Expert Review: Callaway Apex 2021 IronsPublished on 03/14/2023 · 5 min readThis review is my honest opinion of the irons which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
All photos courtesy of Ellis G.
About this Review: This review is my honest opinion of the irons which I purchased with my own money in October of 2021.
The Apex 21s are a great choice for me because they have a clean, classic almost blade-like look, but have enough forgiveness for my mishits. These are great irons for a higher handicapper looking to improve scores and gain distance, or for a low handicapper who needs a bit more forgiveness. This is an extremely versatile set of clubs that I plan on enjoying for years.
About the club I own
- Model: 2021 Callaway Apex irons
- Loft setting: Standard
- Shaft type: True Temper Elevate ETS S-Flex 95
- Shaft flex: Stiff
- Average score: 86
- Handicap: 10
- Experience: 20 years of golf
- Right/Left-Handed: Right-handed
- Typical ball flight: Medium to low trajectory, draw
- Golf ball used: ProV1x, ChromeSoftx
- Club swing speed: Not sure; I hit a 5-iron about 205 yards
- When I bought the club: October 2021
- Days tested: ~20
- Where I’ve used it: Various Northern VA courses / Columbia, SC / Hilton Head, SC
- Weather and wind conditions: Northern VA: fall/winter conditions (cool, dry, firm); Northern VA spring/summer conditions (hot, humid, soft); South Carolina spring conditions (standard, sandy)
How it performs
What I was looking for
As a mid-handicapper with the ability to break 80 occasionally, I was looking for a good balance between a player's iron and a set with enough forgiveness. I have a relatively high swing speed, and a fairly inconsistent strike, so I needed something that controlled spin and off-center hits. I’m also big on the looks of the club at address/standing over the ball.
Why I chose this club
In testing, both on a Trackman launch monitor and the course, the Apex 21s consistently produced the optimal ball flight and spin rate for me. My miss is a low pull hook, and these were the only irons that allowed me to hit a higher draw. They also look great in the bag, and at address. I considered several other models, including Srixon ZX7s, Titleist T200s, and TaylorMade P770s.
What I love about it
- Distance: These irons are long! For me, the extra distance took some getting used to. I’m hitting each club about 10 yards further than my previous set, so I am rethinking many of my approach shots into greens and tee shots on par 3s. Hitting higher lofted approach shots also helps with proximity to the hole since the descent angle is steeper and I’m able to control spin a little more.
- Forgiveness: Mishits definitely lose distance, but the dispersion is excellent - balls that aren’t well-struck tend to stay on-line longer and in play more often. My miss is an over-draw and these clubs have helped me to reign in that miss.
- Feel: These irons produce lots of feel. More than I would expect for irons in this category. Sweet-spot strikes feel great, but I will feel slight mishits in my hands.
- Sound: My flush shots with good contact sound great.
- Shaft Feel: I’m playing stock True Temper Elevate ETS S-Flex 95 shafts. These have a firm feel and don't waggle even with a quick swing.
- Aesthetic Appeal: I love the look of these irons. Clean appearance at address and in the bag. The top line isn’t too thick, and the slight offset isn’t overly aggressive.
- Grip Feel: I have white, Pure Mid-sized grips which were added as a custom option - I have bigger hands and these are perfect. They remain tacky and perform well in all conditions tested (hot, cool, rainy, dry).
Issues I’ve encountered
- Sound: Mishits are noticeably a little “clanky”, especially on the toe side. Almost like tapping a cast iron frying pan with a hard block of wood. Flush shots have a much deeper, pure sound.
- Shaft Performance: These shafts help promote a lot of lag. As someone who fights an over-draw, I’ve had to get used to making an effort to release the club earlier in the downswing. Otherwise, I get stuck, trap the ball and the miss is long/left.
- Workability: Personally I have a bit of trouble working these irons left-to-right for a fade (I’m right-handed). I almost always draw the ball and the slight offset in these irons tends to encourage a draw.
- Launch Angle: Due to lower standard lofts, these irons launch pretty low (which is my ideal ball flight). When I hit the ball high, it tends to spin more and fly offline further. I tend to club down on par 3s so the ball lands softer. On the other hand, I can club up on par 4/5 tee boxes and hit my 4 iron since it gets plenty of distance.
Best shot with this club
I have a relatively higher swing speed and so I love hitting the longer Apex 21 irons off the tee (4, 5 or 6 iron). When I need a ball in the fairway, I can confidently rely on my 4-iron off the tee, which I have hit up to 250 yards in the right conditions.
Value for the money vs. other options
The Callaway Apex 2021 Irons are a flagship model from a leading manufacturer, and in my opinion, are a great value for the money. Before purchasing, I was sure I wanted the Titleist T200s, and was pleasantly surprised to walk away with the Apex 21s with over $300 in savings.
After testing several different models from the leading manufacturers, I’m really happy I went with the Apex 21s. My handicap hovers around 9-11 and so I wasn’t looking for a game improvement iron and am not yet consistent enough for a player's iron/blade.
If there was anything negative to say, it would be that these irons are longer than expected! It’s taken me a lot of practice to dial in my distances and get used to each club flying further than my previous set.
I absolutely love these irons! This would be a benefit for any golfer looking to add distance and I believe these are a strong, versatile set of irons that suit a wide variety of golfers.