The discussion of proper gapping when it comes to wedges in a fitting is a popular one, especially with the emergence of stronger lofts in iron sets. Pitching wedges at 44° of loft has become the norm, so you’re seeing gap wedges approach 48° and 50° territory. The same needs to be addressed on the other end of your irons as well. A 40 yard gap between your last fairway wood and your first iron can be just as detrimental to your game. Hybrids have filled the void nicely for all types of players and high lofted fairway woods like 7 and 9 woods have regained momentum, even in the bags of the game’s best players on the major tours. Manufacturers have even redesigned the driving iron that usually contains a slightly wider sole for players to hit off the tee as a fairway finder or on a long par 3.
With the input of a couple guys named Phil Mickelson and Xander Schauffele, Callaway introduced the Apex Utility Wood in October. How does this niche club differ from the brand’s Super Hybrid? The Super Hybrid is a hot faced hybrid featuring AI designed Flash Face and Jailbreak technology. The UW is more of a higher lofted fairway wood replacement with a more compact head, slightly shorter shaft, and a low center of gravity. It will actually launch higher and land steeper.
The Apex UW isn’t for everyone and Callaway is fine with that. As long as it performs how it should for the players who play it. The Apex name is usually branded with the better player in mind. And the UW is no exception. The goal was pretty much to make a baby with a 5-wood and a hybrid. Viola’, the Utility Wood is born.
Why not just play a 5-wood or a 7-wood…or a hybrid? Why make it more confusing? The trend with most brands, Callaway included, is the higher the loft of a fairway wood the more draw bias the club becomes. The UW is neutral and won’t promote a hook/draw. This immediately raises the confidence of a better player at address. Engineers added 18 grams of MIM’d tungsten to help create this neutral center of gravity.
I mentioned Flash Face and Jailbreak technology in the Super Hybrid earlier, and the UW also has both. But it is not going to be low spinning like its super buddy. Distance is present, but it wasn’t the major factor here. The UW is meant to land softly, the perfect choice for a long par 3 or the second shot on a par 5. The Super Hybrid is for the average Joe to hit it as far as possible from the tee or any lie because he struggled to hit his 3 wood any higher that waist-high.
The Apex UW is available in 3 lofts, 17°, 19°, and 21°, so you can really dial in your gap and desired yardage. The stock shaft offering is the Project X Smoke RDX. This in combination with the CG will promote a high, but strong, penetrating trajectory. It is available to demo or order now at GolfHq.com!
Pro’s take: It took me years to find a hybrid that I didn’t hook off the planet, but the issue with hybrids that tend to sit a little open often lack forgiveness. And when I’m looking for something to replace a 3 iron, it better be forgiving. Aesthetically I loved the way the UW looked and it had a better feel and sound at impact than I expected. I hit the 19° and the ease at which it launched was very surprising and inspiring. I can see it being easy to hit out of the rough with how compact the head shape is. I was very pleased with the few swings I took and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. I think the UW will find its way into my bag for 2022.
Enjoy the game and each other,
Seth Zipay – Head Golf Professional