Golfers of a certain age no doubt remember – or even owned – Hogan Apex irons, which debuted back in the early 1970s. Over three decades or so, the Ben Hogan Co. rolled out more than a dozen iteration of Apex irons, whose classic forged blades were, at their finest, among the best better-player irons on the market.
Callaway Golf bought Hogan about a decade ago, sold the apparel side of the business to Perry Ellis last year, and now is resurrecting the Apex name for its latest set of irons, which will debut at retail in December. Both the original Hogan Apex models and the Callaway versions are forged from carbon steel, but that's about where the similarities end.
Callaway calls the Apex irons a ''longer, more attractive cousin to the Diablo Forged iron,'' which Callaway says originated the category of high-performance forged cavityback irons. They won't replace any current irons in the Callaway line-up, and are designed to appeal to a broad range of golfers seeking the best of forged players' irons and cast game-improvement sticks.
The new Apex clubs are the first forged irons that provide the soft, responsive feel for which forged clubs are known, as well as extra distance, Callaway says. A big reason for this, they explain, is that the new clubs contain a thin, 455 Carpenter high-strength steel face insert that is the same material Callaway uses in the forged cup faces of its X Hot fairway woods to help the ball jump off the face.
The lightweight face insert also means that Callaway could reposition weight low in the head. Using a tungsten insert in the sole to lower the center of gravity helps increase launch angles in the low irons (3-5 irons) and improve forgiveness. This composition, Callaway says, creates a clubhead with the performance properties normally found in game-improvement irons, and helps golfers launch the ball at appropriate angles and spin rates throughout the set.
The heads are slightly larger than the X Forged irons, and the faces feature wide-spaced (30-degree) grooves. These are the first Callaway irons to use these grooves, Callaway says, adding that they provide increased spin out of the rough for average golfers. In addition, the heads boast a satin chrome finish that's consistent with the look of Callaway's muscleback irons.
The Apex irons will come with two shaft options. The True Temper XP95 steel shaft will help deliver high launch angles with a controlled ball flight, while the UST Recoil is a lightweight graphite shaft with higher flex points for better feel and workability. The company hasn't yet released a suggested retail price.