By E. Michael Johnson
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: All three Apex irons have cupfaces designed by artificial intelligence and tungsten encased in urethane with microspheres (tiny bubbles of air within the urethane). The two technologies combine to boost ball speed across a wide portion of the face. The Apex and Apex Pro hybrids provide an alternative to the long irons in two distinct ways.
PRICE: All Apex irons and hybrids will be available in stores Feb. 11. The irons cost €1,399 / £1,099 per seven iron set iron in steel and €1,599 / £1,399 in graphite. The Apex hybrids cost €299 / £249 and come in lofts of 19, 21, 24, 27 degrees in Apex and 18, 20, 23, 26 degrees in Apex Pro.
THE DEEP DIVE: When Callaway Golf introduced its 2019 versions of its Apex irons it had been three-plus years since the company had provided an update of its most popular iron line. For fans of these irons, thankfully the latest iterations—Apex 21, Apex Pro 21 and an entirely new Apex DCB—didn’t take quite so long.
Helping speed things along was the use of artificial intelligence—in this instance, designing faces for each individual iron in the set to optimise performance. In another improvement to the Apex 21, the face cup (where the face wraps around part of the topline and sole) not only brings more face flex, but it now extends all the way to the 9-iron.
Tungsten (ranging from 14 to 64 grams) encased in urethane with microspheres (tiny bubbles of air within the urethane) not only help foster trajectory control but help allow the face to flex more at impact, too. The amount of tungsten is up to five times the amount found in the previous Apex.
“The face cup and tungsten doesn’t just help center shots,” said Scott Manwaring, Callaway’s director of iron design. “It broadens the area the face can flex. A face plate limits the amount of area. Having the high-strength material for the face allows you to recover spin rate and have ball speed consistency in ways you can’t get with a face plate, especially on shots hit low on the face.”
The body on the Apex 21 is forged from 1025 carbon steel and the sole has been revised to help the club plow through the turf more easily.
GOING DEEPER ON THE APEX PRO 21: While the Apex 21 is driven by distance, the Apex Pro 21 is more of a tool for those taking a surgical approach to their iron game. But don’t let the sleek, forged, 1025 carbon steel hollow-body construction fool you into thinking the pursuit of additional yards was ignored. In fact, Callaway brought an A.I.-designed face cup in an iron for the first time, providing each face its own unique structure to maximise ball speed and spin.
Like the Apex 21, the Apex Pro 21 uses as much as 90 grams of tungsten—the most ever used in an Apex iron—encased in urethane with microscopic air bubbles to assist feel. It also gets the CG low in the long and mid irons while providing a forgiveness boost.
The new Apex and Apex Pro are solid upgrades to existing models that better players will welcome. But what about the player that needs a little more help? That golfer had been shut out of the Apex line … until now.
The new Apex DCB irons bring the forged Apex offerings to an entirely new group of players, combining the look of a players iron with the forgiveness provided by a cavity-back that is a touch deeper and a sole slightly wider than the standard Apex model.
As part of the Apex line, it, too, uses an A.I.-designed face cup that goes from the 4- through 9-irons for distance and height, as well as borrowing the tungsten (up to 50 grams) encased in microsphere-filled urethane. That lowers the CG positions to produce plenty of launch despite slightly strong lofts.
DETAILS ON THE APEX AND APEX PRO HYBRIDS: Of course, knowing that those using Apex irons might want to substitute hybrids for their long irons, Callaway also is bringing out a pair of hybrids: Apex and Apex Pro. The Apex Pro is the slimmer of the lot and looks very much like a players hybrid, and plays like it, with a lower launch and a touch more spin. The Apex is larger, includes an adjustable hosel to tweak launch angle and has tungsten in the back to add forgiveness and lower spin.
Applicable to both is the use of A.I. to design the new cupfaces (using forged 455 steel) and a re-imagined form of the internal “Jailbreak” blades that join the crown and sole. The face and blades work together to produce greater face flexing for more rebound, especially on shots hit high and low on the face—or where most everyday golfers hit them. The Apex hybrids cost $270 and come in lofts of 19, 21, 24 and 27 degrees (Apex), and in 18, 20, 23 and 26 degrees (Apex Pro).
