New Apex Irons hit stores in December
Avid golfers born sometime in the mid-20th century remember the first time they saw a Hogan Apex iron. Mine came in early 1983 and it represented epitome of demanding elegance. On looks alone, Apex irons became a favorite among PGA Tour pros who didn’t get paid to play clubs, as well as top-notch amateurs.
Apex irons were among the first, if not the first, to come with a proprietary shaft, numbered 1 through 5—with 5 as stiff as an ax handle.
The Apex iron represented high-level craftsmanship that brought with it a high demand for precision. The failure to meet that requirement meant chunks, flutter balls and vicious skulls.
Hits from the center of the clubface, however, left a glow of nirvana mixed with hot chocolate. Few things in this world induced the desire to make a swing that resonated so long and warm in the hands.
It’s one thing to hit an over-sized, wide-soled iron whose design was meant to induce high shots that wouldn’t slice. It’s quite another to find the middle of the Apex face for that tight fade to a tucked back-right pin. And when you did, it stayed with you.
You got to feel how to do it.
Over the last 20 years the Hogan brand, alas, had pretty much gone the way of other mid-sized golf companies: dark or a name-only existence. Think MacGregor, Golden Bear, Orlimar, Founder’s Club, Lynx, Tommy Armour and Spalding (which in golf became Top Flite).
As original equipment manufacturers, these companies innovated many of the modern features of today’s clubs. Hogan became part of Callaway in a corporate takeover more than 15 years ago, and though other parts of that deal got sold off, the Apex iron remained with Callaway.
Now we have the re-introduction of the Apex iron. It should be noted that the predecessor was all soft carbon steel. Callaway’s Apex has a carbon-steel body with a face of 455 Carpenter steel—a modern touch that gives shots off the new Apex more zest.
One design feature that might have the club’s namesake spinning in his grave are the tungsten inserts in the sole. These lower the center of gravity and thus induce a higher ball flight. Coupled with the hot Carpenter steel face, it adds up to a club with classic styling but lots more distance than a traditional forged iron.
(You can almost hear Mr. Hogan say, “Just add more damn loft at address and take a fuller swing.”)
Though the modern Apex doesn’t appear to be as exacting as it once was, it will connect players of all ages to a once-iconic brand when it hits stores in December.