Callaway Apex 21 Irons Review

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  • At a glance

  • TG Rating 5 out of 5
  • Owner Rating Not yet rated
  • RRP £1,099.00

What we say...

The Callaway Apex 21 irons range features five models targeting everyone from tour pros to high-handicappers.

Callaway’s Apex irons introduced golfers to a forged players’ distance model for the first time back in 2014.

RELATED: Best Irons 2021

Those original models were game-changers, opening up a whole new market as Callaway cleverly pitched them as delivering extra ball speed and distance to golfers who sat right on the fence between better player and game improver irons. Golfers lapped them up, and they were so successful that Apex went down as one of Callaway’s most successful irons ever.

The range of Callaway Apex 21 irons.

Since 2014 Callaway have believed two Apex models (standard and Pro) have been enough to cater for most forged iron buyers. But just last year the market dramatically shifted to new territory with several brands creating three-, four- or even five-model forged iron families, all of which could be mixed to create an individual’s perfect set.

So, in a bold new move, Callaway have come up with the five-model Apex 21 family – Apex 21, Apex Pro 21, Apex MB, Apex DCB and Apex TCB – with an iron to suit everyone from tour players like Xander Schauffele and new signing Jon Rahm, to 20-handicap club golfers.

RELATED: Best Mid-Handicap Irons 2021

And the best news is that prices have dropped by £200 a set to £1,099 (steel) and £1,399 (graphite).

Let’s find out more about each of the five models

JUMP TO A REVIEW

Callaway Apex MB Irons 

Callaway Apex Pro 21 Irons 

Callaway Apex 21 Irons 

Callaway Apex DCB Irons 

Callaway Apex TCB Irons


Callaway Apex MB irons

We’ve seen some stunning musclebacks in our time, but the new Apex MB is an absolute beauty. We love the new satin chrome finish which doesn’t glare in bright sun, and how Callaway have built in a new weight right behind the centre of the face.

It means the model can be swing weighted for different shafts without moving the centre of gravity.

And because great players crave consistency, Callaway say their 20V face grooves help reduce fliers from the rough.

Callaway Apex MB 2021 iron.

Callaway Apex MB irons: Key Features

Tour shaping and design 

A classic shape and style, with a traditional, thin topline, refined sole, compact blade length and stunning chrome finish. 

High performance 20V Grooves 

Precision grooves are designed to promote the high level of control and consistent spin that muscleback players expect out of any playing conditions.

The 20V grooves also stand out for reducing fliers from the rough to deliver even more control

RELATED: Which Callaway iron is right for you?

The clubface of the Callaway Apex MB iron.

New CG weighting 

Callaway have engineered a new weight in the centre of the clubhead, allowing them to precisely dial in swingweights without sacrificing CG location. 

RELATED: WITB Phil Mickelson

What Callaway say about the Apex MB irons

"Our Apex MB Irons are built for the best players in the game. It’s a beautiful classic blade shape with high performance grooves, remarkable feel, and a new weight design. This is a premium muscleback in every way."

The address view of the Callaway Apex MB iron.

Callaway Apex MB irons: Specs

Callaway Apex MB 21 irons specs.


Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons

Callaway have only tentatively dipped their toes into the hollow-body iron pool before, but having watched golfers flock to TaylorMade’s P770, Mizuno’s MP-20 HMB and PXG’s array of hollow models, the new Apex Pro 21 iron plunges them right into the deep end.

A hollow construction means there’s up to 90g of tungsten inside, which Callaway say is massive for this style of compact iron.

Inside there’s also vibration-damping urethane microsphere technology (it’s also in the standard Apex and Apex DCB) which works so well with the 1025 forged body that Callaway say golfers get a feel just like a one-piece model.

Compared to the previous Apex Pro 19, you’ll get more speed, more forgiveness and better spin consistency and feel. 

RELATED: Callaway Apex Pro  21 Hybrid review

The Callaway Apex Pro 21 iron.

Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons: Key Features

The first Apex Pro Iron designed with A.I.

Callaway's A.I. designed Flash Face Cup is in a forged Apex Pro Iron for the first time ever. The unique Flash Face architecture in each iron creates high COR’s for fast ball speeds, and improved spin robustness for every club. This set is engineered for distance and control.

Ultimate Forged Feel

The all-new forged 1025 hollow body construction and Callaway's patented urethane microspheres provide the blend of sound and feel at impact that players expect.

Consistent launch characteristics and forgiveness

For the first time, Callaway have implemented a massive Tungsten Energy Core into an Apex Pro Iron. The hollow body construction includes up to 90 grams of tungsten per iron, the most ever in an Apex Iron. This Tungsten Energy Core improves launch characteristics while simultaneously improving forgiveness.

RELATED: Which Lamkin grip is best for me?

The face of the Callaway Apex Pro 21 iron.

