In this Callaway Apex 21 irons review, Neil Tappin tests four of the new models to assess how the looks and performance stack up
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?
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 model in the new range, but samples to test aren’t available just yet.
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.
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.
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.
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We also tested a 6-iron in the Apex MB model and the data is shown below.
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.
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.