For a 16-year-old club, the Callaway X-20 irons still stand out for their enhanced confidence at address with a thick top line and excellent impact feel. The expanded cavity enhances forgiveness, ensuring consistency across the set. It’s affordable, and it will work well for beginners.
The Callaway X20 irons were released in 2007, but people still seek them in 2024. Having used the steel shaft version of the X20 irons for about six years on the side, I have to confess that they are not the longest, but they do well for feel and control because I can hit the PW around 100 yards and 10 yards more for each club as you go up.
If you’re looking to use the Callaway X20s and consider whether or not it’s ideal, this article is for you. This article will walk you through all you need to know about these irons to decide if they still have anything to offer the high-handicap golfer.
Callaway X20 Irons Specifications
You must have seen some say they have no plans to change from using the X20s in the foreseeable future because of how comfortable it is. But the reality is that these sets of irons are not for everyone. Here’s the specification for these irons.
|2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
|(6 iron) 37.25 inches
|PW, GW, SW, LW
|The price for the entire set ranges from second-hand purchases. You can find the best deals on eBay, with sold auctions starting at $150.
Features That Make the Callaway X20 Still Relevant for Beginners
Many people say the X20s are best for beginners, and I have many reasons to believe so. So before you rush into a purchase, you have to be sure of what you’re getting.
As you read on, you will realize that the X20s have an excellent feel, distance, and feedback. But lofts are outdated, as others have said. To put it in a better perspective, the seven irons of the X20 are basically what most nine irons are today.
Here are the key features of the Callaway X20 that make it ideal for high handicappers:
- Notched Perimeter Weighting: The clubhead has weight distributed around the perimeter, creating a more prominent sweet spot and making off-center hits less punishing. This design helps beginners by reducing the impact of mishits, providing more consistent ball speed, and improving accuracy on imperfect shots.
- Deep Cavity Backs: The back of the club head has a deep cavity, shifting weight away from the face. It increases the moment of inertia (MOI). It enhances stability and forgiveness, particularly for beginners who may not consistently strike the center of the clubface.
- Progressive Wall Reduction System: The thickness of the clubhead walls varies throughout the set. Thinning the walls progressively from long irons to short irons allows for optimal weight distribution. It enhances forgiveness in the longer irons for maximum distance and increases control in the shorter irons for better shot shaping and accuracy.
- Short, Straight, and Hollow Hosel Design: The hosel design is compact, straight, and hollow. This design helps in redistributing weight, contributing to a more forgiving and stable clubhead. It also assists in improving the feel and sound at impact.
- Variable Face Thickness: The thickness of the face varies across different points on the clubface. Variable face thickness optimizes the performance of the club, providing a combination of high ball speed on center hits and improved forgiveness on off-center hits.
- 180-Degree Undercut Channel: An undercut channel is created on the back of the clubhead. This design contributes to a more prominent sweet spot and increases face flexibility, promoting higher ball speeds and improved forgiveness of mishits.
Testing the Callaway X20s: A Full Review
These irons are probably closely related to the ex-Forge Blades, very similar in the style of the head, slightly thicker top-line, and pretty decent cavity back for some more perimeter weighting, which a blade won’t.
Let’s now dive into a full review of these clubs.
All the while I used the X20 irons, I never really thought how useful they could be for beginners or someone trying to make something serious out of a hobby. The first impression of these old irons is their compact profile.
However, there are currently many smaller irons on the market with which the X20s don’t stand a chance to compete. But the blend of forgiveness and workability overall is very abundant in the X20s.
Since I’m a low-handicapper, I asked two buddies who are high and mid-handicapped to give the clubs a try, and we realized an excellent all-around use of them.
The first impression of appearance is a good one, too, mainly when you focus on the deep cavity backs. However, how do they live up to expectations in terms of actual performance?
First of all, the Callaway X20 irons fall into the game-improvement category. This sets precedence for what to expect when buying them. If you play with irons long enough, you’ll realize they are among the most demanding clubs to master.
