Review: Callaway Apex Pro irons
Pros: One of the most forgiving models in its class. The Apex Pros offer fantastic looks, feel and workability, and they’re great from the rough. They’re also pretty long for a blade-style iron.
Cons: The price point ($1,099) might turn off some buyers and durability of the satin finish is questionable.
Bottom Line: These are one of the best sets of players irons introduced this year. The Hogan-inspired “Apex” name seems fitting for this set of irons, which offers all the good looks and feel golfers would expect from that name, as well as a little extra distance and forgiveness that they might not have expected.
Callaway’s Apex Pro irons for 2014 retain all the aesthetics golfers want from a set of blade-style players irons, but they add a few dashes of technology to make them playable for golfers who don’t hit shots on the sweet spot time after time.
The Apex Pro irons launch higher and fly farther than their predecessor, Callaway’s X Forged ’13, thanks to the extensive milling process that makes their faces 17 percent thinner. That allowed more weight to be moved where Callaway engineers wanted it:
- Lower and deeper in the long irons for a higher launch and more forgiveness.
- Higher in the short irons for a penetrating trajectory with more spin.
The long irons get an additional boost in performance thanks to the tungsten inserts added to the soles of the 3, 4 and 5 irons, which gives those clubs an even higher launch and more forgiveness. Adding technology to a set of players irons like the Apex Pros usually comes at the expense of feel, but engineers fixed that with a polymer insert behind the impact area that gives them the acoustics golfers associate with irons that have good feel.
The Apex Pros also have Callaway’s new 37WV groove that’s wider and uses fewer grooves than previous iterations to create a more consistent launch and spin from less-than-ideal lies.
The irons come stock with KBS’ Tour-V shafts, which are new for 2014 and are designed to give golfers the mid-launching, low-spinning trajectory that most better players prefer in a weight range that’s 5-to-10 grams lighter than other tour-quality steel shafts. They’re available in three flexes: regular (100 grams), stiff (110 grams) and x-stiff (120 grams).
The Apex Pro irons ($1099 with steel shafts) are available in 3 iron through AW. The 3 iron has a stock loft of 21.5 degrees, while the PW measures 46 degrees. The 5 iron has a stock length of 38 inches and the clubs are built with a swingweight of D1 to D2, depending on shaft selection. They’re also available with UST Mamiya’s Recoil 95 or 110 graphite shafts for $1299.
This set checks all the boxes for better golfers who demand absolutely everything from a set of irons. Workable? Check. Soft and solid? Check. Penetrating trajectory, forgiving, distance? Check, check, check.
Honestly, it’s not often you come across a club that doesn’t have some significant opportunity costs. Distance irons often lack feel and workability and struggle to be aesthetically pleasing. More player-oriented irons may look runway spectacular, but can be unforgiving. The Apex Pros have all the upside and very little, if any, downside. These are the “have your cake and eat it too,” all that and a bag of chips, wunderkind of irons.
In terms of performance, you really start to run out of superlatives for these. They performed remarkably on the range, on the course and in launch monitor testing. Aside from one small exception, there is nothing I needed an iron to do that these couldn’t.
Distance control with irons is paramount to scoring and you can’t score well if you can’t consistently manage your distances and trajectory. This is where the Apex Pro irons excel. The stock trajectory for me was mid-to-high, but the ball flight was penetrating. I never had any issues trying to keep the ball low when needed, but I wasn’t able to hit these as high as I have with similar forged cavity backs, probably due to the stronger lofts. This was my single and isolated concern regarding performance.
For low-spin players, the Apex Pros may cause concerns if you’re seeking a higher ball flight. High-ball hitters, on the other hand, will likely be singing their praises.
The Apex Pro irons have a sole with a moderate amount of camber, or curvature from front to back, which improves turf interaction for most players. I found it to be fantastic from the rough as well.
Well struck shots resulted in consistent carry distances. And when I say consistent, I mean to the yard. I literally hit the same exact carry number far more often than my swing should be able to produce. Consistency breeds confidence and these clubs have that in spades.
Where these clubs really shine is out of varied lies. During my on-course testing, the performance from different lies in the rough was sublime. Other than the super gnarly lies, I was able to generate plenty of spin and flew the ball only a few yards shorter. On average, carry distance decreased by 3-to-4 yards for a standard lie in the rough. There is no cure for the flier lie and these clubs are no exception, but I don’t think you can hold that against them — or anyone for that matter — and I did seem to get slightly fewer fliers thanks to Callaway’s new 37WV groove.
The Apex Pro 6 iron at address.
About distance: I’m not entirely sure what the cause was, but the effect was a full club gain in distance for me. I’d be inclined to think it was because of a reduction in spin from the Tour-V shafts, the slightly stronger lofts or both, but in the final analysis is that they just carried farther than the other forged cavity backs that I’ve played. As confirmed by FightScope, I gained a full 8-to-10 yards of carry per club. This was the largest obstacle for me in adjusting to these clubs. Initially it was hard for me to trust the yardage and let the club do the work, but once I was able to do this it was game on.
Looks and Feel
Out of the box, the Apex Pros look dead sexy. The soft satin finish coupled with minimal offset, thin topline and rounded toe screamed excellence and luxury. For a bit, I wanted to simply stare and admire them. And for a bit, I did.
The cavity portion is a bit busy for me, but if we’re honest, when do you really spend time looking at the cavity of a club? I’m not wild about the sticker inserts, as they tend to wear and peel overtime, but no biggie. Understanding the current importance of brand awareness, it’s logical to have some visible promotional labeling.
