From The Shop Blog (May 9, 2011)
Callaway has been making some of the best-selling irons for years, featuring clubs that help a lot of golfers hit the ball higher and farther more easily. Several offerings in the X Series and Big Bertha family of irons had big heads, massive sweet spots and low centers of gravity to make that possible.
The new RAZR Muscleback irons give you none of that. The first hint that these clubs are only for serious players is that the photo samples distributed by Callaway show a 2-iron.
“If you aren’t good enough to get your clubs for free, this might not be the best club for you,” says Luke Williams, Callaway’s director of product design. “I mean, really good amateur players and college players could play this club. There’s a market for it, but it’s small.”
What the RAZR Muscleback, which is forged from carbon steel, does give players with an efficient and repeatable swing is the ultimate in feel and control.
Today’s RAZR Muscleback irons started as prototype clubs built with tour players in mind. With small heads, short blades, anorexically-thin toplines and narrow soles, they first appeared in the bags of players like Ernie Els and Phil Mickelson with “X Prototype” stamped on their backs. After a while, Callaway made a few sets available to the public, calling the clubs the Tour Authentic X Protoype irons.
As Callaway considered its 2011 iron offerings, Williams says the company started thinking that it might be a good idea to bring the X Prototype irons out to the masses.
“When we thought about including an iron like this in our current line, we went out and got some feedback from players,” Williams says. “We told them, ‘Okay, if we’re going to make a new version of this iron, what should we do differently?’ And what we commonly heard back was, ‘Well, change the name on the back. Don’t change anything.’ The players told us the size is perfect, the sole is just what we want, all of that. After hearing that often enough, that’s what we decided to do.”
The RAZR X Muscleback is, in fact, the X Prototype with some subtle cosmetic alterations made to the back of the club.
“While this iron may not include some of the latest technologies or come with a lot of bells and whistles, there are some things about it that are very important to get right,” Williams says. “It’s not just, ‘Make a small forged blade and the players are going to love it.’ You’ve got to get the offset right, you’ve got to get the blade length right, the toe shape, the topline width and angle. You’ve got to get the transition from the offset into the leading edge right. Those are the things that Tour players and better players are really concerned with.”
The RAZR Muscleback are available now for $999 and come standard with Project X Flighted shafts, however, Callaway will change them to any steel shaft it carries for no additional charge.
• The Shop blog: Callaway pros and clubs