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In this review, I’ll take a good look at the Callaway Apex 19 irons.
Not to be confused with the Tour-calibre Apex Pro 19, the Apex 19 is described as “the ultimate forged players distance iron”. It’s designed for solid and reliable distance, playability, control, optimum ball flight, and very soft feel.
These are the claims. But does the Apex 19 iron deliver at the end of the day? Is it the ideal option for mid-handicaps? What are its weaknesses?
Read on to find out what you need to know before putting these in your bag.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, stock shafts and stock grips are used when evaluating this club. In most cases, the golf clubs reviewed on Golfstead are acquired temporarily for testing purposes and are not purchased. The review that follows is based on the personal experience and research of the author. Because everyone’s swing and body are different, results with a particular club may differ from person to person.
Pros & Cons: See review box at bottom of review
Classification: Players iron (with game-improvement characteristics)
Best suited for: Single digit handicappers all the way up to mid-handicappers. It’s also great for high handicappers who want to improve quicker by playing more of a players iron.
Best Places To Buy Online
Because the Apex 19 irons are more than a couple seasons old, you can no longer order a custom set on the official Callaway website.
CGPO has a fairly large selection of used sets with a 12-month warranty, 90-day buy-back policy, and condition guarantee.
You can optionally look at what’s available on Global Golf or another golf store.
What are the reviews like?
The Apex 19 irons have been received extremely well by critics and consumers alike. In fact, they’re the only irons awarded 20/20 stars in the 2019 Golf Digest Hot List.
What People Like
- looks great at address, with sizes, offsets, and top lines not too extreme.
- plenty of distance for a player’s iron, while still being workable.
- feel is amazing.
- great forgiveness.
What People Don’t Like
- unaffordable for many players.
What are the features?
Callaway made these irons for low to mid handicappers who don’t want a pure game-improvement iron nor a blade meant for Tour pros.
The main selling points are:
Consistent & Long Distance With Playability
Callaway’s 360 Face Cup makes a return here.
Around the perimeter of the face is a flexible, shallow rim which flexes and releases at impact, producing high ball speeds across the entire face. This means that distance loss on off-center hits is minimal.
The short irons have a new Variable Face Thickness (VFT) face that is designed to maximize spin control and accuracy around the greens.
Very Soft Feel
The forged 1025 mild carbon steel body contributes to fantastic sound and feel.
This is the first time that Callaway has incorporated their proprietary urethane microspheres into a forged iron. These microspheres consist of over one million tiny air pockets that absorb mis-hit vibrations without any slowing of the face.
Optimum Control & Ball Flight
The Apex 19 irons have a multi-material, tungsten-infused construction (through metal injection moulding) that allows for the best placement of the center of gravity (CG) in each iron, while maintaining Face Cup flexibility.
This results in more distance and forgiveness in the long irons and more spin and control with the short irons.
Premium Craftsmanship & Components
The Apex 19 iron has a high-quality chrome finish and a players shape, with a new stock shaft and grips.
There are many different set configurations that you can get, from the 3-iron to the sand wedge and everything in between. A common choice is the 5-PW set.
The stock steel shaft is the True Temper Elevate 95, and the stock graphite shaft is the Project X Catalyst 60.
The stock grip is the Golf Pride Tour Velvet 360, but there are many different grips you can choose from.
If you’re interested, full information on shafts, grips and their specs can be found on the Callaway website.
Below are the specs of the mens Apex 19 irons. Click or zoom to enlarge.
Also available are the Apex 19 Smoke irons. These are basically the same as the regular Apex 19 irons except for the appearance: they have a new smoke PVD finish, Apex Smoke Medallion, and a smoke version of the Elevate shaft.
How do these irons perform?
It can be quite difficult for manufacturers to up the ante with each new release of a golf club. Callaway has managed to do that yet again.
Let’s get into the performance:
The Apex 19 irons aren’t meant to be pure distance irons. In practice, this pans out, since there are longer irons out there. But that shouldn’t be what you want in an iron anyway.
I find the distance to be comparable to the previous Apex CF16 irons, but I do find the distance consistency to be just a touch better. By this I mean that there’s less variance in distance across the face, which I’m sure is due to the latest technologies.
Overall, distance control in these irons is some of the best that I’ve seen thus far. And raw distance is still up there among the longest, which is a really nice bonus.
MOI is a big part of what makes an iron forgiving, and you’ll be hard pressed to find a better MOI rating on an iron. As a consequence, mishits do a great job of staying on line and going a good distance.
In terms of numbers, during my tests, most of my mishits lost no more than 10-15 yards of carry as compared to a solid strike in the center of the face. This is excellent, especially for something classified as a players iron.
Playability & Workability
As a players iron, you’re going to expect the Apex 19 to be workable to some degree. It is, of course.
You should be able to hit draws and fades, punches, high bombs, and other shots that you have in your arsenal with little to no problem. I personally had no trouble shaping my shots.
In terms of performance, I can’t think of anything that the Apex 19 does worse than its predecessor.
What about look, sound & feel?
First off, I think the Apex 19 iron looks terrific (especially the badge), as do most of Callaway’s offerings. Callaway really does make some of the best-looking clubs in the industry.
Having said that, the Apex 19 does look like a hybrid between a players iron and game-improvement iron, as you would expect. There’s a decent amount of offset, and the top line has a similar thickness to the CF16.
It’s certainly not the slimmest profile I’ve seen — that’s reserved for the Tour variant Apex Pro 19.
In any case, I like how these irons look in the bag better than at address.
The Sound & Feel
This is an area where the Apex 19 iron really shines.
As you recall from the features section above, the Apex 19 irons contain urethane microspheres designed to make mis-hits feel more solid. And I have certainly found this to be the case.
In contrast with many other irons that feel hollow and clickier at impact, the Apex 19 iron feels very solid at impact.
While mishits don’t have the crisp feel that sweet spot strikes have, strikes feel solid and heavy almost anywhere you hit it on the face.
You really get the sense that you’re swinging a well-made, premium iron (and you should, given the price tag!).
Summary & Conclusion
Callaway has been creating Apex irons for many years, and all things considered, they deliver top performance. This model is the best of them all, no doubt.
The Apex 19 irons does indeed deliver. It delivers top distance and distance control, it’s workable, forgiving, looks great, and has some of the best sound and feel I’ve tested in an iron.
With that said, the steep price can be an obstacle for many people.
These irons are best suited for low and mid-handicappers, but golfers of any skill level can succeed with them.
Thanks for reading this review. Have you played the Apex 19 irons yet? What do you think about them? Feel free to leave a comment below with your thoughts and experiences.
Callaway Apex 19 Iron
Sound & Feel10.0/10
Value For Money8.5/10
- Looks awesome
- Delivers the perfect blend of GI and players performance
- Premium, solid feel
- Excellent distance control
- Excellent forgiveness
- Pricey, especially when ordering a custom set