Back in 2013 I visited Totally Driven in Eden Prairie to get custom fitted for new golf clubs. You can read about that in my blog from then. At the time, I was fitted for Taylormade Rocketbladez tour irons, Titleist 913D woods (driver and 4 wood), a Taylormade Ghost tour DA12 putter, and Edel wedges.
That was my first foray into custom fit clubs and I loved the experience. However, the cash outlay on replacing nearly everything in my bag was sizable and I vowed to stick with my new wonder sticks for quite a while.
And all in all I have been very happy with my clubs (despite an ongoing "dispute" I have had with my woods for the last 2 seasons).
And then time passes...
Early in 2019 I was at the Braemar golf dome hitting balls in their range, trying to find some of the golf swing muscle memory in preparation for a trip to Scottsdale. The dome happened to have Callaway representatives there. It was a weekday afternoon and no one was talking to the reps. So after I hit my balls I went over there to check out the new clubs they had available. I really had no intentions of buying anything, I just wanted to see what the new clubs looked like before they came out to the public.
The reps asked if I wanted to hit any of the new clubs. I said "sure, why not?" I have not tried to hit any new clubs since I got my custom clubs so had now idea what to expect. After seeing what they had, and discussing my game, they gave me a 7 iron in the Callaway Apex Pro 19 iron. This is a forged club, and an update to the Apex irons that originally were released in 2016. The original Apex Pros have been very popular for Callaway and the fact that they have not updated the clubs for 3 years in the world of manic manufacturing release cycles says something.
I went and hit the iron back at my station to see how it felt. The first thing I noticed, compared to my 7 iron, was it was noticeably lighter. The top line was also thinner, making them look a little more blade-y that my Rocketbladez. The feel when playing them was very nice. I remember at Totally Driven, I had tried the forged Mizuno MP-59 and absolutely loved how they felt, though their spin characteristics were not optimal to my game. And while the forged Apex was not quite as buttery as what I recalled the Mizunos to be, they did feel really good. Certainly better than my Taylormades.
The trajectory of the Apexes seemed to match pretty close to the Taylormade. They maybe got up a bit higher in general. The ball also seemed to zip off the club too. But maybe I was just imagining things?
After a while one of the reps came over to ask how I liked the club. I told him that they felt really nice and seemed much lighter than my current irons. He asked if I wanted to try to hit some more with the launch monitor to see what the numbers actually were. They had brought a Trackman to provide analysis for the day, and so we went over and got set up.
He started off by having me hit my current irons again. I hit a couple dozen until I felt like I had hit a pretty good representation of quality shots.
Then he had me switch to the Apex Pros. I hit maybe a dozen shots with them, all of them again decent, though nothing I would consider to be absolutely pure.
At that time, he and a couple of the other reps were back at the monitor kind of chuckling at my numbers. I stopped and said "what's the deal?" He let me know that my average carry had gone from 154 yard to 178 yards. 24 yards!
I though no possible way this is true! They must be fudging the numbers or something So I started to mix up the clubs and look at the numbers they were producing. Sure enough, the Apexes were significantly longer. I think most of the increase came down to the club speed I was delivering. With the clubs being lighter I was able to get faster clubhead speed. But beyond that, the ball speed also increased disproportionately. So the smash factor I was getting was higher than what the club speed alone would account for.
I won't bore you with a repeat of more of this, but every club I tried was longer. The peak height trajectories were pretty close (a little higher) and the spin numbers, though a little lower (~10%), were within ranges that could be accounted for by strike variances. Taking into account the amazing distance increase and comparable spin and peak height numbers, I was pretty gobsmacked by the performance.
With originally having just stopped over to look at the new clubs, it was now a couple of hours later. After trying different shafts and checking lie angles and lengths and all of that, I was pretty tired. I was also pretty enamored.
In fact, so taken was I by these numbers that I placed an order for the clubs. With a demo day discount, and a 50% trade-in bonus on my clubs I am now officially a convert to team Callaway. On the day that the clubs went on sale to the public, three shiny new boxes arrived for me.
One last thing I have to mention is how the Callaway staff was really accommodating with me. I spent at least 3 hours on the Trackman and trying out different shafts and lie angles. I am sure had they been busy I wouldn't have gotten this service. And while the process at Totally Driven was wonderful and allowed me to try all manufacturers, the numbers I saw during this session were just too incredible to ignore.
My "what's in the bag" for 2019 is now dramatically different:
- Driver: Callaway Epic Flash 10.5 degree
- Hybrid 1: Callaway Apex 19 20 degree
- Hybrid 2: Adams a2 OS 23 degree
- 4i-7i Callaway Apex 19 irons
- 8i-GW Callaway Apex Pro 19 irons
- Wedge 1: Edel "Driver" 54 degree
- Wedge 2: 58 degree Edel "Driver" 58 degree
- Putter: Taylormade Ghost tour DA12
One thing I did have to do was ditch the head cover for the driver. Man that thing is garish. Luckily Stitch was having a sale and I snagged a super sick shamrock cover for a great price. I think it matched my Lahinch putter cover really nicely.
Getting used to these clubs is going to take a while. I am not sure if my current hybrid line up will stay. I am now hitting my 6 iron nearly the same distance as my 4 hybrid. I also have currently ditched a fairway wood. With the numbers I was getting with the new Apex hybrid I just couldn't see the justification for having one now. I am going to have to take some time to gap out the top end of the set and figure things out.
Now if we can just get through the 14 inches of snow on tap for tomorrow. Hopefully the world will be turning green soon. It should be an exciting golf season!