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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

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Pingback: Best irons in golf of 2021: Pure enjoyment – GolfWRX

  2. Pingback: Best irons in golf of 2021: Most technology packed – GolfWRX

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Trey

    Jan 12, 2021 at 1:00 pm

    They look alot like the Tommy Armour 845 forged irons.

  6. 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!!

  7. Phil

    Jan 12, 2021 at 10:27 am

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

  8. 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

  9. 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? 🙂

  10. Stephen

    Jan 12, 2021 at 8:45 am

    Awesome, Callaway really does it right

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Whats in the Bag

Matthew Wolff WITB 2021 (April)

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Driver: TaylorMade M1 460 (10.5 degrees @ 9 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD HD 7 X

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 Titanium (15 degrees)
Shaft: Graphite Design Tour AD XC 8 X

Irons: TaylorMade P7MC (3-PW)
Shafts: Project X 6.5

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (50-09SB, 56-12SB, 60-09LB)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Putter: TaylorMade Spider X Proto (33 inches, lie at 70, 3.5 loft, D4)
Grip: TaylorMade Red/Black

Ball: TaylorMade TP5 ’21 Pix

Grips: Golf Pride ZGrip Cord (+3 double-sided tape)

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Tony Finau WITB 2021 (April)

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Driver: Ping G425 LST (9 degrees @7, Big -)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX (45.25 inches, tipped 1.5 inch)

3-wood: Ping G400 Stretch (13 degrees @14), D5+ swing weight
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX (42 inches)

Irons: Nike Vapor Fly Pro (3), Ping Blueprint (4-PW)
Shafts: Graphite Design Tour AD DI Hybrid 105 X (3), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 120 X

  

Wedges: Ping Glide Forged (50-10, 56-10), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (60-10S)
Shafts: Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 Tour 125 X (50, 56), Nippon N.S. Pro Modus3 125 Wedge

Putter:  Piretti Elite Custom

Ball: Titleist Pro V1

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Whats in the Bag

Collin Morikawa WITB 2021 (April)

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Driver: TaylorMade SIM (8 degrees @8.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 70 TX

3-wood: TaylorMade SIM Titanium (15 degrees @13.5)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

5-wood: TaylorMade SIM2 (19 degrees)
Shaft: Mitsubishi Diamana D+ Limited 80 TX

Irons: TaylorMade P770 (4), P7MC (5-6), TaylorMade P730 (7-PW)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100

Wedges: TaylorMade MG2 (50), Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (56-14F @55 degrees, 60)
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue S400

Putter: TaylorMade Spider FCG

Ball: TaylorMade 2021 TP5

Grips: Golf Pride Z-Grip Cord

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