Verdict: Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons

Hollow irons haven’t really been Callaway’s bag before, but the Apex 21 Pro is an absolute delight. The muscleback appearance gives the impression of a blade, but inside there’s up
to 90g of low and deep tungsten to maximise forgiveness from what is very much a players iron head shape and size.

Callaway say it suits scratch and single-figure handicappers, and we can see lots of players choosing between these and the TaylorMade P770s in 2021. Often, the decision is likely to come down to price, and the Pros edge that battle by £200. Our data shows the standard Apex 21 iron being seven yards longer, if distance is more of a priority.

Watch: Best 2021 Players' Distance Iron video

What Callaway say about the Apex Pro 21 irons

"Apex Pro is synonymous with Tour distance and performance, from a premium construction that’s demonstrably superior and pleasingly different.

"We’ve redesigned this iron from the ground up, with an innovative A.I. face architecture and all new forged hollow body construction.

"Any scratch or single digit handicapper who wants speed and forgiveness in a players performance iron needs to try the Apex Pro 21."

RELATED: Love KBS iron shafts? Should you try the new KBS TD driver shaft?

The topline view of the Callaway Apex Pro 21 iron.

Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons: Specs

Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons specs.


Callaway Apex 21 irons

The Apex iron has killed off the idea that forged irons are just for good players.

It’s unfair to label the model as the standard Apex (but it always will be known as that as it doesn’t have MB, TCB, Pro or DCB in the name), as nothing about it is ordinary.

This one targets the broadest range of players. Like the Apex Pro and DCB, each iron’s face within the set has a different AI-designed pattern to boost ball speeds and forgiveness for the typical impact positions of each model’s target user.

Inside, there’s a massive 64g tungsten energy core, five times more than the previous Apex model.

The weight is split between three areas to ensure each iron in the set flights shots correctly. Callaway say golfers will see higher ball speeds, more spin consistency, extra forgiveness and, thanks to better shaping, improved turf interaction, too.

RELATED: Callaway Apex 21 hybrid review

The Callaway Apex 21 iron.

Callaway Apex 21 irons: Key Features

The first Apex Iron designed with A.I. 

Callaway's A.I.-designed Flash Face Cup is in a forged Apex Iron for the first time ever. The unique A.I. architecture in each iron creates high ball speeds and increased spin robustness across the face. They’re engineered for impressive distance and pinpoint control. 

Consistent launch and increased forgiveness 

For the first time, Callaway have implemented their Tungsten Energy Core into an Apex Iron. With 5x the tungsten of Apex 19, Callaway can precisely position the Centre of Gravity to promote outstanding launch throughout the set, and more forgiveness on off-center shots. 

The face of the Callaway Apex 21 iron.

Verdict: Callaway Apex 21 irons

Just like its siblings, the Apex is a great-looking forged iron. Unlike some it’s also really good at protecting carry distance, as it gave up just eight yards between on- and off-centre hits (ranking second) in our 2021 Iron Test.

Compared to the previous Apex 19, the topline is a little narrower, which potentially makes them more attractive to reasonably solid ball strikers who don’t want to give up 2.5° of 7-iron loft to play the hollow body Apex Pro.

What Callaway say about the Apex 21 irons

"Apex is synonymous with legendary forged performance. It’s the iron that created the forged distance category, with a premium construction that exemplifies what demonstrably superior and pleasingly different is all about. 

"Apex 21 provides an extraordinary level of forged performance and craftsmanship. It’s the first forged iron designed with Artificial Intelligence for faster ball speeds, and that’s just the beginning. 

"Our world-class R&D team has improved spin consistency using A.I., increased forgiveness from our massive Tungsten Energy Core, and enhanced the shaping for even better turf interaction.

"In short, these irons deliver superior performance with iconic feel on every swing."

The topline view of the Callaway Apex 21 iron.

Callaway Apex 21 irons: Specs

Callaway Apex 21 irons specs.


Callaway Apex DCB irons

As Apex is now Callaway’s flagship iron, they naturally wanted to ensure every golfer has the opportunity to play one.

So where 20 years ago a deep cavity-back forged iron would have been laughed off the course, Callaway say opening the Apex name up to players who need more help is a vital part of their strategy.

The DCB (Deep Cavity Back) has longer blade lengths, wider soles and extra offset to offer more help to golfers who spray shots around the face.

Callaway-Apex-21-DCB-Iron

Intentionally, the DCB looks a lot like the standard Apex model, which means teen handicappers and above will have a real decision to make between this and the standard model, but crucially nobody need feel left out.

As with the other models, you get a forged body, an AI designed Flash Face and a tungsten energy core along with urethane microsphere damping inside.

The Callaway Apex DCB iron.

Callaway Apex DCB irons: Key Features

Forged forgiveness through the set 

Apex DCB is the most forgiving Apex Iron Callaway have ever made. The deep cavity back and enhanced sole width are engineered for easy launch and solid turf interaction out of a variety of lies. Now golfers of all abilities can play a forged iron with confidence. 

