The Callaway X Forged UT utility iron is a great alternative for those that struggle with long irons but don’t like hybrids. However, there are many better value alternatives on the market that will perform practically the same, so the new 2021 model is only a good fit if money is no concern.
Hybrids vs. Utility Irons – What’s the Difference?
I go back and forth between utility irons and hybrids in my bag. They each have their pros and cons. Some courses/conditions are great for utility irons, while others justify the use of hybrids. To keep it simple, here’s my general game plan:
- I’m more likely to put my utility iron in play on courses with lots of short par 4’s that don’t need a driver or fairway wood off the tee. In general, I’m more likely gaming the utility iron when I’m feeling confident about my ballstriking, too, as I feel that I have bette control over the ball with the utility iron when I’m “on”. On super windy days, I’m throwing the utility iron into my bag instead of a higher flying hybrid.
- I’m more likely to put my hybrid into play when I’m not feeling 100% with my ballstriking, when I’m playing in calm conditions, or when the course is wet from the previous day’s rain. I hit my hybrid higher than the utility iron, so the calm conditions (no wind) or wet grass doesn’t affect is as much as the lower trajectory utility iron shot. Also, they are simply easier to hit (more forgiving) than utility irons.
In general, I recommend hybrids to 95% of golfers. They are are easier to hit (higher launch and more forgiving on mishits). The small crowd of great ball strikers with fast swing speeds who want more control over their shot is the target audience for utility irons like the 2021 Callaway X Forged UT.
Sorry for the long introduction. I tend to do that sometimes.
It’s hard to deny the beauty of a compact utility iron at address, especially the Callaway X Forged UT. They (not surprisingly) look very similar to the Callaway X Forged CB irons, but there are a few small differences. First, the club face width is slightly wider with the UT. Secondly, there is just a hair more perimeter weighting and a slightly larger topline/sole so allow more forgiveness. Lastly, the club shafts are about a 1/2 inch longer, which will add some distance compared to an iron with everything else (loft, center of gravity, weighting) held constant.
There are two tungsten weights in the club head: one that you can see (external), and one that you can’t (internal). The internal weight is slightly toe-favoring, which offsets the hosel weight to make the center of gravity as centered a possible. The external weight is 17g like the CB irons, and can be replaced with a 12g or 22g weight instead if you wish.
The Callaway X Forged UT is available in 18, 21 and 24 degrees. Hopefully it goes without saying, but make sure you are checking the lofts of your longest iron to ensure you don’t leave a huge gap between your utility iron and your highest lofted fairway wood. For example, if your longest iron is a 25 degree 5 iron, and your fairway wood is 15 degrees, then I would go with the 21 degree UT utility iron to leave 5-6 degree gaps between the fairway wood, utility iron, and 5 iron. Don’t get the 18 degree utility iron (in this situation) and leave yourself a big gap between the 5 iron and utility iron.
Full disclosure: I only got to hit about 20 shots with the Callaway X Forged UT 2021 utility iron. However, it didn’t take many shots to fall in love with it. I definitely had a hard time getting the ball high enough in the air, but that’s more of a personal problem anyway. I hit some lovely, penetrating shots that would work really well as some short par four tee shots that hit the fairway and roll another 30-40 yards or so. The few times that I really got ahold of the ball with a full swing, I got some decent height that might have a chance of holding the green on a short par 5 2nd shot.
When your game is on, you can expect incredible distance control, incredible feel/sound, and more workability with the Callaway X Forged UT, which you just can’t find in a typical high flying hybrid. If you want to hit a penetrating long shot, this is the club to do so with. If you want forgiveness on your mishits, this is NOT the club to get. My poor shots had…. very, very, very poor results. That’s not surprising though, as forgiveness simply isn’t the name of the game here.
Utility irons are meant for great ball strikers that can hit the center of the club face and want to have more control over their shots – it’s as simple as that. The faster you swing, the better fit you are for a utility iron like the Callaway X Forged UT, as your hybrid shots might get a little too high and spinny.
Better Value Utility Iron
If you want a better value utility iron, then consider the Titleist 712U. This just so happens to be the first utility iron that I ever hit and fell in love with. It’s the one that I bring out from time to time when the conditions (and my ballstriking) are ideal.
It’s very similar to the Callaway X Forged UT. Compact profile, a little bit of extra weight low on the face, and the great forged feel that you want at impact. The best part? You can find a great condition Titleist 712U utility iron for around $80-90 pretty regularly. If you are tired of your long iron or hybrid, there’s not many <$100 clubs like the Titleist 712U utility iron to make you want to sprint to the course and hit it.