First released in late 2008, the Callaway X-22 irons evolved from the X-20 irons. Following the successful X-Forged clubs, Callaway engineers have worked in close consultation with Tour professionals to produce a set of irons with the popular, thin top line and narrow sole and added bounce. However, there is no reduction in the size of the ball-striking area. The long irons are marginally heavier than their predecessors, aiding the production of a more penetrating ball flight. Callaway’s X-Series of irons, of which the X-22 is the 6th incarnation, have essentially laid down the industry performance standard for golf club manufacturers. Callaway appear to have continued this trend with the X-22 Series irons.
The X-22s are designed with the maximum possible peripheral weighting, allegedly producing a moment of inertia some 10% greater than their forerunners. Coupled with a low, ideally positioned centre of gravity, this means that the X-22 irons offer a greater degree of absolution for “off-centre” shots, whilst producing the best possible trajectory of ball flight. “Precision Notch Weighting” aids in the precise positioning of more weight to the perimeter of the club to generate a higher moment of inertia for greater forgiveness and stability whilst maintaining the centre of gravity position that produces ideal trajectories and feel. The X-22s also feature the modified “Tru-Bore” design, an advanced version of the original design. A polycarbonate plug at the end of the shaft leads to improved “feel” and performance as a result of less vibration. The clubhead shape features aspects designed for professional players, such as a thinner top line and narrow sole. However, Callaway has succeeded in combining such facets with an excellent visual appearance and a large sweet spot into a highly forgiving set of irons that can be played by a wide range of golfers of varying abilities. “VFT Technology” helps to increase ball speed from the clubface for additional distance, whilst the S2H2 hosel shifts weight from the club hosel to the perimeter of the clubhead. A 360 degree undercut channel further aids peripheral weighting by making the centre of gravity lower and further back in the clubhead, making for a bigger hitting area and a stable clubhead, adding even more forgiveness. The X-22s are available in both right and left handed models, with a choice of flexes in both steel and graphite shafts.
“Forgiving” was the word most commonly quoted amongst reviewers of the Callaway X-22 irons, the majority of whom found the irons very easily, accurately and consistently. The X-22 irons were particularly well received amongst the mid to high handicappers amongst the reviewers. It has become fashionable of late for such golfers to replace the unforgiving long irons (3- and 4- irons) with easier to hit hybrids or the more lofted fairway woods. However, the majority of this group of reviewers found that the X-22 3- and 4-irons were easier to hit consistently than some 6-irons. Those players with a tendency to slice the ball found that the increased moment of inertia and hence resistance to twisting, along with a low centre of gravity, helped produce straighter, more high flying shots. Beginners found the “grip guides,” indicating the correct hand positioning very useful.
Despite the fact that the X-22 irons are essentially “game improvement” irons, the better players amongst the reviewers were also extremely impressed by their looks and performance. Whilst they are undoubtedly easier to hit, Callaway have ensured that the design of the X-22 irons will appeal to a wide range of players. By narrowing the top line and sole, the Callaway engineers have produced an aesthetically pleasing set of irons, without the sort of hefty, thickset looks that a more accomplished player may find offputting. Furthermore, with the reduction of the width of the sole, the X-22 irons offer a level of “workability” that competitors’ irons will find difficult to match, even allowing for the truer flight of modern golf balls. The Callaway X-22s have plenty of innovative features, but retain some of the familiar technologies of previous X-Series irons, such as the variable thickness clubface and S2H2 hosel. The appearance of the X-22 irons reflects their high quality with the sole notches supporting the impression of power and stability. The Callaway X-series of irons have always been high quality products and the latest offering is no exception (though reflected in the big price tag). A Tour version is also offered with a sleeker hosel, thinner top line and progressively narrower soles that allow even the top players a high degree of flexibility.