The first Apex Irons designed with A.I. 

Callaway's A.I. designed Flash Face Cup is in a forged Apex game-improvement iron for the first time. The unique A.I. face architecture in each iron creates high ball speeds and increased spin robustness. They’re engineered for impressive distance and more control than you’ve ever had. 

Consistent launch and increased forgiveness 

For the first time, Callaway have implemented their Tungsten Energy Core into Apex Irons. The long and mid-irons feature up to 50 grams of tungsten per iron, so we can precisely position the Centre of Gravity to promote outstanding launch throughout the set, and more forgiveness on off-centre shots. 

The face of the Callaway Apex DCB iron.

Verdict: Callaway Apex DCB irons

Callaway say Apex irons are now the best they make, and very rarely is the best iron range from any brand squarely aimed at mid/higher handicap golfers. The Apex 21 DCB (Deep Cavity Back) gets our nod because we love the way they open up forged irons to mid/higher handicaps and, thanks to a lighter True Temper shaft, more average-speed players, too.

Sat alongside the Apex 21 at address, the DCBs are very closely matched. The untrained eye will struggle to see much difference in head size, shape and offset. The DCB does have
a wider and more friendly cambered sole, which will help less consistent strikers.

Our 2021 Iron Test data somewhat masks how desirable the Apex and Apex DCB really are, as we’re all guilty of just looking at the longest and fastest models. We have the DCB 12 yards back from our longest, and nine yards back from last year’s Mavrik iron,
but without doubt we’d prefer the DCBs in our bag in 2021. They’re a great-looking set of mid-handicap irons.

WATCH: Best Mid-Handicap Iron 2021 video

What Callaway say about the Apex DCB irons

"The new Apex DCB allows more golfers to experience Apex than ever before. It delivers the look, feel and performance of a forged players club with the forgiveness of a deep cavity back design.

"We’ve never created anything like this, and we are confident that golfers are going to love it."

The topline view of the Callaway Apex DCB iron.

Callaway Apex DCB irons: Specs

Callaway Apex DCB irons specs.


Callaway Apex TCB irons

The fifth member of the Apex 21 is the TCB – Tour Cavity Back – which fits into the set between the MB and the Pro. It is a tour-inspired forged 1025 players' cavity back iron that has been specifically designed for tour and elite golfers with lofts, bounces, lengths and COR to suit the stronger player.

Callaway Apex TCB irons.

It’s no secret that only 10% of Tour pros use muscleback irons, as most players who make a living on Tour realise the degree of forgiveness offered by a small cavity in a muscleback-sized iron can help.

Callaway Apex TCB irons.

Jon Rahm has always played forged cavity backs, as has Xander Schauffele, so it's not surprise that both players have put these in the bag for 2021.

RELATED: WITB Jon Rahm

Callaway Apex TCB irons.

The Apex TCB, which is available through custom-fitting only, has a similar footprint to the X Forged 18 but uses a 1025 Forged Hollow Body Construction coupled with 17-4 tour tuned face plate and visble MIM tungsten weighting to help maximise performance.

RELATED: WITB Xander Schauffele

WATCH: Best 2021 Players' Iron video

Callaway Apex TCB irons: Specs

Callaway Apex TCB iron specs.

READ NEXT: Which Callaway iron is right for me?

Product Information

Callaway Apex MB irons

RRP: £1,099 (steel), £1,399 (graphite)

Availability: 3- PW, AW

Stock shaft: Project X IO (s)

7-iron loft: 34°

Forgiveness category: 1 (muscleback/blade)


Callaway Apex 21 Pro irons

RRP: £1,099 (steel), £1,399 (graphite)

Availability: 3- PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate ETS 115g (s) Mitsubishi MMT (g)

7-iron loft: 33°

Forgiveness category: 2.5 (player/players’ distance)


Callaway Apex 21 irons

RRP: £1,099 (steel), £1,399 (graphite)

Availability: 3- PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate ETS 95g (s) UST Recoil Dart 75g (g)

7-iron loft: 30.5°

Forgiveness category: 3 (players' distance/mid-handicap)


Callaway Apex 21 DCB irons

RRP: £1,099 (steel), £1,399 (graphite)

Availability: 4-PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Elevate ETS 85g (s) UST Recoil Dart 75g (g)

7-iron loft: 30°

Forgiveness category: 3.5 (mid-high handicap iron)


Callaway Apex 21 TCB irons

Custom-fitting only

RRP: £1,099 (steel), £1,399 (graphite)

Availability: 4-PW, AW

Stock shaft: True Temper Project X 10 5.5 (105g), 6.0 (110g), 6.5 (115g). True Temper Project X LS 6.0 (120g), 6.5 (125g).

7-iron loft: 34°

Forgiveness category: 0-1 (elite player iron)

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