Gear: Callaway Apex UW (2023)
Price: $299.99 each with Mitsubishi MMT graphite shaft and Golf Pride Z Grip
Specs: Stainless steel face and hosel. 17-, 19- and 21-degree options
Available: August 18 (pre-sale), Sept. 8 (in-stores)
Who It’s For: Accomplished golfers who want the launch and distance of a high-lofted fairway wood in a club that is the size of a compact hybrid.
The Skinny: The Apex UT combines fairway wood technologies for extra distance in a compact shape that is pleasing to the eyes of low-handicap players. With a neutral weight bias, better players should be able to shape shots and gain versatility from it.
The Deep Dive: Over the last three years, there has been a surge in the popularity of high-lofted fairway woods on the PGA Tour and among accomplished golfers. Their low-and-back center of gravity, along with their wide sole and loft, can make them an interesting option for golfers who would rather not carry a hybrid.
Callaway, however, has a unique alternative for players who want fairway wood levels of distance combined with hybrid-style versatility: the Apex UW (utility wood).
Hybrids were designed as long-iron replacements; consider the Apex UW a hybrid replacement. Available in lofts of 17, 19 and 21 degrees, this is the second generation of the UW, and they have the same loft as most 2-irons and 3-irons or their corresponding hybrids. However, the Apex UWs come standard with shafts that are longer than a hybrid’s, for more speed, but shorter than a fairway wood shaft to help players make solid contact more easily.
The Apex UW looks like a scaled-down fairway wood in the address position. It has a high-strength C300 maraging steel face cup designed to flex more efficiently at impact than a flat face, which helps broaden the sweet spot and generate more ball speed. Inside the head, Callaway added its Batwing structure to the heel and toe areas. They connect the sole to the crown and help to stiffen the chassis when the club hits the ball, so more energy is transferred into the shot instead of being lost in the deformation of the head.
The Apex UW will be used by many players off the tee on long par 3s, but most of its shots for better players will be off the ground into long par 4s and par 5s, so turf interaction was a significant concern for Callaway. To help the Apex UW slide through grass and sand more easily, designers gave it a sole with a seam running from the leading edge to the back of the club and a pair of scalloped areas. Callaway calls it a Cutwave Pro Sole, and it should improve turf interaction.
Finally, Callaway designed the Apex UW with a center of gravity that produces a neutral weight bias, so the club is not pre-set to create either a draw or a fade. While many hybrids for mid- and higher-handicap golfers are designed to help reduce the effects of a slice, good players often want to work the ball in different directions and have the skills required to do so. The Apex UW’s weighting lets that happen more easily while allowing good players to hit high-flying approach shots that land softly and stop fast on the green.
There is a screw in the sole that is not adjustable by players, but custom fitters can change it to adjust the club’s swing weight based on its length or a player’s preferences.