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Tour Report: Els’ big win for Callaway’s X hybrids


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Ernie Els has played a trio of driving-iron style hybrids since the HP Byron Nelson Championship

Courtesy Callaway Ernie Els has played a trio of driving-iron style hybrids since the HP Byron Nelson Championship

By Ryan Smithson, PGA TOUR.COM

Ernie Els’ belly putter garnered a lot of attention when he used it to win his fourth major last week, but his real secret weapon was a club Call;away designed to replace long irons.

Yep, even Els, one of the best ball-strikers in the world, decided he needed more help in the form of a hybrid.

But not the normal hybrid.

Roger Cleveland, Callaway’s top club designer, unleashed a new utility iron — designed after the driving irons that have been around for years — but with a few twists. The new iron has adjustable weights in the sole, and perhaps just as important, can be bent like other forged irons.

Els placed the Callaway X Utility Prototype (18°, 21°, 24°) irons his bag a few weeks ago, but it wasn’t until Royal Lytham that he had Cleveland adjust the lie angle. He had them bent a half-degree flat, and Els went on to have one of the best ball-striking weeks of his career.

The new club has quickly made its way into the bags of several Callaway staffers, including Graeme McDowell, who just added the 18-degree version, replacing a 2-iron.

“I wanted to enhance that design into a three-loft concept with a new club design that was shallower, had a deeper CG, and that created a higher launch angle, which is difficult to achieve in longer irons," Cleveland said.

Now, the question for the consumers: Will Callaway’s design reach pro shops? For the immediate future, the answer is no, but Els’ big win might coax Callaway to have it available in the future.

TITLEISTS’ 913 DRIVER SPREADING: Adam Scott and True South Classic winner Scott Stallings are still playing the older 910D3 driver, but more and more players are switching to the new 913D prototype. Jason Bohn (913D3) had it in his bag for the True South Classic, as did rookie Bud Cauley (913D2).

Both finished in the top five, and Cauley, all 150 pounds of him, averaged 284 yards a pop. That was good for 11th in the field.

PING ANSER READY: Ping’s new adjustable driver and fairway woods are ready to hit the pro shops. The Anser driver is available in 8.5º, 9.5º, 10.5º and 12º lofts. The Anser fairway woods are offered in a 3-wood (14.5º), 4-wood (16.5º), and 5-wood (18.5º). Each is adjusted using a torque wrench to change loft and face angle.

Ernie Els at the British Open

Driver: Callaway RAZR Fit, 8.5°
3-wood: Callaway X-TOUR 15.0°
Irons: Callaway RAZR X Muscleback Irons (5-9, PW), KBS Tour X-flex
Hybrids: Callaway X Utility Prototype (18°, 21°, 24°)
Wedges: Callaway JAWS (52°, 60°)
Putter: Odyssey White Hot XG #1 Belly
Ball: Callaway HEX Black Tour

Scott Stallings at the True South Classic

Driver: Pro V1x, 910D3 driver (8.5°)
3-wood: 909F2 fairway metal (13.5°)
Irons: AP2 irons (4-9)
Wedges: Vokey Design Spin Milled pitching (48°, 52°, 56°, 60°)
Putter: Scotty Cameron Newport 2 Studio Select
Ball: Pro V1x

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