The second iteration of this tour-validated utility wood will no doubt prove as popular as the first. Minimal refinements are a testament to the success of the original Apex UW. Despite a slight regression in shelf appeal, the neat look at address, extremely neutral ball flight, and healthy launch with controllable spin could be the gap filler you have been looking for.
Clean minimalist aesthetic
The new sole design cheapens the look
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Callaway Apex UW Review
Now onto its second iteration, the Callaway Apex UW sits almost in a category of its own. Not quite a hybrid, but not quite a fairway wood either. Is this a club with an identity crisis or is it filling an important void in the bag? With that in mind, why not take a look at our best golf hybrids and best fairway woods guide to see other options in this area of the bag.
The Callaway Apex UW was initially conceived taking specific tour player feedback into account. This feedback centered around players who wanted a high-launching club to bridge the gap between their longest iron and fairway wood but were skeptical of the draw bias that many players feel is present with hybrids. The previous model proved popular with tour players around the world, making into the bags of players such as Phil Mickelson, Sam Burns, and Branden Grace. So how does the new model stack up to its popular predecessor?
When assessing the looks of the new Apex UW, the old adage “If it ain't broke, don’t fix it” springs to mind. The club retains a clean, unfussy profile with a gloss black finish and no markings on the crown. The clubhead sits extremely squarely behind the ball and there is no noticeable change in head shape from the original when looking down at address. The sole of the club has received a makeover however and I have to say, in my opinion not for the better. The sleek carbon style scale effect on the bottom of the original Apex UW has been replaced with a combination of matt black paintwork and busy decorative lines which I feel gives the product a less premium look than its younger sibling. This, of course, is a very minor downside as it will be neither visible under a headcover in the bag nor when hitting a shot, but it may have some impact on the shelf appeal of the club.
I tested the Apex UW on a fairly blustery summer's day at Saunton Golf Club in North Devon and it has to be said, the results were very pleasing. Firstly, the length of the club - which sits between that of a hybrid and fairway wood - facilitates a comfortable address position that, coupled with the compact footprint, inspires a feeling of control perhaps more so than with a traditional fairway wood. The shaft in our test model was the Mitsubishi Chemical MMT 70 Stiff flex stock offering which has a nice combination of stability and responsiveness. The minimalistic head design feels easy to align and the relatively shallow face provides assurance that launching the ball high should be achievable.
Well-struck shots with the 19-degree model did indeed have an impressively high launch angle but still flew powerfully through a fairly stiff headwind without the excessive backspin that a fairway wood may produce for a higher swing speed player. The offline misses I did have tended to fall a little to the right which would be concurrent with Callaway's claim of a neutral CG location that reduces draw bias. Overall, the dispersion was satisfyingly tight and I was pleasantly surprised at the minimal performance drop-off from my heel and toe strikes, both in regard to distance and line. For a club targeted at more elite-level golfers, this was a nice bonus.
At one point during testing, I decided to challenge the new Cutwave Pro-sole which Callaway says has a "streamlined design, engineered to cut through turf more efficiently". As such, I headed to the side of the practice tee to find some less-than-ideal lies in longer grass and I can report that I found Callaway's claim to be absolutely accurate. The 2023 model soared through the grass with noticeably more ease than the 2022 version which is certainly something to consider if you are intending to extract yourself from trouble with the Apex UW.
Callaway offers the Mitsubishi Chemical MMT shaft as its stock shaft and Golf Pride's Z Grip with a Callaway logo as the stock grip. A multitude of other shaft, grip, and flex options are available through custom order but are likely to incur a surcharge.
The Apex UW will suit mid to lower-handicap golfers looking to fill that tricky area of the bag transitioning from irons to woods in a multitude of scenarios. Those steering away from the potential draw bias of a hybrid or the high spin characteristics of a higher lofted fairway wood will find a nice middle ground here. A neat look, very neutral flight bias coupled with a healthy launch with controllable spin could be the gap filler you have been looking for.
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Joe has worked in the golf industry for over 12 years in a variety of roles. After a successful amateur career being involved in England squads at every age group, Joe completed his PGA degree qualification in 2014 as one of the top ten graduates in his training year and subsequently went on to become Head PGA Professional at Ryder Cup venue The Celtic Manor Resort. Equipment has always been a huge passion of Joe’s, and during his time at Celtic Manor, he headed up the National Fitting Centres for both Titleist and Taylormade. He’s excited to bring his knowledge of hardware to Golf Monthly in the form of equipment reviews and buying advice.
Joe lives in North Devon and still plays sporadically on the PGA West region circuit. His best round in recent years came earlier in 2023 where he managed a 9 under par 63 at Trevose GC in a Devon & Cornwall PGA Tournament.
Joe's current What's In The Bag?
Driver: Taylormade M2 2017, 8.5°
Fairway wood: Taylormade M2 Tour 2017, 13.5°
Irons: Srixon ZX7 3-PW
Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM9 Raw, 50F, 54M and 60T
Putter: Odyssey Toe Up #9
Ball: 2023 Titleist Pro V1x
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