That said, two weeks, five rounds and several range sessions later, the Apex Pros looked simply abused. What was once pristine now looked heavily gamed. The finish did not commensurate with the price tag at all. There’s an argument to be made that wear and tear on a set of irons adds to their beauty, character, whatever, but if I’m going to spend $1100 on a set of irons I don’t want them to wear like a $130 wedge.
I’m not the only one who had durability issues. Here’s Matt Every’s Apex Pro irons from the 2014 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational. Maybe you like the way they look, but I dont.
As for the feel of the clubs, the sensation at impact is exactly what you want from a forged club. It is soft, but not at all mushy. It is solid, but not too dense. It is hot, but not metallic. Pured shots are worthy of the “hot knife through butter” metaphor and it’s never felt so good to feel so little.
Given a blind test, the feel of these would certainly hold up against any of the renowned forged clubmakers in the world.
At this point I’d be remiss if I didn’t give some kudos to the Callaway customer service department who did everything except move heaven and earth to make sure my irons lived up to top-shelf standards. That meant sending me another set of Apex Pros, which I hope will wear better.
Aside from the durability of the finish, these clubs are almost perfect. They are easily one of the best, if not the best performing forged players iron on the market this year. They do everything golfers ask of them, and then a little more.
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Review: Honma TW737-Vs Forged Irons
Pros: Incredible feel all the way through the bag. These irons offer considerable forgiveness on mishits, and their slightly stronger lofts generate plenty of distance for a better-player forged iron.
Cons: Some will find the price point ($150 per club) too high to consider.
Bottom Line: The entire TW737 line boasts impressive specs and looks. The TW737-Vs, with their slightly larger shape and stronger lofts, could be perfect for the player ready to move from game-improvement irons to better players irons or for those those looking for more forgiveness in a forged set.
Many GolfWRX Members will already be familiar with Honma Golf, known for its intricately crafted clubs and as one of the most prestigious, fastest-growing golf brands in the world. For others, this review will be the first time they’ve heard of Honma, or seen their iconic “mole in a hole” cloisonné and wondered, “What’s that?”
That is about to change. Honma, a mainstay in the Japanese Domestic Market for almost 60 years, is making a major push to become a household name in the U.S. and Europe. This year marks the company’s first entry into national “Hot List” competitions, and you can now find and test some of their products, such as the TW737 irons, in big-box golf stores like the PGA Superstore.
While Honma has traditionally been associated with extremely high-end clubs — even gold-plated at times — the Tour World line is priced similarly with other forged irons from domestic manufacturers. Tour World also happens to be the line played by their tour pros like Hideto Tanihara, who has the TW737-Vs in his bag.
Related: More photos of Honma’s Tour World irons, driving irons and wedges
There are three unique models in the Tour World 737 line, each with slight variations in loft and head shape that are designed to fit the specific needs of forged-iron users. Each model includes Honma’s unified face progression and center of gravity design, which essentially allows for slight changes in sole width, face thickness, and head size based on loft, while keeping the same offset. The design is great in and of itself, and it also makes it easier to play a Tour World combo set.
The entire TW737 iron line is forged from S25C steel using Honma’s proprietary high strength W-Forging, a two-stage forging process that mixes hot and cold forging. According to the company, the process creates more density in the club face, especially high on the face. The extra strength is said to increase ball speed and forgiveness.
- The TW737-Vn is made particularly for better golfers who like the shape and workability of a blade, but want a little more forgiveness.
- The TW737-V has a small cavity-back head, but adds a little more forgiveness and distance than the Vn.
- The TW737-Vs, the model I tested, has a slightly larger head and strongest lofts, making it the longest and most forgiving of the three forged irons in the TW737 lineup.
You can find all the specs on the Honma site here. The TW737-Vs specs are below.
TW737-Vs irons are available now in 3-11 ($150 per club). A variety of stock shafts are available and include the NS Pro 950GH, Dynamic Gold AMT, Modus3 Tour, and Vizard 160. Honma has a retailer search on its site to help you find nearby golf stores where you can check out these clubs for yourself. Of course, custom shaft and grip options are available.
My set of TW737-Vs
I decided on the TW737-Vs because I wanted the extra performance and forgiveness. Honma built a 3-11 iron set, standard length, 0.5-degrees upright with Golf Pride New Decade Multi-Compound grips and two wraps of tape.
Having played cast, game-improvement irons my entire golfing life, I was anxious to see how these clubs would look at address, feel at impact and most importantly, how they would perform for my swing. In recent years, I have been using a forged Vega wedge, also an iconic Japanese brand. I love the feel, so I was excited for these.
You might be wondering, “Why test against a cast club and not compare Honma to Honma or Honma to Miura?” One reason is that like many of you, I’m precisely who Honma is looking to attract — a US-based consumer who has been playing mostly domestic clubs.
Take it one step further, I’ve also been looking to put forged clubs in the bag and make the move to the better-player iron category, but I was hesitant for a variety of reasons. I mentioned to a few other golfer that I was reviewing this set and their reaction was the same. Are they blades? Are they small? Are they hard to hit? All responses were followed by, “I don’t think I’d be ready for forged clubs.”
After testing I can tell you the irons are not too small, not too hard to hit, and stack up to anything else I’ve tested.
