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In this review, I’ll take a close look at the Callaway Rogue and Rogue X irons.
Callaway claims that the Rogue is their best combination of distance, accuracy, and playability ever. It costs only 3 figures for a set, when seemingly every other recent iron set costs well over $1000 or even $2000 or more.
The Rogue iron has a multi-material construction and features Callaway’s latest technologies including the 360 Face Cup, VFT, and urethane microspheres.
How does the Rogue iron perform at the end of the day? What kind of golfer is it best suited for? Is it worth putting these in your bag?
Read on to find out what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating these clubs. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
What are the reviews like?
The Rogue irons have had an excellent reception from consumers and critics alike, and much of this is due to the performance versus value factor.
Critics have also rated the Rogue positively, but slightly less so, perhaps because they’re not taking the price into account as much.
What People Like
- easy to hit and get up in the air
- a lot of distance
- excellent forgiveness
- straight or slight draw bias
- very affordable
What People Don’t Like
- the stronger lofts can be problematic for some
- feel is a bit clicky and could be better
Rogue X Irons
The Rogue irons have also been received very positively, although perhaps slightly less so than the standard Rogue.
The likes and dislikes of the Rogue X are similar to the Rogue, except for the fact that the distances are longer thanks to the lower CG and stronger lofts. This definitely isn’t for everyone, but under the right conditions, it can be a great boon.
What are the features?
Callaway attempts to deliver what people want in a good iron like high COR, ball speed, and launch, without any of the negatives. They do this through the following technologies:
Variable Face Thickness (VFT)
VFT changes the thickness of the face so that it optimizes face flex and produces maximum ball speeds across the face.
360 Face Cup
The Face Cup employs a shallow, flexible rim around the perimeter of the face that flexes and releases at impact, thus increasing ball speeds and distance.
In combination with the VFT, you get more ball speed and distance than previous offerings like the X2 Hot.
Callaway is able to precisely position the center of gravity (CG) in each iron by using tungsten weighting. Tungsten is twice as heavy as steel and allows for a lot of mass in a small area.
The result is optimal launch and control at each separate loft.
Also featured in the Rogue irons are urethane microspheres.
While a thin clubface can produce more ball speed and distance, it can also result in a lot of vibration and a poor feel at impact.
Urethane has been used in the past to dampen vibrations and improve sound and feel, but the downside to this is that it reduces the coefficient of restitution (COR) and ball speed.
This is what led Callaway to create proprietary elastic urethane microspheres, which effectively provide the benefits of urethane without the drawbacks of reduced COR.
The Rogue X is lighter in weight, longer in length, and has stronger lofts than the Rogue. The end result is a lower and deeper CG for higher launch and longer carry.
There are many set configurations to choose from, from the 3-iron all the way to the sand wedge and everything in between. A common choice is the 5-PW set.
For the Rogue, the stock steel shaft is the True Temper XP 95 Stepless, while the stock steel shaft for the Rogue X is the KBS MAX 90. The stock graphite shaft is the Aldila Synergy 60IR.
The stock grip is the Lamkin Z5 CHEV 51G. However, there are many different shafts and grips you can choose from.
If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the CGPO website.
Below are the specs of the Rogue irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
Below are the specs of the Rogue X irons. Notice the stronger lofts.
How do the Rogue irons perform?
The COR of the Rogue irons is said to be about 0.835, which is on par with drivers.
All things considered, distance is very solid, and in comparison with previous iron offerings from Callaway (like the XR), I found that the Rogue irons produce more ball speed and a higher ball flight, resulting in softer and more controlled landings into the greens.
To me, this is what you want in an iron, and the Rogue does a great job of delivering it.
As you would expect, the Rogue X irons are even longer, with stronger ball flights.
Despite the fairly strong lofts, the Rogue irons tended to produce a mid-high ball flight with a slight draw bias during my testing. I also found it easy to get the long irons up in the air.
As I mentioned above, it’s not difficult to carry trouble and land balls relatively softly onto the greens.
Surprisingly, the trajectory for the Rogue X irons wasn’t much lower despite the stronger lofts, but this is perhaps due to my medium swing speed.
It can be tempting to think that the latest technologies that produce fast ball speeds will also improve forgiveness, but does this actually pan out?
Indeed. It turns out that forgiveness on off-center hits is excellent, perhaps even at the same level as other game-improvement irons that are a lot more expensive. Slight mis-hits hardly went off line or lost distance at all.
The workability of the Rogue irons is decent. I was certainly able to flight my ball to an extent, but if you’re looking for workability, you should probably looked at forged players solutions.
In general, the Rogue X irons are less workable.
What about look, sound & feel?
The Rogue is a game-improvement iron, and as such, there is a good amount of offset, and the top line is quite thick. I’m personally not a big fan of thick top lines, but it does serve its purpose.
The Rogue iron also looks quite compact at address, which will surely appeal to many. In short, it has that “stocky and chunky” look.
I do really like the sharp badge design, which has mild colours and looks great in the bag. The Rogue X looks nearly the same except for some darker shades and the “X” underneath the Rogue logo.
The Sound & Feel
All things considered, Callaway has done a great job in making the Rogue iron feel as good as possible with a thin face.
The urethane microspheres make a clear difference — at impact, the iron still feels and sounds a little clicky, but there’s a firmness to it that makes it more than acceptable. I think the sound is great too.
With that said, there were a few times during my tests where the Rogue iron felt a little dead on impact. I’m not completely sure why; it could be because of the location of the strike.
As for the mis-hit feedback, it’s very good for a GI iron. You can easily tell when you hit on or off the center of the face, but you can’t feel much more beyond that unless you hit a horrible shot on the toe or off the hosel.
Where should I buy these irons online?
The Rogue irons are more than a couple seasons old now, so they’re no longer available for custom order on the official Callaway website.
However, you can find some pretty decent savings for it on top of its already affordable price.
To get the best savings on both the Rogue and Rogue X, I recommend looking at Callaway Golf Pre-Owned or picking up a heavily discounted set (new or used) on eBay. You can also look at Amazon and Global Golf.
Best suited for: Mid to high handicappers looking for a great game-improvement iron at an affordable price
The Rogue iron is a quality game-improvement offering from Callaway that packs a lot of value for the price.
It delivers excellent distance, great accuracy and forgiveness, an easy launch, and impressive sound and feel, with options for ladies as well.
This iron is a must-try for players who want an iron with game-improvement performance without paying $1000+ for a set.
If you value a lot of distance in your iron and you have a swing speed in the slow to medium range, give the Rogue X a try.
Thanks for reading this review. Have you tried the Rogue irons? Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts and experiences.