Cigar Aficionado

Callaway Fusion Irons

The rumblings in the golf world for the last couple of years have been that irons would soon force a technological breakthrough to rival the sea changes visited upon the game by oversized titanium drivers and balls with enhanced aerodynamics. The Callaway Fusion Iron, the first of these high-tech clubs to appear, has breached the new frontier.

The buzz was already building in the fall, even when the only people to have really hit the new irons were club professionals purchasing for the next season. One club pro chose the irons as the pick of the new clubs at a recent industry event near New York City, saying that the Callaways produced very high ball flight, a true advantage to the average golfer. He noted further that the clubhead had great feel moving through the swing.

He also judged the club's appearance fantastic. At first glance, you might think that Callaway had just repackaged its popular Steelhead X-16 series irons. The top line, or the top of the club that you see when standing over it at address, is very similar to the X-16 "look"—not as thin as a forged blade-style club, but not as thick as many cavity-backed irons either. The wonderful look of the Fusion irons owes much to a special urethane insert in the back of the club that helps "eliminate the hollow sound" and provides a balance to the titanium face insert. The metal face, according to Callaway, also allows for an even greater degree of perimeter weighting than a traditional cavity-backed iron.

I hit a 7-iron, and my reaction was the same as the pro's. The ball flight was very high, but the distance was also outstanding, carrying my normal 160 to 165 yards for that club. Even though the demo club had a graphite shaft, and I normally hit steel-shafted irons, I found my ability to feel the clubhead throughout the swing was extraordinary.

Like all good, new things, these clubs aren't cheap. The suggested retail price for a set of the Fusion irons is $1,520 for the graphite shaft and $1,280 for the steel-shaft version.