaft meant a shift of 4mph of ball speed and 11 yards more carry towards the standard model for our test pro.

How do they compare - Handicap Guide

Brands hate giving an indication of which handicap of golfer each iron typically suits, as it pigeon-holes their models. We've given each a handicap guide below to help ensure you buy the set most suited to your ability.  

Callaway Iron Comparison

Callaway Apex 19 iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 30.5°; Offset: 3mm; Forged 1025 mild carbon steel body with Cup Face construction

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Apex 19 iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 124.7 MPH Launch Angle: 18.6° Backspin: 5362 RPM Peak Height: 37 Yards Descent Angle: 48° Carry Distance: 180 Yards

Who are they for?

Apex 19 had a seriously tough act to follow as the previous Apex CF16 was one of our favourite irons over the last three years. We’re not quite sure how Callaway has done it, but everything about the Apex is just as desirable – if not more so.

This is Callaway’s forged iron for the masses, so it ticks all the boxes for ball speed and forgiveness, while also scoring extremely well in terms of decent levels of launch, backspin and descent angle, which means you’ll be able to get shots on to the green, and stop them there, too.

If you’re looking for a new set of forged irons in 2019, you’d be doing yourself a disservice not to put Apex 19 on your shortlist to try. 

Find out more in our video comparison below

Apex MB vs X-Forged vs Apex Pro 19 vs Apex 19 vs Rogue vs Rogue X vs Big Bertha

Callaway Rogue iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 30°; Offset: 5.8mm; Cast with Cup Face construction

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Rogue iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 127.4 RPM Launch Angle: 18.9° Backspin: 4404 RPM Peak Height: 38 Yards Descent Angle: 48° Carry Distance: 191 Yards

Who are they for?

The vast majority of golfers who play the game need game improver irons, and that’s the exact audience Callaway has targeted with the standard Rogue model. The beauty of Callaway’s game improver irons is how the heads –compared to others – don’t look massively oversized or stretched, yet thanks to a deep cavity and plenty of offset are really friendly to use.

Our test pro’s backspin numbers are, like the Rogue X, a bit low, but as long as you keep an eye on these, along with the peak height you generate on a launch monitor, you really can’t go wrong with Rogue. If your iron swing speed is anywhere close to being average or below then the Big Berthas might well be a great shout.

Callaway Rogue X iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 27°; Offset: 6.9mm; Cast with Cup Face construction

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Rogue X iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 131 MPH Launch Angle: 16.6° Backspin: 3794 RPM Peak Height: 35 Yards Descent Angle: 44° Carry Distance: 205 yards

Who are they for?

The X’s extremely fast ball speed and massive 7-iron carry distance both come from what in other sets is essentially a 6-iron loft. But our pro’s data highlights beautifully an issue some golfers see with strong lofted irons.

A low launch, little backspin and a shallow descent angle mean shots will struggle to stop on a green. That isn’t what some golfers want. But here’s the strange thing. TG gear ed Simon Daddow has used Rogue X irons for a year with absolutely no such difficulty.

So how do you know if strong lofted irons suit you or not? Try them on a launch monitor. If launch, backspin, peak height and descent angle drop off you really need to look at either the standard Rogue or Apex 19 instead.  

Which Cobra iron suits me?

Callaway Iron Test

Callaway Big Bertha iron

7-iron specs:

Loft: 30°; Offset: 5mm; Cast with Cup Face construction 

Iron forgiveness rating

Callaway Big Bertha iron

The numbers:

Ball Speed: 124.2 MPH Launch Angle: 18° Backspin: 5839 RPM Peak Height: 36 Yards Descent Angle: 48° Carry Distance: 177 Yards

Who are they for?

Lightweight irons weren’t even a thing a few years ago, but with the golfing population growing steadily older manufacturers now target golfers’ decreasing swing speeds with specific models.

Thanks to a hollow skeleton type construction, weight is focused in very precise locations to improve stability and MOI performance, which makes the Big Bertha one of the most forgiving irons we’ve tested in 2019. There’s a lovely compact head shape (for a super game improver model), and because they target average swing speeds they’re also lighter than Callaway’s other men’s models.

How do you know if your swing speed needs Big Bertha or Rogue? Try both on a launch monitor and look very closely at the back spin, peak height and carry distance numbers between the pair (they both have the same loft). At slower swing speeds more spin generally helps get shots airborne, and keeps them in the air for longer, which naturally increases carry distance

How they compare in data

Callaway Iron Data