Callaway Apex 21, Apex 21 Pro and Apex DCB 21 Irons Review

By Amy Masand

apex-21-irons-group

Callaway is known as the “#1 Irons Brand in Golf.” The Apex 21 irons are their first forged iron set to feature an Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) Flash Face. The Apex name goes back to 1970, when Callaway first introduced Apex Irons. The line was discontinued and reintroduced in 2013. It’s been popular ever since.

The two main benefits of using A.I. to design irons are increased speed and spin consistency. These irons are forged from a 1025 mild carbon steel body.

Tungsten Energy Core and A.I. Designed Flash Face

In 2019, Callaway introduced the Apex 19 irons, which became known for their extremely soft feel. The Apex 21 line (which includes the Apex 21, Apex Pro 21 and Apex DCB Irons) continues to improve on the Apex 19 irons without any dramatic changes, except for using A.I. to produce the Flash Face.

The Apex 21 clubs contain 5 times more Tungsten then the Apex 19 irons did. These are sleek looking irons that have the good looks you’d expect from Callaway. They have an extremely soft feel, thanks to the urethane microspheres that enhance sound and impact.

The amount of Tungsten in the core varies per club. In the Apex 21, you’ll find up to 90 grams per iron. In the Apex DCB, it drops to 50 grams per iron. Here’s a brief summary of which model you should choose.Here’s some of the other technology at work:

  • A.I. designed Flash Face: creates high COR for faster ball speed
  • Better shaping for improved turf interaction
  • Tungsten energy core: precise position improves forgiveness and optimizes launch

What’s the difference between the three Apex 21 models?

None of these irons are meant for a high handicap golfer. You’ll want to be sitting at +12 at minimum to consider using an Apex iron. The Apex and Apex DCB models are more forgiving. Changes are incremental between models, so you can create a blended set.

Apex irons have a slim topline and minimal offset. As you move through the line up to the Apex DCB clubs, the topline becomes thicker. Even with the DCB, these are still traditionally shaped blades. DCB stands for “deep cavity back.”

Here's a brief summary of the key benefit of the different Apex 21 irons:

  • Apex 21: Increased distance
  • Apex DCB 21: Forgiveness
  • Apex Pro 21 : Players' performance

Which Pros Use Apex 21 Irons?

Since these irons are still new (at the time of writing,) only a few Team Callaway pros have made the switch so far. Other pros use older versions of Apex irons, so it seems inevitable that they will make the switch, too. Here are the pros using Apex 21 irons:

  • Jon Rahm
  • Xander Schauffele

Players who are still using older versions of Apex irons include:

  • Kevin Kisner
  • Phil Mickleson
  • Matt Wallace
  • Adam Hadwin
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Grip and Shaft Options

Apex 21

Shaft:

  • True Temper Elevate ETS 95
  • UST Mamiya Recoil Dart 75 Graphite

Grip:

  • Golf Pride Z Grip Soft

Apex Pro 21

Shaft:

  • True Temper Elevate ETS 115
  • Mitsubishi MMT Graphite (85, 95, 105)

Grip:

  • Golf Pride Z Grip Soft

Apex DCB Irons

Shaft:

  • True Temper Elevate ETS 85 Steel
  • UST Mamiya Recoil Dart 65 Graphite

Grip:

  • Golf Pride Z Grip Soft
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Specifications

Apex 21

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 PW AW
19° 21° 23.5° 26.5° 30.5° 34.5° 38.5° 43° 48°

Apex 21 Pro

3 4 5 6 7 8 9 PW AW
20.5° 23° 26° 29° 33° 37° 41° 45° 50°

Apex DCB 21 Irons

4 5 6 7 8 9 PW AW
20° 23° 26° 30° 34° 38° 43° 48°

Should You Buy Callaway Apex 21 Irons?

The two biggest drawbacks of the new Apex 21 irons? They’re expensive and won’t work for beginners. Even the most forgiving option, Apex DCB, is still best suited to a mid handicapper. These irons have a traditional blade shape. Even though you’ll find these a bit more forgiving than an older blade iron, they still require good control of the club.

Next up read our GolfLink review of the Apex 21 fairways.

Apex 21 Irons start at $1,295 MSRP.

About the Author

Amy Masand is a Junior Editor at GolfLink.