I like to start testing outside before getting on a launch monitor so I can focus purely on what I’m seeing and feeling. And with these clubs, my expectations were high, very high.
I started with the 11-iron because… how often do you get to hit a club stamped with an 11? I’ve always taken a significant divot with my wedges, but my first swing resulted in a solid, crisp shot with a thinner divot. Everything about the shot felt perfect. This happened to be a center strike and impact felt like almost nothing at all… in a good way. The sound was solid and strong, but the first real feeing I registered was slicing through the turf.
That feeling continued even with the long irons. Hitting a 3 or 4-iron around the middle provided plenty of feedback, but the more pure the strike, the less feeling there was. The ball flight appeared to be slightly lower than my current set, with a straight-to-draw flight and similar distances. Working the ball both ways was not a problem.
On the course, I struggled with distance control at first. This was my own fault for not dialing in the distances, especially with the stronger lofts in the 7-iron and shorter clubs. My expectation was that these clubs would not fly as far as my current clubs, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.
The exceptional feel continued. Truly effortless power on center strikes. The ball just jumped off the face and provided plenty of feedback and forgiveness. My divots from fairway lies were thinner than normal, which I don’t mind at all. These clubs cut through the rough nicely as well.
My favorite moment came at an island-green par-3, No. 16 at BridgeMill Athletic Club. I had 160 yards to the pin, with 150 yards covering the water and 175 yards to the water at the back of the green. With my old set, it would have been a smooth 8-iron (a full 9-iron is a reliable 145 yard carry). For me, the TW737-Vs 9-iron is essentially an 8.5-iron, so I went with 9-iron and played to the center with a little draw. I hit one of the most solid shots of the day, and it landed just a few feet away from the pin. Trusting a 9-iron would be enough… now that was fun.
Launch Monitor Data
My expectation going into launch monitor testing was that I’d see a flatter trajectory, lower peak height, similar distance and spin, and a decent amount of help on mishits. I tested the TW737-Vs on SkyTrak against my TaylorMade RSi 2’s using Bridgestone Tour B330 balls. I rotated clubs every 5 shots and went through multiple rounds with each club.
The launch monitor data backed up what I was seeing on the course. For the short and mid irons, the Honmas generated slightly more distance (not less as I expected prior to testing). The 9-iron had the biggest gap, but the TW737-Vs is also 2 degrees stronger.
Spin was lower, but I was also seeing slightly more draw bias to my shots. While the spin looks a little low, on the course I had no issues stopping the ball on approach shots. With the long irons, my flatter trajectory always forces me to play for a little roll, so that won’t change.
I’ve never been a high ball hitter. My swing produces a lower flight and I’m sticking with it. Not surprisingly, my launch angle and peak height with the TW737-Vs was slightly lower across the board.
Ball speed on heel and toe side of center dropped about 2 mph on average, but the shots were very playable. With the 3 and 4-irons, toe shots generated quite a bit more left spin, but heel shots didn’t really impact the flight.
For shots higher on the face, I was very surprised and happy to see a minimal loss of distance. All in all, these clubs are very playable and forgiving on shots that miss the dead center of the clubface.
Looks and Feel
Feel is subjective, but I love the way these clubs feel. There is a nice weight through the swing. The W-Forging process has created a strong face that fires balls off like little rockets. Some other irons have a spring-like feel at impact, but with these, center shots just seemed to melt into my hands.
I spent a lot of time using powder spray on the face to see the exact impact location. With other irons I’ve tested, it is easy to know if I hit the extreme toe or heel side. But with the TW737-Vs, I was able to feel if I was half a ball to the heel or toe side. Same with being low on the face or a few grooves high. Both better players and mid-handicap golfers looking to improve will appreciate the feedback these clubs provide.
As for looks, “These are beautifully simple” was my first thought when I saw them in person. The lines are clean and sharp in some areas and smooth and rounded in others. The head, while definitely smaller than what I’m used to, doesn’t feel or look too small. I don’t have any confidence issues looking down at the ball.
Each of the TW737 models have the same minimal amount of offset, creating a relatively straight edge from the shaft out to the toe. I find it easier to set up and align clubs with less offset, so I like this a lot. I wouldn’t call the top line thin, but it isn’t thick either. Overall, I just really like how these irons look at address.
The mass low and right in the middle of the face conveys a sense of power, and the designers left plenty of material on the toe and heel to help minimize mishits. The half-mirror finish on the face and top line cuts down the glare at address. I would rather see the half-mirror finish replace the rough finish on the back — it’s just a personal preference — but the third texture does provide another dimension to the look of the club.
Honma might not be the first name most Americans think of when they think of forged irons. That is going to change… not just because Honma will be spending more money to reach golfers in North America, but because the company’s Tour World line is both beautifully crafted and packed with performance.
If you’re in the market for forged players irons, make sure the TW737 is on the list of clubs to hit.
GolfWRX Member Reviews: TaylorMade 2017 M1 and M2 Irons
One of the many benefits of being a GolfWRX Forum Member is exclusive access to Giveaways and Testing Threads. For Giveaways — we give away everything from golf clubs to golf balls to GPS units — all it takes is a forum name. Enter any Giveaway, and we select winners randomly. You’re then free to enjoy your prize as you wish.
For Testing Threads, the process a bit more involved. GolfWRX Forum Members sign up to test the latest and greatest products in golf, and then they provide in-depth reviews on the equipment. Being the intelligent golf-equipment users they are, GoflWRX Members are able to provide the most-informed and unbiased reviews on the Internet.
