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New Callaway 2021 Apex, Apex Pro, and Apex DCB irons: Could this be the best Apex launch ever?

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Today, Callaway introduces the new 2021 Apex, Apex Pro, and Apex DCB irons.

“With the Apex line we get to express the best of our technology.”

-Dr. Alan Hocknell, Callaway R&D on the new 2021 Callaway Apex irons

It was in 2019 that Callaway Golf brought the action-packed Apex Forged to the market, and it became a hit almost overnight. What wasn’t to like? It looked amazing, launched high, went forever, and got through the turf effortlessly.

Like any other launch in this category, I always ask, at what point will they add spin back into this package? At the end of the day, spin is control at any trajectory, and although this class of iron has always leaned toward lowering spin and making up for it with descent angles, time has taught us that there is an optimal spin window with irons that can’t be ignored.

So what was Callaway’s recipe to make a successful iron even better? Engineers found new ways to look at spin, and in my opinion, it’s a huge step forward.

2021 Callaway Apex Forged irons

The new 2021 Callaway Apex irons

The Tech Story: Spin Robustness 

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged irons were created with one goal in mind: optimization, not only across the set, but into each specific iron. For the first time, Callaway used A.I to design its patented Flash Face Cup, which in previous applications created a face that was not only fast but extremely forgiving.

In this update, the focus was on control and “spin robustness,” which is an awesome way to say spin optimization. Callaway was able to not only increase ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but with a new weighting configuration, also able to control and optimize spin.

Each iron face is tuned to complement the loft (i.e. long irons = high launch/low spin, mid irons = mid launch/mid spin, short irons = lower launch/higher spin).

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged Face On

But why focus on the spin? The answer is simple, control. Yes, it’s fun to hit monstrous 8-irons, but the reality is, if you can’t stop the ball, it’s useless. Not everyone can get the ball high enough to utilize a steep descent angle, so adding some useable spin opportunities across the face makes a ton of sense. Callaway did this without making any tweaks to the previous loft package. That’s pretty remarkable.

How exactly? The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged incorporates five times the tungsten as its previous version (up to 64 grams in the 9-iron), which not only tunes in launch and spin, but in harmony with Callaway’s urethane microsphere injection, creates an iron that gives you that crisp forged iron feel all while giving you the help you need across the face. The tungsten weights are also placed in a unique CG position for each iron. This amount of tunability is typically seen in drivers and metal woods.

What does that mean for us? Specifically, it gives each iron a very precise CG location to dial in trajectory but an added benefit is these irons lose very little on thin shots. That’s huge for the recreational player.

The Look

What’s new? Why re-invent the wheel? The only real tweaks are a pre-worn leading edge across the set and in the short irons a higher toe with some rounding to the shape.

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged down the line

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged iron

Overall

As with Apex Forged ’19, this iron packs all the punch a player would want in a high-end teched-out forged package. This is Callaway’s Mercedes Benz AMG, and in a competitive 2021 iron market, the 2021 Callaway Apex will definitely punch its weight with players of all skill sets, and it looks amazing. Well done, Doc, Scott, D. Nevs, and the entire Callaway crew.

Pricing/Specs/Stock Offerings (Per Callaway)

Available at Retail: 2/11

Pricing: $185/stick – steel, $200/stick – graphite

Loft offerings: 3-AW

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Pro irons

2021-callaway-apex-pro-21-irons

“This new Apex Pro is a serious breakthrough for better players in terms of Forged performance”

-Dr. Alan Hockenell, Callaway R&D

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Pro may be the biggest shocker in this new line. Based on previous models, one could assume that what we would see this time is a clean, tour-inspired players cavity back. However, 2021 is a new year, and with it, a brand new take on a players forged iron.

The Tech Story: Going internal

As with the Apex Forged (standard), the new 2021 Callaway Apex Pro was designed with A.I technology utilizing the Flash Face Cup to increase ball speeds and forgiveness in a hollow-bodied forged 1025 mild carbon steel chassis. This time around, it’s what’s inside that tells the story. The internal tungsten weighting system, which goes all the way up to 90 grams in the 7-iron, creates a forged players iron that optically looks like it should, but also gives it just enough help to please an even wider range of golfers.

