In the days leading up to the 2014 Open Championship at Royal Liverpool, Callaway made a new, hollow-bodied long iron available to staff players. With it, players could hit shots off the tee that wouldn’t balloon in the wind.
That club, the Callaway Apex Utility Iron (UT), found its way into the bags of several players, including Branden Grace and Phil Mickelson.
The company announced Friday it will make the Apex UT available to consumers through custom order starting Sept. 12. The clubs also will be available at select Callaway dealers after that date.
What made the Apex UT appealing at Royal Liverpool might make it worth trying for single-digit-handicap players who want hybrid-like distance off the tee with iron-style workability and looks.
Available in 18-, 21- and 24-degree models, the Apex UT is forged from 455 Carpenter steel. The hitting area has a cup-face design intended to create more ball speed than a traditional cavity-back iron. Since the body is hollow, it’s easier for the hitting area to flex at impact.
Callaway lowered the center of gravity (CG) with a tungsten screw in the sole to increase forgiveness and help get the ball into the air. However, the irons produce a flight that is still lower and more piercing than a typical hybrid.
“Better players give us a lot of feedback about the types of shots they are trying to hit with these clubs,” said Alan Hocknell, Callaway’s senior vice president of research and development.
Because long-hitting Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts provided so much feedback about the prototype Apex UT irons, the internal name for the club was Project Brussels.
“We wanted to give it all the utility you could get out of an iron shape, obviously a smaller sole width than a wood-like hybrid, and some of the iron-like characteristics that guys want,” Hocknell said. “But we wanted this iron to be usable from a lot of conditions, particularly off the tee, so we’ve made the face slightly taller in this club than we have in the past.”
Hocknell said the blade length of the Apex UT is shorter than its predecessor’s, the X Proto Utility Iron, which should increase workability.
Finished in satin chrome, the Apex UT comes standard with either a KBS Tour-V steel shaft for $229 or a UST Mamiya Recoil 680 F4 graphite shaft for $249.