Having created quite a buzz with the release of their Apex irons, Callaway have announced the launch of their better-player, Apex Pro irons.
Forged from the same 1020 carbon steel as Callaway's X Forged irons, released earlier this year, the Apex Pro is a multi-material, compact, cavity-back iron designed for Callaway's Tour players and low-handicap players.
In designing the Apex Pro, Callaway wanted to offer all the performance, feel and workability that better players want, but with some new innovations to offer something the better players and the market hadn't seen before.
Let's start with the construction.
The Apex Pro is built from a one-piece, steel, forged construction that gives the irons a soft, responsive feel. To improve the feel further, Callaway added a soft, polymer insert, in the back of the clubhead, to dampen the feel at impact.
To improve the flight and forgiveness of the Apex Pro, particularly in the long irons, Callaway added high-density tungsten weights to the 2, 3, 4 and 5 irons. This allows Callaway to reposition the centre of gravity (CG) in the Apex Pro slightly lower to promote a higher launching flight, more forgiveness and adds around 1mph to the ball speeds of the longer irons.
Whilst the long irons feature the sole weights, the shorter irons from 6-PW do not. Without the additional weight in the sole they offer a higher CG that is better suited to flighting the ball down and controlling shots into the green.
Of course anytime a company adds weight to a club it is usually sacrificed elsewhere. That is what makes way for the cavity-back design. Although most think Tour players prefer the feel and performance of a blade iron, by adding this cavity on the Apex Pro, Callaway were able to tinker with the weight and offer, what they believe is, a more complete iron.
Callaway has introduced a new tour-inspired 37WV, which stands for 37 degree wide-spaced V grooves. This aims to launch the ball higher with less spin, which may sound sound contrary to what a better-player wants, but Callaway's research proved otherwise. Their tests showed that better players, who naturally produce more clubhead speed, were hitting shots with too much spin, especially from the rough, leading to a loss of distance and consistency.
Where the Callaway X Forged had 20-degree V grooves spaced closer together, the Apex Pro are 37-degrees and spaced farther apart.
Furthermore, the face of the Apex Pro is 17% thinner than the X Forged iron meaning even more ball speed and distance.
Whilst the sole of the Apex Pro is similar in shape and performance to the X Forged, it is slightly wider meaning it will offer a little more help at impact.
Callaway have upgraded their stock shaft offerings and for the first time they are offering a KBS Tour-V shaft. Built in collaboration with Callaway's Phil Mickelson it is a lightweight, piercing, mid-launch shaft that offers feel and workability.
Furthermore, for the player who would prefer a graphite shaft, Callaway have made the Apex Pro available with a UST Recoil 95 shaft. This has been carefully designed to enhance and maximise the recoil a shaft undergoes during a player's transition and downswing to offer more distance whilst not sacrificing accuracy.
So there you have it, the new Apex Pro Irons are a high-tech, cavity-back, forged iron with new weights and grooves. Callaway are expecting Apex Pro to be their most popular iron on Tour in 2014, so keep an eye out to who has them in their bag first.