The new 2021 Apex Pro also incorporates Callaway’s urethane microsphere injection to fine-tune feel and sound.

It’s not often that you see an iron designed specifically for the tour that packs in this much tech, all while serving the two main masters at the pro level: looks and control.

Although the new 2021 Callaway Apex Pro packs a bit more punch and forgiveness than its older sibling, don’t for a second think this is a distance iron. Using A.I to design the face, Callaway ensured that launch and spin windows were dialed to satisfy the Marc Leishman’s and Min Woo Lees of the world. Basically, this iron won’t provide and surprises to its tour staff, which is a huge plus.

The Look

The new Callaway Apex Pro has all the tech bells and whistles one would want but with zero sacrifices to optics. The compact players profile has just a hint of offset, a thin topline, and a players sole for optimized turf interaction. It’s a simple, yet elegant, exterior design with a ton of horsepower under the hood.

Overall

I love the direction Callaway went with the Apex Pro. It’s a true separation from the X Forged line and offers a middle ground between Apex MP and X Forged CB. I’m a huge fan of the ability to build combo sets, and with this unique Apex Pro setup, players now have a true players club that also delivers the ball speeds and spin combos that allows the set to transition harmoniously.

I had a chance to speak with PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the new 2021 Callaway Apex Pro and its unique design, and this is what he had to say.

JW: The new Apex Pro is definitely something fresh in this category. What was the initial reaction from the staff?

JD: We’ve been doing the majority of our early player testing with staffers who have been at our Ely Callaway Performance Center in Carlsbad, Ca. They’re loving it and the initial reaction from the players who have tried it has been great. Now that the Tour season is back underway, we’ll have a lot of guys testing these irons on-site at events and doing a lot of work with building up these irons. It’ll keep us busy for sure!”

JW: In regards to performance, what are players that have tested experiencing with the new iron? More distance? Higher launch?

JD: The performance really stands out, which is what you would expect from a player’s iron. These guys aren’t worried about getting more distance, it’s about getting the consistent distance that they know they can expect on every shot. The spin robustness on Apex Pro helps create that level of consistency, which really helps with the level of control they’re looking for.

The forged feel stands out too, with the 1025 hollow body construction – that’s what guys expect from Apex. And with all the Tungsten that we have in there, it’s a big help in getting the exact launch and ball flight that they want to see.

JW: With this new hollow body construction, it feels like we will see a ton of Apex Pro/Apex Pro MB combo sets. Do you think that’s accurate? Why?

JD: Yes we are going to have a really extensive offering of combo sets available – in fact, we have four really great options, we’re calling it a fitting menu. There’s the “Sweet Spot” which combines Apex and Apex DCB. The “Triple Play” is something new that blends Apex, Apex Pro, and Apex DCB – so three different irons in one set. There’s the “Mixed” set that features Apex and Apex Pro. And the “Player” option is for the elite players with a mix of Apex Pro and Apex MB.

JW: What separates an X Forged CB player from an Apex Pro Player. Is there a profile of player that leans one way or the other?

JD: Both of these irons are great options and in the bags of PGA Tour players each week. The X-Forged CB irons have a touch more offset and bounce than the Apex Pro irons. The new Apex Pro irons offer slightly longer blade lengths and grooves in the 2021 lineup and are packed with some new exciting technology. The initial feedback on the Apex Pro’s has been nothing short of exceptional on tour with guys adding them to their bags rather quickly. Both sets of irons offer extremely tight spin robustness and workability for a player’s iron.

JW: Any tweaks to the soles/looks based on tour feedback?

JD: We added longer blade lengths and grooves in the Apex Pro irons.

Pricing/Specs/Stock Offerings (Per Callaway)

Available at Retail: 2/11/21

Pricing: $185/stick – steel, $200/stick – graphite
Loft Offerings: 3-AW

New 2021 Callaway Apex DCB (Deep Cavity Back) irons

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged DCB

“But wait there’s more!
-Dave Neville Callaway SR. Director of Brand Management

Same tech package as Apex Forged (standard) in a beefed-up chassis for the higher handicapper.