In this Testing Thread, we selected 75 members to test a TaylorMade M1 2017 7-iron and TaylorMade M2 7-iron. Each of the clubs were built with the stock lofts and shafts — M2 2017 (28.5 degrees) with a TaylorMade Reax shaft, and M1 2017 (30.5 degrees) with a True Temper Dynamic Gold S300 shaft — and the testers were instructed to post their review of the clubs here.
Below, we’ve selected what we’ve deemed the most in-depth and educated reviews out of the 75 testers. We have edited each of the posts for brevity, clarity and grammar.
Thanks to all of those involved in the testing!
- All 75 Reviews: TaylorMade M1 and M2 Testing Thread
- Tech Talk: What you need to know about TaylorMade’s M1 and M2 irons
To be honest, looking down on the TaylorMade M1 and M2 irons at address, there is really not much difference. I would have to pick one up to see which is which.
The first 10 balls I hit were with M1 and 6/10 felt great, while the other 4 were toe hits, which I felt and the distance reflected that. Kinda what I expected with a club design for lower-handicap players. Distance was about 1/2 longer than my Srixon iron and dispersion was close, as well. I will say they did not feel as good as the Srixon on center hits.
Next 10 (ok, 15) balls were with the M2. Wow, can you say “up, up and away? The ball really popped of the club face, but wasn’t a ballon flight. Waited for the ball to come down and WTH, with the roll out it was 5-8 yards longer than balls hit with M1, and that is with a few toe shots. I did some smooth swings and then very aggressive swings and was a little amazed at this iron. Just like the M1, it does not have the forged feeling and does have a clicky sound (which I hate).
Bottom line: M2 is the longest iron I have ever hit. I love my 545s, but I could see myself playing M2 very easily. Matter of fact, I will be taking this M2 7 iron in my bag and play it more head-to-head against my Srixon 545 on the course.
These are both beautiful clubs. What surprised me the most is how much alike the two clubs look at address. I was expecting a chunky topline and significant offset in the M2, but it’s footprint looked almost exactly the same as the M1, outside of the chrome finish on the M2 versus the frosted finish of the M1. The M2 could almost pass as a player’s iron to my eye at address. These clubs both get A’s from me in the looks department.
The M1 felt a tad thicker than most player’s irons I’m used to, but it seemed to come with a bit of added forgiveness too. Well-struck shots felt good, with a nice mid-trajectory and with the workability that I’ve come to expect from a player’s iron. But true to TaylorMade’s claims, the M1 seemed more forgiving than a traditional player’s iron. Had a nice soft feel at impact, mishits didn’t sting and left you with a more playable result. A really nice combination of the better attributes of both player’s and game improvement irons. I’ve been playing with an old set of Tommy Armour blades, but I’ve been recently wanting more forgiveness for when I’m stuck with my B or C swing. Based on the early returns, I could definitely see myself bagging these.
I’m not sure if it’s the shaft, the design of the clubhead, or a combination of both, but the M2 is definitely a different animal than the M1 at impact. This club launches the ball high, arguably ridiculously so. I was hitting Jason Day moonbombs with this bad boy. Didn’t seem to matter what kind of swing I put on it, the ball launched high, flat and dead straight. The club was super forgiving and if not for the insanely high ball flight, I would love to have a set of these for when my swing is out of sorts. I didn’t really try to flight it at all, so I’m not sure what it’s capable of at this point. One other note was that the M2 had a clicky feel at impact. It didn’t bother me since it still felt so sweet… so strange as it sounds, clicky, but smooth and sweet at the same time. I think these clubs will be big winners with the mid-to-high handicap set.
The M1 is a fine iron, but doesn’t really stand out in any way from other irons of its class.
The M2, on the other hand, is an iron on steroids. I’m really starting to love this thing. It’s super forgiving and just goes and goes. According to my laser, flush shots were going 195 yards (my usual blade 5 iron distance) and very high. I can’t help but think golf would be a whole lot easier, particularly longer courses with long par 3s, with a full set of these in my bag.
M1 feels softer than the M2 and I felt the ball flight was more consistent and what I want in an iron. The M1 did have a harsher feeling in my hands than I typically like, but I’m going to credit a lot of that to the range balls.
M2 flies very high. It was a windy afternoon and about 100 degrees. I love the high ball flight on the range, but I have a concern what that ball flight would be like on the course. I like to hit the ball different heights for different shots and I don’t think I could do that confidently with the M2, but I could with the M1. I don’t like the sound of the M2. It sounded “clicky” to me.
Initially on the range I was scared because the M1 had a regular flex in it, so I took it easy for my initial 10-15 swings with it. Ball SHOT off the face, loud crack (didn’t care for it, but not too bad) and ball just kept rising and rising but didn’t balloon. I thought, “whoa,” that’s not what I expected…did it again…another CRACK and the ball just flew. I set another down and I paid attention to how it looked behind the ball, not much offset for a game improvement and I thought…”I could actually play this club!” The 5-7 were EASY swings, aimed at a target of 170 yards away (my normal 7 iron distance) and with a EASY swing I was flying it by 20 yards or so. The next 5-10 I really went after it, same CRACK and ball just flew but to my surprise it was a nice draw, harder draw than the first but it was a nice 10-yard draw. This time the balls were landing just short of the 200 yard marker. Damn, 200 yards with a 7 iron! I know they are jacked lofts but it feels good to say “my 7 irons just few 190-200 yards!”
