The new Callaway Rought ST Max irons are all about forgiveness and distance, something Callaway has done really well for a long time.
These irons are built for game improvement and made it to the top pick on our breakdown of the best irons for high handicappers (as soon as we update that list).
Callaway Rogue ST Max Irons
These irons are very forgiving and launch the ball high and far. They have larger heads for very good forgiveness but the ST Max model is not so oversized that it feels like a full set of hybrids.
Easy to hit
High ball flight
High launch is tough in wind
Tell me if this sounds familiar…
If your typical round includes that hole where you hit a good drive and you’re sitting in the middle of the fairway about 150 yards from the green, but then your swing is a little off and the shot drops 15 yards short of your target into the greenside bunker and you just turned an easy par into a bogey or worse….then this may be a great choice for you.
The Callaway Rogue ST Max irons are Callaway’s latest game improvement irons and I have to say that I am impressed with the technology they squeezed into a good-looking iron and the results I got from these clubs.
So let’s take a closer look at the good and the bad and why I recommend them for most mid to high handicap golfers.
According to Callaway, these irons are the first to incorporate their all-new High Strength 450 A.I. Designed Flash Face Cup. As you might have expected, their A.I. face design tech has made its way down from the drivers to the irons.
Callaway claims that this delivers more ball speed and better ball speed consistency.
Compared to its predecessor the Mavrik Max, the center of gravity is 50% lower. That makes it easier to get the ball high up in the air even with the longer irons that most golfers struggle with. Make no mistake about it…this club is all about max distance.
The forgiveness built into the head is less about maximum distance and more about getting consistent distances even when you don’t hit the center of the clubface.
These are game improvement irons and you can tell by looking at them although they aren’t as bad as some others. It has the traditional game-improvement design that we see on most clubs of this type.
It has a thick top line but the cavity back and insert that doesn’t stick out as much as other game improvement irons, so it is not as distracting as some others. It has a wide sole and a rounded front edge to prevent digging into the turf.
Feel and Sound
Of course, feel is a completely subjective thing to talk about for irons so I’ll do my best to explain how they felt.
The insert in the face that adds to the forgiveness also absorbs a lot of the impact. This means that even off-center hits won’t have as much of that harsh stinging feeling most of us are familiar with.
That can be a good and bad thing. Feedback on off-center hits can be helpful for better players but makes the game less enjoyable for higher handicap golfers. After hitting a bunch of shots, I’ll say that there is some feedback from these irons on off-center hits but it’s very subtle.
Compared to other game improvement and distance-focused irons that these are competing with, the feedback was decent. So, if you want that forgiveness and distance, but are trying to improve and learn how to adapt from the feedback your club gives you, this is a good choice.
Lofts and Specs
Like most modern game improvement irons, the lofts on the Rogue ST Max irons are going to be significantly stronger than older irons or even current players irons.
But keep in mind that this isn’t just about turning a 7 iron into a 6 iron so it seems like it goes farther. The engineers that designed these clubs needed to compensate for the lower center of gravity by reducing the loft. The result is launch, spin, and ball flight characteristics that are tuned for each loft to create consistent yardage gaps between your wedges.
This does result in longer shots for most golfers (mainly because the lower CG helps them get the ball in the air). So you may need an extra wedge at the short end to cover the yardage gap.
On the long end, these irons start with 4 iron. Here are the specs…
|Iron||Loft||Lie Angle||Length||Offset (mm)|
The Rogue ST Max irons have a solid stock shaft offering that matches the profile of a golfer that is likely to be most interested in this kind of irons.
Stock Shafts: True Temper Elevate MPH 95 Steel, Mitsubishi Tensei AV Blue 65 or 75 HB/IR Graphite, Project X Cypher Black HB/IR Graphite
The Rogue ST Max has 4 variations. Each is designed with some variations depending on your swing tendencies or skill level.
Rogue ST Max
These are the standard Rogue ST Max irons. Like I’ve already mentioned, these are a game improvement club, so the clubhead is large but not as large as some of the other models (more on that below).
Rogue ST Max OS
The Max OS irons are designed with an offset to promote a draw or help to fix a slice. The head of the club is also larger than the Rogue ST Max. According to Callaway, they characterize the OS version as an oversized head while they consider the standard version to be moderate.
The larger head and wider sole width are going to give you more forgiveness and the offset will help you square the clubface to avoid the slice.
Compared to the standard version, the OS is going to be for the higher handicapper that wants more help with their game.
Rogue ST Max OS Lite
As you might have guessed from the name, the Max OS Lite irons are lighter than the standard set.
Other than the reduced weight, they are designed just like the OS (oversized and offset head). The lighter design will also give you a higher launch.
The lighter weight (especially when paired with one of their lightweight graphite shafts) is going to be for those that have slower swing speeds. If you are going from heavier irons to these, it may take some time to get used to, but you should see increases in swing speed.
Rogue ST Pro
Rogue ST Pro irons probably don’t even belong in this review. They are really a different iron design altogether.
The head is smaller (Callaway refers to it as a compact head). Unlike the rest of the Rogue ST lineup, these are not game improvement irons at all. The sweet spot is smaller and you’ll need a much faster swing speed to launch the ball high enough in the air to hold the greens.
I would recommend these for single-digit handicappers that still want a little forgiveness and technology in their irons.
Model Comparison Chart
As for performance, here is how Callaway breaks down the differences between each model of the Rogue ST Max irons. Keep in mind, these distinctions are from Callaway comparing their own clubs so you can’t really use this to compare to clubs of other brands.
|ST Max||ST Max OS||ST Max OS Lite||ST Pro|
Who Is This For?
Callaway claims these are the longest game improvement irons they have ever created. Is that true? Maybe, but it’s mostly marketing hype.
However, that does give you some good insight into what kind of golfer Callaway had in mind when they designed these clubs. They are for the high handicap golfer that wants help getting the ball high and far.
The lower center of gravity will give you a high launch (despite the stronger lofts compared to other clubs) so if you are a more skilled golfer that wants to be able to control the height and trajectory of the ball, then these may not be for you.
I would recommend the Rogue ST Max irons for handicaps of 15-25 who want some help with their game but are working to improve. Weekend golfers that just play for fun will probably benefit more from the Rogue ST Max OS or the OS Lite version (if they have slower swing speeds).
Are Callaway Rogue ST Max Irons Oversized?
Callaway refers to the Rogue ST Max iron size as moderate and the OS and OS Lite versions as oversized. All of them would be considered oversized by most standards and are designed to be game-improvement irons.
Are Callaway Rogue ST Max Irons For Beginners?
Callaway Rogue ST Max irons are an excellent option for beginners. They are more expensive than some beginner sets but are very high-quality clubs and you’ll be able to use them for many years, even as your skills improve and you move past beginner status.