The New 2021 Callaway Apex Forged and Apex Forged DCB

This iron, which is Callaway’s most forgiving forging ever, is a direct response to the players who wanted the full Apex Forged experience but with a bit more forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged DCB Down the Line

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged DCB

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged DCB

The Look

Players will see a bit more offset, thicker top line, wider sole, and a longer blade length. This combination equals more launch and ball speed across the face all while staying true to the Apex Forged loft package which makes combo sets a no-brainer.

The new 2021 Callaway Apex Forged DCB Face On

Overall

The new 2021 Callaway Apex DCB is a clever play for Callaway. There is a big chunk of the market that needs help but also wants high-tech forged irons. These are every bit of that, and my hunch tells me they will be a sleeper hit in the fitting bay.

Pricing/Specs/Stock Offerings (Per Callaway)

Available at Retail: 2/11/2021

Pricing: $185/stick – steel, $200/stick – graphite
Loft Offerings: 4-AW

 

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Johnny Wunder is the Director of Original Content, Instagram Manager and Host of “The Gear Dive” Podcast for GolfWRX.com. He was born in Seattle, Wash., and grew up playing at Rainier G&CC. John is also a partner with The Traveling Picture Show Company having most recently produced JOSIE with Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner. In 1997 Johnny had the rare opportunity of being a clubhouse attendant for the Anaheim Angels. He now resides in Toronto, On with his wife and two sons. @johnny_wunder on IG

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Jimmy Ray

    Jan 14, 2021 at 9:58 am

    Thank God I wasn’t the only one that recoiled in horror at the 43* PW! Jesus, how many wedges is it going to take to bridge the all-important gap in scoring clubs? Five? PW, AW, GW, SW, LW. Unless your set starts at 6I, you can forget that nice hybrid you saw or even a single fairway wood.

  2. John WIlkins

    Jan 13, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Strong, strong lofts. Callaway is going for sales based upon distance versus control and quality. Doesn’t make sense. Don’t like the direction they are going.

    Going to look elsewhere now since Callaway is only hunting sales numbers now.

  3. Trey

    Jan 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    They look alot like the Tommy Armour 845 forged irons.

  4. Paul Runyan

    Jan 12, 2021 at 11:17 am

    I especially like all the technology “buzzwords”!

    A 23.0 degree 5 iron with spin robustness…

    Interesting new shafts!

    Good article!!

  5. Phil

    Jan 12, 2021 at 10:27 am

    Back in 2019? I think the first Apex were 2016 wasnt it?

  6. joshua jackson

    Jan 12, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Holy strong lofts!

    • Jay

      Jan 12, 2021 at 10:01 am

      Look the same as the 2019 models

    • Kevin

      Jan 12, 2021 at 10:42 am

      I noticed the same thing – worse in the short irons. I have the ’16 Apex forged, the PW is 45 degrees in that one – this years PW is 43. Makes for a huge gap to the gap wedge.

      I think the split sets will be popular for that reason

  7. V

    Jan 12, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Very thorough article. I’m not up on every iron design feature but seems like a new buzzword is “spin robustness.” Wonder if it will show up in other manufacturers’ descriptions? Can’t really see that being a conversation starter on the course at the bar – Hey, how’s your spin robustness? 🙂

  8. Stephen

    Jan 12, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Awesome, Callaway really does it right

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Equipment

Best utility iron of 2021 – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing 2021 utility irons. WRXer ‘Krod10359’ kicks off the thread, saying:

“Just want to know your opinion on what new utility iron you have hit this year. Looks like a lot of solid offerings out right now from Ping, Srixon and Callaway. Let me hear what you have to say about these clubs.”

And our members have been sharing their thoughts in our forum.

Here are a few posts from the thread, but make sure to check out the entire discussion and have your say at the link below.

  • hypergolf: “This…(photo above)”
  • TigerInTheWoods: “Sim Udi is a beauty. Launches a bit higher and is a bit more forgiving than the P790 UDI which was really the benchmark for this kind of club.”
  • craz-e: “Hard to go past the Srixon for performance and value. The current offerings from Titleist (u500 & u501) and Mizuno (HMB) are also great options and worth trying.”
  • Golfingfanatic: “The new Callaway one is pretty good.”

Entire Thread: “Best utility iron of 2021”

Not yet a GolfWRX member? Sign up for FREE here.