Irons from Callaway falls under the category in which X20 is known for forgiveness and more distance, especially for the average player.
Having played with the steel shaft version of the X20, they are certainly viable for beginners and high handicappers. Many people say it’s all about the technology in these 16-year-old clubs, but there’s more.
The Notched Perimeter Weighting and Progressive Wall Reduction System are the fundamental designs of the X20s.
If you are an older golfer, you can take advantage of these features and keep the game fun for yourself. But for a mid-career player who is playing competitively, you may need modern equipment to keep up.
For example, newer Callaway irons have the Callaway Tru-Bore® Technology, in which the shaft tip is extended down through the club head to improve stability and control.
Some would argue that technology in golf irons hasn’t advanced as much as some will claim because newer irons only have longer shafts and juiced-up lofts, which is technically not ‘technology’ — just marketing’ or ‘chicanery.
You can still find Callaway X-20 irons in many golf shops and online stores. People sell theirs for as little as $100 for the entire set.
You can find a set of X20s (4-SW) with an asking price of $175 or the X-18s (3-A) in good condition and love them for around $150.
The most important thing is to ensure they are in good condition before buying them. (More tips on this shortly.)
Pros and Cons of Callaway X20 Irons
Before rushing to buy the X20s, take note of these highs and lows of the club set:
- The club set for the X20s is affordable.
- The balance and feel are outstanding.
- A low CG helps minimize errors.
- Uniform impact across the face.
- Not quite as forgiving as comparative, newer irons (Ping G700, Mizuno JPX 900 Forged Irons, etc.)
- Longer irons tend to launch relatively high.
Who Shouldn’t Use the Callaway X20 Irons?
The X20 Callaway clubs are game improvement irons, so they are not recommended for pros or those with low handicaps.
You will get the best out of these irons if you are between mid- and high handicaps because that’s when you can appreciate the consistency, accuracy, and easy launch from them.
So, if you’re a serious beginner wanting to invest in irons to last, the X20s are an excellent place to start.
But if you need something to suit the range of shots you want to pull off as a low handicapper, there are newer and better alternatives to try than the X-20 irons.
I like how the Millennial Golfer demonstrated these findings in the view below:
What to Look Out For When Buying Used X20 Irons
Maybe you’ve been keeping an eye on Craigslist and some other sites for the X20 irons. In many of the deals, you will find a used option. You may find, for example, a set of X20s (4-SW), and the asking price will start at $175 thereabout.
One of the ways you can be sure it’s a good deal is to examine the clubs to ensure they are playable.
- There should not be any signs of significant corrosion on the shaft or head.
- The groves mustn’t be worn down.
- They should be in decent shape.
Callaway X20 Irons: Best Alternatives
Ping’s G700 Irons
Ping’s G700 Irons have a hollow body and thin face, so they offer a satisfying impact sound, excellent feel, and an appealing aesthetic.
However, unlike the X20s, they are ideal for mid- to high-handicap players.
I’ve not gotten to test these irons, but from my in-depth research, they deliver impressive ball speeds and easy launch, making them suitable for a diverse range of golfers.
The Mizuno JPX 900 irons
Just like the X20s, the Mizuno JPX 900 irons offer game improvement with variable face thickness, boron steel, and perimeter weighting.
However, what is particular about the JPX 900s is that they are versatile for various players; they appeal to both game improvers and lower-handicap players, providing good spin for those who desire control.
Final Verdict on Callaway X20 Irons Review
The X20s are game-improvement irons, so it didn’t come as a surprise that, after testing, these irons proved to be fit for higher handicaps. Here’s my rating based on what I’ve seen in the usage of the X20 irons:
I hit the PW 135 yards with these irons on average and have gone from a 27 handicapper to 16 in 12 months under close observation.
So, you’ll get plenty of distance out of Callaway X-20 irons, and they’re also plenty forgiving.
Those who can’t hit a PW past 90 yards with these only need to get some more lessons.