Callaway is one of the rare manufacturers that focuses heavily on the women’s game, so if you’re looking to get something for your better half or yourself, you’re definitely on the right track with the Callaway Solaire clubs. Finding the right clubs can be a challenge, especially for women or simply shorter people. That’s why we’ll talk about the clubs in detail in this Callaway Solaire wedges review, so you’ll know everything there is to know before making a decision.
In a hurry?
Let’s Address the Issue
Now, before we get stuck in, let’s clear the air – yes, there is an issue with heads breaking off, and it’s been present for years now. The thing is that these are counterfeits, and not originals – with such a major brand as Callaway, you get what you pay for (provided you get it from an authorized retailer).
It’s a major issue the company felt needed to be addressed very seriously, and Callaway has asked (continually) for folks to report any such instance here. Keep in mind, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is, so only shop at authorized resellers.
Callaway Solaire Wedges: Made for a Woman’s Game
Now, the thing about the Callaway Solaire wedges is that they’re not a standalone line, but rather a part of an entire set. This one-shop-stop type of deal should appeal to beginners especially, though even more experienced golfers might find the idea of finding everything they need in one bag quite tempting.
There are a few generations of these clubs you can go for, the first being the one called Callaway Solaire, plain and simple. Another is the somewhat newer Callaway Solaire II, and then there’s the newest Callaway Solaire Gems. If not specified otherwise, the latter is the line we’ll be discussing throughout this review.
What’s on the Table?
In a nutshell, what Callaway did is make a set of clubs with lengths and weights chosen to help slow swingers get the most out of their… well, swings. Now, with the Solaire Gems, they took out the long irons and replaced them with hybrids, with the idea of getting more launch with as little effort. Of course, not all players will appreciate the lack of a 3-iron, for example, but on the flipside, this does optimize your swing.
As we mentioned earlier, the wedges are not standalone, as they come with complete sets. These are available in a couple of distinct flavours, black and coral (the former looks particularly nice, but that’s just a personal preference). On a similar note, you can choose between two sets, depending on what you need – the 8-piece starter set (counting the cart-bag) and the 13-piece complete set (again, counting the cart bag).
The Different Sets
The former includes a driver (13.5°), 3-wood (17°), 5-hybrid (26°), 7-iron (32°), pitching (45°), and sand (56°) wedges, as well as a putter (3° Odyssey). It’s not much, granted, but you have pretty much everything you need to get you started on the right foot, and then build on that.
If you’d rather spend less time thinking, picking, and choosing, and more time hitting it, then the latter set might jingle your jollies. Here’s what’s in it: the same driver, three woods (3, 5, and 7), two hybrids (5 and 6), three irons (7, 8, and 9), two wedges (PW and SW), plus the same Odyssey putter.
The older sets (Solaire and Solaire II) came with an extra club compared to the Gems, but the ranges appear to be discontinued and have been definitively replaced with the Gems. Still, this newest generation is referred to simply as the Solaire, which accounts for the general confusion about the distinction.
To be perfectly honest, the wedges from the Callaway Solaire set won’t really give their Mack Daddies a run for their money, but on the flipside, it is the same manufacturer, so you know they’re quality made and that the R&D department put as much effort into designing them.
Overall, this is quite a forgiving family of clubs (the Solaires, not the Callaways in general), mostly thanks to the way heads were designed and built. We’ll go through the set explaining these minor tweaks and adjustments that make them ideal for slow swingers, starting with the driver.
The driver, as mentioned earlier, has a 13.5-degree loft, which is to a decent measure more angle than you might be used to (or not, if you’re a beginner).
On a more serious note, the higher loft helps with getting more lift on the ball, and should be especially useful to slow swingers (yeah, we’ll repeat this pretty much ad nauseam) and folks who have a positive attack angle (meaning you hit up on the ball). The head is also designed with a draw bias for even more power and accuracy, especially if you have a slight slice problem.
Also another point we’ve already mentioned is that the long irons are replaced with hybrids in this set, making it easier for you to get the ball up in the air. On the one hand, this does help slow swingers, but then again, not every golfer will appreciate the lack of a 3-iron. This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to hit slices or fades anymore, it’s just that it makes it easier to keep it straight and chase the distance.
As for the short irons (wedges included), you have a wider sole than you might be used to in other wedges, which goes a long way to giving you solid contact. This, of course, makes for a heavier sole, as well, which in turn lowers the center of gravity, and this perimeter weighting further helps with forgiveness and getting higher launch on your strokes.
In other words, even if you do mishit your Solaire irons, the sole alone will help minimize the damage. This design in the irons really complements the hybrids in the set, seeing as one of the key defining features of a hybrid is a wider sole.
As an aside, the overall design of the Callaway Solaire wedges really makes them perform well on soft conditions, as they’re less likely to cut through the surf than if they had thinner soles.
Finally, the putter – it’s a bit of an odd choice, given its somewhat downsized mallet head and the straight shaft, which is a design that used to be popular some years back. Then again, it’s a clean design, compact and well-balanced, and it does frame the ball nicely at address. The younger crowd might prefer bent shafts that help position the hands ahead of the club head, but there’s something appealing to the Odyssey’s clean, almost puritan design.
The shafts are definitely one of the main, if not the main selling point of the Callaway Solaire clubs. They are quite a bit lighter (1.6 to 1.8oz) than you might be used to, which goes a long way helping slow swingers achieve the same distances as those with faster swings.
The stock option is graphite, obviously, in ladies’ flex, though you can custom-fit it with a steel shaft. Another very important thing to note is that the Solaires come in petite size, which should definitely appeal to petite players. So, if you have a daughter who’s shown interest in golf or a significant other who’s petite, gentlemen, take notice.
As an aside, the bag is also a nice touch. Don’t take it the wrong way, it’s still a throw-in, but at least it’s made with some care. Rather than just slapping some pink colour on any ole bag, Callaway took some time apparently to design a nice and functional bag, with plenty of pockets (7, to be exact) and brushed nickel hardware throughout.
Yes, this is a cart bag, which might not be as appealing as a carry bag these days, but it definitely has a place on the course.
Talking specifically of the Callaway Solaire wedges, it’s important to note that all four types are included – pitching wedge, gap wedge (Callaway labels it as Approach), sand wedge, and lob wedge. However, only two of these come with the set, those being the pitching and sand wedges.
As noted above the pitching wedge is available with either sets and comes in a 45-degree loft. This flows nicely into the 40-degree 9-iron in the 13-piece set, but doesn’t begin to cover the yardage gap between it and the 32-degree 7-iron in the 8-piece one.
The gap or approach wedge, as Callaway calls it, doesn’t come with either sets, so you’ll have to order it separately. It’s a bit of an odd loft at 49 degrees, but on the flipside, this is the optimal loft-gap you’d want in your bag.
The 56-degree sand wedge comes with either set, and it performs pretty much as you’d expect from a package-set SW – good, but nothing to write home about. The wide sole here is pretty handy, as it helps the club head not dig into the sand and lend you some forgiveness on off-center shots.
The lob wedge, much like its approach counterpart, doesn’t come with the set, but is instead sold separately. It sports the standard 60-degree loft, and the same wide sole as the rest of the line.
The Final Verdict
Bottom line, if you’re a woman golfer looking for a value package set, then the Callaway Solaire just might be the thing for you. Of course, not every woman will appreciate the forgiveness and high launch angles these puppies produce, but then again, there are plenty who will (especially beginners and high cappers).
It really boils down to your swing speed – if you’re struggling with making the distance, then these should be a worthwhile investment. Either way, remember to take anything you plan on buying for a test drive and see how it feels, then go from there. Fairways and greens!