PLAYING WITH … CALLAWAY APEX MB & FORGED IRONS
Jimmy Emanuel gets his hands on some of the most anticipated irons of 2018.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: Simply stunning is the only way I can describe the look of the Apex MB.
The classic, compact shape and thin topline frame the ball perfectly at address and the shiny chrome finish looks great in the bag. My first strike was with a 7-iron, producing a high soft draw that instantly grabbed my attention.
In contrast, the X Forged offers a slightly more forgiving look at address with a longer clubhead from heel to toe. While a little bigger than the Apex MB, the X Forged still has a traditional shape and little offset. The satin finish and simple cavity give the model a sleek appearance. HOW THEY PERFORMED: The MB’s performance matches its looks. With the traditional blade iron delivering classic muscleback ball flight, shot control and feel, which is buttery soft off the clubface and stands out when compared with other blade irons.
While feel is an important aspect when choosing irons, performance is the top factor for me and this is where the Apex MB excelled during my time with them.
The flight was a little higher than my current set of blade irons but also carried around fiveeight metres longer than my old favourites when compared on a launch monitor alongside each other.
Working the ball was also an impressive feature of the Apex MB, which was easy to achieve. Be it a high, low, left or right shot shape the MB responded almost every time. And big curving shots from trouble were extremely easy to produce.
There is always a downside to blade irons and forgiveness is it. The Apex MB is no different in this regard, with distance dropping fairly significantly with a substantial mishit, meaning your ball striking has to be good to get the best out of these irons. The Apex’s do offer an improvement on forgiveness on older blade models on slight mishits, but make no mistake, these aren’t for the average ball striker.
My preference, looks wise, leant towards the MB but the X Forged flat out performed. The ball flight is slightly higher and stronger through the air.
Forgiveness is a step up from the blade with poor strikes staying on line well and travelling closer to each iron’s full distance than the MB. Slight mishits are extremely good and these irons are a great option for a good player who wants a little more forgiveness combined with a classic look.
The X Forged feels almost as good as the muscleback iron, although perhaps not quite as soft. But the difference was almost imperceptible for me and I went back and forth on whether there was a noticeable change between the two depending on when I hit them.
With its small cavity, the X Forged isn’t as workable as the blade but can still be moved from left to right and vice versa. Low shots are also achievable, without quite the full extremes of control on offer from the Apex MB.
The Apex MB was the preferred option for me but I have always been partial to a blade. In fact, the muscleback iron just might be the next set of irons to make its way into my bag but I could easily game the X Forged as well thanks to its outstanding combination of feel, strong flight and workability.