WHAT CALLAWAY GOLF SAY: Today Callaway Golf Company (NYSE: ELY), an industry leader in golf equipment and innovation, announced its new family of Apex Irons and Apex Hybrids. These irons provide exceptional forged performance and A.I.-designed ball speed technologies for a wide range of players. The hybrids feature new Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades for fast ball speeds in versatile, high performance offerings.
Apex 21, Apex DCB, Apex Pro 21, Apex TCB and Apex MB Irons
Apex is widely recognised for establishing the forged distance category, and the Apex 21 Ironsdeliver an exceptional level of performance and craftsmanship. They’re the first forged Apex irons with an A.I-designed Flash Face Cup, for high ball speeds and increased spin robustness across the face. Increased forgiveness comes from a massive Tungsten Energy Core, while the 100% forged body and propriety urethane microspheres deliver remarkable sound and feel at impact. Callaway has also enhanced the shaping for even better turf interaction.
In the game-improvement category, new Apex DCB Irons extend the forged Apex offering to a wider group of golfers than ever before. They combine the look, feel and performance of a forged players club with the forgiveness of a deep cavity back. The deep cavity back design and enhanced sole width promote easy launch and solid turf interaction out of a variety of lies. The irons are engineered with an A.I.-designed Flash Face Cup, up to 50 grams of tungsten per iron for outstanding launch and forgiveness on off-centre hits, and forged feel.
In the players category, new Apex Pro 21 Irons promote Tour distance and performance for scratch or single-digit handicap golfers. They also utilise an A.I.-designed Flash Face in each iron for high COR’s and fast ball speeds, along with extremely soft feel from an all-new forged 1025 hollow body construction and urethane microspheres. There are up to 90 grams of tungsten in the longer irons, the most ever for any Apex model, to improve launch characteristics while simultaneously improving forgiveness.
New Apex TCB Irons are a Tour-inspired multi-material 1025 forged cavity back design for lower handicap players with a package of lofts, bounce, blade lengths and COR preferred by the best players in the world. Featuring some familiar technologies inspired from Callaway’s hugely popular X Forged CB Irons (not available in Europe), Apex TCB offers accomplished golfers a slightly smaller profile and shorter blade length. Internal and external Metal Injection Molded tungsten weighting also promotes precise shot control and Apex’s signature soft feel.
For elite players, new Apex MB Irons are beautifully compact, classic chromed forged blades that benefit from modern high-performance 20V grooves for high levels of control and consistent spin. A new changeable weight system has also been engineered in the centre of each blade for precise swing weight changes, without sacrificing CG positioning.
All of these Apex Irons will be available at retail in Europe from February 11, 2021.
Apex 21 and Apex Pro 21 Hybrids
The Apex 21 Hybrids are suited to help a wide range of players. They feature new Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades designed to increase vertical stiffness near the sole of the club, promoting more speed low on the face where players often mishit their hybrids. The blades allow the Face Cup to flex on the crown to create better spin rate consistency, and the bars are spread to enhance torsional stiffness, to provide more forgiveness across the face.
Every model and every face in the Apex Hybrids are uniquely designed using advanced A.I. This proven ball speed technology puts an even greater emphasis on centre and off-centre ball speeds. To create high launch and forgiveness. Callaway has implemented a massive amount of tungsten, and the adjustable hosel helps to optimise loft, trajectory and control.
Apex Pro Hybrids also incorporate Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades and an A.I-designed Flash Face. The Forged 455 steel provides strength and flexibility, while the iron-like design and fixed hosel create a look at address that highly skilled players prefer.
These new hybrids will be available at retail in Europe from February 11, 2021.
The Apex Family
“Apex is synonymous with legendary performance and we’ve created a truly special offering with our new 2021 lineup,” said Callaway Sr. VP of R&D, Dr. Alan Hocknell. “Now we’ve implemented A.I.-designed ball speeds, enhanced launch characteristics, and reliable forgiveness to advance this iconic name. There’s nothing like our best, and that’s Apex.”