Callaway Apex Pro 21 Irons Review

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The Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons are beautiful in the bag and at address.  Lots of length and forgiveness relative to similar-sized irons.

Introduction

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.

Looks

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.”

Performance

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.

Conclusion

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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Matt Saternus

Founder, Editor In Chief at PluggedInGolf.com
Matt is the Founder and Editor in Chief of Plugged In Golf. He's worked in nearly every job in the golf industry from club fitting to instruction to writing and speaking. Matt lives in the northwest suburbs of Chicago with his wife and two daughters.

14 Comments

  1. Aqib Shahid

    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?

  2. How would these compare to the pxg gen3 T irons? Which one did you prefer?

  3. Matt, how would you compare the Apex Pro 21 vs. the 2021 X-Forged CB? They seem to occupy the same handicap range?

    • Matt Saternus

      Brian,

      Yes, I think they’re really similar. I feel like the X-Forged is a little more forgiving, but it’s a small difference.

      -Matt

  4. Chris saunders

    Matt,
    How do these compare to the T100s in terms of forgiveness.
    Thanks
    Chris

  5. The T-1000 is not at all forgiving.

  6. 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.

  7. Scott Harris

    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)

  8. Matt,
    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.

    • Matt Saternus

      Larry,

      I’m not sure what you’re asking for. I’m happy to help, I just don’t understand the question.

      -Matt

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