Jimmy Emanuel gets his hands on some of the most an­tic­i­pated irons of 2018.

Golf Australia - - CONTENTS -

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.

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