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2021 Callaway Epic driver: Epic Speed, Epic Max & Epic LS drivers

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Callaway Golf introduces new Epic driver lineup for 2021—Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers—giving us the best of everything.

When it comes to a hot face, Callaway Golf has been at the top of the heap since its introduction of Jailbreak Technology back in 2017. In simplest terms, Jailbreak allowed Callaway to vertically stiffen the face, which allows the face to absorb a ton of energy and release it right back into the golf ball.

When Epic hit the market, it was instantly the driver of that year due to its ball speeds and forgiveness across the face, but most importantly for Callaway, it gave the company a strong foundation to build from for models to come.

In 2020, with the help of artificial intelligence, Callaway engineers were able push that idea a bit further with the successful Mavrik line. This time, artificial intelligence took Jailbreak and found ways to make it even more efficient with the addition of the Flash Face.

Now, in 2021, using every piece of tech at its disposal, Callaway officially launches the new 2021 Epic Speed, Epic Max, and Epic Max LS drivers.

The new AI-designed, carbon-loaded, MOI machines are the culmination of now four iterations of Jailbreak technology, and in my opinion, Callaway has its fastest but more importantly—most golf-course friendly—driver ever.

Let’s dive in…

The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver

The Epic Speed is the fastest swinging driver Callaway has ever made. The elevated Cyclone Aero Design gives players a clubhead that gets through the air and down into impact faster creating even more ball speed opportunities.

New 2021 Callaway Epic Speed Driver, Cyclone Aero Shaping

In addition, the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and the new look Jailbreak Speed Frame create stiffness not only vertically across the face but east and west as well. The result? Speed, stability, and a ton of forgiveness.

The new 2021 Callaway driver, face on

“Spin robustness” is another key term in the 2021 Callaway campaign. What this means for us is giving players spin where we need it (i.e. off the heel spin stays down, off the toe spin stays up, out of the middle the ball goes forever).

Another key aspect to notice across the line is the enhanced composite crown. The new 2021 Callaway Epic Speed driver has a triaxial carbon crown that covers even more real estate allowing Callaway to redistribute 16 grams of discretionary weight. The larger carbon surface area also innately created a way for Callaway R&D to make the Epic Speed a bit more draw friendly without having to add external weight to the heel.

Callaway Epic Speed driver, address

2021 Callaway Epic Max driver

Sole view of the new Callaway Epic Max driver

Yes, the new 2021 Callaway Epic Max driver is a heater, but more than anything, it’s forgiving. Using all the tech bells and whistles from Epic Speed (AI-designed Jailbreak and Flash Face), Callaway made the Epic Max crown with even more triaxial carbon, saving 19 grams of discretionary weight, which allows them to create an even deeper CG and higher MOI. A rear sliding 17-gram weight in the trunk to tune in launch and shape and the OptiFit hosel provides up to 20 yards of shot shape correction.

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Sliding weight

The New 2021 Callaway Epic Max Driver, Address

2021 Callaway Epic Max LS

Incorporating the AI-designed Flash Face SS21 and Jailbreak technology, Callaway has created a new more forgiving profile in a players driver.

Out with the Sub Zero and in with the most playable players driver Callaway has created. With a neutral shape and weight configuration that is the more fade bias of the Callaway family, the new LS has a very high MOI (8,400+) for a tour-inspired driver. The idea was to give high speed players something fast all while mitigating the big miss better players fear. Yes, we all fear a big miss, but at high speeds, the foul ball is, well, a bit more foul. The new triaxial carbon crown saves 13 grams of weight, which was redistributed to increase MOI and lower CG.
Like Epic Max, LS also has a sliding weight to tune in adjustability.
Inspired by the Triple Diamond tour heads of the past, Callaway decided to go away from cranking spin down to oblivion and offer a driver that was actually closer to what the tour leans towards. Yes, they love a low spin head, but not too low spin. The Triple Diamond heads were basically a Sub Zero shape in a higher MOI profile. If you go through our tour photos, you will see more Triple Diamonds than anything. Obliterating launch and spin sounds good for Trackman, but it’s hard to play that way on the golf course all the time.

