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.