P.S. LOVE the Lamkin UTX grip!
Now, this was interesting, the M2 was quieter then the M1… weird! Now, there is more carbon fiber added to this one and there is a “Geocoustic” label on the back. I am sure that it has something to do with all that carbon fiber but it does have a better sound. Other than the sound, it played exactly like the M1: long and straight. The REAX shaft felt a little weaker than the True Temper shaft and it flew a little higher but nothing else I could pick up.
Finally got out to the range after getting these bad boys in on Friday. My first impression of them is that they look really sharp. The graphics and design really stand out and really give these clubs a cool, modern look.
They were both a little to big IMO, as I am currently bagging Mizuno MP-68s. The M2 isa definite “game improvement iron”, while the M1 was similar in size and shape to my previous irons, Titleist AP1s.
They both really launch it, high and far. Ridiculous for 7 irons. I don’t have access to a launch monitor, but it was about a 20-yard difference between my gamer 7 iron and these (stronger lofts, as well).
The M1 definitely was more suited for my eye, and produced more consistent ball flights. It felt much more smooth and solid as the M2 had a clicky, cheap feel.
The M2 just isn’t for me. I felt like it was launching too high and ballooning, which could be due to the shaft (the M1 had the S300, while the M2 just had a stock “Reax” shaft). The feel off the face of the M2 just turned me off, to be honest.
While I don’t think I’ll be putting either model in play, I can definitely see the appeal for mid-to-high handicaps. Both irons were super forgiving, and they should be a dream to the average weekend golfer who has trouble with ball striking consistently.
Looks: As expected, I preferred the M1 with less offset, slightly smaller sole and a smoother finish. Less glare looking down on the iron. I must say the M2 did not look as bulky, or have as much offset as I thought it might have.
Feel: This was a close race, probably due to the shafts as much as the heads. The M1 was just a slight bit smoother feeling on solid shots. But the M2 was not bad at all, just not quite as smooth.
Distance and performance: Our range has a slight incline up the length of the range, so specific yardage gains or losses were difficult to measure. Both irons had a higher trajectory than my gamer 7 iron. Neither sole dug onto the turf either. The lofts for both irons are a degree or two stronger than mine, so I would think they probably flew a little further than my gamers. Neither iron flew “too” high, however. Might be a little harder to hit knock down shots, though.
Final thoughts: I had hit both the M1 and M2 irons last year during a fitting day, but did not like either. This year’s model were both better in my eyes. I asked a fellow member at our club to hit both and he felt the M1 was his preferred model, and he is a 20-index player. So coming from both a single digit, and a high double-digit, the M1 won this battle of wills. I will try and see if I can locate both a 5 iron and 9 iron to see if a full set might be a winner for me.
I was surprised that the M2 was the winner in this brief session. It felt better, flew higher, easier to hit and about 1/2 club longer that my gamer Apex CF16. The feel/sound was better than I thought it might be, but really not up to the CF16. I could, however, easily game the M2’s.
Feel: I hit the M2 first, and found it to be very solid when hit on the screws. There was almost no feel off the club face at all. When I mishit it, you knew it was, but it wasn’t harsh at all. Hit the M1 next, and same type of feel when hit solid. Much more harsh when mishit though, but I knew that was coming.
Distance and performance: This is was where I was curious to see how they would play. The M2 went out high in the air, and just kept going forever. Now granted my eyesight isn’t that great anymore, but it looked like I got about 10-15 yards more from the M2 compared to my Wilson D300. The only thing I didn’t like about the M2 was how much I was able to turn it over. Got a lot more hook compared to my D300. Don’t know if that was from the REAX shaft, but would love to find a less spinning shaft to correct that.
The M1 wasn’t a great performer for me. Same height as the M2, but much straighter off the club face. Didn’t get any great distance advantage as compared to my D300. Can’t game a player’s iron anymore, and testing this one just reaffirmed that.
Final thoughts: Was very happy with the distance I gained with the M2 compared to my current gamer. Very good-performing iron for me, and something I would definitely consider changing them out if I could reduce the spin off the face. If you’re looking for more distance, you need to try these out. The M1 just wasn’t for me, but as a player’s iron, I can see it as a great option.
Like the other testers, I found the M2 to launch the ball much higher and is 10-to-15 yards longer than my Adams XTD forged 7 iron. Of the two 7 irons I prefer the M1. I like the design of the M1 and its visual appearance at address. I feel more confident in trying to work the ball with the M1. The M1 gave me more feedback as to where the club head was in relation to my swing plane. If I had my druthers I would put the M1 in the bag as it stands now. Will continue to test, what a treat to compare the two irons.
Once I started making solid contact with a decent shoulder turn, the M2 really came alive in my hands. Towering flat height, for me, and very long. No more clacky hollow feel, just a very mild pleasant sensation… then zoom. Once I started making better swings, back to the M1, which was a very nice iron. Shorter than the M2 (though not short) and a little lower ball flight. Felt nice and substantial without being heavy. Very forgiving on slight mishits.
But the M2 was the star for me. High trajectory and very long. Club felt lively and fun. Frankly, unless a player wanted a lower trajectory, or likes to hit a lot of knock downs or feel shots, I don’t know why anyone wouldn’t choose the M2. They are very attractive and a very fun iron. I think folks who say that the M2 feels and/or sounds clicky, clacky or hollow may be mishitting the iron toward the toe. I am not judging — I mishit a lot of shots at first. I agree on toe mishits the iron did not feel great. It almost felt like plastic. The ball still flew pretty well, but it wasn’t a very enjoyable experience. Not painful, just felt very dead. But when hit nearer the center, the iron felt fantastic. Light, springy and very lively.
