The first time I saw the Apex UW (it was code-named “Preakness” at the time), memories of a club that Phil had used in the past came flooding in. At the time, Phil’s experiment was designed around combatting thick US Open rough and creating a semblance of stability to the clubhead with the weeds wrapped around it. It was an idea, it had a ton of utility, but as you can see in the pics (courtesy of GolfWRX.com), it was a one-trick pony. However, there was an idea there that translated over to today.
Introducing Apex UW
According to the Callaway Mother Ship:
“This unique design combines the best features of higher-lofted fairway woods, the best features of hybrids, and a more neutral ball flight. Using direct feedback from world-class pros like Phil Mickelson and Xander Schauffele, we’ve created a multi-purpose club that better players can rely on from the tee, fairway, or rough.”
Lofts Available (17,19,21) w/ Project X HZURDUS Smoke RDX Black 60G, 70G, 80G (Stock Shaft)
According to Me:
Make no mistake, this is a “Tour Part” that is coming to retail. It doesn’t happen often but when it does, it’s typically something VERY special.
UNIQUE. VERSATILE. CONSISTENT.
Those are the three words I would use to describe the new Apex UW. It is a totally different idea to satisfy that VERY awkward part of players’ bags, the section between your 3-wood and your longest iron. There is a lot needed in that section; the club has to go up, down, be good outta the rough, provide solid ball speed, be workable, work off the ground, off the tee, and hopefully land softly.
One of the issues with hybrids is traditionally they want to hook, lofted fairway woods kind of only want to go up in the air, utility irons tend to want to stay down, AND on top of all that, finding consistency of launch/spin, etc. up and down the face is a challenge. Most clubs have that high spin spot and that high on the face low spin heater. On TOUR, that creates a level of uncertainty, but up until now, they have just had to compromise IE make it work.
The secret sauce of the Apex UW is the consistency up and down the face. Not only is that consistency leading to better downrange dispersion IE the ball is holding its integrity longer, but Apex UW is also keeping players in a tight launch condition regardless of the strike. What that looks like is top to bottom. You aren’t getting those spikes or dips in spin that we have all grown accustomed to.
That translates to a jack-of-all-trades golf club that doesn’t need to be swapped out based on course conditions.
The feedback from some of the early tour testers was how responsive it was.
“My long irons went too low; lofted fairway woods were too hot. The Apex UW gave me the option of flight and consistent launch numbers across the face. It’s predictable, and that’s EXACTLY what I want.”
How did they do that?
Each head comes equipped with roughly 18 grams (17.6 on Avg) of MIM’d tungsten which allowed R&D to position the CG in a VERY neutral area. I say VERY neutral because it lives away from typical CG placement in this type of club. R&D might call it fade-biased, but I’d call it dead nuts in the middle. If I had to run a comp, I’d say it lives in the same neighborhood as the 💎💎💎 product.
In combination with the unique shape, that gives UW a stock mid/high launch with mid/low spin profile, all while making it possible for players to hit them up/down/left/right. And for those Anti-lefters, the weighting makes this club more fade-biased than anything.
The face comes (like all Callaway metal woods) equipped with AI designed flash face and jail break technology so it goes without saying, Apex UW is very fast and stable.
My Initial Testing:
I was able to get my hands on the Apex UW back in early July at Indian Ridge CC in Palm Desert. The club in my bag that it would have to unseat would be my beloved 5-wood and if you have been following along at all you know the strong affections I have for that club.
So we gotta go one on one, no?
3 Shots (10 shots each category, taking the 5 best)
Stock: 5-yard Draw
Fade: 10-yard Centerline cutter
Low: 10 Yard Draw
Conditions: 101 Degrees
Wind: 5MPH Cross R/L
Launch Data: TrackMan
Ball: Chrome Soft X
*All shots hit off the floor
*from a spec standpoint they are are almost apples to apples and CG placement pretty damn close, its gonna be the weighting and shape that separate them performance wise.
Specs: Callaway Epic Speed 💎💎💎T (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 8X (41.5, Tipped 1.5, D4)
Apex UW 19:
Specs: Apex UW (email@example.com)
Shaft: Fujikura Ventus Red 8TX (41.5, Tipped 1, D4)
Stock Shot: 5-yard draw w/ 💎💎💎T 5-wood: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 153.2
Carry Distance: 243.8
Peak Height: 99 feet
Stock Shot: 5-yard draw w/ Apex UW 19: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 152.8
Carry Distance: 241.1
Peak Height: 102 feet
Apples to Apples on Stock Draw. Some slight tweaks here and there, but none to make me scratch my head.
Fade: 10-yard cutter w/ 💎💎💎T 5-wood: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 150.4
Carry Distance: 236.4
Peak Height: 112 feet
Fade: 10-yard cutter w/ Apex UW 19: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 151.9
Carry Distance: 242.4
Peak Height: 121 feet
On the cutters the Apex UW was far superior to the 💎💎💎T, not only was ball speed and carry up but the spin went down. On a side note of the 10 balls I hit, there was 9 that all lived very close to these averages. The point is, it was mindless.
Low: Draw w/ 💎💎💎T 5-wood: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 149.2
Carry Distance: 234.9
Peak Height: 84 feet
Low: Draw Apex UW 19: AVG 5-Shots
Ball Speed: 150.6
Carry Distance: 240.7
Peak Height: 89 feet
Once again, Apex UW gave me more out of the low shot than my gamer 5-wood. What I’m really looking for is the trade-off between spin and height. The Apex UW was spinning a bit less but launching higher and carrying further downrange.
So what do we got here folks?
The Apex UW is unique by every measure I can think of. The shape, the flight, and the user experience. This club’s performance lives in the nuance and is head and shoulders better (for me anyway) than any club in that 225-245yd category. Utility Wood? That’s EXACTLY what this is. My hunch, on Tour, is that it will replace a bunch of the stubborn 5-woods and hybrids that seem to stay in players’ bags forever. The reason these older clubs stay in is for the reasons that make Apex UW so damn good. It’s special y’all. For better players, it’s a MUST try, not a should try.
I don’t say that lightly.