Initial Tour Reaction

I had a chance to chat with  Callaway’s PGA Tour Manager Jacob Davidson on the early response and this is what he had to say.

JW: In early testing, what is the first thing players are seeing with Speed and LS?

JD: Early feedback from the tour guys has been a noticeable difference in an increase in ball speed across the face but more importantly the dispersion has tightened down range. Many guys have also quickly fallen in love with the sound of the new metal woods.

JW: What most excited you with the new line?

JD: We knew early on with this product launch that we had an exceptional driver. To start- the look of the heads and the shaping allows the clubs to sit beautifully at the address position. From there the overall feel and sound matches exactly what tour guys prefer. The guys we have worked with have converted into the new woods extremely quickly with very positive feedback. For us, we are excited to have some great starting lines, a competitive ball speed advantage, and an increase in forgiveness.

We are constantly studying what makes world class drivers of the golf ball world class. After much research, we determined the ideal spin/ degree of launch and worked closely with our R&D team to reach these numbers. We were absolutely amazed to see what they came back to us with. Using AI they were able to figure out how to increase the MOI in this line of drivers while also focusing on more ball speed. It truly is remarkable the new frontier of technology we are using in our drivers to help our players play their best golf.

Overall Thoughts

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of Epic Flash (acoustics), and Mavrik was solid but didn’t blow me away. This new 2021 Callaway Epic line of drivers is exactly what players want: a golf club that is playable all while providing the distance and performance we have gotten used to over the past few years. It’s a new trend in the market that I’m loving. Drivers are becoming golf course friendly again. We tried to kill spin—when ultimately it was our best friend in the long run.

Specs

At Retail: 2/18

Lofts: 9, 10.5, 12 degrees (Epic Speed) 9, 10.5 degrees(Epic Max & Epic Max LS)

Price: $529.99

Stock Shaft Offerings

  • Epic Speed Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g – S)
  • Epic MAX Driver: Project X Cypher 40g (WMS, L). Smoke IM 10 (50g – R,S. 60g -S)
  • Epic MAX LS: Mitsubishi MMT (60g – S,X. 70g – S,X)
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Callaway unveils new 2021 Epic Speed and Epic Max fairway woods

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Callaway Golf has introduced its all-new Epic Speed and Epic Max fairway woods that contain the brand’s Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades.

2021 Callaway Epic Speed Fairway Woods

The 2021 Epic Speed fairway woods feature the brand’s new Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades. Callaway engineers used A.I. to design a completely new Jailbreak system which spreads and angles the Jailbreak blades. The result? Along with stiffening the body, the new design allows the forged face cup to flex more in design to provide exceptional ball speeds all across the face.

The A.I. Designed Flash Face SS21 across the brand’s Epic Speed fairway woods are uniquely designed using advanced A.I and are designed to put an even greater emphasis on center and off-center ball speeds. 

The Epic Speed fairway woods contain a forward center of gravity (CG) combined with a new leading-edge. This pairing aims to provide a strong ball flight, spin robustness, and consistent shot shape dispersion.

In addition, the new fairway woods from Callaway feature a forged C300 maraging steel face cup. The C300 maraging steel is engineered to offer maximum strength and flexibility, while the steel face cup is designed to provide speed and spin consistency across the clubface.

Specs, Pricing & Availability

Lofts: 3+, 3, 4, 5, 7

Price: $299.99

Availability: February 18

2021 Callaway Epic Max Fairway Woods

Just like the brand’s new Epic Speed woods, the Epic Max line also features the company’s new Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades in design to provide increased ball speeds as well as a club that is easy to launch.

As well as containing an A.I. Designed flash face SS21, the Epic Max fairway woods are engineered with a forged face cup to give golfers increased speed and spin consistency across the face.

The oversized head on the new Epic Max woods combines with a shallow face to make the clubs extremely easy to launch from the fairway while also offering added forgiveness.

The Epic Max line also offers adjustable weighting allowing golfers to adjust launch and spin using two and 14-gram weights. The added weight in the rear provides more forgiveness while more weight in the front offers lower launch and spin.

Specs, Pricing & Availability

Lofts: 3+, 3, 5, Heavenwood, 7, 9, 11

Price: $299.99

Availability: February 18

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