They are both good-looking clubs. Not too long heel to toe and toplines were not that distracting. M1 is more what I like to see shape wise, but M2 was not bad at all. Personally, not a fan of seeing the face slots. But I could see how some people may like how they frame the ball.
– Has a very odd sound on contact, almost sounds a tad like a fairway wood “ting. Not a fan
– Looks very good at address with the brushed finish
– Most shots I hit with it seemed to fall out of the sky (very likely a lack of spin). Ball flight was much lower than I would have expected (not super low, just not much different than my 7 iron)
– Inconsistent misses. Next to no distance gains vs RocketBladez Tour 7 iron
– Doesn’t look as good at address as the M1. Chrome finish at address is not an issue in even direct sunlight for me
– Feels and sounds quite nice to my ears at impact. Not a classic sound but very good considering what type of club it is
– Ball flight is very strong (comes off hot). Ball stays high in the air for awhile. Very high and lands soft
– 10-12 yards longer on average vs my 7 iron, it even had the horsepower to hang with my 6 iron
– VERY forgiving on thin strikes. Couldn’t believe how a near-top still traveled to nearly the front edge in the air and still went as far as the M1 did on a good strike
– Shaft is too light
Even though I’m a 2-handicap and don’t fit the M2 “mold,” I could see myself playing this club from 4-6 iron (although gapping would be a major issue mixing these with almost anything else) if it had a heavier shaft in it (I can only imagine how far this 4 iron must go… yikes)
M1 = 2.5/5 stars
M2 = 4.5/5 stars
Visual first impressions: The M1 7-iron is visually appealing to me as far as the finish and overall look. Even though it is classified as a player’s iron, it doesn’t seem so tiny that it would be tough to hit. I am not a huge fan of the bright-yellow badging, but I probably could get over it. The iron inspires confidence with its topline and a little bit of offset. The “rubber” piece on the hosel is a little bit funky to me.
I thought the M2 7-iron would look clunkier than it really is. Besides the finish being a little bit different, the difference between the M1 and M2 is actually pretty small. The M2’s topline and sole are a touch wider, but not by much. Not a huge fan of the fluted hosel since it can be seen at address. The M1’s fluting is only on the rear of the club.
I did notice that the sole’s finish did scratch pretty easily. Overall, I thought the M1 and M2 are pretty good looking, but I would definitely give the edge to the M1. I also preferred the stock Lamkin grip on the M1 vs. the ribbed M2 grip.
On course action: They both feel solid. I tried hitting both irons in all different types of on-course situations over a two week period. Both clubs launch the ball high but I would not say they balloon. For me, the M2 was about 10 yards longer and higher than the M1. Compared to my Cleveland irons, they are 1 to 1.5 clubs longer.
M1 loft = 30.5
M2 loft = 28.5
Cleveland TA7 loft = 33.5
I know this accounts for the distance gain but the ball definitely comes off hot compared to my set. I was hoping I would hit the M1 better since I like the appearance better, but that was not the case. The M2 definitely felt better for me and I felt more confident with it in my hands.
Discussion: Read all 75 reviews and the responses in our Testing Thread
Members Choice: The Best Irons of 2017
To help golfers find the best irons for them in 2017, we enlisted the services of GolfWRX Members, the most knowledgeable golfers on the internet. They not only understand the technology used in the latest golf equipment, but they also test new clubs extensively. Following their detailed experiences and words of wisdom about the latest products is the perfect starting point for anyone interested in purchasing new golf clubs.
To gather their votes and feedback, we as a company first needed to properly sort the irons into categories. We aimed to keep the categories as simple as possible with 2017’s crop of irons, and we broke them down into three general categories:
- Players Irons: Basically, small-sized irons. These irons have sleek top lines and soles. They place workability and control over distance, and for that reason they’re irons you can expect to see in the bag of a professional golfer.
- Game-Improvement Irons: Basically, medium-sized irons. This category includes a wide-range of clubs that blend distance, forgiveness, good looks and workability.
- Super Game-Improvement Irons: Basically, large-sized irons. These irons are juiced with hot faces, wide soles, thick top lines, big offset and a low center of gravity, among other engineering feats, that are often unique to each company.
Note: Because of the abundance of Players Irons currently available, we divided that category into two categories: Players Irons and Exotics Players Irons. The Exotic Players Irons list included players irons from companies such as Epon, Fourteen, Miura, PXG, and Honma, which are not as widely available for testing in the U.S.
Below you can access the full results of our Members Choice 2017: Best Irons lists, as well as feedback about each iron from the GolfWRX Community. We’d like to sincerely thank all the GolfWRX Members who participated in the voting and provided feedback on the irons. We also want to thank those of you who provided feedback on the voting process itself. We assure you that we read and consider everything, and we’re going to continue to improve our process in order to provide the best and most useful information about the latest golf equipment.
Members Choice: The Best Players Irons
Vote Leader: Mizuno JPX-900 Tour
“WOW! Great mix of buttery feel and forgiveness.”
