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Sweet Spot? Triple Play? Examining the Callaway Apex combo set options

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The combo set is not a new concept, and Callaway has been doing de-facto combo sets for a number of iron generations.

However, with the Apex 21 line of irons, Callaway decided to take the combo concept to another level, making a major investment in tooling and precisely calibrating loft, life, bounce, and blending in the Apex 21 irons to allow for uniform set makeup.

For Callaway, it was a serious endeavor and a thoughtful effort at the front end to design a family of irons for ease of combination, rather than an assemblage of combinations at the back end.

“With the rise of custom fitting, we knew we wanted to go beyond just a traditional combo set. By creating dedicated models and specialized tooling, we are making the transition to combo sets a seamless experience. It shows our dedication and leadership position in irons.”

–Dave Neville, Sr. Director, Brand & Product Management

Callaway offers a “menu” of four combo sets using ingredients from the Apex iron family — Apex DCB, Apex 21, Apex Pro 21, Apex MB.

Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance, says the decision to offer four sets in general and their specific makeups was arrived at after lengthy discussions with the company’s network of fitters and the R&D team, as well as a close look at past iron sales and custom fitting data.

“Working with the R&D team to understand how they thought the different AI face designs, sole configurations, specs and other design details could be best blended together started the process, but working with our National Fitters Board and other top club fitters across the country was key to creating the four sets. We then used custom sales data and additional feedback from our internal fitting team to fine tune. I’m proud of the work we did and it’s been exciting to see positive the feedback from golfers about these new fitting options.” — Michael Vrska, Callaway’s Director of Custom Fitting & Player Performance

Sweet Spot

The first of Callaway’s four combo sets is targeted toward players who need more help in the long irons, the “Sweet Spot” combo features the Apex DCB in 4 and 5-irons and Apex 21 in 6-AW. It’s designed to offer maximum distance and forgiveness in the longest irons.

Mixed

According to Callaway, the “Mixed” set player is generally a mid-handicap who struggles to hit long irons but doesn’t want to replace long irons with hybrids. The Mixed includes Apex 21 in 3 through 7-irons and Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Triple Play

The “Triple Play” generally appeals to a similar player as the Mixed but one with a preference for more technology and a more compact look at address in the scoring clubs. It features Apex DCB (4-5), Apex 21 (6-9) and Apex Pro (PW-AW).

Player

Offering true blades in the scoring clubs, the “Player” combo set, appropriately, is designed for the better player. Outfitted with taper tip shafts throughout, the Player set is composed of Apex Pro irons in 3-7 and Apex MB in 8-AW.

The most popular of the new Callaway combo sets, according to Neville, is the Apex Mixed. The Mixed, again, features the Apex 21 in 3 through 7-iron and the Apex Pro in 8-iron through A-wedge.

Roughly 15 percent of Callaway’s full iron set orders are for combo sets. But with the embrace of customization generally, the continued growth of custom fitting, and fitters familiarizing themselves with the new “menu” — and who is best suited for each “dish” — that percentage will grow.

Ultimately, the Callaway combo set options — and the introduction of the Apex DCB — are evidence of the company’s commitment to offering not only viable irons but an optimal set makeup for every golfer.

For more details, and answers to the questions we know WRXers want to ask, we spoke with Michael Vrska.

GolfWRX: For the combo set, how does adjusting the lofts weak or strong affect the bounce? Will it affect playability?

MV: For the Apex Pro heads in the Mixed and Triple Play sets we actually do separate tooling for those, so the lofts are adjusted independently from bounce during the design phase. For the other Apex heads in the other combo sets we need to bend to get loft dialed in, we limit that to one degree so turf interaction differences are minimized. And remember, loft and bounce changes are a one-to-one ratio. One degree stronger loft equals one degree less bounce and vice versa.

GolfWRX: For the higher handicapper, is it more effective to have short irons that launch higher and land steeper, or is there a method to bringing down trajectory?

MV: For higher handicaps with slower swing speeds, they typically don’t generate a lot of spin on their own, so yes, descent angle and peak height are optimized so the player can still carry the ball far enough and limit roll out, though spin is still a factor to that player in terms of ball flight. On the other hand, some higher handicap players swing very fast and generate a lot of spin, but controlling that spin or having consistent contact may be more of their issue. And this is a good example of why we don’t like to fit for handicap, but we strongly recommend players get fit for their club delivery and ball flight. There are many different ways to become a 19-handicap, or a 2-handicap for that matter.

GolfWRX: For players who are married to taper tip shafts like Dynamic Gold. How do those shafts work in parallel hosels?

