Expert Review: Callaway APEX MB 21 IronsPublished on 03/14/2023 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the irons, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2021.
Great look at the design. All photos courtesy of Michael V.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the irons, which I purchased with my own money in April of 2021.
The Callaway Apex Muscle Back Irons offer premium feel and shot control. These irons are designed for traditionalists and advanced golfers who are willing to sacrifice some distance and forgiveness for those benefits.
About the club I own
- Model: 2021 Callaway Apex MB 5-PW Iron Set
- Loft setting: Delofted by 2°
- Shaft type: Aerotech i110 Graphite Shafts
- Shaft flex: Stiff flex
- Average score: <75
- Handicap: 0.7
- Experience: 10+ years of playing golf
- Right/Left-handed: Right-handed
- Typical ball flight: Low knockdown shots to control ball flight
- Golf ball used: Bridgestone Tour B XS and TaylorMade TP5x
- Club swing speed: >90 mph
- When I bought the club: April 2021
- Days tested: 15+ rounds of golf
- Where I’ve used it: On simulators, as well as on a dozen courses in the Midwest
- Weather and wind conditions: All types of weather conditions, with the exception of rain
How it performs
What I was looking for
When I started my search for irons, I wanted a “purist” iron that would offer the best performance on well-struck shots. Irons are the strongest part of my game and I was looking for irons that were more compact than those I previously used, like the Apex Pro 21.
Why I chose this club
I chose the Apex MB irons because of the heavier feel they offer in comparison to other muscle-backs on the market. With my natural shot shape being more draw-biased, the Apex MB’s fade-biased clubhead design was appealing. I was also interested in the TaylorMade P7TW irons for their milled sole, but ultimately I decided to go with the Apex MB irons for the heavier clubhead feel.
What I love about it
- Forgiveness: Forgiveness is not something that I expected from this club, and I was okay with that going into the buying decision. However, for such a small clubhead, I was surprised at how easy it was to get away with missing shots.
- Feel: The feel was top notch. With soft feedback sweet spots, and a heavier feeling compact clubhead, it feels like you are in control of the clubface through impact.
- Sound: The Apex MB irons sound fantastic. The softer feedback sweet spot means that the sound will be more muted. Even so, it’s designed to show more advanced golfers exactly where their miss-hit was.
- Workability: These irons are extremely easy to shape shots. Whether working shots low to high, left to right, or vice versa, they are made to hit tough and creative shots.
- Adjustability: Muscle-back irons offer diverse adjustability options, from lie angle to loft, which are a benefit to any golfer.
- Shaft Feel: Being somewhat new to graphite shafts, I was impressed with the amount of stability the AeroTech shafts provided. It really complements smoother swings.
- Shaft Performance: The AeroTech shafts performed better than expected. The first stand out is that they offer the same control and distance as with steel. Also, over time I realized I couldn’t feel the vibrating sensation in my hands when taking a divot. That is a huge performance boost for golfers with consistent tempos.
- Aesthetic Appeal: With the MBs, Callaway offers one of the most visually appealing iron sets available. The only complaint is that some golfers might not like the look of the weight placed behind the club.
- Grip Feel: I decided to put Lamkin full-cord grips on the irons. Full-cord grips feel rough on the hands but are guaranteed to offer the most grip traction in all weather conditions.
- Launch Angle: The launch is a bit higher than I expected, which is why I ended up delofting my irons by two degrees to compensate. I prefer a lower launch and changing the loft angle was a simple task.
- Spin: The spin control on any muscle-back iron will be top class. Being able to control the way the golf ball moves after it lands is a huge bonus.
Issues I’ve encountered
- Distance: The distance is not a stand out feature. In my first few rounds, it took some time to dial in my distances because I did not hit the ball as far as I was expecting. My miss-hits were also traveling considerably shorter distances in comparison with my previous Apex Pro irons. With the Apex MB set, the ball will only go as far as your swing takes it.
- Forgiveness: Miss-hits are a rarity for me with irons. When I miss with these irons, it is obvious—and that’s okay. I prefer this because I don’t mind being punished for it if I have a bad swing.
Best shot with this club
So far, my best shot with the Apex MB irons was an almost hole-in-one. I was just inches away on a par 3, 199 yards out, with a 5 iron. It was uphill and I had to carry a bunker. I hit a perfectly-struck shot that looked like it was going in. I even ran to the hole in anticipation!
Value for the money vs. other options
The Apex MB irons are worth the investment. They are a bit pricier than other options on the market, but it was worth the extra money for the upgraded feel and accuracy. The Tour Preferred iron shape and design from a manufacturer that is primarily iron-focused, is going to offer a heavier feel than similar options, such as TaylorMade’s P7MB Irons, Cobra’s RF Proto Irons, and others.
Callaway’s Apex MB irons are the real deal. For golfers who rarely miss with their irons, and want to capitalize on the scorecard through accuracy and consistency, these irons have an appeal that is going to be tough to ignore.