50 Words or Less
The Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons are beautiful in the bag and at address. Lots of length and forgiveness relative to similar-sized irons.
For 2021, the Apex Pro irons got a full makeover. In the previous version, the Apex Pro 19 [review HERE], there was a lot of visual similarity between the standard and Pro versions of the Apex. The Apex Pro 21 will leave no doubt that it is its own club. But, as good as the Apex 21 irons are, is that a good thing? I tested them to find out.
The Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons are stunning. As good as they look at address, I like them even better in the bag. The back of the blade doesn’t show a cavity, but there is a channel through the middle of the back that pushes more mass low in the head.
At address, the Apex Pro 21 is noticeably thinner and smaller than the standard Apex 21. The top line is slimmer, there’s less offset, and the blade length is compact. What you can’t see at address, but may be the biggest difference, is the sole width. In the Apex Pro 21 it’s “narrow” per Callaway, where the Apex 21 is “moderate.”
Sound & Feel
Given the substantial difference in the way the irons look, I was expecting a big difference in feel between the Apex Pro 21 and the standard Apex 21 irons [review HERE]. I was surprised to find that the difference in sound and feel was quite small.
When struck well, the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons have a feel that is a unique mix of soft and explosive, leaning more toward the latter. When you move away from the center of the face, the feel gets firmer.
Well struck shots are announced with a snappy impact sound that’s modest in volume. Poorly struck shots are louder and less pleasant – the sound becomes more of a “clap.”
On their website, Callaway offers golfers a very useful chart explaining the differences between the three new Apex irons. The key differences between the Apex 21 and the Apex Pro 21 are that the Pro model has fewer irons with a Tungsten Energy Core (3-7, not 3-A) and fewer irons with an AI Designed Flash Face Cup (3-7, not 3-9). Also, as mentioned earlier, the soles of the Apex Pro 21 are much narrower than on the Apex 21. Finally, there’s a substantial difference in lofts – the Apex Pro 21 is 2-2.5 degrees weaker throughout the set.
As you would expect, those differences in loft have noticeable effects on the way the Apex Pro 21 performs. Compared to the Apex 21, they launch a bit higher, spin a little more, and aren’t quite as long. As a low launching player, I hit both irons close to the same distance, but I think most players will see a larger gap.
In my testing notes, I described the Apex Pro 21 as a “playable blade with distance,” and I think that description is pretty solid. Because of the tech in these irons, they’re going to be longer and easier to hit than many similar-sized irons. However, within the scope of all golf equipment, these are not irons that I would refer to as forgiving. Callaway recommends these irons for players with handicaps from 5 to +5, which I think is pretty spot on.
For the highly skilled player who wants a little more distance, the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons are a great pick. I wouldn’t suggest these for most double-digit handicaps, but Callaway is offering a variety of combo sets with the Apex Pro 21 irons if you want these beauties to be your scoring irons. As always, make sure to test them and get fit before putting them in your bag.
Visit Callaway Golf HERE
Callaway Apex Pro 21 Irons Price & Specs
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So not as forgiving as the ZX7 it would seem based your recent review of those irons? Did you prefer the feel of zx7 too?
Correct on both counts.
my 16 yr old weight training baseball player , turned into golfer… he’s 5’8″.. He’s been playing for 2 months every day. he drives 300 yds..his short game seems impressive for only playing for 2 months. How do we determine what clubs to buy for him that will last a few years.
Get him a fitting with a high quality fitter, such as Club Champion.
How would these compare to the pxg gen3 T irons? Which one did you prefer?
The T is more forgiving and the iron I prefer of the two.
Matt, how would you compare the Apex Pro 21 vs. the 2021 X-Forged CB? They seem to occupy the same handicap range?
Yes, I think they’re really similar. I feel like the X-Forged is a little more forgiving, but it’s a small difference.
How do these compare to the T100s in terms of forgiveness.
The T100 is more forgiving.
The T-1000 is not at all forgiving.
I see what you did there… 😎
I don’t think the T100 is forgiving at all. I have hit the pros in a fitting and found them way more forgiving than the T100’s I dumped. For me, an 8 HC, the regular/pro combo is the way to go.
Took my 15 year old son to get fitted and he hit 7 or 8 different clubs and it was a tough decision for him as he really liked two different clubs. Apex Pro 21 and the TM P790. The P790 was longer but he loved the feel of the Apex Pro 21 better. (his best ever score is an 87)
Hit and loved the Apex Pro 21 with 95 grm stiff shaft (I’m 61 and got 5800 spin with 140 yds landed 150 yds settled in a tight formation . My son has hit and suggested the 0311 P PXG gen 3.
Any suggestions? Currently hitting Apex cf16 and have fairly good success.
I’m not sure what you’re asking for. I’m happy to help, I just don’t understand the question.
Sir I have Apex cf16 during covid got my handicap down to 7.4 got back to work creeped back to 10.1 for now. I’ve learned to hit a draw on demand now. But with the huge offset it’s not as reliable as far as not turning into a hook. Would these be an iron that could make my draw or fade stay as such and not turn into hooks and slices? These or the forged cb clubs from callaway.
If offset is the problem, these could be a solution as they have less offset.
How do these compare in forgiveness and consistency to the ping I210s? (My current iron) I went through a fitting with the apex pro 21s and bailed on before making the purchase and swap… I noticed some very strange anomalies with the apex pro…. Great feeling club, hardly any consistency in numbers I like to see. Random flyers on the 8-6-5 irons. And by flyers I mean major flyers with 2000 less spin rates, struck center sweet spot, ball flying 30-60 yards beyond what should be capable of for that given club and loft, talking 5 iron 281, and had two 8 irons back to back carry 190….. same lofts throughout the set to my pings but yet going distance numbers that to me are just obsurd on a ball that was nothing more than hit flush…. Why is that happening? Example I play my ping 8I to carry 158-162 and say a 5I to carry 180ish… major difference.
The i210 is much more forgiving and consistent than the Apex Pro 21.
How do these compare to the Apex Pro 19 in terms of forgiveness? I have an Apex/Apex Pro 19 combo set and find them reasonably easy to hit as a mid handicap.
I don’t have head to head data, but my sense is that the Apex Pro 19 was more forgiving than the Apex Pro 21.
Currently hitting the B21 callaways with alot of shots going left. 8.5 on the handicap index. Would these benefit me with the offset absence?
For a lot of golfers, less offset means less left, so it’s definitely worth a try.
I’m a 6.9 index and WAS a hardcore Mizuno forged player for 20 years. The Apex Pro is one of the most consistent and accurate irons I have ever played. I realize it’s supposed to be for a 5 to +5 player however I think a good 10 could play these quite effectively! Amazing iron with incredible distance – even on off center hits. Way to go Callaway!
I currently have JPX Tour, do you think the consistency and workability will be close? I was about a club longer and had optimal launch and decent angle.
Objectively, I think the Apex Pro 21 will be fairly close to the JPX Tour. Of course, there’s also a lot of room for preference and fit to make them look meaningfully different. I would not worry about the construction, personally.
I meant to say I had great numbers with the Apex Pro, just worried about hollow body construction.