What is the buzz about with the new Apex irons?
10 Questions put to Dr. Alan Hocknell – Snr Vice President Callaway R&D.
What’s the big idea for Callaway’s new Apex Irons?
Convention al wisdom has been that you can’t have extreme, radical performance in a forged iron. With Apex, conventional wisdom couldn’t be more wrong. The paradigm has changed: the Apex iron gives you distance and performance in a stunning forged iron.
Apex is the ultimate in forged performance.
If you had to sum up the new Apex iron in 70 characters or less, how would you do it?
Combines technical power with the feel, precision and beauty you get with a forging.
OK, not bad. How about 30 characters or less?
Ultimate in forged performance
What are the two most important features of the Apex irons that my readers will care about?
It’s foremost a technology driven iron, and that comes from its multi-material construction with a thin, 455 Carpenter high strength steel face insert. So the face material is the Carpenter 455 material we use in our X Hot Fairway woods. That gives the Apex iron the capability to make the ball go very fast.
The technology piece is just part of the story with Apex, though. The premium forged body gives Apex a look and feel that was once reserved for players’ irons. These irons are beautiful; the 1020 carbon steel body has a satin chrome finish, consistent with the look of our Muscleback irons.
What makes Apex a first in golf is that it combines forging with all this technology and performance. Normally forged irons are reserved for the best players and don’t have a distance advantage. So the iron construction in Apex totally changes that paradigm. In Apex, you have a forged iron that is also very long. And it also carries through the characteristics of the forged iron – in terms of the soft, responsive feel and the look that you get from a forging.
Awesome. Are there any other features my readers should be aware of?
Yes, definitely. The 455 Carpenter high strength steel face insert is also a very lightweight face that allows Callaway R&D to reposition weight low in the iron. Using a tungsten insert in the sole to lower the center of gravity, we can improve launch angles on the low irons in the set (3-5 irons) and add forgiveness.
So, the combination of a high strength, lightweight face insert and this tungsten sole to lower CG promotes better ball speed performance and mass properties in Apex compared to what a golfer would experience with an all stainless steel GI iron. That combo also allows us to launch the ball at appropriate angles and spin rates for the kind of iron that has a 4, 6, 8, etc. on the bottom.
The other point we’ll mention here is the groove in this iron is a wide-spaced (30-degree) groove. It is our first iron that has used this groove, and it provides increased spin out of the rough for average golfers, who typically don’t generate enough spin on these shots.
Wait, so what about people who say there’s no way to make a forged iron a high performance iron?
Well, people didn’t think we could go to the moon before we did that either. Callaway R&D sees this area of iron development as a rich space to offer incredible technology and distance (face insert, Tungsten sole insert, wide groove) in a beautiful forged iron package. What can we say? It’s real.
Is there a cool stat I can use to educate my readers about what goes into forging an iron?
I’m glad you asked. The forged part of the iron body is also machined. Each one of these iron heads spends 40 minutes getting precision machined to impart the incredible detail necessary to have the parts fit together in such a precise way that allows the face to perform the way it does. This level of incredible precision propels performance.
Others are claiming a pocket in the sole of an iron makes all other irons obsolete. What say you?
We would first say try the Apex against any other iron out there – pocket or not – to see for yourself. We would follow that up by pointing out that the Carpenter 455 face insert is the material we use in our X Hot Fairway Wood forged cup face. So it makes the ball go very fast; it gives the golfer a lot of ball speed. What continues to set the Apex apart is that we convert that ball speed to distance in a reliable manner with all of the technology we’ve outlined above. And then, well, it’s a beautiful forged iron on top of all that.
What about the shaft offerings?
There will be two shaft options:
–The New True Temper XP95 steel shaft offering delivers high launch angles with a controlled ball flight
–UST Recoil is a lightweight graphite shaft with higher flex points, resulting in great feel and workability
This iron seems tough to pigeonhole. How would you categorize it?
Apex changes the paradigm for forged and distance irons by making them one, so you’re right, it can be tough to categorize. The Apex iron doesn’t follow some of the expected progression patterns within the Game Improvement category. For example, its sole width, offset progression, the depth of cavity and the topline width, they represent a unique combination of all those variables. And then, of course, you include the feel and sound of a forged iron. If anything, Apex is a longer, more attractive cousin to the Diablo Forged iron, which originated a category for high performance forged cavity back irons.