50 Words or Less
The Callaway Apex 21 hybrid pairs huge ball speed with an attractive head shape. Very forgiving. Strong versatility, especially for a hybrid with elite distance.
With so many hybrids branching into specialties – distance hybrids and pure iron replacements, to name two – is there any room for the Swiss Army Knife hybrid anymore? Can a hybrid be long and forgiving and versatile? That’s the trifecta that the Callaway Apex 21 hybrid aims to achieve. I tested one to see how it fares in a world of more specialized hybrids.
With the enormous variance in hybrids these days, I’m never sure what to expect when I set one down for the first time. Even with the name Apex – typically synonymous with smaller, players hybrids – I had questions.
The Callaway Apex 21 hybrid lives up to its heritage with a very attractive combination of size and shape at address. It’s a little shorter than average from heel-to-toe with a slight pear shape. From front-to-back it’s a little thicker and the face is tall, both of which gave me hints of Callaway’s Super Hybrid [review HERE]. Overall, the club looks stout without being boxy or awkward.
Shifting away from size and shape, we see that Callaway flashes a hint of carbon fiber on the trailing edge of the crown opposite the chevron alignment aid. While the chevron isn’t a deal breaker for me, a lot players would probably prefer a clean look.
The sole of the Apex 21 hybrid uses small touches of red to highlight its key technologies. Near the face, red outlines the Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades. There are also touches of red on the weight in the middle of the sole.
Sound & Feel
My first note on the Callaway Apex 21 hybrid was the slightly ironic “QUIET!”. This toned down impact sound is a perfect fit for the Apex player. On center, there’s a little extra “snap,” but even the purest, fastest swings won’t turn heads with their sound.
Feedback from the Apex 21 hybrid is above average both through the hands and ears. Off center contact sounds and feels duller. The signal is clear in both cases, but not so obvious that anyone else will know.
One of the surest signs that a club is really good is when I don’t know where to start the Performance section, and that’s exactly the situation the Apex 21 hybrid has put me in. While there are plenty of good choices, I’ll begin with ball speed. With its A.I. designed Flash Face SS21, the Apex 21 hybrid produces ball speed that is, in a word, elite. On center, it’s as fast as any hybrid I’ve tested. Smash factors in the very high 1.4s are the norm on any decent swing.
On those less-than-decent swings, the Apex 21 hybrid shows you how forgiving it can be. I could miss the center of the face by a substantial margin and drop only a couple MPH of ball speed. It got to the point where I had to break out the impact tape because I didn’t trust my feel – I didn’t think there was any way that heel shots could be that fast. Forgiveness doesn’t just come in the form of distance, it’s also about keeping the ball on line. The Apex 21 hybrid is extremely stable thanks to metal injection molded tungsten weighting in the head.
If we stopped at elite ball speed and forgiveness, the Callaway Apex 21 hybrid would be a very good club. It takes a step into an even higher category thanks to its versatility. This club has very consistent mid-launch characteristics and allows the player to boost that up or down, if they have the skill. Similarly, it produces enough spin that it’s workable and can hold a green, but not so much that you can’t bomb it off the tee.
The one piece of the Apex 21 hybrid equation that I was suspicious of was the stock shaft. I’ve never had great success with UST’s Recoil shafts, but the Dart surprised me. It’s a little lighter than I prefer, especially in the butt section, but it held up to aggressive swings and helped produce excellent results. I may experiment with other options, but I’d recommend that you give this a real chance before swapping it out.
Callaway continues to be a leader when it comes to providing useful info to golfers. They have a chart on their website detailing the differences between the Apex, MAVRIK, and B21 hybrids. You can check it out for yourself HERE, but the Cliff Notes are that the Apex has hosel adjustability (the other two don’t), similar size and shape to the MAVRIK, and employs all of Callaway’s latest hybrid tech.
Comparing the Apex 21 to the Apex Pro 21 [full review HERE], the primary differences are the adjustable hosel, the size, and forgiveness. The Apex Pro 21 has a traditional hosel, is noticeably smaller, and is not as generous with the ball speed when you miss the center of the face.
Regular readers know that my hybrid is one of the longest-tenured clubs in my bag. The Callaway Apex 21 hybrid has a real chance at putting it out to pasture. This is a true do-anything hybrid that remains elite in ball speed and forgiveness. If you need a hybrid that can do it all, get to your fitter and try the Apex 21.
Visit Callaway Golf HERE
Callaway Apex 21 Hybrid Price & Specs
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I know you didn’t test the TSi2 hybrid, but any insight as to how it compares to the Apex21 in terms of forgiveness and distance?
Unfortunately, no. I’d be surprised if the TSi2 is as forgiving as the Apex 21, but Meeker loves his, so it could be.
Matt were you seeing this apex competing with your cbx for distance at the stock 19* or did you turn it down? IIRC the cbx is a 17*, no? If you replace the cbx do you intend to keep the IZ shaft or are thinking complete overhaul?
I hit the Apex at 19*. In stock form, it’s not as long as the CBX at its longest, but it’s more consistent. I will likely leave the CBX as it is and try some other shafts in the Apex.
I bought an Apex 21 degree without even hitting any balls with it.
My first hybrid was purchased in about 1989, long before the term hybrid was even applied to there hollow head iron replacement. I have always had a soft spot for them and have owned enough that I would have a hard time remembering all of them. I did not start golfing until I was 37 so it was only 12 or 13 years before I was a Senior golfer. I got a set of Adams Forged Pros in 2006 and probably played my most consistent golf in 2007 with them in my bad. That set came with the 3 and 4 hybrids, I added the 2, and I swapped out a 4 with the 4 iron depending on a number of factors. Pros were just really starting to pick up the hybrid thing back then and I noticed that, on the Canadian Tour at least, those Forged Pro hybrids were prevalent. Not all that long after that Adams disappeared into the big machine of Taylormade and their hybrids looked a lot more like fairway woods.
By the time I hit age 60 in 2011 my fitness level and golf game were starting to go downhill. I bought golf clubs with A flex shafts looking for something that would work, and the hybrids were whatever came with.
Retirement brought a drastic drop in income, huge changes in lifestyle and also a drastic decrease in the amount of golf I
was able to play. Then about 3 years ago the arthritis that I deal with today caught up with me. Last season my swing was more of a short chop than a swing. But when I got the chance to pick up the Apex at the end of the season I saw the shape of my old Forged Pros when I set it down. Never discount the importance of how a club shape seems right to you.
My intent is to play more golf this year, with a right hip that could use replacing. I have a new set of old school forged irons, and the Apex Hybrid. Certainly not clubs a club fitter would recommend for me, just the clubs I feel good about.
Oops. Most of the boo boos you can sort out, but one needs fixing. I swapped out a matching 5 hybrid with the 5 iron in that set.