First Impressions – Callaway Apex Pro Irons

Jan 13, 2014 by

First Impressions – Callaway Apex Pro Irons

Last weekend I stood amongst the thousands of putters, balls, apparel and used clubs at my local big box store.  I went in for a dozen balls and was sucked in by the warm invitation that only an empty demo bay at opening can offer.  I reasoned that because I’m in the market for a 5 wood or 19* hybrid, I should hit a few.  As a one-man show, I’m not always at the forefront of demo/review units.  Normally, I pass right by the giant bag of irons to get right to the meat: drivers and fairways.  I’m just as much a sucker for the trackman home-run derby as the next guy.  After hitting a few of the demos (one of which, I will be actively hunting down a review unit for), a familiar chevron caught my eye.  The re-launched Apex iron by Callaway, with a KBS 110g shaft, standard length/lie/loft.  Beautiful, I could actually justify the trip to those whom I bear real responsibilities to as real research.  I grabbed the 6-iron, adjusted the trackman, set the computer up (a luxury you can only experience during slow periods in a big store) and was on my way.

The Apex rebrand was introduced by Callaway in late 2013 in two forms: one, a deep cavity, wide-soled forged model designed for ultra-forgiveness and playability in the medium to high handicap range.  The second, called Apex Pro, is a thinner soled, more traditional cavity back forged from 1020 carbon steel.  The Pro model is, obviously, aimed at lower handicaps and players looking for a more workable ball flight.  Both models feature tungsten inserts and are engineered for big distance.  As the title indicates, I hit the Pro model, as a comparable Apex “regular” was nowhere to be found.

Armed with 50ish balls in the demo bay and the occasional “you doin’ alright?” from the store employees, it was time for work.  I’m not a big simulator guy, never have been.  I live where I play, and weather here typically allows for play all year.  The true experts at evaluating gear on a simulator are all over at mygolfspy.com, so this post is truly my first impression of a new offering from Callaway.  I will say, overall, I found the simulator accurate enough to my fitting data that I would trust the numbers.  OK, enough caveats already, how did they feel?

My first impression was surprise, as my first strike was surely closer to the toe of the club, and I lost 5 yards off my typical 6 iron.  My typical 6 iron is 175-180yds (I have a very mortal swing), and a real whiff of an effort produced 170.  The forgiveness in the Apex was already presenting itself.  I took a few more hack swings before I hit one flush.  Again, some surprise here.  I was fully expecting a duller feel off these irons given their tungsten inserts, but the Apex were nearly as soft as the XForged I reviewed last summer.  In regards to distance, I was back in my 6 iron wheelhouse at 180 yards.  At address, the Apex Pro presents a thicker top line than those XForged, but I wasn’t overly bothered by it.  Overall, these seem like a great iron to recommend to mid-handicappers who want a fully forged iron but don’t want to give up the forgiveness of something more akin to a cast shovel.  At $1099, they’re steep on price, but it’s a set that the right player could grow into as their handicap lowers.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to build a full review of the Apex Iron family later this winter/spring.  Until then, if you’re a mid-handicapper and are shopping irons for the upcoming season, hit the Apex Pro.  They’re easy to pass by, but you may be glad you stopped.  And, if you end up with a set of the Apex “regulars”, ping me on twitter (@RDGolfMedia) about your impressions.

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  1. John Guancione

    Like you I walked into a big box store to spend time looking around the golf section. I noticed the hitting bay was open and after speaking with one of the sales people learned that the store just installed a brand new trackman system. I went in and started hitting some irons, first the Speedblade, then the Png G25. When I asked the salesperson what the most popular iron was he said the Callaway Apex. He gave me the six iron and immediately it felt very different from the other clubs. The forged club felt so much better and the results were amazing. 5-10 yards longer and far less dispersion. Feedback was immediate and I knew exactly where the ball was meeting the club on every shot. After a bit of tweaking with shafts and lie angle I made a purchase. Yes, they are expensive but this is my one indulgence and the result more than out weighed the cost. Clubs arrive in a few weeks and I can’t wait to take them to the course.

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