MV: Taper tip shafts work great in parallel hosels for those that want that. We can assemble taper tip shafts in both taper and parallel hosels and there are some players who love a shaft model that is only available in a taper tip. It doesn’t work the other way though. Parallel tip shafts do not work in taper tip hosels without boring them out, which is not something we generally recommend at it can negatively impact the structural integrity of the hosel.

GolfWRX: How do you optimize spin with the higher launching faster heads? Is it addressed through descent angle?

MV: Descent angle certainly matters, but we don’t like to put too much focus on any one single factor. For every player type and iron set we look at speed, launch angle, descent angle, peak height and spin to maximize distance, with proper gapping, and also to make sure iron shots will hold the green. There is no one size fits all answer to that. It’s why we offer multiple Apex sets, multiple Apex combo sets and recommend all golfers get fit.

 

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kevin

    Jun 16, 2021 at 11:31 pm

    I think it’s because they came out with the TCB which is basically the same. Disappointed this article didn’t mention them. In Europe they have the “Elite” combo which is the TCBs and the MBs.

  2. Roy

    Jun 15, 2021 at 11:35 pm

    Any ideas on why the X forged CB is getting such little push from callaway. Know several people who game it and all love it

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Equipment

Mizuno’s new T22 wedges at the Open

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At this week’s Open Championship from Royal St. Georges, Mizuno has teased its new T22 wedges, which will be at retail later this year.

The wedges will arrive in three different finishes, with satin and raw being accompanied by the all-new denim copper finish.

Check out the video below from the Mizuno Workshop at this week’s Open.

Mizuno’s T20 wedges dropped in 2019 with an emphasis on feel and spin, and per the company’s social media regarding the new T22: “We think you’ll like the changes.”

Stay tuned for more information soon!

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Playing without irons? – GolfWRXers discuss

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In our forums, our members have been discussing the prospect of playing golf without irons. WRXer ‘nostatic’ has been pondering using only a combination of hybrids and wedges, saying:

“Perhaps heretical and insane (guilty), but given the prevalence of good hybrids and good wedges, I’m wondering if anyone has forsaken their irons (or almost all of them) and gone with a combination of head covers and wedges.
Some of it is semantics (when is a 9i a 9i?), but you can get almost any wedge of your choice (I’m loving my Fourteens),

60/56/50/45 (the 45 is a 46 bent 1*). You can do something like G425 hybrids 34/30/26/22 (then on to woods of your choice). For those with slower swing speeds, 4*-5* between clubs can work for gapping. And the hybrids are adjustable, so you can hit the 34 at 35. Then you really only need a 40* club (pick your favorite 9-ish iron).”

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.

  • NHenson815: “I am actually thinking about doing this in my next round. I am so bad with short irons and wedges that I’m better off attempting to distance control my 11 wood instead. I’ll carry a 64 degree wedge for short shots (odd that I have confidence in that but not a 7 iron – I know), but that will be the only non-wood/non-hybrid in the bag.”
  • 596: “I have more covers in my bag than not. Head covers for woods and hybrids down through 7 iron. 8 is the longest iron in my bag. You just have to get over hitting a 32* hybrid from 155. It feels weird. I’m a high single-digit handicap. Shot even par for 9 holes yesterday. Which seems to be the case lately. I’ll shoot 36 to 38 on the front, then 40 or 42 on the back as my back goes south and the heat gets crazy.”
  • Obee: “I’m not a “great” player, but thank you for the thought. I do carry 8-iron, 9-iron, and 4 wedges, so not exactly “all” hybrids/woods, though I could make that work, I’m sure.”

Entire Thread: “Playing without irons?”

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Coolest thing for sale in the GolfWRX Classifieds (07/16/21): Callaway Mavrik Max head

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At GolfWRX, we love golf, plain and simple.

We are a community of like-minded individuals that all experience and express our enjoyment of the game in many ways. It’s that sense of community that drives day-to-day interactions in the forums on topics that range from best driver to what marker you use to mark your ball. It even allows us to share another thing we all love – buy and selling equipment.

Currently, in our GolfWRX buy/sell/trade (BST) forum, there is a listing for a Callaway Mavrik Max head

From the seller (@rcochies4580): “Mint Callaway Mavrik Max head, 9 Degrees….$235. Graphite Design MAD driver shafts, 44” and 45”, Callaway adapter. With the stiff tip section, these play firmer than stated flex….$110 each.”

To check out the full listing in our BST forum, head through the link: Callaway Mavrik Max head

This is the most impressive current listing from the GolfWRX BST, and if you are curious about the rules to participate in the BST Forum you can check them out here: GolfWRX BST Rules

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