Callaway Apex MB – Key Takeaways
- Callaway blades are on a three-year product cycle.
- Non-adjustable weight port allows for swing weight versatility without affecting the center of gravity.
- Custom orders only – no stock shaft or grip offerings.
You don’t usually associate Callaway with three-year product cycles, do you? Well, today’s updated Callaway Apex MB is an on-schedule third-year refresh of the previous Apex MB, introduced in October of 2017.
And that, friends, was an on-schedule third-year refresh of the original Callaway Apex MB, which debuted in August of 2014.
Does that make you happy? It should make you happy. But then again, the muscle back blade technology parade marches to its own very slow tune. Yeah, blades are blades, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to check out. Specifically, the updates to the new Callaway Apex MB are primarily aimed at simplifying Tour-level fitting.
So, even if you can’t stomach the Apex name on anything other than a Hogan, let’s take a peek under the hood.
Callaway Apex MB – Do No Harm
To paraphrase the old proverb: blades maketh the OEM. That applies less to Callaway (and the rest of the Big Five, for that matter), but a nice set of sex-on-a-stick blades is an iron maker’s bona fides.
The 2018 Apex MB’s were a sweet, clean set of blades. In that case, what do you do to make them better?
Well, first you invoke the blade designer’s oath: Do No Harm.
The official Knee-Jerk Reaction says Callaway may have violated that oath. That, of course, depends on how you feel about weight port in the heart of the muscle. It’s a subtler take on the 2012-ish TaylorMade Tour Preferred MB weight and serves the same purpose.
“We do a lot of custom builds for these types of irons, and players have very exacting specifications,” says Callaway’s messiah of irons, Dr. Alan Hocknell. “We want to be able to handle that in the most elegant way possible.”
Specifically, the weight port is there to help fitters dial in swing weights without messing with the center of gravity. The standard weight is eight grams, but fitters can switch to either a four-gram or 12-gram weight, depending on the golfer. The weights are not user-swappable.
“Previously, we would have light, medium, and heavy weight heads, which come with their own variations and subtleties,” says Hocknell. “Here we can use the same chassis and then modify the weight of the head in a position that’s neutral to the center of gravity. We can adjust the head weight up and down to satisfy different build weights without having to pack the heel with a tip-weighting strategy.”
Could you or I tell the difference? Doubtful, but this most definitely isn’t the stick for the common man.
Callaway Apex MB – Tour Centric
While Callaway certainly hopes to sell a few sets to those of us among the great unwashed, the Apex MB is designed with Tour pros in mind. And for a blade to make Tour players happy, it has to be gorgeous. Not just pretty. Gorgeous.
“The iron needs to have classic lines,” says Hocknell. “But there are more subtle shapings players have prioritized over time.”
Specifically, there are some subtle differences in blade length progression throughout the set, and the thin topline has a slightly different look. You can’t shave with it, but it’s close.
The new Callaway Apex MB irons have been in play on tour since the spring, and Hocknell says it’s important to get meaningful Tour feedback as opposed to quick first impressions.
“Players have to play with them for several months before we can really understand what we’re dealing with,” he says. “Then we go through the prototype test phase.”
That process won’t lead to major overhauls or changes when it comes to a blade, but Hocknell says the process is necessary to create a noticeable if subtle, improvement.
“These aren’t the type of things we can predict easily on the computer or any of the sort of AI (artificial intelligence) things that can be applied to the shape or to turf interaction.”
Adding the weight port is clearly purposeful and from a fitting standpoint, entirely logical. And gorgeous is obviously in the eye of the beholder. While the new Callaway Apex MB is still a sweet-looking blade, the 2018 edition gets the sex-appeal nod.
The Callaway Apex MB is a single piece 1025 forging, with the weight screw added. If you’re looking for stock sets, don’t bother. It’s custom only, so there’s no such thing as a stock shaft or grip. The standard Callaway package of no upcharge shafts will be available for the Apex.
Spec-wise, the new Apex MB’s are virtually identical to its predecessors. The offsets are the same, as are the lofts throughout the set save for the Pitching Wedge and Gap Wedge. Both are one degree stronger, but we’re still talking about a 46-degree pitching wedge. And since it might matter to the one or two golfers reading this who can actually hit the damn thing, Callaway has dropped the two-iron from the lineup.
If you’re thinking of a combo set with the new X-Forged CB’s, there’s obviously less offset in the MB’s. If you transition at the eight-iron, the difference in eight-iron offset between the CB and MB is roughly two one-hundredths of an inch. Not much, but that might be hinky enough to bother a scratch with O.C.D.
Callaway Apex MB – Price & Availability
As with the rest of the new lineup, the Callaway Apex MB will be available for pre-sale and for fitting starting October 22nd. They’ll be available at retail starting October 29th.
The Apex MB’s will sell for $185 per club in steel and $200 per club in graphite. That’s $1,285 for a seven-piece steel set, and $1,400 for a second piece graphite set.
For more information, visit Callaway.com