By Rob Sauerhaft
These days, it’s commonplace for big club manufacturers to launch a family of irons, with shared technologies, that targets players who have various wants and needs. Callaway’s Rogue series, for example, consists of a better-player model (Rogue Pro), a pair of game-improvement sticks (Rogue and Rogue X), and one for slower swingers (Rogue Women’s). Of course, there can be some overlap among models. The Rogue X, in particular, has caught my eye. The company could have complemented the standard Rogue with a high-handicapper version that maximizes forgiveness on mis-hits. Instead, the R&D team engineered a distance powerhouse for a broad range of golfers. “It’s a total distance overhaul,” says Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s Senior Vice President of R&D. “Every technology inside Rogue X is designed to maximize ball speed and generate distance we’ve never seen before.”
Think of Rogue X as the Rogue on steroids. The X has a slightly larger head with stronger lofts, wider sole, and lighter, longer shafts. Why? To help you hit it farther. The 4-6 irons are 2° stronger while the 7-AW are 3° stronger (Rogue X 7-iron is 27°; Rogue 7-iron is 30°).
The two-piece head construction consists of a 17-4 stainless steel body and updated 17-4 stainless steel 360 Face Cup. Callaway refined the thickness of the welds that hold the Face Cup in place and added a new variable face thickness pattern to increase ball speed across more of the hitting area, particularly in the low heel and toe.
While the wide-sole design pulls mass low and away from the face, the 3- to 8-irons also have an internal tungsten-steel weight that concentrates additional mass in specific areas of the head. It’s all to position the center of gravity in the middle of the face, and control launch and ball flight. Thus, the Rogue X can launch shots high and produce similar trajectories to the Rogue despite having stronger lofts.
How does all that horsepower translate? To find out, the folks at Club Champion tested irons at company headquarters in Willowbrook, IL. Five high handicappers (handicap of 16+) hit their own 6-irons against other models, including Rogue X. On average, the testers saw their ball speed increase by 4.1 mph with the Rogue X compared to their own gear. The additional ball speed triggered 10.1 more yards, on average, than their current gamers. Three of the five testers hit the Rogue X more than 12 yards farther than their gamers.
Cynics might suggest that the testers hit it farther simply because the Rogue X 6-iron has a static loft that’s similar to some 5-irons on the market. Maybe so. But there’s so much more to these clubs than jacked lofts.
Hitting it longer with thin-face irons is great. But not at the expense of crummy feel. Callaway believes it’s found a better mousetrap here, too. A material called “urethane microspheres” is packed into the Rogue X. Developed by the 3M company, this compound “quiets vibration [at impact] without slowing down the face,” according to Dr. Hocknell. The urethane material sits in the lower portion of the head and extends the entire length of the face.
The family’s newest entry, Rogue Pro Black, is a sleek, all-black version of the Rogue Pro. Like its namesake, the Pro Black is a players’ distance club loaded with urethane microspheres, a 360 Face Cup, Variable Face Thickness technology and tungsten-infused internal weighting. Stronger players will enjoy the look, and maneuverability, given its compact head with thin topline and sole, shallow cavity and minimal offset.
To schedule a Club Champion fitting, visit clubchampiongolf.com or call 888-334-7820. You’ll team up with one of the company’s master clubfitters to determine if the Rogue X, Rogue Pro Black or another iron model could elevate your game.