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Expert Review: Callaway Apex Pro 2021 Irons

Published on 04/24/2023 · 9 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the Callaway Apex Pro irons, which I bought with my own money in July 2021.
By Golf Expert Nick Y.

Photo courtesy of Nick Young

About this review This review is my honest opinion of the irons, which I bought with my own money in July 2021.

My take

Overall, the Callaway Apex Pro Irons are an awesome mixture between a players-performance iron and a player’s-distance iron. They look great at address with a thin topline and without the deep cavity back of some other builds, like the Apex DCB irons. Finally, they have an immaculate, soft feel that's more similar to that ultimate forged feel an absolute blade would have.

Their larger-sized sweet spot allows me to work the ball as I please while having peace of mind in case I’m not 100% perfect at impact. I found that these irons have a remarkable blend of sound at impact and the unique flash face architecture helped create consistent launch characteristics during my session. These clubs are great for the single-digit handicapper who wants that player’s look but also wants some extra forgiveness.

About the club I own

  • Model: 2021 Callaway Apex Pro 21
  • Loft setting: 1 Degree strong
  • Shaft type: Project X 6.0 LZ Steel
  • Shaft flex: Stiff

Test conditions

  • When I bought the club:  July 2021
  • Days tested: 100+
  • Where I’ve used it: On the course, as well as with a TrackMan launch monitor with accurate numbers
  • Weather and wind conditions: Tested in all conditions; Rain or shine, windy or calm

About me

  • Average score: 73.1 for the 2021 season
  • Handicap: Scratch
  • Experience: Been playing since I was 12 years old, played NCAA, and was a PGA Professional
  • Right/Left-Handed: Right-handed
  • Typical ball flight: Mid-flight with a slight draw
  • Golf ball used: Bridgestone XS
  • Club swing speed: Approx. 106 mph

How it performs

Photo courtesy of Nick Young


What I was looking for

I started looking for clubs after I began working for Curated. I had played with the same set of Titleist clubs that I bought in college, and knew it was time for an upgrade. I was seeking a club with a bit more forgiveness, but also a club that would give me that added distance and allow me to utilize the newest technology without a ton of offset or added grams in the clubhead. Overall, I was looking for a club that would allow me to hit more greens in regulation and lower my scoring average.

This was not my first forged iron, but it was my first Apex iron set from Callaway. I chose a steel Project X shaft, but you can also get True Temper Elevate ETS shafts. These can also come in graphite with the Mitsubishi MMT series. Finally, you can add Golf Pride Z Grips to these compact irons with minimum to no upcharge and swing smoothly and confidently with a great feel.

Why I chose this club

I decided on these Apex Pro 21s because the numbers I was getting on the TrackMan, as well as my ball flight, were amazing. I compared them to my Titleist AP2 irons, and not only did they feel better at impact, but they also produced a much more penetrating launch angle with elevated ball speed. At impact, I could feel the compression of the ball in the flash face cup, just like I want in a player's iron. I also was able to have some added forgiveness and not have to be perfect on every shot to end up with good results. Ultimately, my goal was to hit more greens, just like most golfers looking for the best irons to suit their game. The hollow body construction and spin robustness of these irons made them an early favorite.

I considered buying other options and have tested the new Titleist T100s, the TaylorMade P770s, and the standard Callaway Apex irons to compare the numbers and see the difference between the Apex Pros. I picked the Apex Pros because the standard Apex irons looked a bit too big for me at address and I was hitting the ball too far, which could turn into a bad thing. Everyone wants to add distance, but too much distance can have a negative impact and limit the amount of clubs you have to use within that 100 - 150 yard distance. The thinner Apex Pros with minimal offset and the forged Apex Pro Iron look were enough to sway me over the other Apex models.

Compared to the Titleist T100 and the TaylorMade P770s, I had the same opinion. The P770s and the T100s had higher spin rates, meaning the ball would have a higher ball flight, and the ball was actually experiencing a slight fade, when my natural ball flight is a mid-draw. Also, I noticed the sweet spot on both the P770s and the T100s was a bit smaller. I could feel that ball more harshly at impact as opposed to the Apex's massive tungsten energy core.

