The title says it all. I get pounded with questions on what the difference is, comparable model and who should play what. Yes, we at Callaway have many options to choose from and we understand that it can get a bit overwhelming. HOWEVER, there is a method to the calculated madness.
I thought the best thing to do is break it down club by club and let the info do what it do.
Where did I land?
I have an extreme LOVE/HATE relationship with irons. In my travels with WRX, I was constantly finding new ways to combo sets from different manufacturers trying to find that recipe of ultimate playability and forgiveness. Unfortunately for me, my game SUFFERED because of it. Why? There were a few things I failed to realize about the equipment and my own game. 1) Not one iron is like them all. Like a song, they all have different feels, balance, and experiences. To deny that is foolish. My wanting to combo all these clubs was like trying to start a band with Bruno Mars, Megadeth, and Frank Sinatra. It sounds fun but it ain’t. 2) Sole width is SO crucial, to the point that I found GI irons hard to hit because the soles were incorrect for how I delivered the club. I’m a picker, a shallow picker to boot, and clubs with wide soles end up being a bag full of drivers off the deck for me. I can’t get them into the ground and present the right part of the face to the ball which in turn has me hitting EVERYTHING thin, high, floaty, and awful.
The fun thing is it forced me to go back and think about the irons I hit the best and why. After some serious soul searching, I realized I hit anything with a thin sole VERY well. Even long irons. So as I ventured into building the first Callaway bag (it’s still a work in progress) I focused on finding MY forgiveness thru turf interaction and what I’m finding is that this path is correct. I’m finding the middle more often, the ball is staying down, I’m taking divots and I can actually shape shots again…what a concept!!
As of now I’m in:
(5-7) X-Forged CB
(8-P) Apex MB ’21
Shafts: True Temper Dynamic Gold Tour Issue X100 (Soft Stepped)
Thus far I’m really liking the X-Forged CB at the top of the set, they get thru the ground perfectly and I’m finding my start lines are really solid, I tend to hook everything and these have a great start window for me. I’ll most likely keep testing TCB, Apex Pro, etc. to dial in the 4 thru 7 irons but I’m set on the Apex MB ’21 for the short irons. The sharp leading edge, lower bounce profile of the iron has given me the feels I love and the ball is flying how I remember it’s supposed to. I’ll keep you updated on my journey as I go.
That’s great JW but what Iron is best for me?
Let’s breakdown the Callaway Players Irons so you have something to reference when you are in that deep rabbit hole looking for new sticks….you know who you are:)
Apex Pro ’21
Key Words: Hollow body, faster face, mid/high launch, mid/low spin, forgiving
Comps: PXG Gen 4 T, TaylorMade P770, Titleist T100S
Who: VERY popular Iron on the LPGA and Champions Tour for its increased ball speed and overall playability. This iron has the DNA of a player forging but also has some serious game improvement aspects cooked in. Where the Apex Pro ’21 separates itself from the competition is 1) feel and turf interaction, thru the turf the Apex Pro ’21 doesn’t live too many houses down from TCB or Apex MB 2) the CG placement on these things is nuts, in some cases up to 90G of tungsten placed in the perfect spot. That’s an obscene amount in a player’s iron.
Apex MB ’21
Key Words: Precise, workability, spin, custom, sharp, short blade, the ownness is on the player, TOUR blade
Comps: 620MB, Ping BluePrint, P7MB, P7TW, PXG ST, Miura Baby Blade, Mizuno MP-20
Who: The Apex MB ’21 is (like Phil likes to put it) a Ferrari. Its sensitive, responsive and tries to match in flight what the player is feeling in their hands. This iron is for players that like the look of a muscle back, hit the middle of the face at least 90% of the time, and would rather trade forgiveness for spin manipulation and control. The point is, this iron will mirror the quality of your strike more than anything else.
Apex TCB (Tour Cavity Back)
Key Words: A muscle back DNA in a forged cavity back, sharp, short blade length, true players CB, shotmakers club, forgiving to a point, crisp off the face, spin control, flight control, our most played iron on the PGA Tour
Comps: 620CB, P7MC, Miura TC201, Mizuno MP-20 MMC
Who: Who? Well, to start our Apex Pro 2 Dot players IE Xander, Dylan, Leish, Wesley, etc. The Apex TCB is a TRUE player forged CB. Jon Rahm responded to these quickly for two reasons, the short blade length which represents control, and the low launch, higher spin launch windows. Shotmakers that don’t trust a muscle back enough typically land on an iron like TCB. For the gearheads, THIS is what replaced the Apex Pro ’18. If you like that iron you will LOVE TCB.
Key Words: Longer blade length, crisp off the face, mild offset, easy to hit players cavity back, mid-launch, Tour iron
Comps: Ping I210, T100, ZX7, JPX 921 Tour, P760
Who: This is where it gets interesting as the TCB and X-Forged may appear to live in the same bucket. They do…and don’t. X-Forged CB is an iron that players seek out more than others. You are kind of looking for something if you land on this club. Traditionally this profile has had a longer blade length, a touch more offset, and has been easier to turn over. On TOUR the players that run to this iron seem to look at the ball in the air to choose an iron rather than down at the address position. What I mean by that is, the iron needs to fly a certain way before the optics become important. Don’t get me wrong, how they sit is important but in my experience players that like the X-Forged profile will work into the look if the ball flies correctly. I love these irons and have them in the bag now.
My boy Kellen Watson did a great bullet point breakdown based on what he sees out on the big show, this is cool:
- Classic Blade look
- Solid feel from the movement of weight to a central location
- Very suitable offset for the better player
- Easy to maneuver the golf ball – high, low, cut, draw
Apex Pro ‘21
- These are an interesting lot:
- Most tour players will shy away from the look of the offset incorporated in the iron
- The long irons seem to gain traction out here for the ease of launch paired with the increase in distance with the faster face
- In the same terms, the speed of the face limits the efficiency of the shorter irons because of the variance of carry yardages
- Classic look with limited offset
- Increased feel and sound from the movement of weight to central hitting location
- Launch and spin numbers are right on when moving from older or different models
- An essential grab and go iron for almost every player on this Tour
- Shape and offset stayed the same from Apex 2 Dot
- We limited the option of the groove configuration
- Shifted CG location to better enhance feel and sound whilst making the builder and fitter’s lives much easier
X Forged CB
- The X Forged player is one that likes the idea of the TCB iron but prefers to see a bit more offset
- The increased offset and blade length provide an ease of closure rate of the face for most players
- The increased offset also allows some players to flight shots down easier
Any questions fire away:)