Overall, the Mizuno JPX-900 Tour irons earned nearly 15 percent of votes on the Players iron category, giving them top billing for players irons. One GolfWRX member said he was “weak in the knees from first look at the satin finish and compact size,” and that the “feel is excellent, and there’s just enough forgiveness.” Another said the JPX-900 Tour irons are the “best irons out there right now in terms of blending feel, forgiveness, and the ability to shape shots.”
Full List: The Best Players Irons of 2017
Members Choice: The Best Exotic Players Irons
Vote Leader: PXG 0311T
“I can’t say I have ever hit anything that feels as good as the PXG.”
With more 21 percent of votes for the Best Exotics Players Irons of 2017, PXG’s 0311T irons were described by GolfWRX members as “a great looking club,” and that they “felt unbelievable.” When comparing the irons to Titleist’s 716 MB irons, one member said, “The fact that you can barely tell if it has or doesn’t have more offset than the MB 7 iron just shows how little it has.”
Full List: The Best Exotic Players Irons of 2017
Members Choice: Best Game-Improvement Irons
Vote Leader: Callaway Apex CF ’16
“Apex CF is simply the most explosive, best feeling iron I’ve ever hit in this category.”
Acquiring nearly 20 percent of votes of all models in the Best Game-Improvement Iron category, GolfWRX Members described the Callaway Apex CF ’16 irons as “simply the most explosive,” and that they “perform very well on center hits and almost as good on mishits.”
Full List: The Best Game-Improvement Irons of 2017
The Best Super Game-Improvement Irons
Vote Leader: Ping G
“The Ping G takes what Ping has done for years and added in increased ball speed, improved feel and much better looks.”
An iron that “will appeal even to Ping haters.” GolfWRX Members described the Ping G as “stupid easy to hit,” providing a “high and straight ball flight,” and “an eye opener.” The irons also accumulated more than 22 percent of the total votes in the category.
Full List: The Best Super Game-Improvement irons of 2017
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Jul 1, 2015 at 11:52 pm
I just ordered a custom set through the callawaygolfpreowned site. Great customer service and they shipped out my custom spec’d irons in less than 24 hours. impressive. i can’t wait to get them out on the course.
Jun 6, 2015 at 8:39 pm
Just got these off of eBay for $450 from a reputable source used looking forward to trying them out my current miura tournament blades are amazing clubs but I have been struggling this year and looking to switch now that my index is above scratch. I hit the six iron on a tracman and the numbers where phenomenal I will update as I game them. Note they did not feel as good as my miura TB’s however, they felt much better than my backup bag of mp-68’s they are buttery while you can still feel the face and manipulate the ball with feel like a blade from what I could tell with limited testing using a six iron only (lefty all they had was the six to test with) so I have been watching the bay for a full set that was affordable finally that day came I will keep you all up to date.
Nov 21, 2014 at 7:51 pm
These are great sticks! I play the 6-P in the Apex Pro, and 4 and 5 in the Apex with KBS shafts, great feel, accurate and forgiving. What more could you want?
Nov 5, 2014 at 12:32 pm
I find that these are some of my favorite as of late. Once im done with my MP4 I might give these a go.
Aug 10, 2014 at 4:06 pm
I was stunned by how good these felt and yet so forgiving. Plays close to Ping s55 but you get more from your weaker strikes. As to the finish, they are tools and not just gor looking at. They’ll get a nice patina from use due to the softer metal but the face has stayed great. The real value in these is on the course. Outstanding feel and forgiveness. Probably for 12 or lower HC. Love the stock shaft KBS too.
Aug 10, 2014 at 9:34 am
I’ve been building, grinding, fitting and retro fitting top shelf clubs for over twenty years now, and this new generation of Callaway forgings are without a doubt the BEST production clubs EVER produced by a large OEM.
the head weights on sets I’ve ‘pured’ are right on, the insert depths are exact and the hosel bore is true and tight.
NO HOGAN, Titleist or TM Iron ever came out of the box this good. No shaft beads required in the epoxy, no crimping of the shafts….Just rock solid metal (or graphite) to metal fit, which is why they feel so great and hit so well….
ALSO….you can select any steel shaft for NO upcharge. No one else offers that…
IMO, the best major OEM offering ever
Aug 4, 2014 at 7:59 pm
I’ve had my set for 2 months. I play twice a week. My clubs look like I’ve had them for 5 years. The finish is horrible. In addition to that, I’ve lost 3 of the black weights outt of the back of my pw, 7iron and 5 iron. I sent my set to callaway preowned for a trade. I was disgusted with my apex pros.
Dec 16, 2014 at 4:50 pm
Maybe its you the golfer that’s beating them all up.
Aug 4, 2014 at 11:53 am
Well, CallAway can call them Apex all they want!
It is NOT Hogan – far from it!
But next year we shall – hopefully – see irons made with the Hogan spirit again.
By the road: Does anybody know, if Callaway shall be able to use the model name “Apex” from then on??
Aug 4, 2014 at 3:18 pm
Why do you guys insist on living in the past so much. The hogan apex line has been gone for a very long time. As Nike says…….. Live in the now. I love those commercials. You guys that go on and on about the past and how great things were are the guy in those commercials that shuns all the new stuff! And don’t think I’m a young 20 something. I’m 53 years old but just know that technology makes things better.
Aug 5, 2014 at 10:29 am
It’s very sad that they carry the “Apex” name.
Aug 5, 2014 at 10:34 am
BTW – Callaway should have left the “Apex” name in the past!
Aug 5, 2014 at 10:37 am
Sven – Callaway sold the Hogan name but kept the rights to the “Apex” name.