What I love about it

  • Distance: The distance is great on these. I gained around 10 yards per iron, which is exactly what I wanted. There is some distance loss on swings off the hosel or toe; these are a lower handicap golfer's iron and need to be well struck in the center to carry proper distance.
  • Forgiveness: I don't play as consistently as I used to, so forgiveness was the main factor I was looking for during my search. I don't have to be 100% perfect at impact, and when I feel a bit off, I am still in a playable location and don’t get myself into trouble. It's usually still straight, just not as long as I would need. So my miss is typically short. The wider soles than a typical blade don't bother me and I'd rather get enough distance in my irons to carry the ball to the green.
  • Feel: The feel Is great because I can feel the compression of the ball. The club also has great turf interaction at impact.
  • Sound: They sound amazing, I almost cannot even describe the sound of a well-struck player's iron, but that’s what I’m hearing.
  • Workability: I am able to work the ball as I need to, as the forgiveness and technology in the club heads do not affect workability whatsoever.
  • Shaft Feel: The Project X LZ Series feel great, they're not whippy and I find them to be a bit lighter.
  • Shaft Performance: Cannot ask for a better performing shaft.
  • Aesthetic Appeal: Chrome with blue writing, so the shafts match up with the very sexy look of the iron head. Everyone touches my bag because they look so good!
  • Grip Feel: I have MCC Align grips, and the club is in the exact position, every time.
  • Launch Angle: Penetrating, and very playable in all conditions.

Issues I’ve encountered

  • Adjustability: There is no adjustability.
  • Spin: When it comes to spin, my ball flight is usually very good, but if I really bear down and try to compact the ball, instead of clubbing up, I can sometimes have a pull or too much backspin on the green at high ball speeds or fast ball speeds compared to my average swing.

Photo courtesy of Nick Young

Photo courtesy of Nick Young

Photo courtesy of Nick Young

Best shot with this club

With these irons, it's hard to narrow down a specific shot, but one definitely comes to mind. At my home course where I lived in Georgia, there is a par 5. Once out of the cart and on the tee, it is a downhill tee shot, with a dogleg left over water, stretching about 570 yards. From the Championship tees I have two options: I can either pull driver, or I can lay up to the landing area. If I pull driver, the carry to the fairway is about 300, but overwater, and the slight downhill allows for it to be getable (but only if I hit the perfect drive). If I lay up, it's typically a 3 hybrid for myself, and I carry the ball about 225 to get to the landing area.

On that day, it was a twilight round with my buddies and it was our final hole. I was putting a good round together, and I was feeling good over the driver. So I opted for the driver and hit an awesome shot that landed dead center, with about 203 to the pin. We get to the drives in the fairway, and it's dusk, so the flag is visible, but it's at the point where I can only see the ball flight half and half. I pull my Apex Pro 6 iron. Something about the setup and feel of the grip in my hands felt right. I hit an awesome shot, felt the compression of the ball, and it looks dead on. I watched the ball almost disappear into the sunset, a beautiful sight, but also started to lose the ball in the air due to limited light and never saw it land.

We drove up to the green, and still no ball. After searching around the green for a bit, I walked up to the hole with the thought of, “Well it looked dead on, who knows?” I looked in the hole and there it was. I HAD HOLED OUT FOR ALBATROSS FROM 203! My first double-eagle ever. I have never had a hole-in-one, and this was an awesome feeling. I still have the ball to this day.

Value for the money vs. other options

They are a bit pricier for irons, but when you compare them to the rest of the player’s iron category they are very fairly priced for a standard 4 or 5 iron through pitching wedge set. I think they're the best feel-oriented player’s iron on the market though due to the blade length and tungsten weight, so even if they were higher priced in their category, I would still dial up these irons and stretch a bit on my budget to make it work. In the end, irons are a big investment and they last a very long time.

Compared to the Titleist T100 irons and the Taylormade P770s, these are very similar in price, but these are deemed player’s irons and are usually priced a bit higher than the average iron. The three models from the Callaway Apex line are all priced the same, from the Apex Pro to the Apex DCB model. These clubs are not for high handicappers and won't offer the forgiveness a set of Titleist T200 or T300 irons would with extra sole width, lower center of gravity, and lower dispersion of mishits through increased accuracy and stability through impact. A game improvement iron would be more appropriate and cheaper for less consistent players.

Final verdict

Overall, the Callaway Apex Pro Iron set was an incredible new set investment and one of my best purchases this year. I feel that I have the ability to really work the ball when I want to but have some very good forgiveness and provide the consistency I need in the fairways. As a player's distance iron, I know this set of irons has me covered on both accuracy and carry distance, so I can make confident swings like Xander Schauffele and other Callaway tour pros!

These clubs are featured in the Best Callaway Irons. Check it out for more recommendations and reviews.

Nick Y., Golf Expert
Nick Y.
Golf Expert
From playing NCAA and competing for national championships to becoming a Certified PGA teaching professional and Master Fitter- I’m the guy you trust to fit you with quality gear, fast n easy!.Think of me as the guy you seek unsolicited advice from!
176 Reviews
3730 Customers helped
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Written by:
Nick Y., Golf Expert
Nick Y.
Golf Expert
From playing NCAA and competing for national championships to becoming a Certified PGA teaching professional and Master Fitter- I’m the guy you trust to fit you with quality gear, fast n easy!.Think of me as the guy you seek unsolicited advice from!
176 Reviews
3730 Customers helped

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