Callaway’s makes some of the best forged irons on the market. A great compromise between a set of players irons and blades is the Callaway Apex Pro 21 iron set. Callaway recommends this set for +5 to 5 handicaps, but those with higher handicaps can definitely benefit from gaming a set of irons like this, too.
Irons like the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons shine when it comes to distance control, workability, feel, and appearance. If you can hit the center of the club face, you’ll be rewarded. However, other irons are far more forgiving on off-center strikes, which will likely keep the Pro irons out of the hands of the majority of golfers.
Anyway, here’s our honest, unbiased review of the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons.
Performance & Appearance
Appearance: It just doesn’t get any better than this. If you like the look of a compact club head, minimal offset, and a thin topline, then you’ll fall in love with the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons. It looks like a blade at address, but thankfully there is just a tad bit of weight low on the club head to help the overall launch and forgiveness of the club.
The club heads are just stunning, with a minimalistic design that’s common in blade-style irons. To make it short, these clubs would look great in any bag as long as you are ok with giving up forgiveness in exchange for feel & workability.
Performance: I couldn’t get enough of these clubs on the range. Each shot felt better than the last, and the muted sound was simply addicting. I hit these clubs right after I reviewed the Callaway Apex 21 irons (non-Pro version), and I noticed a small decrease in distance with the Pro irons compared to the more forgiving model. That was completely expected, as the Pro irons have much weaker lofts and simply aren’t focused on hitting the ball high and far.
It’s extremely easy to work the ball left and right with the Pro irons. In fact, a little too easy. If you want straight, high shots and to simplify the game, this isn’t the iron set for you. This IS the iron set for you if you want to be able to flight down shots on command, as well as fade/draw approach shots into the green.
Please keep in mind that my personal results with these clubs mean absolutely nothing to you. Please do yourself a favor and get professionally fitted for clubs. You can thank me later. You may think that you’ll like the Pro irons better, but you may find that you like the look and forgiveness of the larger Apex 21 irons better, or even the DCB 21 irons.
Pros & Cons
- A 100% forged head results in a muted feel & sound at impact that will make you want to keep coming back for more
- Compact look at address, but still a little bit of perimeter weighting low on the head.
- For a blade-style iron, still relatively forgiving on mishits. For example, more forgiving than the Callaway Apex MB irons. Lacks forgiveness compared to the average players iron, though.
- Great feedback on off-center hits and great workability
- Even if you are not a low handicap golfers, gaming a set like this is great for your game in the long term. It forces you to hit the center of the club face, or else you’ll be punished by bad feel and a bad result.
- Shorter on average than most recent iron sets. Only due to weaker lofts though (an Apex Pro 7 iron is like an Apex 8 iron), so keep that in mind. The number on the bottom of the club head should be irrelevant.
- Sort of a middle area that not many golfers may find themselves in. If you want a blade, get the Callaway Apex MB. If you want a long players iron, get the Callaway Apex 21. If you want a blade/players iron mix that is much shorter, then get the Apex Pro? I don’t see these being super popular for this reason.
- $1,300 is a little steep. There are too many similar options out there (older models) to save tons of money.
Who The Callaway Apex Pro 21 Irons Are Best For
The target audience for the Callaway Apex pro 21 irons is pretty unique actually. It’s best for golfers that want a blade style iron, but aren’t quite ready to fully commit to the Callaway Apex MB (muscleback) irons. The Apex MB irons are traditional blades with no perimeter weighting and the least forgiveness.
If you like the look of a compact club head, but still want a little bit of forgiveness, then the Apex Pro are a great option. If you would rather have an even more compact head, then go with the Apex MB irons. If you want more distance and forgiveness, then go with the Callaway Apex 21 irons.
Hopefully that makes your decision a little easier. But, again, it’s always best to get fitted by a professional club fitter to see which one works best for you.
Compared to Other Callaway Apex Irons
Compared to the other Callaway Apex iron sets (Apex 21, Apex DCB 21, Apex MB), the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons:
- are more forgiving than the Apex MB muscleback/blade irons
- have a slightly larger topline than the Apex MB muscleback/blade irons
- are less forgiving, more workable, & more compact than the Apex and Apex DCB irons
- have less offset and thinner toplines than the Apex and Apex DCB irons
- are shorter (distance-wise) than the Apex and Apex DCB irons
Better Value Option
Don’t think that you have to spend $1,300 to get a compact players iron with a little bit of forgiveness. The Callaway X-Forged are some of my favorite iron series of all time. You can save some serious money by going with the old X-Forged clubs. And, believe it or not, you won’t be sacrificing performance at all.
The Callaway X-Forged irons are very compact, but still offer more forgiveness than a traditional blade. That sounds pretty similar. Oh yeah, it sounds just like the Callaway Apex Pro 21 irons!
The X-Forged came out in three different years before the 2021 release: 2009, 2013, and 2018. As you can imagine, the 2009 irons are the lowest priced, while the 2018 are comparatively the highest priced. I absolutely love the 2009 version, but they can be difficult to find in great condition (which I highly recommend). So, I’d suggest starting with the 2013 model first.
You can get a great set of slightly used Callaway X-Forged Irons (2o13) for around $300 pretty handily. That’s compared to a new set of the Apex Pro irons for $1,300. I’ll take the $300 any day of the week, wouldn’t you?
That completes my Callaway Apex Pro 21 iron set review. If you have any thoughts/comments, please leave them below!