Why does Henrik Stenson still use Callaway Legacy Black irons from last decade? We found out
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Written by GolfWRX @GolfWRX
Henrik Stenson was recently named the 2023 European Ryder Cup Captain, and his resume speaks for itself. The 45-year-old from Sweden has amassed six PGA TOUR wins, including the 2009 PLAYERS Championships, and 11 DP World Tour victories. In 2013, he won the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup and the European Tour’s Race to Dubai, becoming the first to collect both titles in the same season. He also won the 2016 Open Championship after an epic battle with Phil Mickelson.
Stenson attained most his playing success with Callaway Legacy Black irons, and what’s fascinating is he still has those irons in the bag today.
In the world of golf equipment, manufacturing companies work hard to improve technology every year, coming up with new designs and using different materials to make clubs perform better. Stenson’s Legacy Black irons, though, have stood the test of time and innovation.
The irons were a third-generation release in Callaway’s “Legacy” lineup in 2013, and they were only released to limited markets outside North America. Roger Cleveland helped design the irons, alongside Callaway Japan, to look good and perform well for better players who also wanted a touch of forgiveness.
Endo Forged from S20C, the cavity-back irons have a satin finish, thin toplines and thin soles, reduced offset, tall toe sections, and 19 grooves on the faces to enhance spin control. They also have a black section in the back cavity, which is called a Vibration Dampening Rubber, to enhance sound and feel. Additionally, for greater forgiveness, there is an undercut behind the bottom section of the face, and thicker heel and toe sections to reduce the negative effects of off-center hits.
Callaway stopped making the Legacy Black last decade, and they were never even released to North American markets, but Stenson continues to keep them in the bag.
GolfWRX caught up with him at the Valspar Championship to ask about the irons — as well as the departure of his famed Diablo Octane 3-wood — and he provided answers.
GolfWRX.com: You still have Callaway Legacy Black irons in the bag after all these years. When did you start using the irons and what do you like about them?
Henrik Stenson: I came off the U.S. Open in 2013, and I hit too many fliers at Merion. My caddie Gareth [Lord] at the time walks into Callaway and asks them to give us some options that don’t fly too much out of the rough, and the boys in Europe built up the Legacy Black. When the irons showed up, they felt great and looked good, and I didn’t hit too many fliers with them. They’ve been in the bag ever since.
GolfWRX.com: They obviously don’t make the irons anymore, so where do you keep getting sets from? Do you buy them online? Does Callaway have a backup stash for you?
Stenson: They still have one or two sets I think. I have a bunch of used ones at home. I came to the conclusion that I was a little stupid because I kept using the same warm up routine where I hit a pitching wedge, an 8, then I go to the 4 iron. So on all of my sets, the 4, 8 and wedge are a bit more worn than the other ones. I tend to go through about a set a year.
I have seven… or eight… or nine sets around, but there’s a lot of worn out 4’s, 8’s and wedges. I can always scramble [and use a backup set] if I need to. We’ll see if I run out of new sets, or if I need to get another model eventually.
GolfWRX.com: Have you considered switching? Have you tested other irons?
Stenson: Occasionally, yes. Callaway comes out with some good looking irons every year. It’s just been, I guess I’m a little old school. I know what works for me and I like the look of that. We don’t really have much of an off-season. It’s not like we have two or three months at home to test new stuff. That’s probably the one thing in the bag that it’s like, OK that definitely stays. When they come out with new wedges, we put them in and test them, and new fairway woods even.
As you know, I’ve had the [Callaway Diablo Octane] 3-wood for many, many years, but now we have slightly different one in the bag (a Callaway Mavrik Sub Zero, 13.5 degrees). It’s just one of those things where if it’s not broken, don’t fix them.
GolfWRX.com: So you just have a ton of used sets of Legacy Black irons sitting in your garage?
Stenson: We got a few. There’s a couple in Sweden and a few more in Orlando. A couple of them are new, and there’s like one or two at the Callaway headquarters. [Callaway] probably set their routes so no one else will take those sets. I think the model was only sold in 2013 or 2014, and it was limited to certain markets, as well. I think it was Germany, Australia and Japan. It was a limited version, but I’m happy they kept a few for me and we’ll see what happens down the road.
GolfWRX.com: So you switched out the Callaway Diablo Octane fairway wood finally?
Stenson: That one is sidelined. I’ve got a Mavrik that I used for a year and a half that’s in the bag now. I’ve been going back and forth a little bit, but that’s been my old trusty for many, many years. It’s done me a lot of good.