Aug 4, 2014 at 11:41 am
It’s not a blade style iron. It’s a classic cavity back iron for the better player. No need to make more out of it than it really is.
Besides that it looks nice, but from Callaway a would prefer the 2012 Legacy Black, the model that H. Stensons plays.
Aug 4, 2014 at 11:24 am
They look like they copied my COBRA PRO AMP irons. Which are a great set of Irons for any player. Easy to hit, goes high and long. I have compared them with a set of Apex, and very, very, similar. Funny how they all copy the good stuff.
Aug 1, 2014 at 12:17 pm
great irons, they basically do what you swing tells it to do.
i will get a set early next year when they blow them out for 399 at golftown, just like how they did it for my xforged 🙁
Aug 1, 2014 at 10:05 am
I went to get fitted in May with the expectation that I would walk away with AP2’s. The fitter said Callaway put out a great club this year, which I immediately thought, ‘how much are you paid to say that?’ During the range session I tried AP2’s, Apex Pro’s, Tour Preferred’s, I25’s, and two others that I really can’t remember. I didn’t mind the AP2’s feel but was bothered by the bulky head and blinding face. I spun the Tour Preferred’s too much and while I launched the I25’s, I prefer a lower flight and the feel just wasn’t there, not being forged I understand that. All heads were tested with KBS Tour V 120. NOTHING compared to the feel of the Apex Pro’s and the numbers from Trackman didn’t lie. They’re stronger than most, which takes getting used to, but I eliminated the 3 iron and added the A wedge. My 4 and 5 iron are SO easy to hit that I’m considering tossing my hybrid and adding the 3 iron. Love the set, don’t mind the wear (hardly any). I play in Arizona and have had to hit a few from the desert. There’s no evidence on the head that I did so. Been waiting for this review all summer long to see what WRX had to say and see if they love them as much as I do. Thanks for putting it up.
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:25 pm
The price tag is high but you have to realize that any shaft option callaway offers is no up charge. If you wanted to throw in a c-taper or something else high end to a taylormade, Titleist, etc. it’s a $30 up charge per club. The apex pros feel incredible and do not have a higher price tag per club than AP2, covert 2.0 forged or other high end offerings from many companies.
Aug 1, 2014 at 11:44 am
Yep. I got c-taper’s stock from Callaway.
Jul 31, 2014 at 4:27 pm
Did the durability affect the playability? Meaning did the grooves get messed up?
Jul 31, 2014 at 5:11 pm
Not at all. It’s purely cosmetic.
Jul 31, 2014 at 3:39 pm
This review is spot on.
The clubs feel great, are very long, and pretty forgiving for a forged blade, but the finish just doesn’t cut it. They looked beat after 15 minutes on a grass range.
Jul 31, 2014 at 3:38 pm
I was dying for a set of these. Great looks and feel. Tried the pros and the regular Apex and got the regular Apex. For me they just performed better…I guess I’m getting old!!
Jul 31, 2014 at 3:40 pm
Oh, and the pricing is ridiculous. Nobody should pay close to list for these. Just look around…
Jul 31, 2014 at 12:18 pm
I demo’d these and loved them. I really couldn’t find another iron in the 10 I tested that was better all around. But, I read about the durability issues and that alone scared me off and I went I25. It’s too bad,because this is my favorite iron I have ever hit.
Jul 31, 2014 at 12:02 pm
I switched from 07 x forged and oh my! I hit the ball high to begin with but these go even higher AND further with the penetrating flight. And more forgiving. Best irons I ever hit hands down. I got the Pjx 6.5 in them.
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:55 am
I’ve had a set for a few months now. They do feel great. Especially the longer irons. I’ve played blades most of my life and the feel of these lives up to the hype while being much more forgiving. Wear hasn’t been a big issue for me. I walk most of the time and some of the finish has rubbed off from clubs rubbing against each other, but after a while they all look good.
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:58 am
Also, big props to Callaway’s custom department. I ordered a set of Apex Pro’s plus 3 Mack Daddy 2’s and they all came in perfect. Shaft, weight, grips, lie angle. Dead on. Great experience.
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:39 am
But it carries the legendary “Apex” name.
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:38 am
Glad you liked them, I’ve got some on order and should be here in a couple weeks. Can’t wait to get them in my bag full time!
Jul 31, 2014 at 11:01 am
1400 bucks online, prices are far too high. Adams CMB is a better iron at less than half the price.
Aug 2, 2014 at 1:11 pm
I would certainly think you could find a better deal than $1400 for a set of 8 – I’d check around!
Aug 4, 2014 at 1:18 pm
Agreed. Bought a new set of cmb’s when they 1st came out with an extra iron for $800. best Irons I have ever hit. Haven’t had a full session with Apex’s though.
Aug 4, 2014 at 3:13 pm
1400 is way more than you have to pay. They list for 1100 for the full set. Having said that you get what you pay for and these are the best irons of 2014. Adams in my opinion are older players clubs. And what about feel? Do you get the same feel from the Adams? Are you comparing forged to forged? I don’t even think Adams has a forged iron. Could be wrong there though. I don’t know their lines that we’ll.
Aug 4, 2014 at 10:42 pm
I hit the regular Apex and experienced an increase in distance, but my backspin came down significantly and thus I was concerned about being able to hold the greens. Unfortunately I was only hitting them into a simulator and not on the course. Anyone have a similar experience?