Alongside the launch of Callaway’s new Apex line of irons we’ve also had an update to the Apex Utility Wood. These look to combine the best aspects of a hybrid and fairway wood into one unbeatable club.
Will I be putting them into the bag, or are Callaway trying to fill a gap in the market that doesn't need filling?
The Callaway Apex Utility Woods have been designed in conjunction with tour-pro feedback, giving them a unique shape with a compact profile to enhance shot-shaping versatility and provide additional control.
These clubs sit directly between a fairway wood and a hybrid if we were to imagine a line up of different clubs. Callaway are claiming this allows for a size and length that it the most adaptable and easiest to hit in the longer end of the bag, throughout various situations.
The Utility Woods have an AI batwing structure that we have seen in the recent Callaway Paradym Hybrids that pushes out to the perimeter of the head to stiffen the body, allowing the C300 steel face cup to flex and provide faster ball speeds – keeping the distance we’d expect from longer woods.
A new Cutwave Pro Sole delivers a streamlined design to improve turf interaction by helping the player cut through the ground more efficiently, encouraging more shot-making when hitting into the greens and allowing for the feel and forgiveness often seen in hybrids.
Callaway have positioned the CG into a neutral location, allowing for the ideal combination of high launch, steeper landing angles, consistent spin and a reduced draw bias.
In right-handed models there are 17, 19 and 21 degree lofts, with only the 17 and 19 for left-handed players but offer no adjustability in the hosel.
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Callaway Apex Utility Wood 24 Review
I’m often a big fan of Callaway clubhead designs, with sharp accents, prominent logos and splashes of strong colours. The Apex Utility Woods didn't fall short of my expectations here - I think these are a great looking club.
I can imagine that for some players they may feel as though there is a bit too much going on across the base of the club, but the sharp lines and red detailing gave me this sense of power, which I like to feel from my clubs at the longer end of the bag.
If I was being picky, I’d have liked to have seen the red continued a little bit more onto the headcovers. However, if I were to look at the headcovers on their own away from the clubs I’d say they were very smart and simple, with a very clean black and white design.
Initially during testing, I struggled to get the feel of these clubs. To me they look like 'chunky hybrids', and so I was trying to play them as I would my current 4 or 5-hybrid clubs. This really wasn’t working too well, and I saw a much better result when playing them more like a longer wood, with the stance a bit wider and the ball a bit further forward.
Once I had got to grips with my setup - I was flying. The difference in shot shape and feel was very different between the two ways I was trying to play these, which got very frustrating to start with. If you're looking at testing these clubs I'd suggest to ask your fitter for some guidance and experiment with different ball position, as I’d have been staying away from them after those initial shots.
I tested out the 21-degree Apex Utility Wood, which compares nicely to my current Callaway Rogue 4-hybrid (a favourite club of mine – meaning the Apex UW had some tough competition to live up to!)
The UW was going an average of 186 yards carry with a total of exactly 200 yards. This means it sits slightly below my 5 wood distance, but it's very comparable to my 4-hybrid. I wasn’t getting any more distance with the UW compared to my current hybrid, which I must admit I was hoping for given the bigger head and overall footprint.
However, where I saw a benefit - I was getting a much more consistent and controllable ball flight in comparison to my longer woods which I really enjoyed with the Callaway Utility Woods.
Callaway claim one of the main selling points of the Utility Woods is their versatility. Callaway are claiming these clubs can be used off the tee, from the fairway and even from the rough. We scouted out the longer par 3’s at Denton Golf Club to put this to the test, and I was very happy with the results.
I found the Utility Woods easy to control on approach to longer par 3’s, more so than I’d expect to see from my own woods. This was the same from the fairway, although coming off slightly less forgiving, which I’d say we’d always expect going from tee to grass.
The big test for me was going to come from hitting the ball from the rough. This can be a huge issue for a lot of players and can become costly if you’re uncomfortable hitting from distance in the semi or lighter areas, having to take a recovery shot with a shorter iron to just get the ball moving. From the rough and I’d agree with Callaway – the Utility Woods are great to help you recover from light rough. I was able to hit them in positions I’d never consider taking a wood at, however I'd still probably still feel more comfortable taking a hybrid from these areas.
Callaway Apex Utility Wood 24 Verdict
Overall, I was getting the sense that these clubs were like longer woods, just a little more consistent and controlled. The main drawback for me was that I wasn’t getting any extra distance in comparison to similar lofted hybrids. That said, these clubs are significantly bigger at address than most hybrids, which is great to inspire more confidence to the player without sacrificing the ability to cut through the turf in slightly un-favourable lies.
Where these clubs do come in is for players who maybe feel a hybrid is too small or are struggling to control their longer woods. If you’re looking for accuracy across the longer end of your bag the Callaway Utility Woods could be a great option to test out, but don't make the mistake that a bigger head will give you great distance.
Who Are They Aimed At?
I do think these clubs could be great for players struggling with their longer woods, and I’d suggest anyone struggling with consistency and accuracy across the longer end of the bag to test these out.
Would I Use Them?
I wouldn’t be jumping to replace my hybrids with these clubs anytime soon, as I couldn’t see much difference between the two during my testing.
Coming in at £319 RRP which is around £100 more than my current, older hybrids I was hoping for an impressive difference between the two which I was really struggling to find. That said, my hybrids have always been some of my favourite clubs in the bag, so they were always going to be tough to beat!
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Ping G430 Hybrid Review
Callaway Apex Pro Irons Review