How many of you find a fairway wood hard to hit off the deck? Well, I’m one that has always struggled with anything lower than a five wood and that’s as a single figure handicapper. That is why in recent years I’ve opted for a hybrid off the fairway when playing a long-range approach shot. The only issue is, as my ball speed has dropped over the years, the hybrid is starting to come up short. Playing a lower loft might gain extra yards in over all distance but the reduced spin and lower height means I’m struggling to hold greens.
What is the solution?
I guess a better diet and gym routine might help but I want a quick fix. Plus, what time I have spare needs to be on the course. So, when I heard Callaway had brought out a new utility wood it drew my attention instantly.
The Apex Utility Wood / Price $299 RRP
At first glance it sits between a fairway wood and hybrid in terms of size and appearance. Fairway woods tend to have a draw bias unlike hybrids which have neutral flight bias. So if you are trying to hold a green from 220 plus yards, a ball with a fade or slight cut will pull up faster than a draw. So, it was reassuring to see Callaway has given the Apex utility wood a neutral bias in line with a hybrid
Jailbreak A.I. Velocity Blades have been used to increase vertical stiffness near the sole of the club, creating more speed low on the face where players often mishit their hybrids and fairway metals. These blades allow the Face Cup to flex on the crown for better spin rate consistency, and the bars are spread to enhance torsional stiffness, leading to more forgiveness across the face.
Every loft is uniquely designed using advanced A.I. This proven ball speed technology puts an even greater emphasis on centre and off-centre ball speeds. The A.I. face is forged using a high strength C300 Maraging Steel for speed and spin consistency across the face.
The shot scenario is a carry of 220 yards to a 25-yard long green with bunkers short and left, with deep rough through the back. My five wood is too long and my 19-degree hybrid would need to be perfectly struck to even carry the front bunker and then I doubt it would hold the green. I tested the Apex Utility in both 19 and 21 degrees in mind, as that was the loft I would opt for in the hybrid.
Starting with the 19 degree Apex Utility head with a Hzrdus Smoke Black RDX 70g stiff shaft you can instantly see the difference in distance between the hybrid in the same loft. On the TrackMan the numbers backed it up. The hybrid carried on average 211.8 yards and the Apex Utility was 227.3 yards. There was also more than 15 feet difference in height in favour of the Apex.
Out of the five test shots hit with each club I lost three left of the target with the hybrid and only one with the Apex Utility. Switching to 21 degrees, as you would expect, the height was increased and the carry distance averaged 219.1 yards from five shots.
Though this club had the input from Phil Mickelson and comes in 17, 19 and 21 degree lofts only the 19 is available to left handers.
Going all out with my hybrid to carry 220 yards produced a higher swing speed but I lost control as my hands became too active. The first shot with the 19 degree Apex Utility carried 235.2 yards as I was fresh off the back of testing the hybrid. Dropping the swing speed to a controllable level I was able to carry the distance consistently but equally as important I didn’t lose a shot left.
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