I got the chance recently to spend some time with the very highly regarded Legacy Black Forged iron. The Legacy Black is the 3rd generation design in the Legacy line which was actually released last year. The first generation of the Legacy Forged released back in 2008 was and still is considered one of the best all around irons for its great feel and balanced performance and ease of use. To be totally honest, I have owned 4 sets of the original Legacy Forged over the last 4 years as they were and still are that good. In 2010, Callaway released the 2nd generation Legacy Forged which was not nearly as popular as the first generation, they changed the cavity shape, and increased the offset which was fine for average golfers but better players shied away from the 2nd gen unlike the 1st gen which was popular with many different levels of players.
The new Legacy Black Forged is a great looking iron. It's darker satin finish and gray and black accents give it a more serious tone and the overall design has shifted back towards the better player. In fact it is given the Black label which is the model line aimed at the pro and better player. The shape of the head has become more sharp but it has retained certain design aspects including the VAR or Vibration Absorption Rubber and a cavity designed for higher launch and more MOI thanks to its lower undercut and thicker heel and toe areas. Callaway touts the Endo Forged S20C Legacy Black as a compact iron for the player who wants an emphasis on feel and control. So is this the case?
Roger Cleveland works closely with Callaway Japan on several of its releases every year to design clubs that will satisfy the demanding Japanese market. The new Legacy Black has gotten a sharper and straighter topline matched with a higher toe. This allows the better player more spin control and workability and coupled with the semi traditional lofts and higher launch cavity design create an iron to attack the pin and stop on the green. In order to help increase spin from the USGA conforming grooves, Callaway created the iron with more score lines, 19 to be exact which create more bite on the ball. While the sole is reasonably rounded, the leading edge is is less so and leans more towards being straight improving turf interaction and accuracy.
While the 1st and 2nd generation Legacy Forged irons featured more offset and a slightly thick top line to appease the average golfer, this is not the case for the Legacy Black Forged which for the better player will look much more appealing at address. The top line is neither very thin or very thick but just right providing enough confidence without being distracting. The almost milky like satin is also a nice touch and does not really reflect the sun. The face is reasonably short toe to heel but frames the ball very well.
So how does the iron play? Besides its good looks, the new Legacy Black Forged plays great. It retains the great soft forged feel that the original model did thanks to its use of premium S20C steel and the VAR medallion on the back helps ease vibrations with miss hits but it does not kill the feel of the iron. You can still feel the ball compress on the face. The sole is rounded and the undercut cavity quite forgiving so even though the head is on the smaller side (as I said Callaway calls it compact but I would say smallish). As an average golfer I had no problems striking the ball well and this can be something smaller heads do for improving golfers, ie more concentration on ball striking rather than having a huge shovel of an iron that really allows you to hit it anywhere on the face. The Legacy frames the ball well and you focus on striking in in that frame. Well placed strikes are rewarded with a higher ball flight but good direction and reasonable distance even though the 5 iron is 26* which is not typical average golfer type strong lofts. Miss hits are not punished severely though there is some distance loss. The undercut and the weighting towards the toe and heel do a good job of increasing MOI and helping keep the ball on track.
I ended up really liking the Legacy Black Forged and I would not hesitate to play them. They satisfy the better golfer but have enough forgiveness for the improving player. Good looks and good quality make this a great option for players 0 to 15 handicap or even higher if you are a good ball striker. The Legacy Black Forged is available with DGS200, M10DB and True Temper GS95 as standard shafts. Callaway custom shafts are also available as is Tour AD graphite. You can find the Legacy Forged here in the pro shop!