Callaway Apex 21 Irons Review

Our verdict on four of the new Apex iron models from Callaway for 2021

Callaway Apex 21 Irons Review
(Image credit: Golf Monthly)
Golf Monthly Verdict

With the Callaway Apex 21 irons family, the brand has built on an already popular franchise. The modern yet traditional looks are combined with some impressive new technologies that deliver high levels of consistency. We loved the soft feel and simple progression across the range.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Stunning looks and soft feel throughout the range

  • +

    Surprisingly high levels of forgiveness

  • +

    Steady progression in size between the iron models makes a blended set easy to achieve.

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Higher handicappers may find even the most forgiving iron in the range intimidating at address

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Callaway Apex 21 Irons Review

Over the years, Callaway has forged a reputation for stunning looks and excellent feel within its Apex irons franchise. Of course, this means that any new Apex launch poses a challenge to the brand - how do you move the performance on without taking anything away from what made them some of best irons you could buy? 

Watch Neil Tappin test four of the latest Callaway Apex 21 irons

For 2021, the answer, Callaway says, lies in the new Artificial Intelligence Flash Face, which should deliver more distance and better consistency of spin.  We wanted to see how the irons performed for ourselves so we tested four of the new models - Apex MB, Apex Pro, Apex and Apex DCB - using a SkyTrak launch monitor at West Hill Golf Club. There is also an Apex TCB iron, which we tested separately at a later date. 

In terms of the looks, there is a simple, clear progression through the range. The Apex MB is the most blade-like - it has a thin topline and minimal offset and is clearly an iron that’s destined for the Tour. 

Callaway Apex 21 irons toplines

The toplines of the Callaway Apex 21 irons - left-to-right: Apex MB, Apex Pro, Apex, Apex DCB

As you move up, the toplines become gradually thicker and more offset is introduced. However, it is worth pointing out that even in the DCB model (the most game-improver like design), the size and shape of the blade is still fairly traditional. During our testing it was clear to see the performance followed a similar pattern. As we moved from the Pro version to the standard Apex and onto the DCB and as the static lofts got stronger, the ball speeds increased, the spin dropped and the carry yardages went up. 

Callaway Apex 21 irons data

These changes were nicely incremental and the ball flight remained impressively consistent throughout - there was just one yard difference between the peak heights of the three irons. It was good to see that in the Apex and Apex DCB models, as they add forgiveness and distance, the overall level of consistency was still very good. We also tested a 6-iron in the Apex MB model and the data is shown below.  

Callaway Apex MB data

One of the most important areas of performance to consider with any new Apex iron is the feel. The good news is that whichever iron you are leaning towards, the feel has clearly been carefully considered. The Apex and Apex DCB, as you would expect, feel a little hotter and sound slightly ‘clickier’ than the other two models. The difference however is not drastic and for irons that offer so much in terms of distance and forgiveness, the Apex and Apex DCB feel superb.

Any golfer thinking about investing in a new set of Callaway Apex irons will need to weigh up which of the different performance benefits will help them most. The good news is that as the changes are so incremental between models, we think these can be easily blended. What’s more, the lure of the extra distance and forgiveness in the Apex and Apex DCB in a package that still looks appealing and feels good, will, we think, make these two in particular a very popular choice.

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Neil Tappin

In July 2023, Neil became just the 9th editor in Golf Monthly's 112-year history. Originally working with the best coaches in the UK to produce instruction content, he has also presented many Golf Monthly videos looking at all areas of the game from Tour player interviews to the rules of golf. 

Throughout his time with the brand he has also covered equipment launches that date back well over a decade. He clearly remembers the launch of the Callaway and Nike square drivers as well as the white TaylorMade driver families, such as the RocketBallz! If you take a look at the Golf Monthly YouTube channel, you'll see his equipment videos dating back over a decade! He has also conducted 'What's In The Bag' interviews with many of the game's best players like Rory McIlroy, Dustin Johnson and Jon Rahm. Over the years, Neil has tested a vast array of products in each category and at drastically different price-points. 

Neil is currently playing: Driver: TaylorMade Stealth 2 Plus Fairway Wood: Titleist TSR2 Hybrid: Titleist TS3 Irons (4-9): Mizuno JPX 919 Forged Wedges: Titleist Vokey SM7 46˚, 50˚, 54˚, 60˚ Putter: Odyssey Triple Track Ten Ball: Titleist Pro V1X